Being Human (USA)

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There goes the neighbourhood...

Aidan: Hey, you know--there's a better way to do this.
Josh: Do what, be a better monster? No thank you.

Being Human is a North American remake of The BBC's Being Human (UK), created by Toby Whithouse. It debuted in January 2011. As with the original British show, it centres around a pair of friends: Aidan, a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, and Josh, a geeky and uptight Wolf Man. They decide to get a place together, thinking that it will help them set up the routine and structure each of them needs to live as normally as possible. However, on moving to a new house, they discover that it is haunted-—by the ghost of a young woman called Sally, who is unclear on the circumstances of her death.

The news of the remake wasn't met with much applause, as most American remakes of British works seem to be somewhat lacking. However, the show has been quite successful, and has been renewed for a third season.

Tropes used in Being Human (USA) include:
  • Actor Allusion: Kyle Schmid guest stars as a vampire named Henry.
  • Adorkable: Josh.
  • Affably Evil: Bishop.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Vampires plotting world domination in Boston.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Zoe can see ghosts and transfers them into babies as a method of reincarnation; and yet she doesn't initially believe in vampires or werewolves.
  • The Atoner: Aidan.
  • Back From the Dead: Aidan and Sally. Sort of. And more recently, Rebecca and Bernie.
  • Batman Gambit: Bishop uses the fact that the Council Elders prefer to kill and fully drain their victims to poison the blood of the 'donors' and thus make the Elders powerless. If they were less 'greedy' they would be fine.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Aidan to Josh. Big time: Aidan beats the living hell out of Marcus for going near Josh, two episodes later? He offers himself up to Bishop to protect Josh
  • Black and Gray Morality: Although there are certainly villains in this series, the ways that the protagonists deal with their problems aren't always noble.
  • Black Comedy: Occasionally revels in this trope. A good example would be when Aidan kills the two girls he brought to Henry to feed upon; Henry makes the remark "Five-second rule!" and continues draining one of their corpses.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Vampires acquires these when they "vamp" out, such as when they're about to feed or fight.
  • Body Horror - Josh's werewolf transformation looks and sounds extremely painful. Probably because, given the gritty and dark nature of the series combined with slightly more 'realistic' (such as it is) approach, the show depicts the transformation as basically every bone in Josh's body breaking and re-fusing, every muscle tearing and re-attaching, every organ moving and changing, and various other bits (man and wolf) growing or being absorbed in the span of a few minutes. Josh even mentions how the wolf has feeding behaviors similar to real canines such as eating their own poop... which he finds out because he vomits it back up as a man since his man stomach can't handle it in the same way as his wolf stomach.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul
  • Broken Masquerade: Suren almost causes one as a result of Henry's infidelities. Mother is not pleased and gives a Kill'Em All order on the entire hotel in order to protect the Masquerade.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Mocking Aidan after trying to kill him was probably not the smartest move, Connor.
  • Buried Alive: Apparently what happened to Suren. For decades. In the season 2 finale, Mother also has Aidan buried.
  • California Doubling: Set in Boston, shot in Montreal.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: If Nora just told Josh that she fears she might have been turned into a werewolf, some of their arguments at the start of season 2 would be avoided and they could take precautions or at least discuss what to do if she is. As it turns out, she ends up trapped in a car while turning which probably isn't a good thing.
    • Turns out it wasn't a big deal, as the werewolf frees itself easily from the car and kills Heggeman.
  • Cartwright Curse: Aidan and, to a lesser extent, Josh.
  • Continuity Nod: While the show in general is pretty heavy on continuity, the Professor's book on werewolves shows up again in season two as something Nora and Josh are studying.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Aidan knocks the fangs out of the vampire priest in order to prevent the priest from turning anyone in 'his' hospital. It's probably a side benefit that this also means the priest is going to have a much harder time feeding.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Nora tells Josh in Season 2 that he can end his "curse" by killing Ray, his sire, before the full moon.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Aidan, doomed to be a young and buff vampire. Yeah, we feel for you.
    • Overlaps with Blessed With Suck since blood addiction, the indulgence of which either kills or creates a new monster, seems comparable to heroin. This includes both the high and the lows as well as the often radical changes in behavior. See Aidan and Rebecca 'falling off the wagon' on each other, resulting in them drinking from each other rather recklessly. And then in general, Rebecca turning from an otherwise normal personality into someone willing to sleep promiscuously and kill for her addiction.
    • Similarly for werewolves who, if they're not careful (or don't care), can end up becoming overly aggressive and lust for violence and blood as much as the vampires.
    • Ghosts (not surprisingly) get their version of supernatural addiction. Possessing people can be pretty euphoric for the dead. And it's suggested that destroying other ghosts can be kind of a power trip too.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Sally, of course.
  • Demonic Possession: Sally accidentally possessed the medium who attempted to exorcise her in Season 1, an act she likens to a panicked mother lifting a car that has rolled on to her child. But she learns in Season 2 that she can possess certain people, particularly when they're drunk or stoned. (Some people simply cannot be possessed at all.) The experience is apparently like a drug high, which is why certain ghosts won't do it. Sally ends up repeatedly possessing a woman to the point where the woman starts 'remembering' some of Sally's memories, both alive and dead. The poor woman gets all the bad ones too, such as Sally dying and the smokey monster after her.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Josh isn't so good with the ladies, poor guy. Or, apparently, anyone living. Or dead. Or...yeah. Let's just say Josh excels at this.

