The Real Ghostbusters

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"Who ya gonna call?"

In 1984, a Bill Murray/Dan Aykroyd/Harold Ramis supernatural comedy called Ghostbusters was a pretty substantial hit with younger viewers. Within a few years, they decided it would be a good idea to create an Animated Series about the further adventures of the four paranormal investigators.

The problem was, there was already a Filmation cartoon in development called Ghostbusters, a sequel to the 1975 live-action series The Ghost Busters, in which two film noir style detectives and their gorilla fought the supernatural forces of Prime Evil. Filmation's Ghostbusters (the Animated Series) was a flop, the victim of mistiming: kids were understandably upset because these guys weren't "The Real Ghostbusters", but they had the rights to the title all the same.

But from this observation was born an idea. The animated continuation of the movie Ghostbusters was released under the title The Real Ghostbusters (the two animated series debuted in the same year, furthering the confusion).

The main characters from the film (with the notable exception of Sigourney Weaver's character) were all present and fought a variety of spectral adversaries. Unlike many other Animated Adaptations, this series took the basic premise of the movies and turned it into an example of the day-to-day busting that the movie didn't have time to show. The primary difference lay in the appearances of the main four characters: to get around having to get the rights to use the likenesses of the cast members of the film, each character was given a new face and look (Egon became a blonde with a pompadour, Ray became a red-headed short guy, and in the case of Peter, a complete character overhaul to make him a young 20-something instead a 30 year old, balding Bill Murray). They gained color-coded uniforms and slightly redesigned equipment, but overall retained the same basic personalities.

Slimer, a green ghost who slimed Bill Murray in the first film, was added to the regular cast as a comic relief Non-Human Sidekick (also The Unintelligible; his nickname in the first movie was "Onionhead"). Somewhat atypically for cartoons of this genre and epoch, there was never a Big Bad, or any hint of larger forces at work. There were just ghosts who needed busting (although some of them came back for second tries).

Not all the ghosts and other supernatural things were evil. On some occasions, the Ghostbusters "busted" the ghosts simply by helping them complete their Unfinished Business so they could rest in peace, while on other occasions, the creatures were the ones who actually needed the Ghostbusters' help... and sometimes they actually wanted to be busted, as the Ghostbusters' containment unit approximated resting in peace enough to satisfy them.

Sadly, despite the success of the cartoon, things began to fall apart, thanks to Executive Meddling. As part of the build-up to the second Ghostbusters film, the series was renamed Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters (as executives fell in love with the cuddly and goofy cartoon version of Slimer) and much of the show's horror downplayed for cheap slapstick humor. Later episodes would incorporate trappings from the second movie, mainly the notion of the city of New York's injunction against the team. Louis Tully also became a recurring character at this time.

Voice actors include Lorenzo Music (as Peter Venkman, the role originated by Bill Murray; it has not escaped notice that Bill Murray would eventually play a live-action Garfield, one of Music's best-known voice roles), Dave Coulier (as Peter in later seasons), Arsenio Hall (as Winston Zeddmore), and noted voice actors Maurice La Marche (as Egon Spengler) and Frank Welker (as both Ray Stantz and Slimer).

Writers from this show included J. Michael Straczynski, who went on to create Babylon 5, as well as Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle, the creators of Kim Possible.

Briefly revived in 1997 as the Sequel Series Extreme Ghostbusters, with a new team and Egon as The Obi-Wan.


Tropes used in The Real Ghostbusters include:

Egon: By way of comparison the Watley House in Arkham had thirteen, the Vincent Mansion had ten, and the most haunted house on record, the Crowley House in London, had twenty-five.
Peter: OK Egon, so tell us, how many ghosts are in this house?
Egon: Two-thousand four-hundred and thirty-six.
Slimer: Yaaaahhhhhh! <flies out of the room, smashing through the wall>

    • On the upside, it did get a terrified Slimer to stop clinging to Peter's leg.

Peter: Good job!
Egon: Wait 'til you get my bill.

  • Badass Bookworm: Played straight with Egon and Ray. Subverted with Peter in that, while he has his doctorate, any ghostbusting equipment he builds tends to be unreliable at best. By the time of the new video game, Winston becomes this trope when he acquires a doctorate of his own.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • An episode featured Egon turning into a werechicken.
    • In the episode "Short Stuff", a spell accidentally turns Peter into a mouse. The change lasts only a few moments though.
    • In the episode "Stay Tooned", Ray, Egon and Winston are turned into cartoon animals as a result of TV cartoon character Sammy K. Ferret gaining ghost-like powers and entering the real world. Interestingly, in Ray's case, it gets combined with a slow Painful Transformation, whereas Winston and Egon transform right away.
  • Baseball Episode: The episode "Night Game". Good and evil spirits always do battle on a specific area of land on a certain anniversary. Finding a baseball field there this time, they agree to play baseball. As he was there upon their arrival, Winston gets to play short-stop for the good team. The stakes are for the fate of one human soul: Peter's.
  • The Beatles: One episode had TRG temporarily dressed in Sgt. Pepper uniforms.
  • Big Applesauce: The Ghostbusters were based in New York, where most of the hauntings took place, although they would also travel to other parts of the U.S. and even other countries in some episodes.
  • Big Bad: Averted. Unlike almost every action cartoon of its time, which would feature the heroes fighting the same big bad in every episode, the Ghostbusters almost NEVER fought the same ghost twice. Part of this was because it would kind of defeat the purpose of busting ghosts if they just came back every week, and also because the writers felt it gave the show more variety.
    • In later seasons, the network decided they wanted the boys to have a recurring nemesis, which led to the creation of Ghost Master, the supposed ultimate lord of ghosts. Unlike most other ghosts on the show, who were content to wreak random havoc, Ghost Master actively tried to destroy the Ghostbusters by sending hostile ghosts to kill them. Or that was the plan, anyway, but the writers must have gotten sick of him pretty quickly, as he only showed up a couple of times and was ultimately busted.
    • Samhain also considered them to be his enemies, though they were only required to fight him once a year, of course.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Several ghosts weren't content to simply cause trouble and instead had total conquest on their minds. The Ghostbusters busting them right away is what plays the trope straight. Samhain is probably the most notable example, given his loyal and willing followers. Watt and Hob Anagarak also qualify, as they wanted to raise undead armies and conquer.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Slimer and a group of teenagers are cornered by a huge mob of barrow wights, before the Ghostbusters smash the door down and charge in. Cue the asskicking.
  • Bigger Bad: There is the infrequent reference (such as in the episodes "Chicken, He Clucked", "Hanging By a Thread" or "The Devil to Pay") to a Satan or "Lord of evil"-type character.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The episode "Drool, the Dog-Faced Goblin".
  • Blind Without'Em: Egon in the episode "The Scaring of the Green" after a lion knocks off his specs.
    • Also seen in the episode "If I Were a Witch Man" when one of Kestrel's Demons steals his glasses

Egon: Nail him, Winston, I can't... I can't see him!

