Hulu recently debuted ‘Living for the Dead,’ a reality series narrated by out actor Kristen Stewart. The show, centered around queer ghost hunters, ventures across the U.S. in an attempt to confront both supernatural hauntings and personal struggles.
On the surface, ‘Living for the Dead’ appears to follow the formula of typical paranormal-investigation docuseries. However, it has come under scrutiny from various quarters, including a recent critique by the hosts of Slate’s “Outward” podcast.
Christina Cauterucci, one of the podcast hosts, voiced concerns about the show’s attempt to blend elements of Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’ with the traditional ghost-hunting concept. She remarked, “I found the whole thing to be such a shallow imitation of Queer Eye, where they’re trying to recreate the queer zingery and queer effect of the show, but it’s actively harmful.”
This criticism extends to comparisons with HBO’s ‘We’re Here,’ which promotes authenticity through drag. ‘Living for the Dead’ makes an awkward attempt to mirror this approach, offering solutions that, according to Bryan Lowder, feel “so badly done and ridiculous.” The show concludes each episode with advice on embracing one’s true self, which often feels disconnected from the ghost-hunting premise.
However, the most significant concern raised is how the show addresses real problems. In one instance, a tarot reader prescribes juniper berries and crystals to address concrete issues, and this questionable practice contributes to the harm felt by some viewers. Moreover, the series mistakenly parallels LGBTQ+ struggles with the paranormal, a problematic association that belittles the queer experience.
In essence, ‘Living for the Dead’ raises intriguing questions about its intentions and the manner in which it represents LGBTQ+ individuals. Critics argue that it risks reducing the queer community to a cultural prop and simplifies complex issues while attempting to blend queer empowerment with paranormal investigations.
As the series continues to spark debate, it remains to be seen how it will evolve and whether it can address these concerns effectively.