So I started watching Bedlam. First it was just the worst ever, not like, "This should be good but I don't like it," like I originally felt about The Fades, but just, like, this is a disaster. But I was really enjoying it from my awkward position as someone who loves horror as a genre while being so easily scared that watching the most average horror movie in the world, or even being exposed to pictures or descriptions of some horror movies, can debilitate me for a week.
Because like...let me tell you. The main character Kate, who is an asshole, was working in the office of the ridiculous apartment building she and her dad own. Then in the background, behind these glass doors, was a ghost! Kate didn't notice and just walked by the doors. Cut back to the ghost.
I couldn't even deal with how hard I was laughing as blood (or possibly black water?) started dripping down the glass. This continued happening for practically the whole episode. Kate was making out with a gay dude in the bathroom, and blood started dripping down over the bathroom walls, including the weird sexy picture of herself that Kate has in her own bathroom because she's CRAZY. (Not really crazy, of course. More on that later.) Later, Kate was lying in a bathtub with her eyes closed and the blood started dripping down the walls again. Also, the ghost started telekinetically writing the word "DROWN" on the bathroom mirror.
Then it started trying to pull Kate underwater and drown her. Her adopted cousin Jed runs in and saves her by giving a ring she was wearing to the ghost, because the ghost was the original owner of the ring. Jed pulls Kate out of the water and as she sits all upset in a towel trying to recover from almost dying, Jed comforts her by saying:
"YOU MUST HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP IN THE WATER."
Is this supposed to make anyone feel good? Now Kate has to be concerned that not only is she an asshole, she's apparently so incompetent that she can accidentally drown herself while taking a bath?
Maybe it's just me, but this show makes me LOL and LOL, and I felt relieved that there was a horror show I could watch without being at all scared.
This show is terrible. Look:
The major characters are, from left to right:
1. Jed, the ~adopted cousin of Kate. I use an ironic squiggle for the reason that apparently, this is a really big deal? I don't usually think about whether people are adopted, but the fact that Jed both was adopted and has been labeled with mental health problems (don't worry, he's not actually crazy, he's just a ghost hunter!) has caused him to be some sort of family outcast, e.g.:
Ryan: Who is this, Kate?
Jed: I'm her cousin.
Kate: You're not my cousin. We're not even related.
What the fuck? He's just adopted.
I have a really bad feeling that Kate and Jed might have sex at some point and this is the reason for the constant reiteration that they aren't related. Jed comes to the apartment building because his phone was sending him texts telling him to save Kate, because yeah, in addition to seeing ghosts he somehow receives texts and big popup windows on his computer giving him supernatural advice on what to do? (Originally I thought he was using a dayplanner to remind him of his various ghosthunting tasks.) Then after he saves Kate from that particular hilarious ghost, he realizes how many ghosts are in the apartment building, so he decides to stay and put them all to rest.
2. John Foster. I don't know this guy's real name. All I know is that on Skins he played a character so annoying that a person of my acquaintance uses his name as a safeword when engaging in BDSM. John Foster is the perfect safeword because the mere mention of his name destroys all happiness/boners.
In Bedlam, John Foster is Kate's dad who does nothing but act sort of evil and nasty. At one point, Jed tries to pretend it's a joke (I don't remember the context but we're probs better off without it):
Jed: Ha ha, are you trying to electrocute me?
John Foster: It's a pity they didn't give you some of that at the hospital, might be less bother.
What the hell, John Foster? Let me be clear, I really don't like Jed very much, but it seems like he can't do anything without his terrible uncle and cousin yelling at him that he's adopted and making fun of him for having been institutionalized. I get the impression that John Foster is going to be revealed to be a serial murderer or something, so the fact that he's an asshole is a little less annoying than the fact that Kate is an asshole.
3. Kate. The biggest asshole in the entire world. Sorry I keep quoting, but let me tell you what she said in the third episode (spoiler alert, like you care).
Jed: Did you know that my mother was a patient here? Did you know that she died in childbirth?
Kate: I didn't know that. Sorry.
I guess it's not possible to capture in writing the way that Kate says the word "Sorry." But it's like she bumped into him on the train and she doesn't even want to say it. Kate spends most of her time doing awful and/or inexplicable things (like having a sexy picture of herself on her own bathroom wall).
In the first episode, Molly tells Kate that she is interested in Ryan. Kate seduces Ryan. Soon after, she starts having sex with a married guy. When Molly's friend goes missing, Kate makes an effort whenever she mentions the missing girl to say, "She's not my friend. I thought she was annoying." When Jed's girlfriend comes over for dinner and mentions she was in a psychiatric hospital, Kate says, "Oh, so you and Jed have something in common!" and starts making fun of Jed's supposed mental health problems.
I assume she's written this way on purpose, but I don't think she's going to turn out to be evil so my question is, why?