    • It appears that It Runs in the Family. Egon's uncle Cyrus was similarly blind without his glasses, which became a problem since he didn't believe in ghosts, and his glasses broke during a Bust where the gang were trying to convince him they were real.
  • Body Swap: In the episode "Slimer, Is That You?" between Slimer and Egon.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the episode "Who're You Calling Two-Dimensional?", when the Ghostbusters are sucked into a cartoon world. Winston asks Ray since they're in a cartoon, then where's the audience? Ray replies by pointing at the screen, where Winston proceeds to press his face on it while calling out if anyone's there. Coming back, Egon asks what happened, and he replied that "they changed channel".
  • Broad Strokes: How the series treats the events of the movies.
  • Butt Monkey: Most of the slapstick and physical comedy was provided via Peter, which he hated immensely... but the other members of the team found hilarious.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Used in an interesting fashion in that episode with the possessed underground railway. The Ghostbusters went onboard a possessed empty train and suddenly the lights went out. They figured out they were alone since the only things that could be seen were four pairs of eyes, but when the lights came back again, they found themselves surrounded by a bunch of undead, skeletal passengers.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: When haunted girders threw a large hunk of building at the team.
  • Canon Immigrant: A couple from the Slimer! short toons made it to the main series late season: the insufferable Professor Dweeb made three appearances... looking not too different from his toon presentation. One appearance was in the episode "The Slob", which brought back the odorrific ghost Sleaze as the McGuffin for his older brother Glob.
  • Cardboard Prison: Generally averted, as the Containment Unit was actually pretty secure. When a ghost did manage to escape, it was usually because another ghost opened the Unit from the outside to let them out. A few episodes centered around various ghosts and demons trying to open the Unit to free all the captive spirits (such as in the episode "Mrs. Rogers' Neighborhood"), while on a few occasions, Egon or Slimer would actually go into the Unit to retrieve another ghost they actually wanted to free.
    • It's mentioned that after the Gozer incident they upgraded the containment unit to be larger (in the movie it was mounted on the wall while here it takes up most of the basement) and more resilient.
    • The threat of the containment unit shutting down, on the other hand, cropped up several times: like where the city power grid and the containment unit's backup generator became possessed, leading Peter to quickly improvise a backup backup generator made from a bike, and Ecto1's generator, with Janine pedaling for dear life (and being forgotten about at the end of the episode).
    • There are also indications that the guys learn from past mistakes. In the episode "Halloween II 1/2", two goblins are able to open up the Containment Unit within moments of trying. In the episode "Elementary My Dear Winston", we see a mechanism has been installed to force a time delay to give the guys time to get down there to halt the process.
  • Cartoonland Time: A family of ghosts starts up a phony ghostbusting business that outsells the Ghostbusters on the same day they started it up.
  • Casual Danger Dialog
  • Celebrity Paradox: Averted: Bill Murray and the other actors from the films still exist in The Real Ghostbusters universe, and they even play the same movie roles. Lampshaded when Venkman comments that Murray "doesn't look a thing like me."

Winston: Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis? Isn't that a law firm?

