The fourth season of Long Island Medium premiered Sunday night. The show, with its eerily precognitive title, recounts the daily adventures of Theresa Caputo, a medium who lives in Long Island.
Really, though, if we're choosy about who we talk to among the living, shouldn't we be just as selective when it comes to the dead? This is why I have some bold proposals for who Caputo should be talking long-distance to.
Now, there are some who might suggest that these proposed spinoffs are doomed to fail, that it's not possible to channel dead squirrels or 7-month-old children — they're very difficult to talk to even when they're alive — and that a host of people from Harry Houdini to South Park to Penn & Teller have done a great job proving "mediums" to be frauds. After all, if you really could speak to the dead, why not pluck melodies from George Gershwin or one-liners from Rodney Dangerfield?
But these people are cynics, and cynics are just naysayers who don't care about anybody or anything. So here's what I'd have Theresa Caputo doing if I ran Long Island Medium:
1. Theresa Caputo: Probate Lawyer
The sad fact is, people often die without leaving clear instructions as to what's supposed to happen with all their neat stuff. Who gets Grandma's $4 million estate? The villa in the Caribbean? The lamp, the cocker spaniel, and the big ugly hat? Well, now — say, for a mere 30% of the contested estate — you can hire a lawyer to represent not just you, but also the recently deceased!
I can see it now: "Your honor, the plaintiff's case is totally bogus! I have a corpse-talking lawyer who can prove that Nana left the entire estate to me! So we'll be taking that big ugly hat to go, and the little dog, too. Take that, Uncle Fester!"
With courtroom drama like that, you just can't lose.
2. Barbara Walters Of the Dead
Although famous people occasionally die, the grave is no place for these folks to be resting peacefully. They should be doing interviews! And who better to make first contact with newly deceased celebrities than Hicksville's most famous?
With a little supervision from First Interviewer extraordinaire Barbara Walters, Caputo could be hosting primo post-funeral sit-downs with the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Ed Koch, Hugo Chavez, Annette Funicello, Jonathan Winters, George Jones, Pat Summerall, Roger Ebert, Shain Gandee, Lindsay Lohan and Barbara Walters (OK, I may have called those last two a little early, but probably not by much).
We can finally find out: Now that you're dead, what are your plans for the future? Was the eulogy all you hoped it would be? What kind of tree would you like planted at your gravesite? Do you have any regrets? Too few to mention?
OK, maybe there are better questions to ask the deceased. But the broader point remains valid: if you're famous, go ahead and die, but remember that this is America and we're still not done with you.
3. The Departed, Taunting
Face it: death is too good for some people. And it's a total abdication of life's responsibilities. Look at Hitler: he kills millions of people, and then — just as he's about to be captured — he commits suicide. Where's the justice in that?
Never fear, for justice can be found in the afterlife by forcing Hitler to listen to Journey's "Streetlight People" over and over and over (sort of like they psy-ops the US military did against Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega back in 1989). Thanks to people like Caputo, this is now possible (I'm sure she has a lovely singing voice).
But it doesn't stop there. With a cadaver-lingual on your side, there's a whole range of tactics we can employ to antagonize the unjustly departed. Caputo could host a radio show where people call in with insults that she can pass along to Hitler. He's a legitimate target of psychological trauma, there's plenty of ways we could bully him and mess with his head: "Mein Fuhrer, WWII ended in such chaos and so many historical records were destroyed, many people think you're that wonderful gay rabbi who wrote 'Fiddler on the Roof'! Sorry!"
You could also rake in some serious sponsorship money for this sort of thing: "This hour of 'Tormenting Hitler' is brought to you by Matzos by Streit's, for the unleavened experience of a lifetime." And people will think twice about becoming genocidal dictators if they know that, upon death, they'll be harassed by annoying Long Island psychics.
4. CSI: Strong Island
Of all the potential Long Island Medium spinoffs, this is the one with the most promise. In case you hadn't noticed, sometimes when people die, it's a mystery whether someone killed them, or who might have done the deed. But, with the help of Theresa "Stenographer For the Dead" Caputo, we can now introduce testimony from the unliving to the forensic process.
Now we can find out what happened in the final moments of Trayvon Martin and Jimmy Hoffa, from Trayvon Martin and Jimmy Hoffa themselves. We'll finally know whether OJ Simpson killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, and why Olympian Oscar Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp, and why Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander, and whether Casey Anthony killed her daughter Caylee.
Attention, police departments of the world: bring your unresolved murders to Long Island, and have them resolved by Theresa Caputo, voice for the voiceless, exhuming justice from the grave!
Naturally, I'm sure Theresa Caputo will be more than happy to use her unique abilities in this way. After all, what kind of person would she be if she had the ability to solve murders — including serial murders and child murders — but didn't do it because she was busy making some dumb reality show where she channels dead squirrels?