Happy Back to the Future Day!

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Back to the Future Day. It’s finally here.

We’ve probably all fallen for those fake screengrabs posted on Facebook and Twitter over the last few years, the ones saying ‘THIS is the day Marty McFly arrived in the future’, the ones where the year has been modified to read 2012 or 2013, but today is the real thing. The screengrabs are real.

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Today is the future. Tomorrow it will be the past.

As someone who saw Back to the Future Part II at the cinema as an eight year old and was enthralled by its first-act vision of a future that really wasn’t all bad (compare this to other films set in the future, where it’s pretty much a given that it’s a dystopia), the fact that we’ve finally come to this date is a big deal. 26 years have passed since I first saw this film and I’ve seen plenty of others set in the future before or since, some of which have presented a future that has already come and gone. I didn’t really acknowledge the passing of future to past for the likes of Predator 2 and The Terminator, the latter famous for dating 1997 as JUDGEMENT DAY, and the former for being entirely set in that same year. Since both depictions of 1997 were far from happy, I was just relieved that Bill Paxton was still alive and that the world hadn’t been nuked by some computer that year. 2001? 2010? Great films, but in the end they’re just years to me. We still haven’t arrived at Blade Runner‘s 2019 or The Running Man‘s 2017-2019 (those are the years according to wikipedia) futureworlds, but even though the former is the best film ever made (and the latter the 35th), I don’t think anything’s going to hit me as much as today’s date.

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The fact that Back to the Future Part II‘s future scenes will be, from tomorrow, set in the past, has really hit me. Seeing the film back in 1989, I was genuinely excited as to what the future might bring. It’s weird to discover that director Robert Zemeckis found the 2015 scenes to be the least interesting to develop– he didn’t want to get bogged down in predictions for one thing. For the rest of us mortals though, the future stuff was where it was at. As we’d already seen the first film’s Hill Valley town centre in both 1955 and 1985 incarnations, to see it fully updated for the future almost felt like seing your own town in the future. Obviously, this won’t mean much for casual or one-time Back to the Future viewers, but for us fans, who’d come to recognise the little nooks and crannies of that open space, the exciting newness yet familiarity of the 2015 sequences were a thrill. It helped that certain jokes, characters and set-pieces were cleverly duplicated from the original, none more obvious that the skateboard chase, now refreshed to hoverboard status. Oh God, did I want a hoverboard when I was younger. They just looked like the coolest thing ever. Remember, I was eight, and I think for some people of that age, the sight of seeing Michael J. Fox fly around town as he desperately tries to escape the clutches of utter nutter Griff Tannen and his gang was the equivalent of seeing Superman fly eleven years earlier. Okay, so the Hilldale sequences were far from glamourous (though to be honest, I was stupid enough to read Elisabeth Shue’s horrified delivery of ‘I get married in the Chapel O Love?’ as something far more upbeat when I was a kid), but the bright, colourful locale of the town centre had already worked its magic. I loved the flying cars. I loved the Pepsi Perfect emerging from the counter. I loved the fact that the doors to the Cafe 80’s did that weird sound effect thing everytime they opened (not as good as the ‘Moooo!’ effect on the doors in Clerks II, but nothing is). I loved the fact that the likes of Wild Gunman, a game where you ‘have to use your hands’, was seen as hopelessly old-fashioned. I loved the incidental details, like the skyramp in the background, or the projected TV screens, the pizzas that cook in three or so seconds, or the floating welcoming sign, and of course Jaws 19. Also, self-tailor made jackets which also dry themselves? Power laces? I was thinking of starting a one-day fashion craze where everybody wears their pockets inside out, but never got round to it.

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For all my life, all of this stuff has been set in the future, but today that ceases to be. It’s not that I’m disappointed that we don’t have flying cars, though I am relieved that the Jaws series mercifully stopped after the fourth one. However, there is something about Back to the Future Part II‘s future-ness that meant that it could still hit me today in the same way as it did when I was eight. Setting it in 2015, as well as making sense in regards to the film’s logic (we went 30 years back in time, so why not go forward 30 years?), also made it exciting for us viewers, because it was a future we could eventually live in ourselves. Deep down we probably knew that our 2015 wouldn’t be that much different from our 1989, but it was still distant enough (come on, it was the next century!) that the possibilities for change were plausible. And yes, a fair few things depicted in the film have actually come true, but the mundanities of everyday life still remain. Of course they do. To be honest, there were mundanities in Back to the Future Part II‘s future vision, but there were hoverboards. Oh why couldn’t we have at least got hoverboards?

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No, I just feel a little piece of my childhood has finally been laid to rest with this date. Okay, I knew we weren’t going to catch up with what I’d seen on screen, unless Steven and Max Spielberg really went to work on those Jaws sequels, but that’s beside the point. That film was still the future. And now it’s not. We’re all getting older, and we all know that, but little dates like this hit that point harder than maybe the filmmakers ever imagined they would. But that’s because the likes of Back to the Future are wonderful, special, magnificent things that made a massive impact on my childhood. That particular screening of Back to the Future Part II remains one of my favourite ever cinema visits – it was one of the first ‘dark’ films I’d ever seen, it was probably the first film I’d ever seen on the big screen that was set in the future, it was definitely the most complex and brain-scrambling plot I’d seen in a film to date and it was the first to end on a cliffhanger. All big deals for me. But now whenever I sit down to watch it, there’ll now be a twinkle of amusement and yes, a bit of sadness that it’s now entirely set in the past. It’s on the same level as Back to the Future Part III now. Things will never be the same again.

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Still, I don’t want to get bogged down in sadness. I’ve acknowledged it now, so let’s concentrate on the celebration! Recently, the good people at this site (aka me and Mark) recorded a series of fan audio commentaries for the Back to the Future trilogy that delves more into our love for these films in far greater detail. It’s the fact that we only recorded these commentaries the other day that I won’t be attending my local cinema’s admirable screening of the entire trilogy tonight (well that and it doesn’t finish ’til late, and I have to get up for work tomorrow!). They are being screened on UK TV though, so I’ll most likely dip into that and remain amused at all the little cuts for language that are most definitely going to be made. Oh remember when PG films got away with all those ‘shits’ and ‘assholes’ and ‘son of a bitch’s. Good times.

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Happy Back to the Future day!

PS: To listen to our commentaries, please click on the link to the right – commentaries can be listened to direct from the site or downloaded for free as an mp3. They were recorded whilst watching the UK Region B Blu-Rays from 2010.

