Final Day of Extreme Ghostbusters Retrospective

Thank you for waiting with me all this past week.  Have you seen the series?  Have you seen the new movie?  Please leave your thought on either one in the comments section below.  I’ve learned some, spacing these five points and counterpoints over the course of as many days.  We’ll be looking at the crossover today.  It was going to be on my 5 things right, but I was giving it some thought, and it went into the con section instead.  So I made a whole new entry this morning.  If I had just waited for a whole list, that would not have happened.

Last thing right.

The Sources: Not just where the spooks come from, but where they seem inspired from.  I’ve mentioned Cenobites before on this list, but there was also a Killer Klowns from Outer Space episode.  And what they did with each of these.  First, the Cenobites (called Deadliners here) were Spirits that promised an author greatness, in exchange for a physical form, dictated by his work.   Thus they go on to enslave him, tied to a chair hunched over a typewriter, dictating their victories.  Can you imagine Pinhead or other Cenobites doing this to Clive Barker, author of the Hellbound Heart and their own creator?

Then the Killer Klowns from Outer Space episode “Killjoys.”  These were not literally those same Killer Klowns, but disguised tentacle monsters the show compared to vampires.  But you could definitely see the resemblance to the Killer Klown costumes, but they definitely went their own way with it.   With a massive Clown decoration at Coney Island also (spoilers) was one.  That wasn’t in the movie.

Also where in-universe the ghosts are coming from.  A leprechaun is released from his seal, detailing that New York had a society called the Sons of Erin (that Mayor McShane is descended from) that trapped at least one ghost in their day.  Egon incorporates their means into the Garrett’s Proton Pack in order to trap the green goblin.  See “Luck of the Irish.”  Also a demonic possession that involves transformation after releasing it from 2 Emerald Eyes.  See “Eyes of a Dragon.”  The point is, they’re not all from the subway tunnel accident that released Achirah in the pilot.  They got pretty creative by the end, even battling the offspring of the Bermuda Triangle by the end.  Yes, that happened.  See the crossover.

The Crossover: Speaking of which, let’s end our little list (great to have you over this ride) with the moment you’ve all been waiting for, ever since you found out this was even a series.  The Real Ghostbusters meet the Extreme Ghostbusters.  Just putting it into a sentence makes it sound like a slam.  Which it is, in a way.   The Real Ghostbusters got their name because Filmation was already using “Ghostbusters Moniker,” making the “Real” part a take that of sorts.  Which unfortunately carried over into this crossover.  Heck they’re even called the “Real” Ghostbusters by Roland in bout of insecurity.

Speaking of which, tell me if you’ve heard this one before.  The central group of protagonists meet up with a prior generation of doing… whatever it is they do in that series.  Older generation has still got it, even looking a little better than the current one to the point of coming to their rescue.  Newer generation leaves, comes back to save the day, both gens merge their forces for a proper hustle.  And that’s just part one.

Part two, they’re completely outstripped by something that would make Gozer blush.  Yeah, I went there.  You know how I said Stay Puft Marshmallow Man wasn’t in this, and how I said they battled a Bermuda Triangle offspring?  Yeah, they catch it with a reprisal of the Ecto-Garbage Truck, and an Ecto Fire-truck.  They made a new Garbage Truck, and while there was a toy of the Fire Truck in the last series, there wasn’t a truck in that series.  I haven’t found information about toys based on these.  If anyone has the pictures, please post them in comments section below.

So overall quality.  The two teams hanging and operating by themselves for part one till they gel and then mixing throughout the second I like, but it makes Egon an outsider to the four he’s been mentoring, even though he brags to Venkman  that Kyrie is his student after she says something impressive.  Speaking of Venkman, he’s the only real addition.  He gets the snappy lines, the old interaction patterns with Slimer, it’s Ray and Winston who try to leave town early, and Peter Venkman uses the “Old Venkman Charm” in an amusing way to secure the team a helicopter.  It’s horribly unbalanced, and it needed more episodes.  Finally, there’s the issue of the series ending.  This is where we leave everyone from the new team but Kyrie who shows up in the comics.  For that I hope she makes a cameo in the new movie.  But how we leave everyone is on Slimer.  He has just eaten everyone’s Thanksgiving turkey, and the backup turkey.  And as everyone is throwing things at him in anger, we leave on a funny note, that gives me some Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters flashbacks.   So really, not that funny.

