jarrow (jarrow) wrote in strangefandom,

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Round 3 Strangers: Dead Like Me

Dead Like Me

Vid Used

"Circles" by sweetestdrain (mlefay @ gmail.com)
download: http://www.livejournal.com/users/sweetestdrain/110335.html

Grokker Synopsis

Dead Like Me is the story of a girl named George who is struck by a zero-gravity toilet seat from the de-orbiting space station Mir. Unsurprisingly, this kills her. Somewhat more surprisingly (at least for those who failed to notice Ellen Muth's name in the credits), the death doesn't stick.

Dead Like Me was the first solo outing of a relative unknown named Brian Fuller. I'd be extremely surprised if any of you had heard of him. It is one of the more successful of his shows, having lasted two full seasons on television -- not quite long enough for Mandy Patinkin to do a runner -- and is also arguably the only one he made better by leaving. MGM, IMDB, and Wikipedia claim that there was a direct-to-DVD movie released last year. The rest of us, including Mandy Patinkin, think that's poppycock.

After George's death, she finds herself the newest addition to Rube's (Mandy Patinkin)'s merry undead band of Grim Reapers, composed of the twenty-to-thirty-somethings you see in the vid. They take souls for living, pulling them out through a gentle caress just before they die in assorted violent ways, thus saving them from extreme soulless social awkwardness. Because George was killed by a toilet seat, she works for External Influences (murder, suicide, and accidents), and witnesses increasingly bizarre deaths facilitated by Gravelings (the grey things that look like the love children of Sonic the Hedgehog, Edward Cullen, and Gollum). Over breakfast at Der Waffle Haus, Rube doles out post-it notes with initials and a last name, as well as time and place of death, leaving the Reapers to find the predeceased before their final deadline. My editor has informed that said waffle house may look familiar to viewers of SG1, as it is the same waffle house where Daniel chatted with the Ascended.

Unfortunately, 'taking souls for a living' is a slight misnomer, as Reaping is closer to court-mandated community service. They don't get paid, and their only superpower (not counting finding a victim on the basis of initials and last name at a family reunion) is no longer looking like themselves to the living. It's not particularly flashy, but this is probably the best superpower they could have, as people have a tendency to get flustered if you show up dead for work. It is also convenient because George appears to live within walking distance of her family's home. They weren't close before her death, and after it she has to stay at restraining order distance, but she is unable to tear herself away from their disintegration.

Many Reapers pay the bills by acquiring now-unused paraphernalia from the dead (read: ransacking corpses), others squat in apartments and homes that are no longer occupied. Holding down a job can be difficult when you return from your daily 'family emergency' covered in unidentifiable but vaguely biological substances. Options limited, George manages to find herself right back where she started -- at the temp agency where she was working at underachieving at the day she died.

Despite its fantastical premise, Dead Like Me is a show about growing up, about life and death, and simply about living.

Stranger Synopses

Stranger 1

All I knew about this fandom was:

I think it's to do with dead people somehow, and maybe a comedy rather than, like, horror?

Here's what this fandom is really about:

There are aliens. Also, a lot of terribly accident-prone people, and possibly the accidents are caused by the aliens, I'm not sure. There's also a girl; she has a dull office job, and hangs out with Inigo Montoya in diners a lot. She likes to stroke people and drive her fancy convertible, and is obsessed with death. In fact, I start to get the impression that she is dead. I think she may be called Georgia? Someone called Georgia is dead, anyway, and this seems to be relevant based on seeing her tombstones, IM profiles, clothes in boxes, and the like. In any case, Possibly!Georgia is sad about Georgia being dead, and also about the creepy alien frog things that follow her around. The special effects on the stroking presumably mean something? I have a vague recollection of this show involving people called Reapers, so... she's dead and now she's collecting other dead people, or making them die, or something? Inigo Montoya is presumably her dead-people!boss. Also, she has a boyfriend who is sometimes enraging and sometimes plays golf; I don't know whether he's dead or not. This does actually look quite interesting, and involves Inigo Montoya, but I'm not sure how much of the show I really got from the video!

Stranger 2

All I knew about this fandom was:

totally nothing. I hadn't even heard of it.