Nora: You're like an artist and awkwardness is your medium.

  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The way the show seems to treat vampirism, lycanthropy, and er... ghostlyness. Vampirism is a pretty blatant metaphor for alcoholism or drug addiction, werewolves behave like people with anger management issues, and ghosts resemble a myriad of personality and mental disorders, including depression, dementia, agoraphobia, and multiple personality disorder.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Oh very much so. Our three protagonists are only the most obvious ones with serious issues. Evil boyfriend Danny, emotionally-closed-off abuse victim Nora, Josh's messed-up family...the list goes on. And sadly, they're decidely among the more functional members of their respective communities and humans in general.
  • Enemy Within: Sally and the Reaper.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: There's a reason Vampires don't turn kids. See Shoot the Dog below.
    • Bishop feels that the Council Elders are greedy for insisting on killing the humans they feed on and draining them completely of blood. He prefers to feed on willing donors and does not kill them since it is a waste.
      • He's still willing to compel a pregnant woman into serving as a meal for the visiting vampire elders, and has no problem with taking a bite out of her himself. Bishop's standards are motivated by practicality, not morality.
        • Case in point being Bernie. He sends Marcus out to kill two boys in order to demonstrate to Aidan why having vampire kids is a bad thing.
  • Fan Service: Hello, dream Sally.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Being Buried Alive is said to be this for vampires, as they can't die. They'll just become weak and slowly go insane due to hunger. At the end of Season 2, Mother even says this is the worse fate for vampires as she is burying Aidan. He however points out she has it even worse. She will live forever knowing she killed her daughter, the only person to ever truly love her.
  • Flaying Alive: How Suren punishes Henry for his infidelity.
    • He spends virtually the entire next episode walking around without any skin.
  • Foe Yay: The conversation between Aidan and Bishop seemed pretty intense...not to mention Bishop looking in on Aidan when the other vampire is feeding.
    • And in episode 12, we see Bishop with tears in his eyes when Celine says Aidan keeps running away, not coming back.
      • ...right after he practically said that he turned Aidan because he loved him.
    • And in episode 13, at the end of the Boss Fight, Bishop reaches up towards Aidan's cheek, almost a caress, as Bishop is being beheaded BY Aidan. Hard core.
      • At one point, Bishop says something to the effect of he wasn't going to allow Aidan to (live to) hate him anymore.
    • And now in season two Aidan's seeing hallucinations of Bishop, and Bishop essentially tells him he never could've killed him anyway.
  • Forced Prize Fight: Josh is forced to participate in a cage match against an older werewolf as "entertainment" for a group of visiting vampire elders.
  • Foreign Remake: A pretty good one too.
  • Freudian Trio - Aidan is Id, Sally is Ego; Josh is usually Superego, though his werewolf side is pure Id.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Played straight with Aidan and subverted with Bishop.
    • But in the fifties, things were a little bit... opposite.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: The vampire "elders" choose to live in Amish country because they're old-fashioned. When they come to visit the city, they're still wearing the same clothes.
  • Fur Against Fang: While the two leads are friends, vampires and werewolves really dislike each other in this setting. Vampires seem to think that werewolves are disgusting and mistreat them, which in turn breeds resentment among the werewolves.
    • Of course, this isn't universal as the main cast demonstrates and there are indications that there may be more depth to the dislike than just disgust and mistreatment. Rebecca takes a moment to realize that Josh is a werewolf by smell, which would suggest disgust. However, in private with Aidan, she also suggests that Aidan misses the feel of biting into living flesh which suggests that part of the addiction for vampires is more than simply the need for blood but the thrill of life and something they don't have. And of course, there's the simple matter of both being predators and thus in strict competition.
    • It also seems there's a bit of jockeying for position going on, especially on the vampire side. The vampires consider themselves better than humans, but still have to hide from them. The vampires are stronger and scarier than wolves 27 days a month but stand almost no chance against one around the time of a full moon. Arrogance and insecurity lead to vamps picking on wolves only at their most helpless.
    • Some of the animosity may also be due to the fact that vampires cannot drink werewolf blood without suffering severe side effects. Due to the highly contagious nature of the curse, it makes sense that the vampires wouldn't want too many of them hanging around.
  • Ghost Amnesia: Sally can't remember how she died, probably because it was so traumatic.
