How you feel about mediums is probably the same way you feel about magicians: either you're a believer or a skeptic. The same goes for the testimonials from those who encounter them: either you're just as wowed as they are by the power of what's unfolded or can't believe they'd fall for such a manipulative ruse.
So whether you fall into column A or column B pretty much navigates how you feel about TLC's reality series Long Island Medium. Actually, how you feel about stereotypical Long Islanders with Lawn Guylin accents will probably have a bigger impact as the Long Island medium in question, Theresa Caputo, is about as Long Island as they come.
It seems like the concensus must be pro-mediums and pro-Long Island as the show kicked off its fourth season on Sunday night with back-to-back episodes. It was business as usual for Theresa, communicating with the grief-stricken loved ones of the deceased, sometimes when they reach out to her for a "private" meeting, other times when she approaches them against their will at bagels shops and or during workout session.
Each episode was a jarring mixture of heartbreaking stories from people desperate for closure about death (Theresa claimed messages from dead fathers, mothers, siblings, and children, including one possible suicide) with Theresa's everyday problems — like struggling with her weight or her college-aged daughter getting a tattoo or having to say everything with a thick Long Island drawl.
Are we supposed to take the undeniably funny and likable Theresa, who spelled the word idiot "i-d-o-t" seriously as a person, let alone a medium (especially when she repeatedly tells even her most fervent believers "You don't have to believe me!"), or are we just supposed to get a kick out of her while she delivers very serious messages to people? The latter would be pretty terrible, considering the heartbroken desperation of those who seek her out. Then again, how you feel about reality television as a whole should probably decide that one for you, too.
Even if you don't believe in communicating with spirits who deliver messages of comfort and resolutions, if meeting with Theresa allows these people to sleep soundly at night, maybe Long Island Medium — whether it's all a hoax or not — is actually doing something most reality TV shows only dare to do: something even remotely positive for others. Of course, that very illusion could be the greatest trick of them all.
Long Island Medium airs on Sunday nights at 9 PM ET on TLC.