Here's what this fandom is really about:

Okay, so a bunch of people have randomly died in accidents by having large, heavy objects fall on them. (Or alternatively, falling off a fence, presumably onto a large, heavy object.) We know this because we see large, heavy objects falling onto people, and they wouldn't put that into this show for no reason, right?

So these aliens, who look kind of like crosses between porcupines and geckos, zap the consciousnesses of these random dead people into this young blonde woman who is working at a stupid dead-end job (geddit?) which involves stacking large boxes (which fortunately do not fall on her and kill her). Her name might be Georgia Lass, which to me sounds more like the horse that is going to win the Belmont, but I have a stupid name too, so I shall not judge. The aliens, or possibly the dead people - or hell, possibly both - communicate with her via post-it notes.

Needless to say, this freaks poor Georgia out. (The dead people's consciousnesses and the aliens, not her unfortunate name.) She goes a little crazy and gets drunk and kicks at store window displays. But finally, she actually meets one of the aliens face-to-spiny-face, and manages to transfer the dead people's consciousnesses back into the alien, which causes it to crumble into dust. Georgia 1, alien 0. Woohoo!

Stranger 3

All I knew about this fandom was:

(did not specify)

Here's what this fandom is really about:

Dead Like Me is a gentle, not too intelligent combination between Six Feet Under (people die in amusing ways and we all care. Maybe.) and, surprisingly, Ally McBeal (Blonde In Skirt has LOVE ISSUES, I can tell).

There also seems to be an abundance of frogs and a CGI… lizzard, perhaps? Also post-its, random relatives and boxes, many boxes.

So basically, we’re looking at a chick with an opposite frog-to-prince issue here. She sexes a man, and BAM, he’s turning froggy. The man-lizzard is probably one who she only got to second base with and then started following her around, demanding for another go. That’s why she had to kill him, you know. It’s just no fun having a lizzard ruining your furniture and trying to warn future conquest about you being on the sweatish side.

It’s so, so hard being cursed with being a blonde cheerleader-type and not being able to make out properly (something we all have personal experience with), so by the end of season two there is a truly mesmerising twist where Blonde In Skirt turns into the local highschool’s Dexter, wanting them all to be Dead Like her, you know, on the inside? Because that’s what teenage angst is all about people. Frogs, being blonde, and making them all FEEL YOUR PAIN.

Stranger 4

All I knew about this fandom was:

I'd heard the name?

Here's what this fandom is really about:

The sun comes up, the world goes ‘round, people have accidents and die. Hey, we could score this show with "The Circle of Life"! Okay, Our Heroine is part of the "sun comes up, life goes on" crowd, even if she has a sucky, boring job. But she gets hit by a … falling toilet seat? And now she’s a ghost!

Ghost!Heroine—oh, wait, her name is Georgia. Georgia hangs out with other ghosts (including Mandy Patinkin! Squee!) at a diner. She sees icky hedgehog-gremlins. She visits her old life and sees her stuff boxed up. She gets little Post-It notes. Even though she seems to not be the touching type, she touches people. More people die. Aha! Her new job as a ghost is to make sure other people die at their appointed time. Like DEATH. (Or maybe Mandy is DEATH and Georgia is Susan. Heh!)

She spends some time adjusting with ill grace to her new status as dead, and her new job: She freaks out over a nature program showing death, and dates Biff the Country Club Stud for a while, but freaks out that she can’t get married and have "a life." But eventually she comes to accept her new friends and new duties.

Stranger 5

All I knew about this fandom was:

I've heard the name before. That's really it.

Here's what this fandom is really about:

The show is about Georgia Lass, a blonde teenager with a permanent pout which - ok, doesn't really make her special. (I mean, she's a teenager.) What is pretty special, though is that's she's dead - and still walking the Earth.

After her death she found herself in an office, having to unpack boxes and file a lot of files (you can actually see her on her first day in the video, with her little "Hi! I'm new! badge!) while other dead people (who are dead longer than her) sometimes tell her about going back to Earth (to the world of the living), catching people who should be dead and somehow simply aren't or who are trying t prevent the deaths of people who actually shouldn't die yet (Yes. This show has a few similarities to Yami no Matsuei, it's just not a manga/anime. And it's American. And it's maybe not that cracky, but that would be pretty difficult. But on with the show!).

