ROCKS 16A: The Real Gostbusters

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by LiamABC, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE FIRST DISCUSSION IN THE SIXTEENTH STRAND OF "R.O.C.K.S." - REWATCHING OLD CLASSIC KIDS SHOWS! A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    We're covering another 80s classic the next few weeks, "The Real Ghostbusters".

    There's no big establishing story for this show, as that was covered in the movie. Although there is one episode that sort of covers what happened immediately after, so we're watching that one, along with various others, picked jointly by myself, Mark M and Wilycub.

    This week's episodes:

    - Citizen Ghost
    - Ghosts 'R' Us
    - Mrs Rogers' Neighbourhood
    - Knock, Knock

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full episode online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the show in whatever manner you want.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  2. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I'm very happy that we're kicking off another great and iconic animated show from the 80s. So without much ado, I'll jump right into the episodes:

    Citizen Ghost
    I saw this episode for the first time a couple of moths ago when Mark recommended it to me along with a few very good ones. It's a very nice story and helps to connect the movie to the show, which before this episode seemed to have been inspired by the movies rather than a continuation of it. The Ghostbusters going up against ghost versions of themselves is a cool concept, and the apparitions do seem genuinely menacing. But the real hero in this episode (as confirmed by the news reporter in it) really is Slimer. I liked to finally get to know how he - a ghost- came to live with a bunch of guys whose job is to catch ghosts. And (for those who are familiar with the series) it is usually Slimer who messes things up or causes trouble and Peter blows his fuse, wanting to blast the green critter. Here the tables are turned and Peter is the one responsible for the ghosts while Slimer helps to defeat them. The news report at the end reminded me of one of the pilot episodes of TMNT in which April winks and the four Turtles argue over which one of them she was winking at. She then reveals that she was winking at Splinter. :) On a separate note, maybe we should have had a similar ThunderCats episode explaining how Snarf came to become a ThunderCat?

    Ghosts 'R' Us
    This along with the next episode were the first two episodes I ever owned and saw. They were included in a VHS of mixed cartoons that my dad had bought from someone. They were my introduction to Ghostbusters as at that time I had not yet seen the movies. Just in my review above I was talking about Slimer's tendency to mess things up and here he is doing just that! I find it hard to describe the three ghosts that Slimer accidentally ends up releasing. They appear to be equally scary, grotesque and funny. And it really is an ingenious plan that they cook up to open up a rival ghostbusting service and put the real ones out of business.

    Of course the real trouble starts when they awaken a class 10 ghost in the abandoned factory. Everything about that scene still gives me the creeps. The eerie and desolate setting, the design of the ghost as well as its ghoulish voice. The final battle on the bridge is nothing short of epic! I really like the inclusion of the Ecto-2 (of which I had a toy too). And once again, Slimer comes to the aid of the Ghostbusters.

    Mrs Rogers' Neighbourhood
    A haunted house episode. It's a pity that there weren't many Ghostbusters episodes set in haunted houses. The claustrophobic environment always adds to the scare factor. In this episode, it's not an ordinary house inhabited by ordinary people that becomes haunted. The entire house is a a product of the occult. This is genuinely - in my humble opinion- the scariest episode of the series. The design of the ghosts as well as the setting and music really push the scare factor to the limit. And the image of a possessed Peter is enough to give any kid nightmares (it did give me some!).

    Knock, Knock
    "Do not open until Doomsday!". Why would anyone ignore a warning like that? Especially when it is uttered by a demonic looking door????? But that's just what some construction workers did, and unleashed the ghost population that were supposed to take over the earth post-doomsday, a la Pandora's box. Here the problem is on a much bigger scale than the previous episodes. It's not just a person or a house or a city, but the entire world that is at stake. There is a little bit of humor in the story as well but it never overpowers the direness of the situation. The Ghostbusters are even willing to sacrifice themselves to stop the catastrophe.

    My copy of the episode had the song "Boogieman" playing when the Ghostbusters are in the train, firing all around, but I came across the same episode somewhere else and it instead had the Ghostbusters theme playing during that scene. I prefer the first version.