  • Characterization Marches On: The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. In the episode "Cry Uncle" (not to mention the original intro and the unaired pilot), he's depicted as a malevolent ghost. In all other appearances, he's actually quite benign and even acts as an ally twice... considering the guys and Slimer his friends. He doesn't even mind being trapped in the Containment Unit (the change may be justified and Lampshaded in the episode "The Revenge of Murray the Mantis" by Peter saying, "He's all better now... we think.").
  • Chickification: Janine went from snarky secretary with a stereotypical Jersey Girl accent and hairdo with triangular glasses (in other words, you know, just like the movie... to the point that early on people thought the voice actress Laura Summer was simply Annie Potts using a non de guerre for some reason) to a softer spoken woman with straight hair and round glasses over the series, thanks to Executive Meddling from ABC (as noted below). It was even justified (sort of) in the episode "Janine, You've Changed" where it turned out Janine was under the influence of a malevolent spirit who played to her self-image and changed her appearance accordingly.
    • More of an inversion. True, the suits wanted Janine to have a milder personality, but they also wanted to make her a full fledged Ghostbuster. J. Michael Straczynski wanted her to keep her personality, and her job as secretary. After J. Michael Straczynski left, Janine soon began training with the Ghostbusters, following them on missions, and eventually even got her own pink uniform with her name stitched on it. She was also a Ghostbuster in the action figure line.
      • It's worth noting that Kath Soucie (the one hired to voice the milder Janine) stated in DVD bonus material that she was skeptical of the softening of the character in the first place.
      • Comes full circle in Ghostbusters 2 where she actually resembles the new Janine anyway, in looks if not in attitude.
      • In the episode "Janine, You've Changed", Egon says "Remember when Janine had that horrible Brooklyn accent?".
  • Christmas Episode/Christmas Ghost Story: In the episode "Xmas Marks the Spot", the Ghostbusters accidentally busted the Christmas ghosts... and altered the future.
  • Clip Show: The episode "Deja Boo", where Professor Dweeb captures Slimer and uses a machine to see his memories.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: As the page image indicates, each of the guys has different colored uniforms. Word of God said this was done to make it easier to tell them apart when shown at a distance.
  • Comic Books Are Real: Well, supernatural energy can make comics into something real.
  • Con Man: Peter's father is one, which doesn't exactly thrill Peter... especially when Mr. Venkman starts trading on the Ghostbuster name for his cons.
    • Coattail-Riding Relative: More specifically, the elder Venkman uses his son's ghostbusting fame to move into selling phony "ghost repellers", claiming that he taught his son everything he knows about the supernatural. Later, he and another scam artist inadvertently resurrect an ancient demon. In both instances, Peter and his colleagues reluctantly step in to save him from himself... and to save his victims.
  • Continuity Nod: On a few occasions, when we see the inside of the containment unit, we can see some of the ghosts the boys busted in earlier episodes.
    • The boy in the episode "The Grundel" is said to have kicked Mrs. Faversham's cat.
    • Egon's collection of molds, spores and fungus is mentioned in two episodes.
      • Ironically, when the show was rebranded as Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters and featured many reviled changes, Continuity Nods actually improved; particularly with regard to the movies. Among other things, the Ghostbusters reminisce about their first case when they visit New York Public Library, Zuul is in the new intro, Vigo and the psychokinetic slime from the second movie are mentioned, and Louis is added to the cast.
      • The changes were made in the series to capitalize on the popularity of the second movie. In turn, the second movie itself recognized that the Ghostbusters were a big hit with children, thanks in part to the cartoon. The adult humor was toned way down, while Slimer (identified by the name which the cartoon had given him, and redesigned to look more like his cartoon self) made a cameo as a bus driver.
  • Cool Car: The Ecto-1.
  • Cosmic Horror: An episode entitled "The Collect Call of Cathulhu" [sic] paid an extensive - and surprisingly accurate - homage to the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft.
    • This was later revisited in the episode "Russian About" where they fight a Cosmic Horror which looks like Yogg'Saron in the Soviet Union.
    • The entity from the episode "Ragnarok and Roll".
  • Covered in Gunge: The guys get slimed on a regular basis.
    • Used as the main weapon of the Peoplebusters in middle-season episode "Flip Side".
  • Crazy Prepared: Ecto-1 gets dropped into a body of water with the guys inside, which would be a problem... until they activate the inflatable raft on the bottom of the car which both floats them to the surface and allows them to hydroplane back to dry land.
    • In the episode "The Two Faces of Slimer", after facing off with a troublesome spook, Peter tells the others to utilize "Plan 55-A".
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Some ghosts are smart enough to separate the Ghostbusters from their equipment to leave them at their mercy.
    • Special mention for Poso in the episode "Partners in Slime". He kidnaps Janine and Louis to force the Ghostbusters to hand over their technology... not because he means them harm, but because it would give him the definitive edge against other ghosts.
    • Watt sets up a Haunted House in the episode "Mrs. Roger's Neighborhood" as a trap for the Ghostbusters so he can open the Containment Unit.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Not all the supernatural beings the Ghostbusters encountered were evil; some wished merely to rest in peace, and others needed the Ghostbusters' help against entirely human villains.
  • Dartboard of Hate: In at least one episode Venkman had one of this cop who kept hassling them.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Janine gets several episodes like this, most notably the episodes "Janine's Genie" and "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster". "Janine, You've Changed" might be one of the most hilarious meta-examples in the entire medium.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter and Janine, just like in the movies. Egon gets in on the act pretty regularly too.

Peter: Egon, I just had a thought.
Egon: You had a thought?
Peter: Yes.
Egon: Here. Have a cookie.
Peter:Why?
Egon: It's how they train seals, Peter. Unfortunately, I'm all out of fish.

  • Deal with the Devil:
    • The episode "Chicken, He Clucked" features a man hates chickens so much that he wants to make a deal with a demon to get rid of them. Embarrassed by such a silly request for a soul, the demon gives him the power to send anything away as a compromise. Soon, every chicken on Earth is sent to another dimension and (after annoying the man) the Ghostbusters. The demon agrees to help the Ghostbusters though because his colleagues found out about the deal and won't stop mocking him. The demon reveals a loophole that the Ghostbusters manage to exploit to cancel the deal.
    • Done by accident by Ray and Winston in the episode "The Devil to Pay" where they unknowingly sign a contract that had them soul bound to take part in a demon's game show where they have to play for their lives. They win, and Peter threatens bodily harm to the demon host to give them the all-expense-paid trip for four to Tahiti he promised them, which he had no choice but to grant.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When don't they?
    • Slimer does this to Samhain twice. In the episode "When Halloween Was Forever", after Samhain demands that he renounce the Ghostbusters and join him, Slimer blows raspberries in his face. In the episode "Halloween II 1/2", as part of the Ghostbusters' plan to stop Samhain, Slimer slimes him in the face.
    • In the episode "The Halloween Door", the little girl Emma essentially does this to Boogaloo.

Emma: (laughing) You're funny.
Boogaloo: Wh-what's wrong with you? Aren't you afraid of me?
Emma: Nope.

    • Ironically, in the episode where they confront the actual Cthulhu, they don't try this; they just open fire.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The aforementioned episode "The Collect Call of Cathulhu", although it was specifically stated that the Ghostbusters only managed to banish Cthulhu, rather than truly harming him.
    • Appropriately though, the Ghostbusters only managed to do so by reading H.P. Lovecraft's original story (lampshaded by saying that Lovecraft researched the Necronomicon for story ideas).
      • They also required a force of nature to do so, Cthulhu was unharmed by anything they themselves could throw at him and took a couple of lightning bolts to defeat.
    • "Cthulhu makes Gozer look like Little Mary Sunshine."
  • Disappeared Dad: Peter's dad apparently spent more time on his cons than being at home with the family. It's a sore point for Peter, especially in the episode "Xmas Marks the Spot".
    • Winston was also found to suffer this. He and his father had a falling out when he became a Ghostbuster rather than stay in construction. The two did patch things up on-screen though.
    • It's curious that Egon's mother appears in two episodes, but there's never any mention made of his father.
  • Divide by Zero: At one point, Egon manages to overload his calculator with an offensive football play that, if executed, would not only completely collapse the defense but perhaps all known space as well.
  • Driven to Madness: One of Ray's former paranormal studies professors investigated Heck House, becoming the only one to spend half the night there and survive, but at a cost.