Of course Gloria would also like to go back there - even if she couldn't speak to her family again (sometimes she wistfully looks at a picture she has from them), because they wouldn't be able to see her - and would probably freak out if they did. (People can actually see the Dead on Earth, they just usually think they're living people, but people who knew them in real live won't be able to see them.

Actually that's an explanation for some of the Elvis sightings - and he'll be mentioned a few times during the show, but that's more like a running gag and not really important for the plot.)

But then a small goblin-frog-gargoyle-creature appears from another dimension and people who shouldn't die yet start dying in weird accidents (like, they slip on a banana peel. Or a piano falls on them) and strangely enough, Georgia is the only one who can see that creature without any problems. (The explanation for that comes later in the show, but it is such a fantastic reason that I really don't want to spoil it for anyone here - watch the show!) So, she has to go to Earth!

Which she does. With an asteroid. (A fast way of travelling, but not very comfy. Or, uh, subtle.)

Of course at first she doesn't really know what to do - she knows the world of Living (she hasn't been dead that long)! But this is pretty different, so she feels helpless a lot. Fortunately there are some other Dead who have been on Earth longer than her and they help her and they become a bit like a family for her (actually almost every episode ends with them all sitting in a pub, talking about their cases). This is very important for her because all that new contact to the Living reminds Georgia that she's a missing a lot because of being a dead. Like falling in love, for example (The Dead still do that. But she's new at being dead and still thinks that All Is Over Now. ... Maybe that's a bit her a being a teenager as well.)

And of course she does fall in love in the middle of the show and to make things more complicated she falls in love with a living guy (who thinks she's alive as well). Drama and angst ensue! Especially when he finds out about her being dead. (He gets over that, though.)

And in between all of that she still has her work (which involves touching people meaningfully) and running after that gargoyle creature. In the finale of the show she finally catches it and with a touch of her it burns away.

The show ends with Georgia and her new 'family' visiting her grave and she finally can move on. (To what isn't really clear - the show left that open which in my opinion was a good decision.)

Stranger 6

All I knew about this fandom was:

Somebody died?

Here's what this fandom is really about:

It's a show about a girl who moves around a lot because her father is part of an international drug coffee smuggling ring. Constant moving means her life is always packed up in boxes. This is something of a hazard when they're stacked up high, but luckily the girl has super ninja powers of awesome and so she can always stop them from falling on her.

Unlike the inhabitants of the rest of her world, who are remarkably accident prone.

This is a show about death, where lots of people die, including it turns out our ninja-girl. Only she's not dead, but her family visit her grave to toast the fact that faking her own death helped the family escape from a rival drug coffee smuggling ring. This death-thing might be the reason our ninja-girl is so emo. She never smiles, accept when she's driving, or about to kiss tall dark and handsome.

Our ninja-girl also lives a double life, part time high school student, part time office temp, part time saviour of the world (she's a busy ninja). She also uses her ninja ET-like powers to save people, bring people back to life, or to kill them again, kind of like the pie maker in Pushing Daisies. In fact, the pie maker is her hero, because pie is infinitely better than coffee.

All the death combined with the ninja-girl's powers have a downside though, they've made her kinda slow in the noggin and so she doesn't quite understand that things on TV aren't really inside the TV. For this reason she's not allowed to watch National Geographic, because she's also scared of Lions. She does however like other animals, and has lots of pet frogs which she adores, and also an imaginary friend called Felix who is an alien who likes jumping on ceilings and humping statues in graveyards. One day she forgets that her touch can kill and accidentally reaches out to Felix and kills him.

The end.

Stranger 7

All I knew about this fandom was:

I'm... dead? And maybe other people are dead? And it's on cable, I think.

Here's what this fandom is really about:

Georgia Lass is dead. Or is she? alive!Georgia is getting a second chance at life with the help of dead!Georgia, Mandy Patankin, and a good investment in post-it notes. dead!Georgia is looking back on her life, on the places she has been and the people she has touched. From beyond the grave, she is leaving clues and items to help her still-living past self avoid the mistakes that made her dead (like me).

Unfortunately, this sort of interference with one's past self is frowned upon by The Powers That Be. If we could all go back and prevent our own deaths, well, then no one would die. And I guess that would be bad somehow. So alive!Georgia faces a myriad of obstacles to her success - frogs, meteors, a spiny-Gremlin-demon-thing, and guys that want to make out with her (how dare they!).