Part 4 of Extreme Ghostbusters Retrospective

Something Right:

The animation: Jeff Kline and Adelaide Productions brought their signature blend of gothic and gritty style, such would later be seen in Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, and supremely in Godzilla.  You know, the one that got 2 seasons on Fox, when everything else from the season on the programming block was axed (and was also working with Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla).

Motions could happen at a faster pace in this than the original show, the horror aspects I described above were much more effective, and the opening kicked just a little more ass for it.  Similarly actions and pursuits in the series itself, which as a rule cannot match the animation of an opening credit, also saw a dramatic improvement over the original.  And the animators knew what they were doing with the grittier and more Lovecraftian designs.  Though the Cthulu Mythos was touched on in the previous show, even the more incidental creatures were so much more alive engaging here.

Something Wrong:

Kylie and Eduardo’s relationship: I’m not going to lie, their banter is cute.  But in such an episodic format, they’re not allowed to progress past mean jabs and innuendo as a defense mechanism to hide their feelings.  The very idea of Kylie is repeatedly used against Eduardo by evil spirits, and the way they quarrel and compete over most anything makes them seem like an old married couple.  Which just makes it more frustrating that they aren’t going to get together.  Partway through the series she gets a boyfriend.  Which makes their jumping to each other’s rescue in the finale seem like a tease.  No one else gets in on that.  Where they trying to foreshadow for season 2?

 

Part 3 of Extreme Ghostbusters Retrospective

egb_ep_grundelesque

Something Good: In reference to the two points in the Horror point, the first is…

The Bookending themes: Here is an AMV of the opening, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thfbuUQkX8I I chose these so there would only be the audio.  Notice that the lyrics do not simply say “Ghostbusters” after “Who you gonna call,” they just jump to the Extreme Ghostbusters business sign.  It takes th audience seriously enough to know what they’re there for.  It might not be much, but it’s certainly not a paint by numbers approach to sequels.  As one of the first things we see in a sequel produced after Ghostbusters II, this is very encouraging.  At least it is to me.  That is Jim Cummings covering the classic theme.  He also does the exit for part of the series, singing from the point of view of the ghosts who laugh at the fear humans have for them.  There’s an alternate ending track with the same spooky animation where each spook presented presents a different guttural horror noise, delivering one last chill another way.

Something Wrong:

The Timing: The Extreme 90’s were winding down, grunge had been replaced by post-grunge, and the Real Ghostbusters had only been off the air for four years.  Yet as stated above, at the ripe young age of 39, Igon is somehow TOO OLD FOR THIS LINE OF WORK HE HIMSELF STARTED.   That’s right, I made a dirty anagram about a kid’s show.  Who you gonna call?

And speaking of ravages of time taking hold too quickly, how did the city of New York forget them so quickly?  With the exception of Eduardo who says he’s taking Igon’s class for easy A’s, Igon’s four students are the only ones who seem to remember the Ghostbusters.  Until Part 2 of the pilot when so many people call that they are officially back in business.

Kylie was a little girl when the Grundle turned her friend into another Grundle.  10 years before the Extreme series, her friend Jack was turned into a Grundle monster.  So Igon was at least 29 during the original series?  I’m not buying it.

Part 2 of Ghostbusters relaunch retrospective.

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Something right;

The Horror: Speaking of the Pied Piper, he tries to drown all of the Children in New York, New York too.  And that can easily be called one of the milder examples.  People’s bones being stolen, alternate company approximates of Clive Barkers Cenobytes, a grown victim of the Grundle from the last series, and the aforementioned Plague Possession.  With biting tentacles.  Good Gozer, this series and its tentacles.  That’s not getting into the Vampire Clowns.  That episode will scar some grown men I know.