    • Played with in that she knew, subconsciously, that she had been shoved down the stairs. The house's plumbing issues were her way of trying to get herself to remember.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Celine, as noted by Josh.
  • Grim Reaper: A ghost appears to Sally in the second season claiming to be the Grim Reaper. Instead of sending souls off to the afterlife, he says his role consists of 'reaping' ghosts who cause an unbalance in the universe. Which turns out to be complete bullshit, as the Reaper is no more than the product of Sally's swiftly-disintegrating sanity.
  • Hand or Object Underwear: Josh is seen doing this before his transformation.
  • Handsome Lech: Henry the vampire. Notably, he was forced to go into hiding for several decades after cheating on Suren.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Delivered by Sally to her roommates when she's "inhabited" by the Reaper/Scott.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners - Josh and Aidan
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Sam Witwer who plays the vampire Aidan also played Starkiller in The Force Unleashed. Mark Pellegrino who plays the antagonistic vampire Bishop also plays Lucifer in Supernatural.
  • Ho Yay: Aidan/Josh, commented on in universe.
  • Horror Hunger: Blood addiction.
    • In wolf form, werewolves have an uncontrollable urge to kill and eat seemingly every living thing they come across, except for other werewolves.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Aidan's response upon coming home after reviving Mother's daughter and being told Nora's been turned into werewolf by a nervous Sally.
  • I See Dead People: One of the side effects of being supernatural.
    • Zoe is an otherwise normal human who also has the ability to see ghosts, and knows more about them than even Aidan.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Cecilia the vampire cop, who has been tortured and is badly injured, tells Aidan to leave her behind when they're being hunted by a pack of werewolves. She gets torn apart.
  • Jekyll and Hyde: Sally, in the second season.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted hard. And then It Got Worse.
  • Invisible to Normals: Sally can't be seen by living humans unless they're open to it.
  • It Got Worse: Watching this show is a little like watching a train wreck full of little children that manages to spiral into an orphanage and explode a pound full of cute, fluffy bunnies. It just keeps getting worse and worse for the characters. So much disaster. So much. SO MUCH. Pretty much the only thing that goes right for them is finding an apartment together and maintaining a steady job. Everything else is fair game.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: "Why are there ghosts [in the kitchen] punching each other in the balls?!"
    • "Why is the bathroom mirror calling me a whore?"
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zoe is rather abrasive to the ghosts who hang around her, but it's mostly to ensure that the right ghost is allowed to reincarnate into the right baby
  • Kink Meme: Here
  • Kiss of the Vampire: While vampire bites are generally depicted as extremely painful in this series, Aidan is very tender when he drains Celine.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Played straight down the middle "but we only had sex once" when Josh knocks up Nora and generally joked about for a few episodes, and then turned brutally into an in-Convenient Miscarriage after zigzagging through several other pregnancy tropes along the way.
  • Little No: In the pilot, we get one from Josh, when the door shuts, locking Josh and his sister in together just before he's about to turn.
  • Lotus Eater Machine: Sally becomes trapped in a cheery fantasy world when Scott takes control of her mind. Notably, he even played the part of her fiancee.
  • The Mafia: It is implied that the mafia is in part actually a vampire organization as when the Dutch come to town, Aidan warns Rebecca not to cause trouble since a word from the Dutch would send a trigger to the families in Chicago and New York. Both cities notable for long lived organized crime families. Likewise, later one, one of the Dutch discusses how the Council and their rules ensure that no one family gets too powerful as well as arbitrate for the families, something that the Commission did for the Mafia.
  • Magic Pants: Averted. Josh is completely naked before, during and after a werewolf transformation. He does manage to steal a dress, though.
  • Masquerade
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: A recurring problem for the characters.
  • Mexican Standoff: A variation of this occurs at the end of Season 2, with Ray holding a gun on Josh and Nora pointing a gun at Ray.
  • Mind Rape: While vampires have the power to influence and even brainwash people it is not easy and takes lot of skill and constant practice. Bishop is quite good at it but he practices a lot and has centuries of experience. Aidan on the other hand has not done this in a long time and when he tries to cover his tracks by erasing a man's memory of an event, Bishop suggests that it might be kinder to just kill the man. Aidan ends up damaging the guy so badly, he kills himself the next day