PPS: I’m an idiot. I always thought that weird sound effect whenever the doors of the Cafe 80’s came from the doors themselves. Obviously they come Griff’s bionic implants. The same sound is heard when he turns to Jason Scott Lee after the ‘unless you’ve got power!!’ line, so why did I never put two and two together!

The Nintendo Game Boy – 25 Years Later….

So the Nintendo Game Boy is 25 years old. I’m in the UK, so we didn’t actually get it here until 1990, but I didn’t get my own one until the summer of 1993 – around the time of my birthday, in fact – my family got it for me in the Southend-on-Sea branch of Argos, bundled with – surprise, surprise – Tetris! I think Tetris came free with absolutely every Game Boy back in its first phase, so it was weird to see it also available as a stand-alone game that you could buy in the shops. Didn’t everyone have this game? I suppose if you bought a Game Boy second-hand then you might not have had a copy, and to be fair, you had to have a copy. It is so heartening to know that the Game Boy’s flagship game was such an intelligent one. Seriously. I took the time to play one of those retro-compilation games for the Xbox that put together a barrel load of old Mega Drive games and I was staggered by how brain-dead so many of those games were – just punch, punch, punch, jump, jump, jump, kick, kick, kick and so on. With Tetris you had to be on the ball, all the time. It was a great game, except for the fact that it didn’t appear to have an ending. It just got faster and faster until it was physically impossible – for your eyes and your fingers – to keep up. I like games to have an ending, even if nearly all endings to games back then were shit. I just like closure. Almost as bad was when games ‘rewarded’ you by sending you back to the very start of the game so that you had to play it all over again, albeit this time with slightly more difficult opponents. Grr.

The Game Boy’s portability was the obvious and vital key to its success. Coming after the 8-bit wave of consoles – Nintendo’s NES and Sega’s Master System – the Game Boy games were far from cutting edge in regards to graphics and sound. They weren’t even in colour for God’s sake. The games weren’t that much cheaper than the 8-bit ones either. Somehow £29.99 for a Game Boy cartridge felt like a rip-off. No wonder I got so many of mine cheap and second-hand. Also – wanted to go 2-player with your mate? Well, you had to have one of those connectivity cables and your mate had to have his or her own copy of the game!!! Yet so many of us took the console to our hearts because, because… you could play the thing outside. Yeah, everything’s portable nowadays, but back then it was only Walkmans and Game Boys. The freedom of playing a computer game outside that wasn’t one of those crappy Game & Watch thingies was a joy unparalleled. Speaking of Tetris – it seemed perfect for the Game Boy. Have you ever tried playing it on a home console? It never felt right. Too big a screen for something as small and intimately confined as Tetris. True, the 2-player option was a far easier proposition, but knowing you could see what your mate was up to on the other side of the screen made their sneaky moves feel a lot less sneaky. It felt more of an attack when you couldn’t see what they were up to on their own Game Boy.

Design wise it was a classic of simplicity – a lean, no-nonsense grey, two (just two!!!) control buttons, the necessary ‘start’ and ‘select’ buttons and yes, yes, yes – a headphone port! I never understood it at the time but I could see how the tinny soundtracks to all those game could drive anyone not playing them at that moment completely nuts. Now you could shut out all those other humans and lose yourself entirely! I also think the Game Boy was the first ever console to have absolutely every single game begin with the same identifiable logo and sound. Not every Master System game began with the Sega logo, and I don’t think any NES game began with any standard logo. The Game Boy games would always start with the ‘Nintendo’ text scrolling down to the centre of the screen, culminating in that two-note ding that can bring a tear to any nostalgic-waxing gamer these days.

Power-wise, the Game Boy took four AA batteries and they lasted a healthy amount of time to be honest – there was also an AC adaptor for home use which meant you didn’t have to waste those batteries unnecessarily. Compare this to Sega’s attempt to conquer the portable market – the Game Gear- which definitely had the edge in some regards such as its colour screen, but its battery life was minimal and expensive to maintain. I never owned a Game Gear, and I always wanted one – the TV tuner sounded fantastic (never knew how well it worked in reality though) – but no one I knew had one, so how could you ever swap or sell or buy games to your mates? Also, the one game I did play on it was Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which merely took the Master System version and strangely cropped the screen so you couldn’t see what was coming until you were already dead. Now some fans liked the fact that this made the game more difficult, but it pissed me off to no end. Besides, why would I want to play a smaller, inferior version of a game that was already out for the Master System? That’s what gave the Game Boy an edge, that its Mario games were not mere copies of the NES versions.

While the NES had the first three Super Mario Bros games and the SNES had the formidable Super Mario World, the Game Boy was all too aware of its limitations and wisely didn’t try to Xerox those games to fit on a small monochrome screen. Instead it blessed itself with its own unique game – Super Mario Land – that was intentionally designed to fit inside its smaller scale and didn’t feel cropped or compromised as a result. True, there was some pixel blur when you made Mario run instead of walk, but overall this felt like the perfect alternative sequel to the original Mario game – not as anomalous as Mario Madness (Mario 2 in the US and Europe) but not as insanely difficult as The Lost Levels (Mario 2 in Japan). Here you had the tried-and-tested fun of the overground/underground levels (not to mention the plethora of secret rooms) but you could also fly an aircraft, which officially made it cooler than the original. Also, the final credit music used to get me close to tears. I don’t know why, I always found it so beautiful and strangely sad. That I only ever got to hear this music by completing the game made it all the sweeter. The fact that I can hear this music on youtube at the click of a button has robbed it of its magic for me.

That was probably my all-time favourite Game Boy game, but there were plenty of others that I recall – here’s a rundown of some of the games I remember playing.

Bart Simpson’s Escape from Camp Deadly – Simpsons in shock ‘not shite’ video game cash-in. The show itself was remarkably a remote presence in my life for a good while so I jumped on anything with their name on. As spin-offs go, not as good as the ‘Deep, Deep Trouble’ single by Bart and Homer, but what was?

The Castlevania Adventure – atmospheric platformer with vampires. Perfect. Was a real favourite until my copy mysteriously vanished. Cue many tears.

Dynablaster – Insanely addictive maze/blow up the bad guys strategy craziness commonly known as Bomberman that admittedly wasn’t as much fun as the multiplayer versions available on home consoles where you could trap your mates between a dead end and a bomb and watch them squirm ‘til the fuse runs out.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch – I think this must have been very cheap when I bought it as even as a stupid kid I knew all too well the general crappiness of movie tie-in games. Amazingly, I remember this being quite entertaining.