And finally, seeing our last remaining OG Ghostbuster collapse under the weight of his own Proton Pack just to come home defeated and empty-handed covered in boils that turn out to be the offspring of the destroyer of civilizations… well that was quite a punch in the gut.  Especially with Harlod Ramis’s recent passing.  But the horror brings us nicely into our next 2 points…

Something Wrong;

Missing Continuity with the Last Series: Right off the bat, we see different character models, like Slimer.  When we see Janine putting on a suit for the first time (what?), she gets it from a Peter Vinkman statue where the animation blurs out the face.  What do we not see?  Stay puffed Marshmallow man, arguably the most iconic image from the first movie.  In the last series, he became a corporate mascot, but we do not even see the fictitious brand in this one.

The mayor hates them for some reason, though I don’t recall that from prior series.  He seems to have Peck’s old job of smearing them whenever he can, insisting that they’re fakes.  Is this a different mayor?  Yes it is, Mayor McShane.  Of all the characters who were never reused after this series, this guy deserves it the most.  After everything the first movie and series put the city through, probably extending into the early 90’s, it strains credibility that anyone would listen to someone so self-deceptive.  He also apparently vomited on a visiting prince once, the this is only refenced passing dialogue.  Even the Ghostbusters cannot understand his stubborn hatred.

Speaking of enemies and the public sector, the pilot shows an ancient seal is broken by construction crews underground, and even after this releases Achira (destroyer of civilizations) at no point is Gozer ever mentioned in this one season series.

But they got a few things right.  Beings from other dimensions, check.  Ancient beings found in books of the occult, check.  Grundel, check.  Vinkman and his spiritual successor having affectionate animosity with Slimer, check.

Anything else?  They had to retell the “Janine, you’ve changed” episode from the past series because her relationship with Igon was reset so far back we saw it progress farther than that IN THE ORIGINAL MOVIE.  But this time there was bugs.  Lots and lots of bugs.  One of them a suitor she used to make Igon jealous.  At the end of the day, Igon came along because it was personal, and after she kissed him, he still had to ask if she actually liked him.  HOW MANY DATES DID THEY GO ON TOGETHER IN THE LAST SHOW?  Or maybe he saw Ghostbusters 2 and was as confused as the rest of us.
Speaking of Igon, he says he’s 39 in this series.  That’s younger than Harold Ramus was in the first movie.  He was somehow never rescued by Janine because she somehow never put on the suit in this series, despite having donned it so many times in the prior show.

Top 5 Things right and Wrong with Extreme Ghostbusters.

Extreme Ghostbusters

The name alone is offputting, and looking at the cast (Wait before you judge me internet) is hardly endearing.  People keep harping on an All New All Female Ghostbusters, but they forget when the Burger King Kids Club Ghostbusters was a thing.  They were a sequel to “The Real Ghostbusters” cartoon sequel to the first movie.  People who’ve watched the whole series have praise, while people who look at the dated way the product tried to grab an audience.  A sequel to one of the longest running TV series taken from a movie (which defined a generation) did not need to grab at an audience.  A successor team, good.  The first 3 Ghostbusters were University Doctors and professors, that makes sense.  Varying their backgrounds to forge their own identities while still resembling the Original Team’s roles and quirks, good.  Mandating 4 complete strangers come together because they’re the only students in the class, and making them all tokens?  You, my friend, are walking the tightrope.  So in preparation of Ghostbusters, here are the top 5 things right and wrong with the Extreme Ghostbusters show.

And to those still refusing to see this movie with 4 women in it, I challenge you to watch the following episodes: the 2-part Pilot, Fear itself, Deadliners, Grundelesque, and Eyes of a Dragon.  This should take about as much time as the feature film, so it would be like a similar challenge.

Over the next week, I’ll be posting 1 thing right and 1 thing wrong each day.  So for today…

1st thing right, the cast:  I know, I know.  I called this a tightrope earlier.  Well thankfully, 3 out of 4 made it to the other side.  And best of all, The Ghostbusters Jr. were NOWHERE in sight!  *shudders* I’m better, it’s passing.

