Ghosts attend school and Hilarity Ensues.
The three Ainsworth sisters would love to have lives of their own...were it not for the fact that they were killed in an accident in 1860. So, fast-forward 150 years to 2010, when they've finally been given a second chance to go to school in their old house. At which point they discover how much the world has changed.
Of course the usual hijinks ensue, both due to their Fish out of Temporal Water status and the fact that the supernatural world seems to intersect with Ainsbury College in various bizarre ways.
Oh, and there's two conditions: They can never reveal their true selves, and they must not flunk out of school.
They quickly develop their own sets of goals. Rebecca, the eldest, almost immediately sets her sights on hunky jock David, while sister Sophie feels pressured by academia. Meanwhile, youngest sister Hazel is quickest to adapt to her new surroundings. They're aided by their confidante Jonathan, the only living being to know their secret. Meanwhile, their liaison with the ghost world is a hippie named Agatha, who spends a lot of her time sitting around with greaser Buddy, Brawn Hilda Grendel and philosopher Sophus.
Dead Gorgeous contains examples of:
- Accidental Athlete: Twice Sophie discovers that she is naturally gifted at sports, only to then learn that she has been subconsciously using her ghost powers to triumph. It happens with basketball in "Sisters of the Mind", and running in "A Friend Indeed".
- Alpha Bitch: Christine. Christine is one of the coolest girls in school. Her parents are wealthy and that could be one reason why everyone wants to be her friend. When Rebecca meets Christine and her 'gang' of friends she desperately wants to be accepted. Rebecca will go to extraordinary lengths to be one of Christine's friends which gives Christine a lot of opportunities to take advantage of her.
- Antiquated Linguistics: The three ghost girls use this to underline their antiquated origins.
- Book Dumb: Rebecca believes being pretty and popular are more important than being smart. As a result, she neglects her studies in favour of fashion and gossip magazines. In "Smoke and Mirrors" it is revealed that she is failing every subject, which nearly causes her to fade out of existence.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Hazel adapts extremely easily to the modern world and, unlike her sisters, seems much happier in the 21st century than she ever would have been in the 19th.
- Boy Meets Ghoul: Ghostly Rebecca fall for living boy David. However, he seems to not be particularly interested. Jonathan, however, is definitely interested in Rebecca.
- Brawn Hilda: Grendel, one of the girls' ghostly advisors, is an ancient Germanic warrior whose advice usually involves combat.
- Clear Their Name: In "Gold", Hazel learns that her old friend and sheep herder from her old life was jailed for thieving gold. She summons him up to try to discover the truth in order to win her legal case in an English class and help her friend pass on to the after-death.
- Demonic Possession: Sophie gets possessed by a malevolent spirit in the last episode.
- Dress-Up Episode: In "Reliving History", the school recreates life as it was 150 years ago, so the entire school is dressed in period garb.
- Education Through Pyrotechnics: In the first episode, Hazel causes a (small) explosion in the school lab despite her experiment seeming to involve nothing more dangerous than coloured foam.
- English Rose: Sophie, the middle sister, best fits this description, both in appearance (she is blonde and paler than her two brunette sisters) and temperament. Rebecca is prettier, but is vain and a social climber, and Hazel enthusiastically embraces all of the opportunities the 21st century offers girls. Sophie, however, misses the social niceties of the 19th century and attempts to hang on to them by doing things such as establishing a book club to discuss the novels of Jane Austen. She is demure and soft-spoken, but not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and is kind to all, even those who are mean to her. She also prefers the fashions of her home time to modern ones, unlike her sisters.
- Fading Away: One of the conditions for the Ainsworth sisters being allowed to return to the mortal world is that they not flunk out of school. In "Smoke and Mirrors", it is revealed that the Book Dumb Rebecca, who is more concerned with fashion and popularity than academics, is failing every subject and she starts to fade out of existence.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: The Ainsworth sisters died in an accident in 1860. They are allowed to return to earth 150 years later, in 2010. Needless to say, they have some problems adjusting.