Trouble follows alive!Georgia wherever she goes, even in the comfort of her own home or the local Der Waffle Haus (I love that place!). Is that part of the original timeline, or because of dead!Georgia's actions? Ah, time travel. The world may never know. Anyway, the world is out to kill alive!Georgia because she is supposed to be dead.

Or... maybe she's just come back from the grave, and she's trying to convince people that it's really her. Which would be far more simple. But what about the Gremlin-thing?!??!?

Stranger 8

All I knew about this fandom was:

(did not specify)

Here's what this fandom is really about:

I can’t quite decide what Dead Like Me is about: It’s either about Georgia, a dead girl who gets together with Inigo Montoya and the Noxzema Girl at a diner and talks about what a pisser it is to be dead, or, like Murder, She Wrote, is about how regular folks never seem to notice that death follows their friend like cats follow milk-delivery trucks in old cartoons. (Seriously, citizens of Cabot Cove: More than a hundred people died and their only connection was Jessica Fletcher. How could you not see it?)

Truthfully, either way, Georgia’s death/life takes a turn for the worse when she falls in love with a cute guy who’s apparently off-limits for some reason (He’s not dead? He is dead but going to The Other Place? He’s about to be re-animated so he can roam the earth looking for sweet, sweet brains?). Luckily, Georgia has her dead/living group of friends to help her out – and she’s also got pie at the local diner, which everyone knows cures every kind of emotional ailment.

Stranger 9

All I knew about this fandom was:

Dead girls working as grim reapers?

Here's what this fandom is really about:

Obviously, this is a show about a strange alien planet where everyone is cursed with incredible clumsiness and really, really bad luck, and post-it notes are revered as religious icons. Crazy pratfalls! Dropped piano! Asteroids! Derailing trains! The only person on this planet who somehow escaped this curse is a girl; let's call her Sullen Girl. She is working a soul-deadening temp job that involves organizing paperwork in a scary room filled with teetering stacks of boxes. Only she can work there, because any other person on this planet would be smothered under triplicate forms.

This planet is pretty, and filled with wildlife. Cute toad (probably poisonous), pretty roses pollinated by a bumble bee (the minute the camera cuts away, it stings somebody fatally allergic), a charming diner that serves coffee (spills and scalds every third customer) and has a lovely old-fashioned sign (that falls and crushes a poor man). You get the idea. Sullen Girl gets a promotion to a cubicle! Then she finds a group of friends, or perhaps surrogate family, of colorful characters who hang out in this diner Cheers-style, bonding over how to cure their planet of this bizarre curse. The cute CGI reptile creature things probably have something to do with it.

Sullen Girl finds romantic attachment and even smiles, briefly, but the strain of being the only person on the planet who doesn't have to dodge falling anvils and step around banana peels finally gets to her, and she goes insane and attacks a pair of mannequins in a store window. Maybe they, and not the spiny CGI reptiles, were responsible for the curse? Because that seems like a turning point; suddenly everybody is happy again! And the Somehow Significant Toad seems to approve, as No Longer Sullen Girl walks off into the sunset.

Stranger 10

All I knew about this fandom was:

that I'd seen the name somewhere. Not sure what the (movie? series?) is about, although I'm guessing death plays a part in it somehow.

Here's what this fandom is really about:

So there are these spiny lizard/frog beasts, right? And they live in this really oppressed society, although there are some rebels. One day, the rebels discover that if they kill a human, they can take over their body as if it were their own. They do this, and escape from the society and Spiny Lizard/Frog King, hurrah! Unfortunately, they can’t speak, so they have to communicate via post-it notes. Main Character Lass discovers that her ‘body’ had family problems, or perhaps those happen after she’s possessed, so she runs away. Everything’s going great, until Spiny Lizard/Frog King (he’s the one who looks more like a frog than his subjects) discovers them, and sends spiny lizard/frog men to destroy them. The rebels have to kill them, and stop them from possessing people, so that they can remain safe, while Main Character Lass does a lot of researching about how to kill Spiny Lizard/Frog King, so that the society can be released from his tyranny. I’m not sure how it ends, but I can only assume that Main Character Lass discovers how to do it, and then everyone lives happily ever after.
Tags: dead like me, round 3

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