Ray: <sadly> He was a... brilliant man.
Winston: Was? What's he do now?
Ray: Drool a lot...
Winston: Got it.

    • Ray and Winston themselves come pretty close when they go.

Egon: What's wrong with them?
Peter: I dunno, I think they saw something upstairs.
Ray: <frozen in wide-eyed shock> ...and it ...it had two-hundred eyes, I know ...I ...I counted...

  • Ectoplasmic Mashup: The episode "Slimer, Come Home" featured a massive poltergeist who was absorbing the energy of many smaller ghosts to increase its power, while "Robo-Buster" pitted the boys against a colossal ghost that had been created by the dissipated energies of dozens of smaller ghosts broken up by Robo-Buster's modified proton beams.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Not only the aforementioned C(a)thulhu, but also the Mee-krah, a horrible octopus-like entity who awakened every few millennia and left complete destruction wherever it went (it is said in the episode that the Gobi and Sahara deserts were results of its activity). It fed upon the spiritual energy of ghosts, who practically begged to be captured by the Ghostbusters.
  • Episode Title Card: Seasons 1-4 had them, but Seasons 5-7 superimposed the episode title with the first scene.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Many times:
    • When a lawyer arrives at the firehouse with a proposition to "clean up" Heck House, Egon and Ray refuse. Before they can leave, the lawyer stops them in their tracks with just three words.

Egon: We've faced demons, monsters, Gozer, multi-dimensional invasions, but there is nothing that will get me within a mile of Heck House.
Lawyer: One... million... dollars.

    • Another more benign example occurs in the episode "Sticky Business" when the heroes are trying to raise money for the local Orphanage of Love. The president of the company that makes Stay Puft marshmallows asks to borrow Mr. Stay Puft for an advertising campaign, and they don't think it's a good idea... They all change their minds when he says how much he'll pay them.
    • Then there's this exchange in the episode "No One Comes to Lupusville":

Winston: Forget it. I've seen enough movies to know that you don't mess with vampires unless you know what you're doing. We don't.
Gregor: That is unfortunate. I could have made it eminently worth your while... (pulls out a chest laden with gold)
Winston: However, I am a fast learner.

    • In the episode "Loathe Thy Neighbor", the heroes are hesitant to take the Micawbs' case, seeing as the Micawbs are stranger than most of the ghosts they tend to bust. Then Mr. Micawb says that money is not a problem and they'll pay any price; the guys change their mind quickly.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Everything from proton packs to PKE meters and calculators, though Egon's Homemade Inventions seemed to be the most volatile.
  • Fan Service:
    • The episode "The Devil in the Deep" took place on an exceptionally hot day, leading Janine to show up to work in a revealing bikini.
    • Also Foot Focus as she has her bare feet propped up on the desk. In fact, there are a couple of times the show would focus on her feet or her playing with her shoes.
    • There was also an episode where Janine was in the shower, carefully showing only her face and legs and carefully avoiding the rest. Ghosts begin to bug her, and she spends the next few moments running around in nothing but a towel. As the scene ends, Janine walks off screen, and the towel is suddenly thrown off as she's out of frame.
    • That's not counting all the times the guys are shown shirtless, in the shower, or even just in their boxers.
  • Finger Gun: Used by the ghosts of the Earps.
  • Flash Back: As part of an Evil Counterpart episode, it showed the team discarding their old, evil-marshmallow-encrusted uniforms and building replacements for the equipment damaged in the first film's climax. And as a result of being encrusted with ectoplasm, the originals then became the team's ghostly Evil Twins.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Ray: sanguine, Peter: choleric, Egon: melancholic, Winston: phlegmatic.
  • Fur Against Fang: The plot of the episode "No One Comes to Lupusville".
  • Genre Savvy: The Ghostbusters, natch, but not always enough to avoid close calls. In the episode "No One Comes to Lupusville", when told they don't know if proton packs will work on vampires, Winston wants to leave. "I've seen enough movies to know you don't face the undead without knowing what you're doing, and we don't." Of course, the promise of a hefty payment causes him to ignore his better judgment.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A few, most involving Janine:
    • In the episode "Beneath These Streets", Janine has to go wake the boys for a job, pausing before opening the door to ask "Is everyone decent?".
    • In the episode "Cold Cash and Hot Water", Janine is pushing her way through a crowd to reach the team, stopping as she does and shouting, "HEY, watch your hands, pal!" to a guy behind her.
  • Ghost Pirate: The boys had to deal with a crew of these who invaded New York to recover their buried treasure after it was discovered and put on display in a city museum.
  • Gilligan Cut: See Something We Forgot. In the episode "Killerwatt", Janine is left to run a pedal powered generator when the power goes off. Fast forward: monster defeated, power back on, heroes are celebrating, but "Wait--we forgot to tell Janine to stop, she must still be pedaling the generator.. nah she'd have figured out she can stop by now right?" Gilligan Cut to Janine STILL pedaling.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happened to Egon most of the time, the two best-known cases being:
    • In the episode "If I Were a Witch Man", being possessed by a witch-like ghost.
    • Another time was when his soul was sucked out due to a machine malfunction, and a demon escaped and took his body for a ride, turning him into a purple Hulk expy.
    • The demon Watt possessed Peter in the episode "Mrs. Roger's Neighborhood" in an attempt to open the Containment Unit.
    • Everyone including Janine and Slimer (don't ask) except Egon gets possessed in the episode "Ghostworld".
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Tobin's Spirit Guide, went from an almost throwaway mention in the movie to Egon's go-to resource for learning more about the Monster of the Week that was almost guaranteed to have useful information about any ghost.
  • Gross Mutants Are Cool: Like many late 80s cartoons, it used repulsive slimy creatures to appeal to kids.
  • Halloween Episode: Several, many featuring the pumpkin-headed villain Samhain. The episode "The Halloween Door" didn't feature Samhain, a choice on J. Michael Straczynski's part owing to the previously mentioned Author Tract.
  • Haunted Technology: One episode featured a ghost trapped in a vat of molten steel. Every object made with the ghost's steel wound up coming to life and wreaking havoc.
  • Headless Horseman: The episode "The Headless Motorcyclist" featured a descendant of Ichabod Crane cursed by a headless apparition on a motorcycle who chases her.
  • Heel Face Turn: Slimer and Stay-Puft. Robo-Buster also counts once Egon reworked its proton guns so they fired the same types of beams as the Ghostbusters' weapons, and it helped our heroes clean up the mess its creator had caused.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The title character of the episode "Drool the Dog-Faced Goblin" did this to save a group of humans that were trapped by a murderous shape-changing phantom. Drool's biting the phantom forced it to let up on its attack and gave the Ghostbusters time to zap it, but Drool was caught by the proton beams too and couldn't escape. When the boys hesitated about using the traps for fear of taking Drool with the phantom, he told them to go ahead and do it.
    • There have been a few of episodes where the boys themselves very nearly have to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world. Fortunately, they always seem to get a reprieve.
  • Hidden Depths: Given the way he behaves, you'd almost forget that Peter has a doctorate. He actually comes up with several good plans against ghosts, such as capturing Nexa (a primordial god). He's also a softie at heart, which could lead one to consider that he actively employs a Jerkass Facade.
  • Historical In-Joke: An Amelia Earheart-alike is stranded in another dimension.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The boys did this to themselves when they became the Crimebusters. After they nailed the Crimelord and destroyed his rackets, they essentially put an end to all the criminal activity in New York and ran themselves out of business. Fortunately, that was about the time when ghosts began crawling out of the woodwork again...
    • Egon also has a tendency to do this to himself whenever he gets too complacent about his own genius. Lampshaded by himself in at least one episode.