 Hyper Lode Runner – definitely a second hand purchase (I don’t even recall getting it with the box or instructions) and a platform with a little bit of strategy thrown in.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – aka Zelda IV. Massively popular, highly acclaimed, vastly epic, and yet it didn’t do it for me. I guess I had already been spoiled by the astonishing A Link to the Past on the SNES.

Revenge of the Gator – it was a pinball game, and an alligator was involved somehow. I played this one a lot.

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan – simple platformer but so much fun I must have re-played it and re-completed it at least 678 times. The music in the sewer levels still reverberates inside my skull to this day.

Tennis – it was tennis. Simple, straight-up tennis. Yet it worked for me. I got so into this that I was genuinely disappointed to find out how difficult the sport was when I tried it in real life.

Come to think of it, there were absolutely loads of Game Boy games I never played, and never will. The games were expensive back then, and from what I recall from relevant magazines from the time like Total!, there was a fair amount of crap as well, but the ones I did play, I really, really played. Less was more, and I definitely got my money’s worth back then. A lot of those games have probably dated appallingly, so I’m tempted not to revisit them– let the past be the past. Besides, for me – it’s the memory of the whole gaming experience itself, not just the game, that I love. A warm summer evening, sitting cross-legged on the patch of ground overlooking the car park near the back of my house, playing Super Mario Land as the sun started to set… beautiful.

The Real Ghostbusters Episode 13: ‘Xmas Marks the Spot’

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So here we are – the final episode of the first season, it’s a Christmas special and it’s reviewed here shortly after the big day. I really wanted to get this review ready for Christmas Eve but it just didn’t happen! This really is one of the best ever episodes, boasting one of the most original storylines of the entire series and full of warm, winter wonderland glow. J. Michael Stracsynski wrote this one, and he’s managed to make a Christmas special that is remarkably free of sentiment, with any preaching kept to a minimum and the show managing to smuggle the concept of ‘killing Christmas’ quite stealthily within a children’s cartoon.

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It’s a snowy Christmas Eve, and the guys are returning from a job, listening to Tahiti on the radio, lamenting the fact that they’re working on this most special of penultimate days (trust me, I know how they feel), as well as the fact that they’re lost on the forest road. Peter doesn’t seem too fussed – it turns out he doesn’t really like Christmas very much, so this is just another night for him. He had lonely Christmases according to Ray, what with his dad never being around, and in a moment of confident psychoanalysis (or just good old guess work), it’s assumed that Peter’s cynicism towards the season is really just a defence mechanism to distract him from the genuine pain he feels this time of year.

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Anyway, the guys take a wrong turn, the car’s engine fails, and in their snowbound search for civilisation, they walk directly into a portal, but since the snow’s so heavy, they assume the light is from a nearby vehicle or something. They emerge on the other side in what looks like an undiscovered community directly out of Victorian England. Horse-led carriages, the works. I guess the guys think they’ve merely arrived in some very, very conservative town, but as soon as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim pick up their depressingly measly Christmas turkey from the local butcher, we the viewer know something’s up.

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Yes, it’s Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol! And look, there’s Ebenezer Scrooge, looking alarmingly like a slightly younger Monty Burns from The Simpsons, howling in terror at something which, and the guys only see it for a second or two, an apparition flying out of the window wrapped in chains. That’s Jacob Marley, that is. He was Scrooge’s old buddy who warned him on Christmas Eve of the impending arrival of three ghosts in the novel….

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The guys investigate by entering Scrooge’s abode, and true enough, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are right there, in the bedroom, with a cowering Ebenezer in the corner. Now, I don’t remember all three ghosts showing up at once in the novel – Past would come alone, and all three would take it in turns to teach Scrooge the error of his ways. Obviously, having all three in one spot at the same time makes the big plot hook of the episode plausible, so let’s continue. The guys take aim at the festive trio, and despite their pleading to not open fire, they let rip and trap them in a shot, completely ignoring all the warnings that this is NOT A GOOD IDEA. Oh well, in the trap they go. Cue a delighted Scrooge, who dances around his room and thanks the guys for a job well done. The crew don’t bat an eyelid when Scrooge appears to have never heard of a telephone, but things get dramatic after the legendarily tight git gets the shock of his life when he’s presented with the bill, and he refuses to pay. He even goes so far as to suggest the three apparitions were mere flights of fancy, or possibly something he ate. Cue the reliable threat of instantly releasing the ghosts, which scares old Scrooge right good and proper, so he offers them a single coin. Peter’s all set to go absolutely crazy when Ray swiftly informs him that this one coin is a real mint-condition collector’s item, worth a shedload. Mercenary Peter backtracks instantly and accepts the payment. They leave, and Scrooge walks to the window and offers nothing less than a complete declaration of war on Christmas. Eeek.

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Meanwhile the guys stumble back through the portal, back to their car (which now works) and back to the city, although Egon is trouble by the unnerving familiarity of some of the things they’ve experienced…. No one else cares, but what’s unavoidable is the sense that’s something’s changed back home. Where’s the festivity? Where’s the joy? Where’s the Christmas???? Janine and Slimer have turned into complete grouches. Forget ‘Season’s Greetings’; ‘Bah! Humbug’ seems to be the new line of the day. And look, the local bookshop is selling everyone’s seasonal favourite novel – A Christmas Humbug by Ebenezer Scrooge! His (very evil) visage is on the front of the book, and of course the guys instantly recognise him as the bloke they just helped….

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So, it turns out that all that ‘fictional’ Christmas Carol stuff was real, that the portal was actually a time slip and that by trapping the three Christmas ghosts, Scrooge’s self-realisation that he was a bloody insufferable nightmare never came to fruition, and by him actively waging war on the silly season (and clearly succeeding), Christmas has not just withered away, but has been replaced with a vehemently anti-Christmas celebration. Not celebrating Christmas is one thing, but everyone in town has actually made a point of being extra hateful and mean! No big deal, Peter says, they can just release the ghosts from the trap and put things straight. One problem – Egon’s back at HQ, about to incarcerate the ghosts in the Ecto-Containment Unit! They rush back (although Peter’s in no hurry – remember, he was already a grouch before history changed), but it’s too late. Quite matter-of-factly, Egon says that the ghosts have already been locked away. Now, given that Egon was the only one to think something might be up earlier, he’s remarkably slow in following up that worry with an actual theory about what might happened. Ray sums it up very, very succinctly, in what might be the most alarming act-break line in any episode ever. Quite simply, he declares ‘We just killed Christmas. Christmas is gone. Forever!

