I've been thinking about "Ghostbusters" and its place in the Toobworld Dynamic. Not just because Halloween is approaching, nor because of my year-long theme of "Little Big Screen". What overshadows all of that was the untimely death of Harold Ramis, the comic genius who played Egon Spengler in the two movies (as well as in the video game).
If only Ramis and Bill Murray had been able to patch things up between them earlier, I think it might have been possible to bring the Ghostbusters team back for a prime-time Halloween TV special, the sort of thing we've seen done with "Toy Story".
As it stands, the Ghostbusters team do have a TV presence, but over in the alternate dimensions of Skitlandia and the Tooniverse. They also live on in comic books and even in other movies (thanks to "Casper" which gave a cameo to Ray Stantz.)
As for Earth Prime-Time, I think we can safely assume that the Ghostbusters do exist in the TV Universe - even though there are quite a number of references to the film as a movie.
This is easy to splain away: the movie (as seen in the TV universe) was based on the lives of the actual Ghostbusters, using actors who looked remarkably like the "real" people. Therefore, the real Ghostbusters (not to be confused with their Tooniverse counterparts) were already in existence in Toobworld before the movie opened.
If we make the assumption that what happened to the Ghostbusters in the Tooniverse also happened to their Toobworld doppelgangers, then the team served as technical consultants on the making of the film.
Here's a list of TV shows which treat "Ghostbusters" as a movie:
- 'Three's A Crowd'
- 'Gimme A Break'
- 'Simon & Simon'
- '21 Jump Street'
- 'Home And Away'
- 'The Golden Girls'
- 'Mystery Science Theater 3000'
- 'Goodnight, Sweetheart'
- 'Fresh Prince Of Bel Air'
- 'Queer As Folk'
- 'Do Over'
- 'Law & Order'
- 'Yes, Dear'
- 'How I Met Your Mother'
- 'The Sopranos'
- '30 Rock'
- 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia'
- 'The Office'
- 'Samantha Who?'
- 'Modern Family'
- 'Children's Hospital'
- 'Mike & Molly'
- 'Little Mosque On The Prairie'
- 'Breaking In'
- 'Happily Divorced'
- 'Cougar Town'
- 'Strike Back'
- 'The Tomorrow People'
- 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'
- 'Welcome To Sweden'
- 'Hot In Cleveland'
On 'Gilmore Girls', one character claimed that he saw the movie 124 times. And the actual movie could be seen on a TV set in an episode of 'Cheers' when Woody climbed through a window at the home of his girlfriend's parents.
It's always been a contention of Toobworld Central that if a character cites a fictional character or location or situation from another source but without attribution, then the TwD is going to lean toward the claim that it was a reference to someone/some place/something that actually exists in Toobworld. So based on the content of the dialogue in the following shows, we can consider the Ghostbusters to exist in Earth Prime-Time even though we never got the chance to give them a call.......
- 'Charles In Charge'
- 'Mama's Family'
- 'Only Fools And Horses'
- 'Laat maar Zitten'
- 'Married With Real Life'
- 'The Nanny'
- '3rd Rock From The Sun'
- 'The X-Files'
- 'The Famous Jett Jackson'
- 'Midsomer Murders'
- 'The Proud Family'
- 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
- 'Rosemary & Thyme'
- 'Doctor Who'
- 'Ghost Whisperer'
- 'The Vicar Of Dibley'
- 'Blood Ties'
- 'The Mentalist'
- 'House, MD'
- 'My Babysitter's A Vampire'
- 'Warehouse 13'
- 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids'
- 'Lizzie McGuire'
- 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
- 'The Suite Life On Deck'
- 'Knight Rider'
The movie itself made mention of a location that should only be found in Toobworld. Quoting Robert Wronski, Jr. from the Television Crossover Universe blog:
~There is a line in the film that provides a crossover. “The walls of the 53rd Precinct were bleeding... How do you explain that?” The thing is that there is no 53rd Precinct in New York, but there was a fictional New York 53rd Precinct in the classic television show 'Car 54, Where Are You?'~
Robert also suggests that it was a reference to 'Baretta', but even though the location for that show was an unnamed major urban city on the East Coast, it's generally accepted that it took place in Newark, New Jersey. Since "Ghostbusters" took place in New York City, I think I'll stick with the precinct that was on Tremont Avenue in da Bronx.
