Dead Like Me is a hilarious comedy starring Ellen Muth as George, the newly dead 18 year old who is having a little trouble coming to terms with being a grim reaper, Mandy Patinkin as Rube, the boss of it all, Callum Blue as Mason, the awfully cute degenerate, and Jasmine Guy as Roxy, the frisky meter maid. The show ran from 2003-2004 on Showtime.
It’s a contemporary tale of grim reapers, but not as we know them. In this version, they don’t actually wear cloaks and carry scythes, they work as meter maids and temp agents and construction workers and teachers and customer service representatives. They’re everywhere! Also, when they take your soul, they empty your pockets and squat in your apartment. Well, you don’t need those things and who knew that grim reapers don’t get paid!? When it comes to the practical side of things, the reaping of the souls and the escorting in the afterlife, well yeah, they still do that. They just do it with a little more style and flair.
I guess I should start at the beginning. I actually just started this series myself. I’ve only watched the pilot and the first disc of the season, so I won’t even be able to spoil much for you! How ’bout them apples!?
George, the protagonist and narrator, is your typical, unenthusiastic, unmotivated 18 year old living at home with her family including her mother, Joy, her father, Clancy, and her little sister Reggie. After dropping out of college, George then begins working at Happy Time Temporary Services. This is where we meet Delores Herbig, as in her big brown eyes! *vomit* That lady is too happy for ANYONE to bear. On her lunch break that very first, fateful day, George is hit by a toilet seat plummeting toward Earth from the MIR Space Station. Suckass way to die, huh? Hence the nickname, Toilet Seat Girl.
The bummer for George though, is that shortly after death, she is informed that not only will she not be going to the great, big, shiny afterlife; she’s going to be a grim reaper. A grim reaper in the “External Influence Department”, aka accidents, suicides, and homicides. Understandably, George has some issues with this. For this grim reaper gig, each day, George is given a post-it with someone’s name, location, and ETD (estimated time of death). She accompanies Mason on a few assignments, which are never a letdown in the comedy department, then she is finally released to do some assignments on her own.
George’s first “assignment” is just a little girl on a train. Who the hell would WANT to take the soul of a little girl!? It is just kinda wrong…and especially for a first assignment. So, needless to say, George doesn’t do it…at first. Apparently in Dead Like Me world, if a soul is not taken when the body dies, it rots in there. If the person’s body is still alive, the soul withers and dies inside it, thus making terrible people. If this is true, there have been some seriously slacking grim reapers in the world. It would have nice to have someone to blame for all the assholes in this world, though. Secondly, if the body dies and the soul is not removed, you’re basically alive, trapped inside a dead shell of a body. Super creepy. So at this point, George gets her first lecture from Rube on why you NEED to take the souls of these people.
Then, George boycotts. Rube slips post-its under her door and she decides that if she doesn’t take them, it doesn’t count. If there is no skin-to-post-it contact, she’s in the clear.
If only that were the case.
I won’t get too far into it, as to not spoil anything for you, but chaos ensues and then they end up with a back log of souls to take and it’s pretty fucking funny to watch Mandy Patinkin apologizing to the casualties of faulty exercise equipment.
Definitely check this show out. It’s funny and macabre and charming all at the same time.