4/5. Molly and Ryan. I don't exactly get the background with Molly and Ryan which may be my own laziness. I think Molly is Kate's old friend and knew her and Jed when they were kids. Ryan is a newer friend of Molly and Kate? And when Kate and her dad decided to turn this building into apartments, Kate, Molly, and Ryan moved into a big apartment together (where I think Jed also lives).
I have a feeling Kate doesn't make Molly and Ryan pay rent because they are much cooler than her. In the third episode, the two of them just start bitching about Kate at one point and I was really into it! I'd love to think that they both really hate Kate and are just using her for a free apartment.
Molly is pretty attractive, which is good, and is supposed to be the nice/caring character, but I think without the contrast of Kate she would probably seem like a bitch. Ryan's brother was brutally murdered a year ago and Jed tells him all the details of how his brother was feeling when being murdered? Asshole!
Ryan is also played by a guy who apparently is a famous pop star. My major concern with Ryan was that he was the gayest person I had ever seen, and when I found out he was played by a gay dude whose primary job is not acting, I was like...why did they try to make the character straight. But in this aspect, the show really surprised me, because they revealed that Ryan is gay but maybe hasn't dealt with it or doesn't want to tell Molly and Kate. I'm pretty into the fact that Ryan's character isn't defined by being gay and isn't even revealed to be until a few episodes in.
I'm really fond of Ryan. But his likability and Molly's attractiveness/lack of utter evil aren't enough to make up for Jed being pretty boring and Kate being the most awful person in the world.
So why did I imply this show is less of a disaster after the first episode? Guest characters obviously! In episodes two and three, a new person moves into the apartment building who is better-looking and more charismatic than the major characters. But they have a secret and a ghost starts torturing them. At the end of the episode the guest character goes away, which is awful.
The first guest character was Leah, a cool lady who stole money and flirted with all the guys. Eventually it turned out that while drunk-driving away from her abusive husband, she ran over two kids, so this ghost wants to kill her because his wife committed suicide with their kids in the car? I don't get it. Cars! Kids! Women! Awesomely, Leah is haunted by SKID MARKS (the kind on the road not the kind in your underwear). They keep appearing on her floor, and one day, her cat is lying dead on the floor in a skid mark as if it was run over by a car.
Soon after, the ghost is terrorizing Leah and she runs into the bathroom. BUT THEN THE LIGHT COMES ON IN THE BATHROOM AND GUESS WHAT!
Ahhh! Are you serious. This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen.
I actually enjoyed this episode since Leah was pretty cool but it still made no sense. The most annoying thing was how all the main characters hated Leah after finding out what she had done. Maybe I'm being too easy on her since she was awesome, but accidentally killing people would be a pretty awful experience and they acted like she did it on purpose. Jed was trying to convince Ryan that they should let the ghost kill her by comparing Leah to the guy who murdered Ryan's brother.
Fortunately Ryan was slightly more forgiving and convinced Leah to turn herself into the police, after which the ghost decided not to kill her. Which made no sense. Except for the skid mark bathroom, the best part of the episode was when Kate told Molly that Leah wasn't using her legal first name (because if you were trying to hide from your abusive husband you would obvs change your first name and not your last name). Molly proceeded to look up Leah on Facebook and discovered that, in fact, Leah was on Facebook under HER OLD NAME!
Because if you were going by a different name, you wouldn't change your name on Facebook even if you started renting an apartment under your new name, which is way more likely to cause problems when it's not the name on your credit card. Changing your name on Facebook is super difficult!
The third episode was legitimately not bad. It had Lily Loveless and she looked GOOD. She played a girl named Sadie who moved into the apartment building after being in a psych ward for several years. She started dating Jed, but unfortunately a ghost wanted to fuck with her in a way that was finally actually logical and semi-scary! Great job everyone!
It was also pretty cool that because Sadie has mental illness, she didn't react in the conventional way when she was being tormented by a ghost. For most of the episode, something scary would happen to her and she'd look kind of sad/spaced out, and then tell Jed that maybe moving to an apartment by herself is too much of a change and she should be living with her parents. We have all seen characters who think they are haunted but are actually mentally ill, but I'd never seen a mentally ill character who thought she wasn't being haunted because she ascribed all the supernatural phenomena to her mental illness.
(I have seen this with characters who have been tricked into thinking they're ill, but that's different. Sadie obviously had/has real problems, but the ghost is real too.)
This brings me to the one gripe I have with the show that is not related to its quality--and maybe it's more accurate to say it's a gripe with pop culture in general that Bedlam happens to be a great example of. As you may have guessed from the name of the show, the apartment building in Bedlam used to be a mental institution. But so far, there are no ghosts with mental disabilities. I am going to write a separate post on this instead of sticking it at the end of my post about how funny the show is--and seriously, watch it, I hope you enjoy the ghostly skid marks as much as I do.