The Gay Ghost
by Jeff Baker
CBS’ supernatural comedy series “Ghosts” presents a twist on the haunted house story. A twist with a few gay turns.
“Ghosts” presents us with Samantha and Jay, a couple who inherit a big Hudson Valley mansion, “Woodstone Manor” from a distant relative. Intending to convert the house into a bed-and-breakfast, Samantha (Rose McIver) has a near-death experience resulting in the ability to see and hear ghosts. After initial misgivings she and her husband Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) accept her new ability and the presence of spirits in the house.
And Woodstone Manor has a squabbling group of ghosts from various time periods who are stuck on the property where they died. (In the world of “Ghosts,” this is how the few who stay on Earth wind up haunting an area.) The ghosts range from a Viking who was struck by lightning on the property a thousand years ago, a native American storyteller, a jazz singer from the nineteen-twenties who was poisoned while performing at the house and a horndog insider trader from the early Two Thousands who is stuck without any pants and appears in a suit, tie and strategically-long dress shirt.
Oh, and there’s Isaac…
Isaac Higgintoot was a Colonial officer during the American Revolution who was at the Battle of Ticonderoga but died of dysentery two weeks later on the Woodstone property (there are conflicting accounts as to how old the house actually is or if there was a house on the property in earlier years.) Isaac is flamboyant and egomaniacal and can’t quite get over the fact that his rival is remembered better than he is. (Some guy named Hamilton.)
During the course of the show’s first season (which is still in production) Isaac acknowledges his attraction to men and officially comes out to fellow ghost Hetty, whom he has known for 130 years. He also strikes up a relationship with Nigel (played by John Hartman in an occasional role) a British soldier from the Revolutionary era who also has feelings for Isaac and who also haunts the property.
“Ghosts” large ensemble cast of characters from different historical periods offer insights into how our world has changed over a millennia. As for homosexuality, in spite of Isaac’s centuries old worries it is taken matter-of-factly by the other characters, as is the interracial marriage of the “livings” who now own the house.
Actor Brandon Scott Jones, who plays Isaac, is openly Gay and has played Gay characters on screen before. Always working to play something other than a joke or stereotype, Jones’ Isaac is funny, sweet, insufferable and charming. Sometimes all at once.
“Ghosts” is based on a BBC series where the counterpart to Isaac is only known as The Captain, a British officer from World War Two (played by Ben Willbond) who is obsessed with military rank and precision and is deeply closeted. He has an air of tragedy about him and fans have drawn hints from the opening credits sequence to suggest that The Captain committed suicide.
There is none of that tragic feel in Isaac, owing to the writing and the acting on this fine (and fun) series. And amid the comedy there is an occasional tinge of sadness to the show, especially when one of the ghosts reminds the “livings” that life is short, too short to waste all the opportunities it offers.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I would do a serious disservice to the actors on this series without linking to the Internet Movie DataBase article which has links to the entire cast:https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11379026/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
Here is a link to the biography of The Baron De Steuben, a real-life Gay officer who worked with the Colonial forces during the American Revolution:https://www.amazon.com/Drillmaster-Valley-Forge-Steuben-American/dp/0061451649/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2FU9V5MAM08NR&keywords=the+drillmaster+of+valley+forge&qid=1647160111&s=books&sprefix=The+Drillmaster+of+Valley+Forge%2Cstripbooks%2C88&sr=1-1
AND I offer a tip of my cosmos topper to readers who know where the title of this column comes from; extra points for not Googling!
Jeff Baker’s fiction has appeared in the premier issue of the online magazine “Orion’s Beau” (as by Mike Mayak) among other places. His non-fiction has been posted to the Lambda Literary and Amazing Stories sites. He blogs about reading and writing sci-fi, fantasy and horror around the thirteenth of each month in this same space. He lives happily with his husband Darryl, and they are both old enough to know who Jonathan Muddlemore is. Jeff regularly posts fiction on his blog https://authorjeffbaker.com/and wastes time on Facebook at Jeff Baker, Author | Facebook