Now this is followed by something that really, really used to unnerve me as a child. Just to establish, the guys have a handy viewfinder upstairs that they can use to look inside the Containment Unit, and the final shot of the first act is a peek inside the viewfinder, where we can see the three ghosts being hurtled backwards into the limitless void of ghost limbo. This final shot really freaked me out. Reasons? Well, there’s something hopeless about the situation. The music is the most apocalyptic of the show’s themes. The simple freakiness of that void, which is just some dark blue sky. The strange wail that the ghosts (or the soundtrack?) deliver. The look on Christmas Present’s face. Worried, but eerily static too. The fade to black. Okay, now the latter reason is something I’m going to heavily elaborate on in my write-up of the episode after this one, so it might not make much sense now, but all of these elements combined made for a moment that really burned itself into my mind, and I’d spend night as a child trying to get to sleep just thinking about that image, and it sending the right chills down me. Just one of those things. Wonder if I’m the only one?

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Act Two begins with the anti-Christmas spirit in full flow, with two idiots yelling ‘Bah! Humbug!’ at each other whilst their equally foul-tempered dogs face each other off. Ugly stuff. So, the guys are in a terrible situation. And if any of us had forgotten the details back in the old days when act breaks actually heralded a run of adverts, Peter helpfully summarises all of the chaos that’s just happened. Obviously, the best plan is to return the three Christmas ghosts back to where they belong, but there are hitches – how to release the ghosts without releasing all the other, mean ones, and the fact that time is passing on both sides of the time slip. In other words, they’d better hurry up because Christmas Eve is almost over… so for the first problem, Egon’s going to go INSIDE THE CONTAINMENT UNIT! Peter quite rightfully checks Egon’s pulse and asks if he’s recently hit his head, so MAD is his idea. As for the second problem….well, if Egon’s plan doesn’t work, then Peter, Winston and Ray will have to pretend to be the three Christmas ghosts in order to convert Scrooge….

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While the others head off, Egon asks Janine for help in getting inside the Containment Unit, and she eagerly accepts the chance to impress her love. Remember, the change in history might have erased her love of Christmas, but she’s still dopey-lovey all over Egon, which is nice, as she spent the majority of the previous scene yawning and bad-mouthing the whole point of the guys’ plan. Boo. For the second episode in a row, comedy love hearts replace pupils in the eyes of a main character.

The guys travel back through the time slip and bizarrely, don’t seem to wait for Egon to bring the ghosts back, instead opting immediately for Plan B, the first phase of which involves Peter putting on a blonde wig and rope-swinging his way right into Scrooge’s bedroom (and onto Scrooge himself)! Peter almost immediately blows his cover, responding to Scrooge’s demand of who has just appeared in his room with the frankly hopeless ‘Hey Jack, I’m Peter…’ before realising what’s at stake and adjusting his introduction correctly. Luckily, Scrooge’s glasses seem to have been lost in the preceding chaos, so I’m hoping that’s the reason this frankly unconvincing ruse seems to work. To be fair, Scrooge does note the change in his house invader’s appearance, not to mention the lack of ghostly aura, but this is all resolved with a flashy light show created by magnesium flares attached to Peter. The glow unfortunately makes Peter’s face the same sickly, amber colour that he suffered in series-highpoint ‘Mrs. Rogers’ Neighborhood’, when he was possessed by a demon, so even though this moment is perfectly innocuous, I get the flashback chills. Anyway, Peter produces one of those cool viewfinder head-set toys that lets you lose yourself in location photographs without peripheral distractions, but before we see how this is going to set Scrooge on the path of goodness, we go back to the present…

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Egon’s all set to enter the Containment Unit, attired in a spectacular red and white space suit – he warns Janine that he only has one hour to retrieve the ghosts and get out, or he’s trapped in there forever… when he enters, it’s like a condensed version of the Stargate sequence in 2001, all mind-bending corridors, although this only lasts five seconds, whereas in the film it went on for nearly ten minutes.

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In a superfluous bit of suspense, Slimer is left trapped in the basement when the power of the Containment Unit entrance’s suction threatens to drag Slimer inside. Nothing comes from this, Slimer survives a few scenes later, move on please! Oh, before we go back to Peter’s Christmas ghost shenanigans, Janine has a peek at Egon’s progress in the Unit and we see what she sees in the viewfinder. This looks very odd indeed, like he’s in a half-spectacular/half-primitive video game.

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Back to the past though, and Peter’s embarrassing (though admittedly inventive) method of taking Scrooge into a journey through his past is to strap the viewfinder over his eyes, plonk him in a wheelchair, and ride him round in circles (to simulate flying) in his bedroom. Amazingly, this does seem to work, with getting Scrooge all sentimental over his past, though how the stock-photos in the viewfinder match key moments in his personal history is anyone’s guess. Still, it gets him poring over his lonely youth, so the plan’s working, I suppose.

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Egon’s now properly inside the containment unit, and if you thought Doctor Who’s Tardis was a miracle of ‘small on the outside/big on the inside’, then prepare to be dazzled. It’s like another dimension entirely in here, and top marks to the writers and designers for conjuring up a spectacle. It’s an eternal world of nothingness, only with lonely rock ledges and islands for the ghosts to hang around on. This place must be absolutely massive, because you’d think there’d be even more ghosts in here, but given the relatively few we see, they must be spread out over even further terrain. And look! Some of these ghosts are familiar….there’s Slug from the very first episode …and The Sandman! Slug looks like he’s having fun partying with some other ghouls (noticeably not his wife and kid), but the Sandman looks very unhappy indeed, very lonely. We’re going to see other familiar faces over the next minute or two, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Anyway, Peter’s shift as ghost is thankfully over, but Scrooge, once he’s realised that he should actually be learning something from this whole escapade, is still not convinced that he should stop being such a miserable so and so, despite Peter resorting to a rare instance of outright Christmassy moralising in this episode (and it’s a good message, so well done).