- Flashback: Episodes 1 and 3 have these about the sisters’ life in the 19th century before their deaths.
- Free the Frogs: Hazel does this (on a personal level) in "Sisters In The Mind" when she believes that the frogs that she has raised as a biology project are scheduled to be dissected.
- Friendly Ghost: The three Ainsworth sisters who, as living ghosts, are mostly normal teenage girls.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: In the first episode, the Ainsworth sisters are wearing simple dresses for most of the beginning. Lots of it in episode eight as the school recreates life in the Victorian era.
- Girl Posse: Alpha Bitch Christine has a band of loyal sycophants.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Christine is a decent person inside but really not one who likes to let it show.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: The 'fashion of the future' outfits Christine and her Girl Posse create for a fashion show in "Smoke and Mirrors", which cause the entire school to laugh them off the stage. When you surround yourself with yes-men, there is no one to tell you how ridiculous you actually look.
- It Tastes Like Feet:"This porridge tastes like cardboard.""You've eaten cardboard?"
- Jacob Marley Apparel: This appears to be a default for ghosts. As 'living ghosts', the Ainsworth sisters can wear other clothes—allowing them to wear their school uniforms—but they revert back to the dresses they died in when not doing so. It is not known is other, non-living ghosts share this ability. Agatha, Buddy, Grendel and Sophus always appear in the clothes they died in but, as they never interact with mortals, they never have reason to change clothes.
- Lovable Jock: David. Affable and good-natured, he is not bright enough to be the Big Man on Campus. However, when he finds out that a nerd is being bullied into doing his homework for him (he was initially told the nerd was doing it voluntarily) he quickly forces the bully doing it to stop.
- Magical Girlfriend: Played With - it's one-sided on the Cute Ghost Girl's part
- Mundane Object Amazement: The sisters' first reaction to television.
- Meat Puppet: Agatha possesses the principal as he has a kidney stone and is needed for something.
- New Old Flame: In "Love's First Kiss", a painting of one of Rebecca's suitors is brought to Ainsbury High. Heathcliffe the suitor jumps out of the portrait, putting Jonathan in there instead, and goes in pursuit of Rebecca.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The main three are pretty much ordinary kids, just with a few customary abilities such as walking through walls.
- Portal Picture: In "Love's First Kiss", one of Rebecca's former suitors escapes from a portrait and traps Jonathan in the painting to take his place.
- Protest By Obstruction: In "Hazel's Tree", Hazel is distraught to learn that a peppercorn tree that she planted with her mother as a young girl is to be torn down to make way for a new hydraulic water pump. Posing as an unwashed, energy saving environmentalist, Hazel starts a campaign intent on educating the school on all things "green". This culminates in her and many of her schoolmates tying themselves to the tree as a protest.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Headmaster Griffiths is an avuncular, likeable headmaster who would rather avoid a problem than confront it. He is constantly trying to calm Haiwyn Sinclaire down about the mysterious Ainsworth girls.
- Sadist Teacher: Miss Sinclaire. She makes it her life mission to have the Ainsworth sisters expelled.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In "The Baharee", a box is opened containing a pipe or a horn. When Christine blows on it she unleashes a spirit called the Baharee which forces people to do things they wouldn't normally do.
- Secret-Keeper: Jonathon, who quickly discovers that the girls are ghosts and helps to cover for them. He also becomes their guide to the 21st century.
- Sick Episode: The plot of "Grendel's Cold" involves most of the school becoming infected by Grendel's ghostly cold.
- Undignified Death: In "Grendel's Cold", it is revealed that Grendel did not die in battle as she always claimed, but rather from a cold she contracted on the way to the battle. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, the cold returns to haunt her.
- Water Hose Rodeo: In one episode Hazel uses her ghostly powers to cause a hose to go haywire, dragging the gardener around with it and soaking a gang of bullies.
- Wearing It All Wrong: In "150 Years Later", Rebecca—a Fish out of Temporal Water ghost—has never encountered 21st century clothing before, and assumes a bra is a bonnet. She is soundly humiliated when she goes to lunch in the dining hall with the bra on her head.