Welcome to Defending the Indefensible Week, where we attempt to vindicate some of pop culture’s crappiest moments through the magic of harebrained internet theories. Such as …
For some reason, the story of a gang of disgraced academics using nuclear physics to battle misshapen demon puppets was super appealing to everyone back in the ’80s. Ghostbusters went on to become a comedy classic, spawning a sequel, a cartoon series, and a crapload of toys for every conceivable character.
But since there were still a few dollars to be sucked from the franchise, Ghostbusters got a remake in 2016. And since the new cast was female, an army of basement-dwelling creeps lost their goddamn minds over it. But while it was easy to defend the movie’s casting choices, it was less easy to defend the movie itself. Sure it wasn’t terrible, but it was … less than great. Like, “multiple extended jokes about wonton soup” not-great. And “the Ghostbusters casually murder someone” not-great.
Now, Ghostbusters 2016 was a straight-up remake, not a sequel/reboot hybrid like Creed or Jurassic World. Yet the trailer made it seem like the film took place in the same universe as the original, with a “new team” taking over from the “four scientists” who “saved New York” 30 years ago.
Audiences expected something like The Force Awakens, but with sad old Bill Murray instead of sad old Han Solo …
But we ended up getting a movie that completely wiped the ghost-busting slate clean. Or … here’s a thought: What if the new movie was part of the original canon, but set in another dimension? It’s not that crazy. Remember that the villain of the original Ghostbusters was Gozer, a demon that skips across dimensions collecting leotards and setpieces from Bowie album covers.
So the notion of parallel universes isn’t new to the Ghostbusters-verse. How does that connect to the remake? In a post-credits scene, Patty makes a discovery while tinkering with some audio equipment:
She hears the name “Zuul” — one of the minions of Gozer from the first film — so this brief scene is the movie’s way of telling us that the two stories are in fact connected. If what we’re seeing in the remake is a parallel universe, it could also explain why the original Ghostbusters are still kicking around New York, but with different names and occupations.
And since the movie was released, the Ghostbusters comic book series has fully embraced this suggestion. Ghostbusters 101 finds the two teams meeting each other after inadvertently travelling between dimensions.
What started all this interdimensional confusion? Gozer the Gozerian.
It seems that by crossing the streams inside Gozer’s portal, the original Ghostbusters “connected to every reality at once” — meaning that all of their ideas were accidentally “seeded into the subconscious of the multiverse,” as Egon puts it.
They even show us that the Real Ghostbusters Saturday morning cartoon is one of these parallel universes. Presumably, Slimer helping Winnie the Pooh convince a teen not to smoke crack also exists in one of these dimensions, albeit the lamest one.
Of course, whether or not the filmmakers’ actual intent was to situate their remake in a parallel dimension in which cosmic powers subtly influenced a group of modern women to emulate some guys who exploded a hole in the universe back in the ’80s, causing their cognitive essence to be sprinkled throughout an infinite number of realities, remains to be seen.
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