Egon: Sometimes I think the universe just waits for me to get cocky.

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Peter Venkman, period. He complained the most, got freaked out the most, and was somewhat of a douche at times, but if any of his friends, or even any civilians were in danger, he'd be the first one to jump into it to save them.
    • This is particularly evident in his relationship with Slimer. Peter would normally yell at or threaten Slimer if he was being annoyed. However, Peter was not one to tolerate anyone harming Slimer, as seen in the episode "Citizen Ghost" ("You zapped my little buddy!").
  • Jewish Mother: Egon's mom. Not explicitly stated, but the stereotype is there, right down to feeding him a special mix of chicken soup, tea and a bunch of other stuff, when he falls ill with the cold. When the other boys fall sick in the same episode, just as she's about to leave, she decides to stick around until they're back to full health. Also does the "my son the suchandsuch" thing frequently.
  • Justified Title: The show was called The Real Ghostbusters to legally distinguish itself from Filmations Ghostbusters, due to Filmation owning the rights to the title Ghostbusters. The slightly awkward title was justified in-universe in an episode where it was explained that the live-action movie was based on the exploits of the animated-characters, hence making them the "real" Ghostbusters.
  • Kangaroo Court: In the episode "Jailbusters", the guys are kidnapped to the Ghostworld and put on trial for crimes against ghostkind.

Ray: I'd say we have two chances for a fair trial: zilch and none.

  • Kill and Replace: In the "Citizen Ghost" Flash Back, the doppelgänger ghost take the form of the Ghostbusters, and also try to take their spot by killing off the originals.
  • Knight Templar/Well-Intentioned Extremist: The titular antagonist in the episodes "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream" and Jeremy in "Ragnarok and Roll".
  • Lethal Chef: Most notably Ray, although one time Egon fed them all sweat sandwiches.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: The Ghostbusters' proton beams don't faze Cthulhu at all, but they eventually get the idea to focus their beams on a nearby metal rollercoaster track. The sheer amount of electricity surging through the metal framework is enough to banish Cthulhu back to his infernal prison, although it's specifically mentioned that they only imprisoned the monster, rather than destroying him.
  • Living Dream: The Sandman's MO: he puts his victims to sleep, and their dreams come to life. Three of the Ghostbusters fall victim to this: Ray dreamed of a giant pizza (which fell on and covered Ecto-1), Peter dreamed of driving a solid gold car while being showered with all sorts of awards and prizes, and Egon dreamed of... Albert Einstein.
    • Winston managed to devise a plan based on this by having Janine fall victim to the sleep, where she dreamed herself as a Ghostbuster, assisting Winston to capture the Sandman and awaken everyone in the city.
  • Louis Cypher: The episode "The Devil to Pay".
  • Man Child: Ray is a more realistic version of this trope, in that he's fully mature but also possesses a childlike idealism and enthusiasm for life. This actually helps the Ghostbusters lure the Boogieman once they figure out a way to trap the monster.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Frank Welker (Ray, Slimer, numerous ghosts), Maurice La Marche (Egon, the Umpire in the episode "Night Game"), Laura Summer (Janine and occasional female ghosts).
    • Kath Soucie was the second voice for Janine and did a number of supporting voices, as well.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Not that Peter was outright mean, but many associated with the show have referred to Lorenzo Music as one of the nicest people they had ever met.
  • Meaningful Name: Ray gave Slimer his name "just to annoy Peter".
  • Mirror Universe: Our heroes once ventured into a parallel dimension where ghosts were the normal inhabitants, and the living were the ones that haunted them. This universe was protected by the Peoplebusters, who zapped living humans and trapped them in a "containment unit" that basically replicated the conditions of our own world.
    • This led to their undoing, as the overwhelming negative energy of the flip side prevented the Ghostbuster's weapons from functioning outside the unit, but when they found a way out, and the Peoplebusters gave chase...
  • Missing Mom: Peter's mother is implied to have died, and he is more serious than usual whenever the subject of her comes up.
    • The episode "The Thing in Mrs. Faversham's Attic" practically waves on the audience's face that Peter's mom died and he regrets not having spent more time with her when he still had the chance. This leads to a tearjerker ending where Peter returns to Mrs. Faversham's place to visit the old lady, as she is completely alone in the world, just as Peter's mother was before she died.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: Walt Fleishman in the episode "Who're You Calling Two-Dimensional?".
  • Ms. Fanservice: It wasn't all the time, but there are several instances of Janine in skimpy outfits or playing with her shoes, and in the episode "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster", there's even a scene of her in the shower.
  • Mythology Gag: The episodes "Egon's Ghost", "The Copycat" and "Jailbusters" feature terror dogs similar to Zuul.
    • In the episode "Buster the Ghost", as in the first movie, the guys' TV commercial ends with them saying, "We're ready to believe you."
    • The episode "I Am the City" recalls a memorable moment from the first movie (though uses Peter instead of Ray):

Marduk: Are you going to stop me?! Are you gods?!
Peter: Uh--
Winston: (covers Peter's mouth) Yo, don't you say a word.

