MTV's new show Ghosted tracks down exes, and it's giving everyone the creeps
If you remember early-2000s MTV gems like Next and Parental Control, its newest cringe-worthy dating show, MTV’s Ghosted: Love Gone Missing, should be no surprise. In the same investigative style as Catfish, hosts Rachel Lindsay (yes, Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay) and musician Travis Mills hunt down the people who disappeared from participants’ lives without a word.
“We’re traveling the country looking for love gone missing,” Lindsay says cheerily in the show’s trailer. “We’ll investigate the clues and follow every lead to track down the ghost.”
It doesn’t take a whole lot of soul-searching to see everything that’s wrong with this concept. People don’t just ghost because they’re flakey or mean or too embarrassed to break up with someone. Sometimes they cut off contact because the other person won’t take no for an answer. Sometimes they do it because they’re scared.
When the show was announced, people immediately had a lot of (valid) concerns.
“This is frankly the worst premise for a show imaginable” Mike P. Williams tweeted. “Simply awful. There’s a reason (good or bad) someone ghosts: they don’t want you in their life. That’s not a cue to stalk them (with the help of MTV!) to get answers. You won’t get any. Move on and live your life. #Ghosted”
“I’m guessing if you’re the kind of person to use a camera crew and entertainment network to track down a person who ghosted you, that is likely why you were ghosted in the first place,” Heather Monahan wrote. Others agreed.
MTV has not yet responded to HelloGiggles’ request for comment on the criticism of Ghosted‘s premise.
MTV aired a sneak peek of Ghosted on Wednesday night for the West Coast, so some viewers got to see Lindsay and Mills in action. From what we can tell, things weren’t quite as creepy as they could have been. This is probably because we’re talking about a major cable network that has been doing reality TV since the dawn of time, and it knows how to cover itself.
The casting call for Ghosted simply asked for people who had been ghosted, but we hope those folks go through a major screening process. In 2009, a contestant on the VH1 reality show Megan Wants a Millionaire allegedly murdered his wife and later died by suicide, so we’ve got to assume the networks stepped up their background checks after that.
Also—and stop reading if you don’t want reality TV ruined for you forever—this show is most likely not happening the way you think it does.
We know that with Catfish, the catfishers are usually cast first, even though it looks like the show finds the victims first, then goes on an elaborate hunt to find the perpetrators. That’s all a scripted ruse, as Vulture reported years ago. No matter how good Rachel Lindsay might be at Veronica Mars-ing her way across the country, producers have probably tracked down those folks in advance to get their permission and make sure they’re not sex offenders.
Still, we’re not going to let this show off the hook completely. Even if the ghosts and “haunted” exes of the show are completely fine people, the premise is sending an awful message to viewers. If we watch ghosts reveal that they are actually in love with the people they ghosted but were too afraid to show it, that doesn’t just give false hope to crushed viewers. It means that pursuing someone after they’ve clearly rejected you is not just totally fine, it’s a move that could make you famous.