JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT on the GHOST WHISPERER SEASON TWO FINALE (Part 2 of 2) Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
March 27, 2007
Unlike most TV shows that only use the internet to broadcast reruns, CBS' Ghost Whisperer has been embracing the medium to enhance both its storyline and the viewer experience. For the second season of the hit TV drama about a young woman named Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who communes with spirits and helps them resolve unfinished business with the living, the show creators have developed a series of independent webisodes called Ghost Whisperer: The Other Side. These episodic serials tell a story from the perspective of a spirit, and will lead up to and cross over with the climactic finale of Ghost Whisperer's sophomore season. The result is original and exclusive web content that isn't required viewing to understand the television show, but rather a bonus option that will add another layer and that much more depth for fans who choose to explore the internet side of the series.
We had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Ghost Whisperer star and producer Jennifer Love Hewitt about the show's landmark second season and its upcoming finale. As usual, she lives up to her reputation of being one of the bubbliest, earnest, and sweetly entertaining of interviews. We were also able to speak to series producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses earlier in the day, who gave us a glimpse into the show's creative endeavors and a guided tour of the set at Universal Studios, from Melinda's house to the iconic town square also used in Back to the Future's classic clocktower sequence.
In this second half of our two-part interview, Jennifer Love Hewitt talks about welcoming Camryn Manheim and Jay Mohr to the cast after the departure of Melinda's friend Andrea (Aisha Tyler), her on-camera reunion with former Party of Five co-star Lacey Chabert, and what's in store for the second season finale and the upcoming third season. Additionally, producer Ian Sander also has a few words in the segment about Lacey.
MEDIA: How has it been incorporating new characters into the show this past season, like Camryn Manheim as Melinda's new friend, Delia?
JENNIFER: It's been great. It's been really great. I think the Delia character's done such an interesting thing for Melinda, because she's so different than Andrea was. And that was something that I was really worried about, because I didn't want to feel like Melinda was the kind of person that would just carbon copy replace her best friend. And I think that they've done a really lovely thing with the Delia and Melinda characters in letting them grow very slowly to the friendship that they have. And it's nowhere near the same as it was with Andrea, and it's its own sort of special thing. And Delia sort of having this son and going through what she's been through with her husband and everything like that, it's really interesting for Melinda to sort of be a part of somebody's life like that. The fact that she's a little older, I think, is great because Melinda has more to learn, and there's sort of these two completely different people that maybe otherwise wouldn't be friends. But because of this great little town that they live in and this random little antique shop and Melinda's quirkiness and Delia's appreciation of it, they sort of work. So I think that that's really neat.
And what about bringing in Jay Mohr as Professor Payne?
JENNIFER: The Professor Payne character is just a blast. I think it's the only time that Melinda gets to rest in the whole show, when she gets to sit in his office and hear him ramble incessantly about whatever it is that he's rambling about, and to sort of have kind of a sidekick, in a way. I mean, he really has sort of stepped in, and there's nothing too crazy that she can bring him that he doesn't have an answer for, or won't stop and go, "This is awesome." You know? And I think that's fun for her to sort of not maybe feel so alone as she did last season, in the fact that there [were] people that loved her and appreciated her, but there was nobody really that "got it." And he gets it. And I think it's been fun. And Jay is a fun person to work with. He's like a kid on too much candy. [laughs] It's fun to watch him be Professor Payne.
Your former Party of Five co-star Lacey Chabert guest starred on the show this past season as a girl who was supposed to vaguely resemble Melinda, and your characters did this really amusing double take when they first encounter one another...
JENNIFER: Yeah, it was fun.
What was the story behind that reunion? Was the role written for her as a sort of inside joke, did you invite her to the show, was it all coincidence...?
JENNIFER: I think it just sort of worked, really. I don't know if it was intentional that there was supposed to be the double take, or if it was...
IAN: The double take happened between the two of them. That was two actresses just doing their thing.
IAN: When I said to you that they bring something that we don't write, that's [a great example]. But the character wasn't written for her. It was a character that was written, and then over the course of the prep, she was somebody that somebody came up and said, "That would be a really cool idea."