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Back in the Unit, Egon narrowly avoids Samhain, while Slimer’s still trying to avoid getting hurled into the unit, and in an illogical moment of gravity-defying trickery, Winston’s somehow able to rope-swing himself and Scrooge over the streets of London so that the latter can see all the misery he’s caused. What the rope’s attached to, and how it’s managing to cover so much ground isn’t really explained (Peter and Ray certainly aren’t involved holding the rope, as the moment directly afterwards confirms), but since we’re all distracted by Winston’s ginger beard, I guess no one really cares. After all, it’s Christmas!

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Egon’s descent in the unit however, seems to be all in vain as his hour’s almost up, but he sees the three ghosts looking down in the dumps on their own limbo island. However, the moment he gets to them, plenty of other ghosts in the unit suss out what’s going on, and this is where the eagle-eyed will have a ball. Remember, this episode wasn’t available on video cassette (at least not in the UK), so you’d have to have taped it. So that meant keeping a sly eye on the TV listings. Then there was the old-fashioned days of pausing the video. Remember when DVD came out? One of its minor yet notable virtues was the benefit of getting a perfect pause. Back in the days of video tape, pausing the tape usually meant getting a big fat rip in the picture, which would usually mean tapping the pause button so that the rip would move further and further down the screen until you got as close to a perfect picture as was possible in those days. Remember doing that? Oh wait, was this just me. Sorry.

Anyway, we get some very pause-worthy moments as the animators have fun chucking in some notable antagonists from previous episodes. Slug’s companions Snarg and Zunk, not to mention Killerwatt, What/Watt from ‘Mrs. Rogers’ Neighborhood’, the Big Bad Ghost from ‘Slimer, Come Home’, the Winged Puma from ‘Look Homeward, Ray’, the narcoleptic ghost from ‘Take Two’, as well as the previously mentioned Samhain and the Sandman. No sign of the doppelganger Ghostbusters from ‘Citizen Ghost’, although the non-show of the Boogieman and any of the trolls from ‘Troll Bridge’ are understandable as they were never trapped in the first place. Anyway, the sight of all these ghosts, for me, was quite full-on – individually the guys barely got away with trapping them. Having them all in one place, and probably being quite angry, made for a classic ‘Oh s***!’ moment in the series. Egon and the Christmas ghosts make a desperate bid for the Containment Unit’s exit, pursued by all of the ghosts, accompanied, it can’t be ignored, by Killerwatt’s inimitable cackle, provided of course, by the excellent James Avery of Shredder/Uncle Phil/General Fang from Fist of the North Star legend. I wonder if he popped back in the studio to deliver that one laugh, or if the makers just recycled one of his many chuckles from ‘Killerwatt’?

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Egon and the Christmas ghosts barely make it, and I sometimes get this bit confused with a similar escape sequence in ‘Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster’, where one of the inmates actually manages to peek his head outside of the unit before being threatened with a proton pack wielding Janine. Both excellent sequences, it must be said! So the Christmas ghosts wisely enter a ghost trap so as to get to the past in quicker time, which is good as Ray’s gig as Christmas Future is going nowhere. Probably the least sinister Ghost of Christmas Future ever, Ray is reduced to playing charades with Scrooge in a lamentable effort to…wait a minute, what exactly is Ray trying to achieve here? Never mind, the real ghosts arrive, and Egon, still in his astronaut get-up, warns Scrooge of the impending arrival of three ghosts. Three more? Scrooge doesn’t feel he can take anymore, but tough.

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Phew, all is done, all is well. Will Scrooge learn his lesson? Likely. Have the Ghostbusters learned theirs, Christmas Present asks? Wait, were they supposed to? Well, Peter has, but I’m not sure the others needed to, except possibly to hear a ghost out when he or she says they don’t want to be trapped. Sounds too risky to me, but what the hell, it’s Christmas. Well anyway, they just want to go home. Christmas Present obliges by immediately warping them to the present. I’ll bet Egon wishes that same thing could have been done for him earlier when he was trying to get the ghosts back to the past. It can’t have been easy, what with Ecto-1 already being used by the guys and Egon most likely having to hail a cab, and then the whole awkwardness of giving the driver directions to the mysterious time slip located somewhere in the forest…oh what the hell, it’s Christmas.

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Everything’s back to normal by the way, so the guys, Janine and Slimer share a drink (of water?) from a punch bowl and toast to Scrooge and the Ghosts. Winston wonders that, if A Christmas Carol was really a true story, then what else might be? Father Christmas? Well, someone outside is beckoning his reindeer to get a move on. Who could it be? Santa? Ray? Billy from Predator? To be fair, he sounds like all three, so the mystery remains…. Never mind, a Merry Christmas to all, and to all…good night!

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Next up, it’s a little interlude, if you’ll indulge me.

EDIT PS: James Avery, mentioned  in my post above, sadly passed away today on New Year’s Day, 2014. Great talent, unforgettable voice, RIP.

 

The Real Ghostbusters Episode 12: ‘Janine’s Genie’

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Along with ‘Look Homeward, Ray’, this twelfth episode represents the first season at its most comic and least apocalyptic. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It can’t be the end of the world every week. And best of all, the lovely Janine gets to take centre-stage. Not for the first time, she’s annoyed with the limitations of her job. Remember that bit in the film, when she complains that she’s ‘quit better jobs than this’? Well, she’s still not happy, though this time it’s got nothing to do with being overworked. In fact, it’s more to do with being underworked, as she’s clearly bored and wants to go along with the guys on their busting duties. So in an instant she’s suited up her in own uniform, which does seems a little convenient. Was it just waiting there for her? True, we’ve already seen Janine in her own uniform, but that was all in a dream, so that doesn’t count. It’s a pity that her swish dream-version uniform doesn’t make a re-appearance, as that white and pink get-up was nicely individual, whereas all she has now is a female replica of Peter’s brown suit, though her collars and cuffs are turquoise instead of navy blue. Oh yeah, before they go out on the job, Peter warns Slimer not to touch his prized watermelon. Not a euphemism.

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Anyway, Janine’s enthusiasm turns out to be short-lived, as she barely enters the nearby haunting spot before chickening out, but Peter cruelly/justifiably drags her into the action, which leads to her almost obliterating him with her proton pack, but since she’s working an unlicensed nuclear accelerator for the first time, I think she does pretty well when all’s said and done. The ghost is trapped, and Janine is super-chuffed, but the guys send her crashing back to earth with talk of all the necessary practice and hard work necessary to be a fully-fledged buster, which puts her right off.