    • What Bishop did to Aidan's ex-girlfriend, Celine, has got to count for something. It went straight over into both Rape as Drama and Scarpia Ultimatum territory. She never gets over it, even on her death bed.
  • Mistaken for Gay - Josh and Aidan by their landlord. Josh doesn't get what the guy is trying to say, but Aidan just shrugs it off with 'It's okay'.
    • Josh's parents also do this.
  • Monster Mash - You've got a vampire, werewolf and ghost girl living in the same house. How is that not awesome?
  • Mood Whiplash: Josh makes Sally and Aidan a nice dinner to have some semblance of a normal evening without any monster-related business... then reality hits when the only things they have to talk about are monster-related things.
  • Mountains of Illinois: Apparently Boston is within walking distance of woodlands heavy enough for a werewolf to roam free at night...
  • Mr. Fanservice: Aidan. Wow. Josh is no slouch either.
  • Mythology Gag - Aidan is named after Aidan Turner who plays Mitchell in the original BBC incarnation.
    • The other names can be construed as (very) vague references to their UK counterparts as well. Just say them out loud: George/Josh, Annie/Sally, Nina/Nora. They're phonetically close without being pointlessly similar.
  • Neck Snap: How Aidan is forced to dispose of two hysterical girls who find themselves in bed with a recently-flayed Henry.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Sally had basically given up on taking revenge on her former fiancee. Danny's attempt to exorcise Sally from the house only reveals to Sally's friend (and his current girlfriend) that he murdered her.
  • Nonhuman Lover Reveal: Nora discovers that Josh is a werewolf at the end of the first season. She's cool with it.
  • Not Using the Z Word: It isn't until late in season two that the word "supernatural" and other implications of such is even used.
  • Nothing After Death: Ghosts who are shredded or who "went through the wrong door" are apparently sent to a limbo filled with nothingness, which is painful for the spirits trapped there.
  • Off the Wagon - When normal people fall off the wagon, they end up hurting themselves (unless they're drunk drivers). When Aidan does, he usually kills someone.
  • One Bad Mother: In Season 2, we are introduced to an elder vampire referred to as "Mother" who exhibits speed and strength far beyond other vampires. She also seems to possess additional powers not seen by the others.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Blood isn't a necessity, but more like a drug they're all addicted to from the time they're turned.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They transform during the full moon, and have heightened senses and strength a few days before and after the change. While transformed, they look like mangy four-legged wolves with vaguely human bone structure, and are almost impossible to kill without a silver weapon.
    • In addition to werewolves who are created through a bite or scratch, there are pure-bred werewolves. They seem stronger than regular werewolves — their senses are constantly heightened, not just a day or two before the full moon — and they view their human forms as the true curse, as they would rather be wolves all the time.
  • Overtook the Manga: The original Being Human (UK) has very short seasons thanks to British Brevity. As a cable show, the US Being Human has shorter seasons than a network primetime series, but it's still way more than six episodes. As such, what begins as a fairly straight adaptation quickly develops a lot of new material.
  • Painful Transformation - Werewolves go through this.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome - The basic premise of the series.
  • Poltergeist: Sally meets another ghost who specifically refers to herself as a poltergeist. She has learned to project frightening visions into the minds of the living and uses her powers to torment her former boyfriend.
    • By the end of season one Sally is able to move the pages of a newspaper and even close a heavy door. Though to clarify, she has learned how to do this consciously and willingly. She was always able to do these sorts of things, just never in a way she could manage.
    • Sally tends to involuntarily shake the house and make the lights flicker when she's angry or upset.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old - Aidan is over two hundred years old (257 to be exact), having been turned during The American Revolution, but looks to be in his mid-20s. Bishop, the vampire who transformed him, is older, although we don't know by how much.
    • Heggeman is stated to be over thousand years old. The other 'Dutch' vampire elders are probably close to that age as well.
    • Mother is even older still since as old as Heggeman is, he doesn't display anywhere close to the level of power that Mother demonstrates and he treats her as effectively a living legend.
    • In the fifties, Suren was almost 700, so she's this trope almost to the year.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: One way of killing vampires if a stake isn't handy.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: The pure-bred werewolf twins, Brynn and Connor.
  • Shiksa Goddess: Emily's girlfriend.

