The power of a comfort show

 BBC’s “Ghosts” has helped keep me sane with lighthearted and lovable fun. 

Kiell Smith-Bynoe stars in “Ghosts” as one half of a married couple whose life gets turned upside down when wife Alison suddenly wakes up with the ability to see ghosts. (Steven Peskett / Monumental Pictures)

I am currently very sick right now, probably the most I have been in my entire college career. In the past, I’ve maybe missed two days of classes at a time and was able to catch up on work pretty fast. I have now been knocked out for over a week.

It’s the kind of absolute sickness where I can’t even focus on a book without getting a headache. So, there’s been nothing for me to do but wallow, sleep and watch TV.

I guess I have been complaining that I don’t have time to watch anything anymore.

At first, when I thought I might have only one or two days of bed rotting, I cycled through different episodes of the classics — “Arrested Development,” “Sex and the City” and “Taskmaster.” As it became increasingly clear my foggy brain was here to stay, I figured I had the opportunity to try a new show. It was a silver lining in an awful time.

I settled on a show I had been eyeing for a while: BBC’s “Ghosts.” With actors I love like Lolly Adefope and Kiell Smith-Bynoe, I figured it was a safe bet.

I clicked season one, episode one, “Who Do You Think You Are?” I immediately fell in love.

The show follows a young married couple, Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Smith-Bynoe), after they inherit a country estate. As the title of the show may suggest, there are ghosts living in the house. Following a coma-inducing accident, Alison gains the ability to see and hear the ghosts, an eccentric cast of characters who span generations.

The ghost crew features a wealthy Victorian woman, Fanny (Martha Howe-Douglas); a Romantic-period poet, Thomas (Mathew Baynton), a Georgian noblewoman, Kitty (Adefope); a World War II veteran, “Captain” (Ben Willbond); a peasant, Mary (Katy Wix); a beheaded Tudor nobleman, Humphrey (Laurence Rickard and Yani Xander); a disgraced member of Parliament, Julian (Simon Farnaby); a scoutmaster, Pat (Jim Howick); and my personal favorite, a caveman, Robin (Laurence Rickard).

As with most sitcoms, hijinks ensue and characters are goofy. It’s endlessly fun to watch the characters interact despite upbringings and social statuses so far removed from one another. As ghosts, they are useless in the stereotypical sense, unable to haunt or to really do anything for themselves. Alison serves as a babysitter for them.

There is just so much love between the bizarre group that it radiates through the screen. I ended up watching all 35 30-minute episodes within four days. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but the characters’ zany stories have been the brightest part of my week.

I am an introvert and truly do not mind spending a few days on my own. But one week of barely leaving my room (only venturing out for food and medicine) has been tough. Although my friends are great and constantly text to check in on me, I’m lonely. No matter how many times I shower or change into fresh pajamas, I still feel gross. And I feel useless being unable to do my schoolwork or any other productive activity.

Again, I don’t want to be melodramatic — I got prescribed medication that should mean I’m back to normal in a few days — but it truly has not been a good time for my mental health. I’ve had a really good and healthy routine for a few years now, and I’ve learned how fragile that can be.

Even though most “comfort shows” are re-watches, “Ghosts” provided me with that same security blanket I so desperately needed. The 30 minutes (or multiple hours in my case) I was able to spend with Alison, Mike and the ghosts gave me time away from the doom and gloom of my mind. It’s what I have always loved about sitcoms. It’s a soothing experience and I’m glad to add “Ghosts” to my official list of comfort shows.

Kimberly Aguirre is a junior writing about comedy. Her column, “Comic Relief,” runs every other Thursday. She is also an associate managing editor at the Daily Trojan.

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