    These are some of the best and scariest episodes of the entire series and I wish that the creators had maintained this level throughout more episodes. But unfortunately, many of the episodes that followed were toned down considerably (maybe for fear of alienating children who might get too frightened?). But then again, the same thing has happened in pretty much all cartoon series of that time. The Mutants became less scary in ThunderCats and the same thing happened to Shredder and Krang in TMNT.
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    This is a show I have strong memories of from my youth, but I don't remember seeing any of these episodes back in the day. I have "Citizen Ghost" as a bonus feature on the DVDs of the movies (along with another episode much later in the run), and saw a few early episodes of season 1 a couple of years back though, so most of these episodes were sufficiently fresh in my memory. I've just finished watching all four of them:

    Citizen Ghost
    The episode that establishes what happened next right after the movie - including why their uniforms are now all different colours. This makes it the closest thing the show has to an establishing episode in its own right (as in not counting the movie). Why this wasn't the first episode aired I don't know, but then it's hardly alone in having its establishing episode aired a few weeks into the run. Both Spiral Zone and COPS had the same thing happen. In any case, this is a good episode, written by the great J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5). Everything about it is very well defined. Slimer's backstory about why he remained with the Ghostbusters is well thought out, and makes some kind of sense. Using the detail of the change of uniforms as such a major plot point is something that wouldn't have occurred to most writers but it really works here, when those uniforms come to life and are filled with ghostly counterparts of our four heroes. Having the heroes have to go up against versions of themselves is something that many of the great 80s cartoons did - Thundercats had "Fond Memories" and "Spitting Image" while Defenders Of The Earth had "Flash Times Four", in which Flash Gordon had to defeat four different clones of himself. Works every time. I liked too the way Peter told the tale, being deliberately vague about things, while the animated flashbacks showed clearly that he was being vague because he didn't want it known that it was his fault! Also, was the reporter's name "Cynthia Crawford" meant to make us think of a certain supermodel? In any case, she looked to me more like Shelley Long (Diane from Cheers). Good episode.

    Ghosts 'r' Us
    The first episode actually aired. And to be fair, it does do an OK job establishing the characters. The plot device of the ghosts trying to make the heroes redundant is again familiar but effective. Thundercats did it in one of the annuals with the story "Thunderdogs Ho!" and COPS did it in "The Case Of Big Boss' Bye-Bye". Works every time again - if the heroes are seen to be not needed, the public turn their backs on them, and the villains can move themselves in at their leisure. I'm not sure about ECTO-2 though - was that the best design they could come up with? Actually the animation in general doesn't grab me compared to other shows from the era.

    Mrs Rogers' Neighbourhood
    The "haunted house" episode with a twist. And a good twist at that. Distract the Ghostbusters with the haunted house while the main ghost unlocks the containment grid. My favourite part of this is the name of the ghost, "What" - a tribute to the famous Abbott & Costello routine "who's on first?" which can be seen on youtube.

    Knock, Knock
    Wow. Big, big scope of potential disaster in this episode. This could have been a full length movie. Oddly, while Wikipedia listed this as the first episode of season 2, the site I saw it on listed it as much, much later in the show's run, about the 40th. It does have dialogue that indicates it belongs at the start - Egon's explanation about Slimer once again, in case any new viewers wonder why the Ghostbusters have, for want of a better description, a pet ghost. Slimer always manages to steal the show, which is probably why the angle of the show was shifted in later seasons to give more focus to his character, "Slimer And The Real Ghostbusters" - which was definitely a mistake. He couldn't steal the show once it was given to him. Some people can steal their own shows, but not many. And not Slimer.
    Wilycub and Mark M like this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Great bunch of episodes to start off our look at this great series and definitely one of my favourite 80's cartoons.

    Citizen Ghost.
    This is a really good episode and as Liam has said probably the only real establishing episode in the series.
    I really enjoyed Peter telling of the version of events making sure to not tell how he caused the problems lol.
    This is an episode I recall watching on TV in the early 90's when the show was repeated a lot on different channels. I am pretty sure I seen it on RTE2. What I recall the most was that this episode showed them all in their brown suits from the movie and I found it really cool how it explained them getting their new uniforms.
    Although the test/pilot animation had all of them in their brown uniforms.

    I am sure the reasoning for the different coloured suits was a creative decision based on the animation and the toys for two reasons:
    1. Animation- It would help differentiate each character on screen.
    2. Toys- The different colours would be more colourful as toys as a group of guys in brown jump suits really wouldn't look that exciting or interesting when compared tot he various other toy characters that were available at the time.
    I agree Wilycub the ending is a lot like the TMNT episode.
    They actually released a ghost Peter variant in the retro inspired line from a few years ago as a SDCC exclusive.
    The retro line wasn't very successful as it wasn't the type of action figures the vast majority of fans wanted for the Real Ghostbusters. Thankfully Diamond Select are soon releasing some proper figures based on the cartoon. :D

    This was a really fun episode but not the most exciting storyline.
    Like Wilycub I also enjoyed the whole scene where the ghosts awaken the class 10 ghost.
    The battle on the bridge with the class 10 was really good.
    The characteristics of the three ghosts remind me of the three bears from the WB cartoons.