Emily: God, what if [Josh] never even gets to meet Jackie? ...I really wanted to rub it in his face that I ended up with a shiksa goddess.

  • Shoot the Dog: Aidan kills a recently turned Bernie because the latter can't control himself. And he's not taking it well.
    • Done a second time with Rebecca. Poor guy cant catch a break.
  • Shout-Out:

Sally: Oh, ladies and gentlemen, The Bobbsey Twins. I am God, I am everywhere! I drive all night just to get back home!
Aidan: Are you trying to scare us...with Bon Jovi?

    • Also Twilight, as seen above.
    • There's another Supernatural show where a vampire is beheaded using barbed wire.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: While most character fantasies involving bodily harm to their enemies are inherently funny, it is simultaneously sad, and appalling that Danny made some level of his fiance's consciousness want to see Aidan tearing at the guy's throat.
    • It's even a little bit cute that Sally imagines that Aidan thinks of her as "their girl."
  • Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness - In the lower middle. It's possible to be good... but it's like going off a hard drug while it walks around you. Aidan talkes about it a bit in season two and the show continues to emphasize the comparision to drugs: feeding 'live' is fairly euphoric and stopping cold turkey is... bad.
  • Snuff Film: Aidan receives a DVD from Rebecca which features her having sex with a man and then killing him.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Reaper to Sally though it turns out to be more of a case of Screw Yourself.
  • The Starscream: Henry plays this role with Aidan early in life, but later subverts the trope by defending Aidan from other vampires when he runs off with Suren.
  • Status Quo Is God: Sally seems to find her true love... and then he disappears, with a 2 second mention in the next episode of how they broke up off-screen. An odd example in a show like this, especially considering the roles the other characters' love interests play.
  • A Storm Is Coming: One of Sally's opening monologues uses this metaphor.