(For those of you who may specialize in studies of the Cineverse only, that 53rd Precinct reference in "Ghostbusters" could be about the police station to be found in the movie version of "Car 54, Where Are You?" and have nothing to do with TV shows.)
"Of course, people do go both ways!"
"The Wizard Of Oz"
And then there are the TV shows that make mention of the movie but also treat the Ghostbusters as being real people in their world. Among them:
- 'Level Up'
- 'The Goldbergs'
- 'Perfect Strangers'
- 'The Sopranos'
Well, Sam, I think I know what we're dealing with here.
It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man."
There are certain phrases from the movie that become references in TV shows. Sure, the characters probably saw the movie, but the manifestation of the "real" Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man-monster more than likely made the front page of the NY Ledger, the NY Chronicle and the Daily Bugle. So when Dr. Cox called Turk "Stay-Puft" on 'Scrubs', as Sawyer often did to Hurley on 'Lost', they could be making a reference to the movie or to the actual attack.
Other mentions of the "Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man":
- 'Everybody Hates Chris': "Everybody Hates Superstition" (Julius asks Chris if he thought the Ghostbusters were lucky to defeat the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man)
- 'Eureka' (Carter mentioned the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man)
Sloars - '10 Things I Hate About You'
Slimer - 'Supernatural'
Getting slimed - 'Knight Rider'
Again, the source for these references could either be the movie or "real life".
In episodes of 'Supernatural' and in 'Stargate Universe', the movie line about the end of times being represented by dogs and cats living together (one of my favorites!) is quoted. I believe this to be most likely a fabrication for the movie and thus would be the only source for the quote. It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Dr. Peter Venkman actually said that, but I doubt it would have garnered national attention as there would have been no official transcript of that meeting in which it was said.
Now this is an interesting reference. For the purposes of the Toobworld Dynamic, I think the movie as seen on Earth Prime-Time used music from a follow-up commercial to this one:
So when the Doctor and Rose start singing the Ray Parker song, or when it was quoted by Jennie in an episode of 'Kate & Allie', they could just as easily have been referring back to the TV/radio commercials as they could be to the movie.
"We were a team, just like franks and beans and sauerkraut."
'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
I mentioned at the beginning that Harold Ramis passed away earlier this year, so it would be wrong to recast the role of Dr. Egon Spengler just to give him a Toobworld presence. Luckily we could still get Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray to reprise their roles as Drs. Stantz and Venkman, PLUS! Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore! But it wouldn't feel the same without Egon.
The ironic thing is that it's Egon who confirms the actual presence of the Ghostbusters in Earth Prime-Time. And sadly, the reference to him also confirms that he passed away, years before Ramis did.
In an episode of 'The Middleman', there was the Egon Spengler Memorial Award for Excellence in Physics. Since my own rules for the Toobworld Dynamic prevents me from treating the Egon Spengler of the Tooniverse or of any of the other fictional universes as being the same person, I can't treat this in any other way than as proof that he passed over to the Other Side.
In fact, he might have willed his personal PKE meter to the Middleman, since a PKE meter was mentioned in the same episode.......
By the way, we did get to meet Egon's brother Elon over in Skitlandia, which may be the only TV dimension in which he actually exists.....
Many years later, Peter Venkman made his debut in Skitlandia at the Scream Awards.....
This being the year in which the rules for membership in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame have been relaxed - the main qualification being that "What I say, goes" - then I'm taking this opportunity to announce the induction of these four intrepid explorers of the supernatural into the TVXOHOF.
Hail, Fellows! Well met!