Ghost Hunters 4.27: "Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse"

In previous seasons, a pattern emerged that raised the eyebrows of more than a few skeptics. With numerous breaks in the ever-longer seasons for the series, blocks of new episodes would begin and end with locations with shocking activity. Granted, it was mostly a case of Pilgrim Films and SFC shifting the episodes around to maximize promotional prospects, but it did make people wonder.

Between the timing and the promotional hype (which has been remarkably deceptive of late), this season finale carried more than a few expectations. I'm not sure that it met the hype, even with the overflowing number of personal experiences. If anything, this episode seemed to be focused as much on the new team dynamic as the location itself. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

While earlier seasons had the investigators switching around in teams on a regular basis, it's clear that Pilgrim and SFC have been exerting more and more pressure to eliminate the variation. I imagine they were the ones who pushed for Jason and Grant to always investigate together, as the headliners, and I doubt there were many objections. Steve and Tango have been partners for quite some time, and usually end up providing (intentionally or not) the comic relief.

Now we have the team of Kris and Ami. I think it's great that Kris is still on the team (and, to be shallow for a moment, she was gorgeous in this episode), and I have few objections against Ami so far. Certainly the staged scene at the very end of the episode between Jason and Grant was inserted to emphasize the new team dynamic for the fifth season.

But I'm a little worried that Pilgrim will elect to edit the Kris/Ami team into a stereotype. Just as Steve and Tango rarely ever catch anything themselves and end up looking like fratboys in the final cut, there could be a strong temptation to portray Kris and Ami as the Girlie Squeal Squad. That was happening to a degree in this episode, and it would be a sad commentary on Pilgrim's choices.

At least the investigation started out with Jason and Grant running around the lighthouse, chasing after unusual noises. It lent some small credibility to what Kris and Ami later experienced. But the women reacted a lot more strongly, and were a bit hysterical at times. (I think Kris had the worse showing, considering her sudden blue streak.) In the end, they did try to overcome their gut reactions and look for some rational explanations, but I doubt it was enough to offset the negative impression they undoubtedly generated.

That's something I don't want to see, even though the writing has probably been on the wall for a while. The pigeonholing that took place with the original cast of "Ghost Hunters International" was fairly blatant, and made some people look a lot more hysterical and negative than they were. Will we now see a pattern emerge in every investigation on "Ghost Hunters"?

I'll be looking to see if it always seems to fall into this pattern: Jason and Grant as the serious investigators, always using the most "technical" equipment and undoubtedly finding the most compelling "evidence". Steve and Tango providing a more light-hearted team, joking around while dispensing basic and fractured exposition about equipment. And now Kris and Ami, always over-reacting to every unusual noise and sight.

To be clear: that's not at all what I want the show to become. Nor do I think it's an accurate assessment of the investigators themselves. I think it's what the production company wants to give the audience, so it can build on the ratings by giving viewers a more consistent and recognizable set of relationships and personalities. It's Reality TV 101. But it's also as far from the original premise of portraying TAPS "as they really are" as it gets. (Those who claim that Brian was the victim of character assassination continue to gain credence as a result.)

In terms of the "evidence", the personal experiences were definitely interes


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