JENNIFER: Yeah. And she's so talented, Lacey.
IAN: And we did talk a lot about it, and she thought it would be a great idea, and we were fortunate she was available, we were able to get her, and it worked out great.
JENNIFER: And it was sort of a funny thing between us, because, literally, on Party of Five...I mean, I wasn't a member of the family on Party of Five, I was just "Bailey's girlfriend," but people would always laugh every time that we were on the set together, because they were like, "You guys look like carbon copies of each other." [laughs] "Why aren't you a part of the family?" And so they used to joke about the big Party of Five ending where you're going to find out it was like their long lost sister who had been dating the brother. Really gross. But anyway, it was an inside joke on the set. So it was fun to get to have her sort of come in, and the storyline just happened to sort of fit with the fact that [Melinda's ex-boyfriend] was supposed to go and replace Melinda with this woman who is oddly like her. And it was fun for Lacey and I to get to work together again. She's just a talented lady and a really, really, really neat individual. So it was fun for us to sort of get to hang out.
Leading up to the second season finale, Ghost Whisperer has taken on a story arc of the spirit world getting stronger and more sinister. How will all of that culminate in the finale, and what implications will there be for a third season?
JENNIFER: [The producers are] probably better to tell you about the spirit world part of things, but I think (trying to not give away anything) you will finally understand in the end of this season why the dark side sort of has this defiant stare on this girl in particular. You will also find out that there are other people in the world who have this gift. [jokes] They're not nearly as cute, so we won't be telling their stories. And it's Grandview, so I live there, not them. [laughs] But no...I mean, you will find out that there's other people. I think one of the neat things that I'm fascinated most with our season finale is that you will also find out that it's not just people in Grandview who know about her, but there are people in the world who know about this woman. And why they know about her and how that sort of all connects with the spiritual world, why the dark side is so forceful, not just with everybody, but with her...I have no idea personally where the mythology of it is going and where that will lead next season and everything, but the thing that people will definitely understand is why there is such a personal attack on this one person. And for Melinda, she will understand why. And it will not be going away any time soon. [laughs] And so it's something that she's really going to have to sort of get comfortable in fighting over and over again. And that side of things is getting stronger, because unfortunately (or fortunately, for our show), it's really sort of only her in the light. And so hopefully in third season, maybe we'll find some more light people out there that can kind of help her combat the dark. But the dark is winning the war for this moment in time. [vows pluckily] Not for long! I get 'em!
Seeing as how love is a common theme in many episodes of Ghost Whisperer, do you think it's something that can survive in the afterlife?
JENNIFER: I do. Yeah. I think you have to believe that. I think that love is just as tough as life sometimes, to sort of get through and understand. And it's something that, as much as it makes you smile, makes you feel utterly sick and awful at times. And yeah, I do think that all things survive in the afterlife. I do. I think that the stuff that we show on the show about the human heart and how it goes on, and you can love somebody so much and you can lose them and they will stick with you and wish you the best and watch after you...I absolutely believe all that stuff is possible. And I think that's what's so powerful about love, is it sees things differently than anything else in the world, it feels things differently, and it lasts eternally in somebody. I mean, if you think about it, you can have your first love when you're 12 years old, and when you're 40, still, on like the worst day of your life, you will think of that person. I mean, think about how powerful that is. So I absolutely think that it builds memories and stores pictures in your soul somewhere. And that goes with you. So I do believe it, yeah.
Melinda is often a go-between in relationships. Do you find yourself doing that with your own friends?
JENNIFER: Constantly. But I'm more of a meddler without a gift. So that's what's unfortunate for me in life. [laughs] Melinda can meddle and like actually help people. I just meddle because I'm bored and I like to be in other people's business. [laughs] And I don't have very good advice and can't sort of hook them up with the other side of things. But yeah, I definitely am the go-between, and I'm always sort of like taking on my friends' lives. Whatever's going on for them, it totally affects me, and I'm always like, "We have to fix this!" I'm like the mom of all my friends.