Thursday, December 9, 2010

Charmed: Dead Man Dating (1.4)

I remember years ago posting something on a message board about how Charmed never really represented the diversity of San Francisco. Where were the gays? The Asians? It's no big deal, but the Halliwells did always seem to exist in their own little bubble of white folk. And the writers rarely attempted to reflect varying lifestyles or cultures throughout the show's eight-year run. Dead Man Dating is one of the only episodes I can remember which actively reflected another culture, and in doing so created one of the first hours which signposted that the show could be something pretty great.

Piper and Mark had mad chemistry. I don't really get why the show didn't pursue this relationship further. Sure, he's a ghost, but the complications could be just as great as the ones created by Piper's relationship with Leo, and the show went there with the latter. John Cho certainly has more spark than Brian Krause does. It's also a credit to the show that despite only sharing a handful of scenes together, the two of them really do seem connected in some way.

The actual storyline is a little contrived, since Tony Wong looks absolutely nothing like Mark, but it works, and is probably the best demon story so far. The innocent involved doesn't bug, while the mystery aspect is crafted well.

Phoebe's subplot is mildly amusing, even if Alyssa Milano's performance seems to have been turned right up to 'shrill'. Man, does she shriek a lot when trying to save that guy. Elsewhere, Prue's story uses Andy well (at least he's not only involved through a police case here, like so much of the rest of the season), even if she was a little out-of-line in being so rash over Andy's ex, especially considering the secrets she's keeping herself. B+

Guest stars John Cho (Mark Chao); Patricia Harty (Mrs. Correy); Elizabeth Sung (Mrs. Chao); William Francis McGuire (Nick Correy); Joe Hoe (Tony Wong); Todd Newton (Yama)
Writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach Director Richard Compton


  1. I just want to say that I am really loving reading your reviews - especially Charmed and Angel and while I don't always agree with all the criticism (mostly with Charmed), your opinions are well thought out and succinctly expressed.

    I have to comment on this episode as I really feel that Dead Man Dating was a classic and standout on Charmed, and probably one of my all time favourites. I agree it was the first indication that the show could be great. I know everyone who watched Charmed remembers it distinctly. It certainly was one of the episodes which spurred me on to acquire the DVDs and is part of my long love affair with the excellent John Cho (Harold & Kumar excluded).

    Though the plot itself was rather ridiculous, Tony Wong choosing Mark for no readily apparent reason and the concept of how Yama worked being a Karmic downer and overall no-no, the episode was saved by John Cho and Holly. Despite the plot I love it dearly.

  2. Thanks so much for reading, Smibby, and really warm compliments there, too. So thanks again.

    Agreed that this is Charmed's first real standout episode, and it's nice to hear your own fondness for it.