Sally: Right before a big storm, I used to go with my dad to the harbor. To look at the clouds, feel the air. There's an eerie stillness before the sky cracks open, a hush. You can feel the storm gathering, smell the flood on its way. When you know you're going to die a violent death, when that's the only way you can die, it's all about the waiting for that final storm … if the waiting doesn't kill you first.

Sally: Are you guys going to go all Twilight on each other at some point, or...?
Josh: Excuse me?!
Sally: It's all you guys ever talk about. "I want to be normal, but I can't, 'cause I eat people!" Et cetera.

  • Tears of Blood: Aidan gets these after drinking Josh's blood.
  • This Was His True Form: Inverted. When Aidan shoots Connor while he's a human, he reverts to his werewolf form in death.
  • Tomato Surprise: There was never any Reaper. It was Sally all along who was killing the other ghosts.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Yeah, Connor, totally a good idea to taunt the pissed-off silver-bullet-gun armed vampire whose ally you just brutally killed. On the other hand, not only are werewolves overly aggressive near a full moon (and this was the next morning), but Connor was already taking wolfsbane because he was hyper-aggressive to begin with.
    • The thing is, Connor was so idiotically cocky in that encounter, it's possible he wasn't trying to taunt Aidan, but legitimately trying to congratulate him for surviving
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: A complete solar eclipse has an unexpected result on the supernatural world during the second season. First, it causes all the ghosts that Sally shredded to return from the limbo that they were sent. Secondly, it causes Josh to partially transform into a werewolf just as he's trying to tell Julia about his curse.
  • Undead Child: Bernie.
  • Vampire Bites Suck - In the first episode.
  • Vampire Invitation: Played straight. A vampire can enter a home uninvited, but he starts burning and quickly dies.[1] On one occasion, a vampire breaks into someone's house and attacks him, but flees before he suffers permanent harm.
    • If the owner or resident of a house changes, all invitations lapse. On one occasion, someone arranges for a house to be legally sold while vampires are inside; those now-uninvited vampires burn to death before they can escape.
  • Vampires and Werewolves Are Sex Gods: Aidan can't walk down the street without attractive women throwing themselves at him, and in the two or three days before he transforms, Josh becomes way more aggressive in the sack.
  • Vein-O-Vision - Sort of. It's more that the person's skin looks flushed. It's accompanied by the amplified sound of blood rushing through his/her veins.
  • Villain Ball Magnet - Every time Aidan tries to do the right thing, he ends up making things WORSE than Bishop, the show's main villain would have.
    • That's debatable, given what Bishop was ultimately planning: dominion over all humans.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human? - We'll probably see a lot of this in future episodes.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: All the goddamn time. Somewhat literally with Josh.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Suren makes this comment to Josh during an awkward dinner party. Julia misinterprets it as a Jewish slur. Aidan is able to cover it by saying she meant Josh kept a clean house for a guy.
  • You Can See Me? - Sally is more than a little surprised that Aidan and Josh can see her. [2]
    • Occurs again in Season 2 with Nora and Zoe.
  1. This only applies if the house belongs to a living human (werewolves count).
  2. It's possible that the use of Wintersleep's "Weighty Ghost" earlier in the episode is a Musical Gag referring to this. "Oh, have you seen my ghost / Seen my ghost, seen my ghost..."