  1. Garrett was a rough and tumble jock whose urges for adventure led him into a course pressing electrical engineering and the paranormal. He was also a wheelchair commando who often charged first ahead of the team.  The flaws and challenges he had to overcome were not limited to his chair, and he was hardly defined by it.  Possibly the most richly defined character, Garret is revealed to have (initially) crippling claustrophobia, a hopeless hack in the creative writing world (maybe creating one of the worst Mary Sues of that decade) and later on needing to get past old Nostalgia when a former friend tunred out to be a violent white Supremacist and stole his wheelchair, leaving him at one of his most vulnerable and endangered points in the series run.  For his other one episode relationships that give insights to his characters, watch the show.
  2. Kalie was the Goth Girl, and a noted acolyte of Igon Spangler. When she was possessed and spreading plague, he was the one case she offered up notable resistance.  But where Igon looked at Microscopic life forms and worked with Roland on the equipment, Kalie often consulted tomes to identify their enemies, which admittedly didn’t always have the answers.  It also laughed with her Goth tendencies, describing the reveal as her as a former cheerleader as an old shame.  And with another Peter Vinkman on the team, while it was natural to have a woman there to reject his advances, she had much more chemistry, banter, and sometimes rivalry with Eduardo than Vinkman had with Dana Barrett.  She was also once flattered to hear that Eduardo dreamed about her.
  3. Roland was a lot of characteristics that I did not see black characters given in those days. Sure, black and nerdy characters are a plethora in this century, and he has a lot in common with Winston from the last series.  But Roland was a devoted Gearhead before the events of the series took place.  His motivation for taking Igon’s class was prior exposure to the Ghostbusters was the Ecto 1 at a car show, and his greatest fear was his equipment breaking down.  Not a euphemism.   Roland personally worked with Igon to reconfigure the aged equipment to stand against the new threat.  Also, his violin was able to counter the Pied Piper of Hamlin.  That’s a 22 minute story, look at “The Pied Piper of Manhattan.”

And the 1st thing wrong, the 90’s: the original Ghostbusters wore functional jumpsuits as part of their Blue-Collar Working Men Premise.  And Roland and Garrett do dress the part, but Eduardo (see above) had such a Grunge Vibe.  Down to the Goatee.  And instead of a movie style jumpsuit like 2 of his teammates got, He has long gloves, under short gloves, a green T shirt and an Orange Vest.  Huh?

And let’s not forget the two most prevelant aspects of the 90’s found here.  The edginess and fleeing from pre-established norms.  As a result, it stopped walking the tightrope between horror and comedy and focused on the horror.  Which was fine at first, this allowed Cenobites Expies and other extreme frights into the show.  A different generation a different tone.  But they used the overused title of “Extreme.”  Extreme Dinosaurs, GI Joe Extreme, X-Treme X-Men, list goes on.  Even after a reset button was established and they had to tone down the horror.

A Foodie Takes a Bit out of Portland.

They’re all here.  Every Food review from Westercon 69.  From here it will be about the con itself and more generalized things about traveling SF cons.  But for now, enjoy.  Most of the above pictures are prints for sale if you’re interested.

Mrs Beesley’s Burgers

Before we begin, I’d like to point out the odd style in the picture.  This was an experiment.  I was doing an experiment with my iPod camera, using different settings to capture the lunch.  Somehow the settings were separated as their own files, and the photos came out looking the same.  Huh.

Just south of the Washington/Oregon border right off the interstate and by the odd gas station, and not much else, Mrs Beesleys Burgers is a cash-only joint with an old-fashioned Barbeque sandwich feel.  Malted milks, outdoor picnic benches, and more shake flavors than Dairy Queen has ways of even serving its ice cream.  I got the grilled ham and cheese with tater tots and a malted milk made with seasonal fresh strawberries.  Grilled Ham and Cheese is something I’ve never been offered before, having known only in children’s books written in the 50’s and 60’s.  Tator Tots are not carried by many chains, and I’ve never had a malt before.  I could not tell it much from a milkshake, though my travelling companion ordered a Seasonal Fresh Strawberry milkshake so we might have mixed them up.  Oops?

I can honestly say that I was disappointed not to hit this again on the way back.  But time was of the essence.  Next time?