    • The episode "Partners in Slime" featured an appearance by the mood slime from the second movie, albeit colored yellow instead of pink. However, the slime turned pink like it was in the film at the end of the episode.
  • Never Say "Die": Usually averted, as some cases explicitly involved ghosts of dead people. Played straight with the episode "Egon's Ghost", where Word of God acknowledged that they had to tip-toe around the subject as best as possible.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Paul Smart is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who steals the Ghostbusters' technology and tries to run them out of business by using their weapons to create a ghostbusting robot called Robo-Buster, stating that Robo-Buster could destroy ghosts rather than just capture them. Unfortunately, all the ghosts zapped by Robo-Buster simply have their energies dissipated, and all this ectoplasmic power simply combines into one gigantic ghost that threatens to destroy the whole city.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Venkman.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Ghostbusters encountered stand-ins for celebrities ranging from Walt Disney to Agatha Christie to Casey Jones to Harry Houdini. Some of them were ghosts who needed the boys' help to complete their Unfinished Business, while others were innocent victims who needed to be rescued.
    • Unlike others in the cast, Maurice LaMarche was purposefully impersonating Harold Ramis. He was actually asked not to during his audition, but LaMarche couldn't think of any other appropriate way to do it. Fortunately, casting liked what they heard and hired him.
    • Dave Coulier's Peter was, of course, his Bill Murray impersonation from his act.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Professor Dweeb and his dog Elizabeth look quite out of place when they appear in anything other than the Slimer! segments.
    • One scene in the episode "The Slob" alone makes it clear that he has the standard four fingers for cartoon characters, even though that's not the case for other human characters.
  • Noodle Incident: In the episode "The Haunting of Heck House", Ray and Winston are the only ones to go upstairs to their rooms and wind up regretting it, discussing it later in the dining room.

Ray: ...and it ...it tried to grab me.
Winston: I don't wanna remember, eat your dinner.
Ray: Yeah, I'll eat my dinner, good idea. <picks up a sandwich with green lettuce> It was... it was green, Winston...

"Really, Peter, such trivial things should be beneath you. Besides, it was my turn this time."

Egon: "Not yet. You still have a way out. You and Ray simply have to win his game show."
Ray: "According to my data, the odds are only 666,000,000 to 1 AGAINST us."
Egon: "See? I told you you had a chance."

Reporter: Isn't it a bit strange for a bunch of Ghostbusters to have a ghost living with them?
Peter: Strange, weird, eccentric, sick - that about covers it.

  • Off-Model: Happens constantly. The fact that several animation studios had a hand doesn't help one bit.
  • Omniglot: In addition to having multiple doctorates, Egon is fluent in Sumerian, Russian, English, Japanese and American Sign Language.
  • Only in It For the Money:
    • Averted in one episode where Egon tells a Western Community the Ghostbusters don't want their gold (though in New York, two of their folks gave them gold as a "retainer": as the episode ends, Peter uses "gold" in every other phrase to remind Egon they'd literally "blown a golden opportunity" to make money).
    • Averted again in the episode "You Can't Take It With You", where after they trick a miser into putting his building into the Netherworld, gold and cash rain down on them. Peter, after an evil grinning look from the other Ghostbusters, reluctantly doesn't take the riches (the cops show up not too long after).
    • Averted yet again in the episode "The Thing in Mrs. Faversham's Attic". The old woman doesn't have much money, and Peter assures her that "it'll only cost [her] a smile." He admits later that she reminds him of his mother: his voice has a tinge of sadness and regret.
  • Only Sane Man: Every Ghostbuster has these moments throughout the series, but Winston being The Everyman meant he usually led the pack.

Winston: Sometimes I think between the four of us we don't have the brains God gave a doorknob.

  • On One Condition: In the episode "The Haunting of Heck House", the Ghostbusters stood to inherit millions of dollars as long as they stay in the most haunted house on Earth for a night... without their proton packs. To defeat the house, they have to use the wiring inside to turn it into one big ghost trap. Unfortunately, the house is SO haunted that spiritual energy takes up most of the structure, so it collapses in on itself, and they're forced to leave it or be crushed inside. Sadly, the lawyer sees this before time runs out, and is forced by the will to deny them the cash since there was no self-preservation escape clause provided in the will; they HAD to stay in the house even if doing so killed them.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: The episode "Banshee Bake a Cherry Pie?".
  • Paranormal Investigation: Well, they have to figure out what they're busting before they whip out the proton packs.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: A few episodes introduced these to deprive the Ghostbusters of their equipment to force them to think their way out.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Part of the premise, and especially apparent when the Ghostbusters have to get creative against a supernatural enemy (such as charging up a roller coaster rail to briefly turn Cthulhu into a lightning rod).
  • Post Modernism: If the episode "Take Two" isn't this, then this Troper doesn't know what is.
  • Power Levels: From 1-7 is standard, though there's always a few "stronger than Gozer" beasties that pop up from time to time.
    • Among others, Cthulhu and the antagonist of the episode "Ragnarok and Roll" were stated to be so far off the scale, nothing the Ghostbusters have can so much as scratch them.
  • The Power of Rock: The Ghostbusters used this and specially tuned instruments to defeat Malachi, a ghostly jazz trumpet player and his band.

Winston: "Egon, are you sure this is gonna work? Malachi's music is pretty powerful."
Egon: "We'll match his rhythms with something even more primal and powerful: Rock & Roll."