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There’s a funny bit when Peter writes up the bill and the elderly owner of the building harmlessly appears out of nowhere, making him react with (rather insensitive) horror. Peter always seems to be the one writing the bill, and given the glee he always takes in providing invoices, you’d think he was only in this job for the sweet money. Problem is, the old bloke has no cash to give to the guys, so Janine gladly accepts the offering of a hideous looking lamp, an eyesore so sore on the eyes it sends the team into fits of hysterics. Peter even gets in a bullseye by warning Janine not to rub the lamp in case a genie comes out! Ha-ha, perish the thought. Oh wait, the episode’s called ‘Janine’s Genie’, so I guess we the viewers all know something nobody in the show does.

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Janine clearly rates her artistic eye over everybody else’s, going so far as to call the team lowbrows back at HQ, though she shoots herself in the foot by asking for critical analysis back-up from Slimer of all people/entities, and the little green spud offers his own valid opinion by cracking up with laughter at the sight of the lamp, spitting out watermelon seeds in the process. Whoops, Slimer’s rumbled! Peter attempts to kill him and the others leave Janine to rub the lamp whilst cleaning it, wishing aloud that she was in charge of everything whilst doing so. Cue the genie, a seemingly affable, if slightly jaded sounding apparition who instantly grants Janine her wish. For some reason, Janine has difficulty believing that this isn’t a practical joke, so she heads off to give the others a piece of her mind. Obviously, there was always going to be the possibility that this genie wasn’t going to be all he claimed to be, or that the wishes would have some sort of drawback, but blimey this episode wastes absolutely no time in letting us know that he is EVIL the genie by having him transmogrify into a big, ugly behemoth (whose loud, nasty laugh doesn’t seem to be heard by anyone else in HQ) who promises his ‘brothers and sisters’ that the ‘gateway’ has opened and ‘vacation begins’. Vacation? Oh, not the apocalypse or anything like that. Just vacation. Maybe they won’t be so bad? Wrong.

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Meanwhile, the guys are blissfully unaware of all of this impending chaos, focusing entirely on Slimer’s imminent punishment for swiping Peter’s watermelon. Peter calls him a ‘melon-muncher’ (!!!!!!) and is about to give him a proper spanking with a baseball glove, but Slimer’s saved by the bell as Janine calls them to bust some ghosts at the airport. It’s not made obvious, but these are the same initial run of ghosts who have just escaped from the lamp. I think. When the guys rush to reception to be told where to go, they behave alarmingly obedient, standing to attention and calling Janine ‘boss’. Looks like Janine’s wish has worked and she’s already lined up her second wish, and yes, it’s the one we were all expecting – she wants Egon to fall head over heels in love with her.

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Egon turns into a complete sap almost instantly, his pupils transforming into love hearts and Janine so buzzed about her love finally being requited that she almost crashes Ecto-1 and nearly kills everyone as a result. Everybody else is utterly (and justly) repulsed by Egon’s outrageous public displays of affection. Even Slimer, who has tagged along for no other reason than to play driver with the cute little toy wheel the team have kindly set up for him for this one episode only. Oh wait, Slimer does prove to be quite useful at the airport, revealing the location of the ghosts who are hiding in the rows of security lockers. Peter tries to coerce them to give up with a howlingly awful knock-knock joke:

Peter: ‘Knock-knock…’

Ghost: ‘Who’s there?’

Peter: ‘Dishes.’

Ghost: ‘Dishes who?’

Peter: ‘Dishes the Ghostbusters, come on out!’

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The ghosts go absolutely crazy at this announcement, yet decide to stay secure in their lockers, so Janine speeds things up and tells the guys to ‘flush ‘em out’, to which Egon proclaims ‘you’re beautiful when you flush ‘em out’, which is another in a long line of bizarre lines this episode has to offer, many of which involve Egon’s ‘you’re beautiful when you’re…’ reactions to Janine. The ghosts flee and secretly stowaway in the suitcases on the conveyer belt heading towards the next flight. The guys amazingly track them down to the correct plane, which suddenly takes off (very, very lazy security and flight procedure here, it must be said), but not before Ray sends everybody into a panic with the old chestnut ‘anyone seen a ghost’? Silver-tongue strikes again, as Peter so delightfully puts it. Things get serious though – act-break serious – when it’s revealed that the ghosts have taken over the cockpit and are now flying the plane!

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This is the second episode in a row to follow a potentially lethal situation with the strains of house band Tahiti, which does dispel the tension somewhat. I think the band had started to run out of songs, as they’re playing the same song from Episode 1, whereas before we’ve had a different tune for every adventure. Oh well, it was fresh while it lasted. We get some slapstick shenanigans, with the cabin crew turning out to be ugly spectres, and all the smaller ghosts starting food fights and genuinely annoying at least one of the passengers by removing his toupee and dancing on his bald head. Slimer doesn’t seem bothered by any of this carnage, preferring to lap up all the food (with the same baseball mitt that was intended for his own spanking, which he goes on to eat as well).

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After this silliness, the guys try to take control of the cockpit – Janine fires her proton accelerator inside the plane (pretty reckless) to gain access but it turns out no one’s behind the controls, so it’s up to Peter and Janine (!!!) to fly the plane before it crashes into 5th Avenue, which amazingly they manage to do (!!!!!), resulting in a surprisingly on-target descent on the airport strip, albeit severely damaging the plane in the process. Well, I say damaged – the entire body of the vehicle seems to have disintegrated, leaving just the passengers and the seats. Now, we never do find out what happened to the plane’s crew – what did the ghosts do with the pilots and the stewards? Were they even on the plane in the first place? And why do the ghosts feel the need to parachute from the out-of-control plane when they can fly? How has the local newspaper printed the news of the ghosts taking over the town a mere hour or so since their initial escape? Why am I even giving any of this serious thought? Because I care, that’s why. This episode has plot holes, I can’t ignore it.

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Anyway, this whole airport situation seems to have taken up half of the episode, so we better hurry up and get moving, but not before a quick mention of the episode’s best line, which is when Egon confesses to his love that ‘you’re beautiful when you’re sick’. Genius! Janine and the guys track the source of the chaos back to HQ and the lamp in particular, which is where Janine blurts out everything about the genie. ‘THE GENIE???!!!’ the guys splutter. Don’t worry, Janine’s going to fix everything in a jiffy. ‘A JIFFY???!!!’ the guys splutter. Of course, there’s the issue of the third wish which hasn’t been granted yet. I’d have thought that Janine would have used it earlier to gain instant flying skills in the midst of their aerial crisis, but since everybody survived the landing, I guess it wouldn’t have been necessary. Janine calls on the genie and demands that her third wish be that all the ghosts return from whence they came, but the genie reveals that everything’s been a hustle and a distraction so that the ghosts can get down and party.