    Mrs Roger's Neighbourhood.
    A very good episode as its main theme is so ingeniously simple. This honestly could have been the theme for a live action Ghostbusters movie.
    It also reminds me of the an episode of Extreme Ghostbusters (something we also really need to cover here).
    The best scene in this episode is when Peter is possessed by the ghost 'What'.
    I think the scene with the grass lions in the garden are inspired from the Stephen King novel The Shining. (Well worth watching Laim and Wilycub if you haven't seen it). Sadly the scene from the book did not make it into the movie, they are seen in the garden though, but then again about 50% of the movie is quite different from the book.

    Knock, Knock.
    A really great episode that again could have worked very well as a movie.
    I seen this one when I was younger. Although I was older and in high school around 98/99 and ITV and SMTV were showing episodes of Real Ghostbusters. I still made it my point to watch them when I could. :D
    I recalling seeing this one on a Saturday morning on SMTV.
    I always thought the scene with them being surrounded and fighting the ghosts on the train was very cool. Although I would have preferred to see more of them fighting than the blasts through the windows and the ghosts going out the windows along with lots of shots of the tracks.
    Wilycub likes this.
  5. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I agree on the reasons for giving the characters different coloured uniforms. It really helped to tell the characters apart a lot more. I'm sure the lack of distinctiveness to the different characters was a contributing factor in the lack of success of Spiral Zone.
    Mark M likes this.
  6. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    @Mark M Good point about the creators' reasons for giving each character a different colored outfit. I think all of the more experienced toy manufacturers did that. Even each of the original TMNT figures had a slightly different shade of green. I wish they would have used that color scheme in the cartoon as well.

    Apart from the outfits, I also really liked how they made the faces and hair of the 4 Ghostbusters more caricatured and more distinct from each other, again probably for the same reason.
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  7. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    And why they changed Egon's and Ray's hair. It meant we had one blond guy with glasses, one dark haired guy, one chubby ginger-haired guy and a black guy.
    Mark M likes this.
  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    @Wilycub I found that much like TMNT, the Ghostbusters cartoon had a tendency to some times go a bit over the top with the caricatured faces of the non main cast characters.
    I think if they had coloured the four turtles differently to match the toys that would have been a real annoyance for the animators. They had a pretty hard time as it was always matching the right coloured masks and voice actors in some scenes.
    I actually really liked that the TMNT toys had different coloured skin tones and would have liked it to have been able to been done in the cartoon.

    @LiamABC yes Spiral Zone toys definitely had an issue with the non-descript rather similar uniforms. And those were sci-fi armoured outfits!
    Although I think the shows lack of TV time here in the UK also played a big factor but as far as I know the show wasn't very successful in the US either.
    Could you imagine how drab looking the Ghostbusters pilot animation characters would have looked as action figures with them all in their plain brown jumpsuits.
    Although to be fair the Ghostbusters characters had a lot of personality and the success of the movie so it might not have been too much of a factor.
    But I am very glad they decided to go the more colourful route that made it stand out from the live action movies.
    I was hoping in Ghostbusters 2 that they would have had coloured uniforms to match the cartoon.
  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Quite. We discussed that last year when we did Spiral Zone here on ROCKS.

    And yes, there are copious animation errors in TMNT when the colours and voice don't match. It's probably more susceptible than most shows to that sort of thing.
    Mark M and Wilycub like this.
  10. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I've noticed those errors too. Funnily enough, it has happened in many Ghostbusters episodes as well. Winston speaking in Ray's voice or Peter sounding like Egon. :) There were also a couple of other errors that happened in Ghostbusters mainly because the Japanese animators didn't understand/were not familiar with some of the American things that were written in the script.
    Mark M likes this.
  11. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    It happened a couple of times in Defenders Of The Earth too, where the Phantom spoke in Lothar's voice, and even once in Visionaries, where Witterquick spoke in Ectar's voice - although at least in that case, those two knights have a similar enough appearance, both are blond, both have the same main colour on their armour.
    Mark M likes this.
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Of all the animated shows I have watched I think Transformers season 3 is the most notable for animation errors.
    A wrong voice for a character isn't as noticeable an error.

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