  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Ghostbusters themselves.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Egon's shirt, and the salmon-pink trim on his blue overalls.
    • Not to mention his love of all things opera. He's practically fanboying in the episode "A Fright at the Opera".
    • Peter wore a pair of pink bunny slippers while suffering from a ghost allergy, though he may have borrowed them from Janine given that he was sleeping in her apartment. He's also a huge fan of stuffed animals (including a stuffed Stay-Puft that he still sleeps with).
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted since they do use their super-science equipment to make money. There was even "Ghost Busted", the episode where the guys became crime-fighters during a severe drought in ghost work, and made more money than they did busting ghosts. That same episode also demonstrated one of the reasons the trope exists: the guys did so well, they effectively made NYC crime free, running themselves out of business. Thank goodness for the Reset Button.
  • Reverse Polarity: Used quite often.
  • Rogues Gallery: Sort of-adversaries like the Boogeyman, the Grundle and Samhain returned for a second round with the Ghostbusters, even if they didn't exactly form a rogues gallery. Many C-list ghosts also reappeared, to prevent the animators from having to create new ones from scratch every episode.
    • Even the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man got a reapperance.
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: The retooled intro for Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters featured a number of enemies from earlier seasons, such as Samhain, being zapped by the Ghostbusters.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Used in a few episodes. Notable examples include the Boogieman, who was trapped by the team in the episode "The Boogieman Cometh" by sealing him in his own dimension with a ghost bomb, only to return in the episode "The Boogieman Is Back" after feeding off Egon's fear from nearly falling to his death; as well as the animal demon Rall in the episode "It's a Jungle Out There", the greedy demon Lothgar in the episode "Busters in Toyland", and most famously the Doomsday Door in the episode "Knock, Knock" to name but a few.
  • The Shadow Knows: In the episode "Mrs. Roger's Neighborhood", Peter gets possessed by a ghost/demon. His shadow when under its effect resembles the creature's shape (which by the way looked like a cross of a T. rex and a mole rat).
  • Ship Tease: The episode "Janine, You've Changed" is packed with it for Egon and Janine. This crops up a little earlier as well (carrying forward what was in the original movie), but that episode stops just short of making them an Official Couple. It was even the last episode J. Michael Straczynski wrote for the show, and you have to wonder if he was trying to give longtime fans some payoff...
    • The tease even went on to Extreme Ghostbusters as Egon and Janine (as well as Slimer) are the only original members of the group remaining to help with the new blood.
      • Extreme Ghostbusters had several moments that blatantly imply and Egon and Janine are in a relationship, but are remaining private about it.
  • Shout-Out: One of the outros features the Ghostbusters dancing in a similar way as the 1984 Ray Parker video.
    • On the other hand, Ray Parker Jr. played a major role in the music for the first two seasons of the cartoon show. He wrote the songs that played in the chase scenes (the duo Tahiti performed then). He did the whining guitar solos for the background music. He even sung and reorchestrated the theme song for the intro and outro, playing the guitar along with the band.
    • In the episode "Ragnarok and Roll", there's a scene where the villain of the episode says 'magic words' to gain power. These words are "Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. Khazad-dum!". The first sentence contains the words inscribed on the One Ring as read in the tongue of Mordor from Lord of the Rings. "Khazad-dum" is the Dwarven name for the Mines of Moria.
    • One throwaway line mentions a guy named Samsa who's been possessed by a cockroach.
    • In the episode "The Grundel", the Ghostbusters whistle the Inspector Gadget theme.
    • As noted in Too Dumb to Live below, the Doomsday Door in the episode "Knock, Knock" warns the city workers "Do not open until doomsday!", a probable reference to the Outer Limits episode "Don't Open Till Doomsday".
    • The episode "Dairy Farm" has the boys and Ray's cousin Samantha barricading themselves in a farmhouse to escape a horde of zombies. The episodes original title was "Dairy Farm of the Living Dead".
    • The Bogeyman look a LOT like the Joker if he were a mutated monster.
  • Shown Their Work: And not just the Cthulhu Mythos. Whenever a ghost from another culture, such as Samhain, appears, you can be sure to check off the references to the original story.
    • This even went as far as justifying meeting the "ghost" of Sherlock Holmes, which Rule of Cool alone would have allowed to slide, by citing the occult concept of the egrigore, a spirit created by faith in it.
    • In adition to that, the containment device and the process for unloading traps works exactly the same way it does in the movies, right down to the same buttons and lights.
    • In the episode "Ghostbuster of the Year", Egon shouts, "Cowabunga!" (but not without some hesitation) before jumping onto the sled.
  • Skepticism Failure: Winston mentions in one episode that he didn't believe in the supernatural when he first became a Ghostbuster, and only applied with the organization because he was having trouble finding a job. Of course, actually seeing the supernatural makes him a believer.

Winston: If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.

  • Small Annoying Creature: Slimer.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Prof. Dweeb.
  • Something We Forgot: In the episode "Killerwatt", Janine pedals a bike generator to power the containment unit. Later on, the ghost is defeated, and the Ghostbusters are in an impromptu parade. They wonder if Janine is still pedaling, then dismiss the idea as ridiculous; Gilligan Cut to Janine still pedaling.
    • Also in the episode "Deadcon", the Staypuft Marshmallow Man was released to attend a ghost convention held (without permission) in a hotel which was currently having a costume party. Later, the 'busters exhausted every trap they had to capture all the ghosts. They then realize that they had forgotten one BIG thing... Gilligan Cut to the Staypuft Marshmallow Man still at the hotel, who even won an award for "best costume".
  • Specs of Awesome: Egon wears them.
  • Spin-Off: Slimer! In addition to his increased role here, Slimer received his own show in 1988. The series had 15 minute episodes (later edited into a two shorts format for reruns) and boasted a more cartoony atmosphere aimed at a younger audience. The Ghostbusters and Janine regularly appeared, but Slimer had his own cast of characters to interact with (some of them are shown in the Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters intro and Professor Dweeb appeared in three episodes here). It lasted one season.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Slimer in the later seasons. See Spotlight-Stealing Title below.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title: The later Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters.
    • Just to hammer it home, for the new intro that accompanied the new title, Slimer shouts at the end, "And me! And me!".
  • Stylistic Suck: Crops up in the episode "Take Two". What the producer claims is the inside of the Containment Unit looks like a set reused from a previous sci-fi movie.
  • Surprise Jump: Ray falls victim to this trope in the episode "Look Homeward, Ray".
  • Take That: The show's title is a pretty obvious shot at Filmation's Ghostbusters. Also, in the episode "The Spirit of Aunt Lois", the fraud medium is dressed almost exactly like Jake Kong, the leader of the "other" 'busters.
  • Team Pet: Slimer, along with the Heel Face Turn Stay Puft.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The main theme often plays during an episode's climax, and the Ghostbusters are about to save the day.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: The cartoon disclaims any resemblance to persons "living, dead, or undead".
  • Ticker Tape Parade: The ending credits.
  • Title Drop: A few times, most triumphantly in the episode "Citizen Ghost":

Ray: Say goodnight, fellas, cause the Real Ghostbusters are here to stay!