Chocolate Orange Sunrise

At Westercon 69 I invented a new start to the day.  2 orange teas, dark chocolate, topped with whipping cream.  Someone I shared it with said it seemed like a better option than coffee.  I went through several phases of experiments.  Experiments ranged from such outlandish mixture as one Orange Spice black tea and a Wild Sweet Orange herbal tea plus 2 Spoonfuls Dark Chocolate Shavings and 1 large spoonful Nutella, to the final product, 2 Wild Sweet Orange and 4 Spoonfuls Dark Chocolate.  I got the Dark Chocolate from small 3-section trays by the Hot water and coffee dispensers, but they were so often out of the whipped cream you see before you.

Pretty in Pink

Portland Oregon is legendary for its local chain Voodoo Donuts.  And there were multiple runs for staff and events over the course of the weekend.  I managed to catch me a Double Bubble Doughnut during one of these.  The actual pastry was soft as a pillow, of a good size.  The frosting was sweet, but I wasn’t sure I noticed any unusual flavor.  The website describes it as a Vanilla Frosting with Bubble Gum dust.  So maybe the actual doughnut just tasted more strongly.  A nice touch though, was a piece of Double Bubble gum placed over the hole, hence the name.  It had already been softened considerably, but I thought that suited the consistency of the doughnut.

Franz Bakery in Portland Oregon

I was bewitched by the siren‘s scent of their bakery, but alas, could not venture inside.  Founded in 1906, their office is open between the hours of 8 AM & 4:30 PM; tours are by appointment only.  The first Oregon bakery to slice bread, Franz was also the first to U.S. bakery produce Hamburger buns. That’s something I found noteworthy during barbecue season, especially when it was 4th of July weekend.  By recycling more than 95% of all its own waste, Franz helps protect the environment.  According to Franz, “Our Bread oven, built in 1949, is over 100 feet long and can bake more than 3,600 loaves of Franz bread every hour.”  That’s at least 1 per second.  Installed in 1956, the rooftop loaf of Franz bread, pictured above, goes through 2,628,000 rotations per year.    Don’t believe me?  I got all of this from signs on their walls and windows.

Bro Dogs Vegan Sausage Review

I ordered a Vegan with the following Grilled : Mushrooms, Jalapenos, and onions.  Then to be topped with uncooked Saurkraut.  I chose Vegan dog on the following principle.  If a vegan substitute to meat typically has a hard time tasting as good as meat, it’s an effective barometer for the rest of the menu.  Maybe not a perfect method, but I was sure happy today.  You could tell it wasn’t meat sausage because there was no wrapping squirts of oil to bite through, it was all so consistent to the touch.  But it was good feeling consistency, with plenty of spice even without the jalapenos.

The Bun was an odd rectangle shape, grilled with the flat side down with the meat and onions.  The side against the filling was blackened and crispy, and the outside was still pale and soft.

The Saurkraut was rather tart, and despite the grilling, the jalapenos were still bold.  Between these two and the sausage, the sweetness of the onion didn’t shine through much, and the mushrooms had to be eaten separately to have any flavor at all.  But mushrooms are generally mild, and as these had been grilled, they were milder still.

Noodles and Company

As we were leaving the con, my ride and I took a merry jaunt through Powell’s Bookstore, the largest remaining chain of Brick and Mortar bookstores in the state of Oregon, if not all the States.  There’s probably going to be a video about that in the future.  But how this ties into our little tale is across two separate intersections from the store, there was a Sizzle Pie Pizza and a Noodles & Company.  We went for the one on Couch Street, Noodles & Company.  All I could reasonably catch a pic of was the exterior and the menu.  This was for eating over the drive.  I had the Japanese Noodles, with chicken.  The noodles were apparently Soba Noodles.  The chicken was white meat, I could not detect any seasoning about it, and the meat seemed to be not completely cut through into strips.  The lack of seasoning detected can be chalked up to the sauce.  But I couldn’t see any on the meat either.

Sorry about the menu pic.  I was not in a good position to take pictures of the meal, so this had to do.

And that’s it for Portland Dining.  If you have any place you’d recommend I didn’t get to sample, please leave it in the comments below.  And please don’t forget to watch my Deviantart.