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Ghosts - Alberta's Podcast - Review: Don't Be A Rat

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Ghosts gives us what we've all been waiting for: more Alberta. Within seconds of the episode's teaser, which opens up on a flashback to the 1920s with Alberta taking the stage after a certain Clara couldn't make it, the show immediately sets the, ahem, stage: this is an Alberta-centric episode, and therefore a winner in my book long before the 20-minute mark hit.

As Pete may or may not have helped suggest, Sam decides to pitch the idea for a podcast dedicated to Alberta's life. On one hand, this is bound to be full of hijinks and laugh-out-loud zingers (spoiler: it was); on the other hand, this is a smart way for the show to delve into Alberta's backstory without having it feel forced or convoluted. This, of course, leads to the return of fan-unfavorite Todd, the guy from season one who lives in his mother's basement and has an Alberta Haynes museum--plus a giant Alberta tattoo and possibly one of her toenails, but who's counting? Bringing back Todd is quite the surprise, but a delightful one as it leads to several hilarious reactions from the entire ensemble cast of characters. Leave it to the ghosts to know how to make fun of the living.

There are several layers that add up to why this is one of my favorite storylines this show has produced yet, but one of them is certainly the fact that it gives Danielle Pinnock several outstanding moments. From her incredible, chills-inducing singing to her tear-jerking vulnerability, Pinnock transforms Alberta into a fully, "living" character in the span of 20 or so minutes. Her big secret being that she ratted out someone else (Clara) and thus became the Alberta is a testament to what a beautiful, relatable character she is, and the way that Sam, Pete, and Sasappis lift her up is touching in a way that only few ensemble comedies can pull off. Plus, that fabulous ending with Sam and Todd's podcast potentially revealing that Clara might be a suspect in Alberta's murder given that she was at the mansion the night of her death is a hilarious love letter to true crime podcasts and a genius way to keep the "who killed Alberta?" arc moving.

As if Alberta's Podcast couldn't get any better, the writers bring home multiple powerful messages this week. While Alberta's subplot is all about body image and society's unfair body standards, Hetty has a similarly compelling arc about female pleasure. When Flower helps her discover that sitting on top of a running washing machine gets Hetty sexually aroused, Hetty is horrified and thinks that she has "succumbed to her demons". It's a funny, silly subplot at first, made all the more hilarious by Rebecca Wisocky's extraordinary performance (I may be obsessed with her accent), but the show takes this a little further when Flower sits Hetty down to tell her that this is her body and only she is in charge of it (hear that, America?). A timely and beautifully put message, Ghosts delivers something truly lovely, and I may sound like a broken record, but how often can you say that about a silly little single camera sitcom starring a bunch of ghosts?

It's so refreshing for a TV show to turn a character like Alberta, who has a lot of personality, into more than just a caricature. Her and Hetty's self-confidence and resilience are never once questioned or resolved by men, and it's this kind of thing that Ghosts continues to balance so well. If they keep on delivering powerful, important messages with witty laughs and incredible performances, then we truly are in for one heavenly season.

Scary Delights from the B&B:

- "A podcast is like a TV show, but without the pictures."
- "Baby, that's called radio. What you're describing is radio."

- "The point is, there's nothing lower than a rat."
- "What about ground rat walk on? Yes! Thor win mind fight."

- "In my day, the washer never made a peep. In fact, I'm not sure I ever heard Helen say anything at all."

- "No Todd, no pod."

- "I'm thinking about writing other things."
- "Manifestos, ransom notes..."

- "Just so you know, Pete agrees with me."
- "Girl..."
- "I forgot you [Alberta] could see him."

- "Look, being ashamed of female pleasure was just some BS thing that men thought up to control women. There is nothing wrong with feeling good, Hetty. And you don't need a man's permission."
- "But we still need men to design and manufacture the washing machines."
- "No, women can do that, too."
- "Heavens to Betsy. Oh, what a time to be alive!"

- "You're saying I'm the female Momoa?"

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