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Ray works out if they connect a shed load of traps to the lamp, they can suck all of the ghosts back in to their former home, but since the HQ is currently a literal whirlwind of supernatural chaos, getting in there to connect the traps to the lamp will be a very risky move. Janine bravely steps up to the challenge, being hurled into the HQ in the process. She approaches the lamp before being stopped by the genie, who pleads with her to stop. When Janine refuses, it looks as though the genie is going to turn into his big, nasty persona, but instead he mutates into something worse, a scary hairless demon dog, all set to attack her before the guys blast him. The trap is connected, the ghosts and the genie dog are sucked back into the lamp, which disintegrates, leaving a huge burn mark on Janine’s desk. Collateral damage, I guess. She’s furious, but does Egon like her when she’s furious? Turns out he’s doesn’t. Phew! The guys have been so impressed by Janine’s bravery that they offer her a full-time job as a Ghostbuster, but she’s not interested. Ah, the status quo. Everything’s back to normal. Oh wait, the third wish….well, if Janine could still make it, she’d wish for – cue a frenzied covering of her mouth by the guys’ hands. She muffles something. Wonder what it was?

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Next up, IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAASSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

The Real Ghostbusters Episode 11: ‘Citizen Ghost’

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Oh yes, this one’s a peach. ‘Citizen Ghost’ is the classic episode set directly after the events of the Ghostbusters film, so it’s the perfect entry point for newcomers. I’m surprised that this wasn’t selected as the first episode, as it obviously forms a great link between the film and the series – maybe the writers didn’t want the ghost of the film hanging too obviously over their heads right from the start. By the time of this eleventh episode, we’ve already got to know and love the animated versions of our guys, so now we can have fun and really play around with the relationship between film and cartoon. We already had the wild ending of the previous episode, where we even got to see a fragment of the actual Ghostbusters film, but ‘Citizen Ghost’ is the one that we were all waiting for, and remains one of the most loved and entertaining stories of the entire series.

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Actually, for continuity’s sake, obviously this episode isn’t just set after the film as we’ve already had ten episodes– all of the post-Gozer stuff, which is more or less the whole episode, is regaled in flashback thanks to an interview between Peter and reporter Cynthia Crawford, who we first saw at the beginning of ‘When Halloween Was Forever’. Par for the course, Peter’s ego is in overdrive and he’s well chuffed to be interviewed. The focus on the interview is how the Ghostbusters came around to live with a ghost. It’s a good question – in the film Slimer, whilst small fry compared to the big bad ghosts, was nevertheless not painted as a good guy, and as you’ll remember, the very last shot of the film continue to enjoy his freedom from the Ecto-Containment Unit, flying directly into the camera just to rub it in. So how did become one of the good guys? Let’s find out….

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So Crawford arrives and essentially she’s got a serious lack of humour. Janine tries to be all self-deprecating by admitting that she is Janine but she’d much rather be Meryl Streep and it completely falls on deaf ears. So Janine gets her revenge by immediately contradicting herself by saying that Crawford can’t go upstairs the second she’s directed her towards the place where Peter is. Why can’t she go up there? Janine’s not listening, she’s just counting downwards. 3…2…1….BOOM! Now she can go up. We never do find out what lethal device it is that the guys are working on, which is frustrating for Winston – as he says, if he’s going to be disintegrated, he’d at least like to know by what. Now, I must say that after Peter’s below-par dialogue in the previous episode, he really gets to shine here. He doesn’t seem to give two hoots about Egon’s device potentially destroying the Bronx, especially since Ray grew up there. He tries to be self-deprecating to Crawford in exactly the same way as Janine did, but Crawford rebuffs this with a genuinely hilarious ‘if you don’t mind, I’ve driven off that bridge already’ rejoinder.  Even Slimer tries the same gag in the next scene, but that’s not so easy to discern as his grasp of the English language is rudimentary to say the least.

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Peter’s assumes the interview warm-up is all about him, so he’s go off on some anecdote about fighting some trout-brained bloke called Rick, but Crawford gets him back on track by asking him about the strange, weird, eccentric and sick reasons as to how Slimer came to live with them….cue flashback! We go back to directly after the showdown with Gozer, where the HQ is a complete wreck and not even Ray’s optimism can cheer them up. Egon makes a point of redesigning the Containment Unit, which explains why it looks so different in the cartoon than it did in the film. Oh, and they have to destroy their uniforms – you know, those boring uniformly uniforms that the guys had to wear in the film (and somewhat disrespectfully in Ghostbusters II, go back to wearing). The uniforms absorbed loads of Gozer’s ectoplasmic energy and are essentially ticking time bombs. In a moment of delightful convenience – Janine reveals, strangely amusingly, that the new uniforms ‘came in just before you went to fight Gozer’, making their battle with the Gozerian sound like the equivalent of going round the shops to get a pint of milk. Also, there’s the strange decision to make Egon jump in shock at Janine’s pronouncement. Except, he doesn’t jump. Or move his lips. But he definitely makes a startled sound. I love it.

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We jump to a great bit when Egon and Peter run a safety checklist on the Containment Unit and this scene essentially explains why it’s always weird to see these two paired up because it rarely happens. Peter’s very, very tired, and clearly is just saying ‘check’ to whatever Egon’s listing. Cue this delightful exchange.

Egon: ‘Plasmatic refractor? Anti-ectoplasm destruct meachanism? Bipolar adjuster?’

Peter: ‘Check, check and….check’

Egon: ‘Trans-warp drive?’

Peter [half-asleep]: ‘Check…’

Egon: ‘A-HA! Caught you! We don’t have a trans-warp drive!’

Peter: ‘If we don’t have one, then it can’t malfunction. If it’s not malfunctioning, then nothing’s wrong, and if nothing’s wrong, then it checks, right?’

Egon: ‘I’m not going to talk to you for at least a week. It’s not good for me.’

Brilliant. Although why Egon has left to it Peter to take care of the all-important task of burning their old uniforms is a total mystery, as unsurprisingly, he completely neglects his duty, leaving their clothes to absorb the leakings of an unchecked crack in the Containment Unit….meanwhile, the HQ gets fully refurbished, and to celebrate the dawn of a new era, the guys and Janine have a celebratory dinner, which of course is swiped by a mystery visitor….Peter instantly recognises him as the little spud who slimed him at the Sedgewick Hotel and in a retrospectively amusing moment of outright hostility, the whole team try and blast him into oblivion. They fail, but Egon does pick up on the interesting mystery as to why Slimer has decided to stick around, while Ray is certain he will return. Egon is the first to see him, and welcomes him graciously, asking him if he would be willing to be studied so as to advance the team’s knowledge of the supernatural.  It all starts off very badly though as Egon’s request for Slimer to say ‘ahh’ results in a full-on descent into his mouth. And it turns out that Slimer has very, very, very bad breath. Winston is the next to see him, but he doesn’t bother to tell Ray, who’s busy working underneath the Ecto-1, and instead goes off to make some tea. When Ray does see him, he’s very welcoming and not a little patronising, saying that Slimer could make a first-rate mechanic. Right…. Still, he does bless Slimer with his name, which is worth something. Peter’s still on the warpath though, but Ray’s pretending not to have seen him. Poor Peter – like he says, ‘that thing’s a menace’.

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Ah, cosy times – but don’t forget the uniforms! Peter sadly did, and by now they’ve absorbed enough ectoplasmic energy to, as Egon later puts it, literally woke up and walk away. Except, they don’t quite walk away, they assume the form of their previous hosts (albeit in scary green versions), grow all-new proton packs, and give the guys a very unpleasant wake-up call by aiming their weapons right at them…. These ghost versions of the guys do look fantastically creepy, with misty dead eyes and scary grins. Like the possessed Peter in ‘Mrs. Rogers Neighborhood’, there’s always something off and disturbing about the familiar and the friendly turned twisted.

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This all makes for a brilliant act-break, and when we cut back, the accompanying score stands out because it appears to have never been used before or since in the series. Ah, but that’s because it’s not the score, it’s Tahiti with their ‘funk-ay’ foot-stomper ‘Charge You Up’, the title of which appears to fit well with the ‘charged up’ ghost versions of the Ghostbusters. I think. Anyway, the fear of the previous act’s cliff-hanger is somewhat diluted by all this pop music, but at least the ghosts themselves are reliably brutal, preferring to speak with proton blasts rather than timewasting banter. Of course, no one dies, though Janine comes close, though Egon saves her, which only serves to intensify her adoration for him, and as per usual, Egon’s not interested. Story of her life. Some blasting shenanigans ensue, and disappointingly, the ghosts make a run for it all too quickly. We know who they are, but the guys don’t, but Egon works it out pretty quickly, and by now everyone knows Peter is all to blame. Peter’s interview commentary however states that ‘naturally we all agreed that it was no one’s fault… it was just one of those things!’ What a bounder.

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The ghosts stay away for a few days, so the guys go back to their regular busting duties complete with cool pink-sky background, but out of the blue Peter is almost zapped into oblivion by his ghoulish counterpart….and this is when he hear them speak. They do sound cool, like they’ve been put through an electronic processor. and this exchange between both Peters is splendid.

PETER: ‘Hey! Who’s the wise guy?’

GHOST PETER: ‘My name is Dr. Peter Venkman.’

PETER: ‘No way! I’m Dr. Peter Venkman, got that? This town’s only big enough for one Peter Venkman!’

GHOST PETER: ‘I agree. So one of us must go.’

Cue a full-on proton blast from Evil Peter. Ha ha! Peter walked right into that one, I must say. There’s something a bit odd about the shot where Peter falls out of the way of the proton blast. There are two suspicious looking brown ‘things’ near him, which could be poo, I’m not sure.

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Ghost Winston and Ghost Egon also get a line each, but disappointingly we hear nothing from Ghost Ray, and since he’s the nicest and sweetest of the four, it would have been extra cool to hear something from his evil version. Oh well, can’t win them all.

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So, back at the house, the guys try to work out how to resolve the dilemma of dealing with Ghost Guys want to replace the Good Guys with themselves!  Additionally, how do our heroes win the day when their enemies have their same strength and same thought-processes?  In other words, the bad guys are going to work out the good guys own plan as soon as it’s been thought of. Cue immediate entrance of bad guys, who steal Ecto-1, which happens to have all of the guys’ proton packs! Ouch!

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As they desperately evade the ghosts proton fire, the guys work out that the more the ghosts fire their proton packs, the more they use up their own lifeforce, so the trick is to get them to fire blindly enough so that they become nothing. The only problem is that the only nearby proton pack for the guys to use is a half-charged spare that’s unlikely to last that long. So, the only other option is for someone to sacrifice themselves by drawing the bad guys fire. In a spoken-aloud question of quite outrageous brutality, Winston asks ‘who can we afford to lose?’ Peter suggests Janine. Janine throws a lamp at Peter. Janine’s cry of ‘Oh no! They’re coming in!’ is so brilliantly sassy, so delightfully delivered that it baffles me that she was voted the least popular character in the series (and as such paved the way for her horrendous ‘make-over’ for Season 3) – I love Janine, she’s one feisty lady. Ray earnestly volunteers to sacrifice himself, but Slimer does so instead, ducking and diving in-between the evil proton rays long enough to weaken them to the point of being trappable and for the guys to retrieve their packs. Slimer does get hit once when he drops his guard to show off, but he deserved that for being so cocky. The ghosts get trapped, and Slimer has shown himself to be such a team player that he instantly qualifies as new resident. I guess it also makes up for the colossal screw-ups he makes in the episodes to follow and that we’ve already seen. So Peter thinks the interview went amazingly well, and his ego is all set to burst in the build-up to Crawford’s special, but surprise, surprise, her feature is all about Slimer, and to rub salt in the wound, the picture they use of the lil’ green spud is of him performing the most hilariously camp pose ever. Peter is utterly disgusted by this act of betrayal (though Slimer’s hardly the one to blame), and the petulant git snatches Slimer’s popcorn away from him. Immediately realising he’s acting like a complete tool, he takes it all back and gives his love/hate buddy some food back. So we’re all good.

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I love ‘Citizen Ghost’. It’s got one of the best scripts of the series, it’s sharply performed, great-looking and bloody funny. Plus, the evil Ghostbusters are four of the coolest looking nemeses we’ve seen. Ten out of ten, easily. Next, everyone’s favourite secretary takes centre-stage.