Peter: What's the big deal? It's just a book!
Ray: And an atomic bomb is just a couple of rocks slammed together.

  • Too Dumb to Live: The city workers digging for a new subway tunnel in the episode "Knock, Knock": they stumble across a Door of Doom that warns them not to open it until the end of the world. They open it anyway because they refuse to let a talking door tell them what to do, and release Hell on Earth.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: A massive water elemental demon swallows our heroes whole and it looks like the end... until he makes a disgusted face and literally spits Peter out.
  • TV Genius: Egon again.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: One episode involved Ray inheriting a castle in Scotland from a distant relative he barely knew. The castle is (of course) haunted.
  • Unfinished Business: Some of the ghosts weren't evil, and the Ghostbusters could get rid of them just by helping them accomplish their goals.
  • Unknown Rival: Professor Dweeb thinks he's the most brilliant scientist in town and that the Ghostbusters are feeble-minded. He wants to one day outdo them at their own game. Of course, they never even met him until the episode "The Slob", and when they do, they consider him an annoyance more than anything else.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: On one memorable occasion, a vampire who had taken to eating synthetic blood and posed no threat to humans hired the Ghostbusters to help him deal with an overzealous vampire hunter.
  • Viewers are Morons: Done in-universe when Corrupt Corporate Executive Paul Smart displays Robo-Buster's apparently superior ghostbusting abilities by seemingly destroying ghosts rathe than just capturing them the way the Ghostbusters do. Egon protests that Smart's claims are impossible because ectoplasmic physics don't work that way, but no one at the press conference where Smart is showing off Robo-Buster understands what he's talking about, and they don't believe him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Peter and Janine are Type 2.
  • Weaponized Landmark/Famously Mundane, Fictionally Magical:
    • The episode "The Ghostbusters in Paris" revealed that the Eiffel Tower was actually a Steampunk ecto-containment grid.
    • On a slightly lesser scale, the statue of Atlas at Rockefeller Center in the episode "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster".
  • We Help the Helpless: The Ghostbusters' clients have included everyone from elderly women who live alone to families and business owners to Detroit auto companies and even the French government.
    • Though they operated a business and were often paid, the Ghostbusters would just as often have cases without any chance of payment.
      • When Mrs. Faversham (a woman that reminds him of his mother) explains she doesn't have much money to pay them, Peter says the only payment they require is a smile.
      • Averted in the episode "Xmas Marks the Spot", when Ebenezer Scrooge refuses to pay the Ghostbusting bill, Peter actually threatens to release the ghosts again. Sure, it's Scrooge, but he's still an elderly man, plus they didn't know it was him, and it was Christmas. The Ghostbusters not knowing it was him actually worked in his favor, if we consider what they did once they learned.
  • Weird Science: Pretty much the cornerstone of the Ghostbusters franchise.
  • We Only Have One Chance: Egon says this almost to the point of it being a Catch Phrase.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: As often as the show likes to make callbacks to the movies, it pointedly avoids making any mention of Dana Barett.
    • Interestingly enough, the Marvel UK comics based on the show featured Dana as The Unseen: she would never actually appear, but Peter would sometimes mention her, and he would occasionally be seen preparing for a date with her (the Norwegian translation of the comic featured a suprisingly witty lettercolumn where Peter answered the kids' letters, and the kids would sometimes ask why Dana Barett never appeared in the comic; Peter's answer varied: "She's too beautiful to appear in the comic", "Because my personal life can't interest anyone", "I asked but I think she's too shy.").
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One episode deals with an enormous multitude of ghosts coming to find the Ghostbusters not to harm them but to find refuge against a creature that eats ghosts and destroys everything around itself. Eventually, the Ghostbusters think of a plan to defeat it but need to lead it somewhere, which they do by emptying their storage tanks and throwing hundreds of ghosts who only wanted to be kept safe at it to be eaten. Nobody gives sacrificing all these ghosts a second thought, but then again, the Ghostbusters series as a whole rarely hits upon showing ghosts much compassion.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: The episode "Citizen Ghost", which details how Slimer came to live at the Firehouse.
    • The episode "The Haunting of Heck House", where Peter Venkman tells a class visiting the Firehouse on a field trip about how he, Egon, Ray and Winston had to spend the night in Heck House.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: Well, OBVIOUSLY.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Peter can stare down murderous ghosts, spirits and phantoms without fear, but he will Freak-Out at the sight of a cockroach.
    • Egon can stare down Cthulhu and other powerful beings without wincing but the Boogeyman is enough to almost shut him down out of pure fear. While it's true that Egon was tormented by the Boogeyman as a child, there is a serious difference between it and Cthulhu. Egon handled himself very well in facing his childhood fears in the episode "The Boogieman Cometh". He was freezing up in the episode "The Bogeyman Is Back", but he was coming off a nearly deadly fall off the World Trade Center. His fear grew because he wouldn't accept it, which Bogey later exploited.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the episode "The Boogieman Cometh", a ghostly gangster tries using supernatural shape-shifting to scare the willies out of the Ghostbusters and make them run away. Would've worked if it had been anyone but these four guys. Other ghosts tend to try the same kind of thing with the same results.
  • Yanks With Tanks: Winston used to be one of these before he became a Ghostbuster, which explains why he's the best shot with the proton gun. This was considered, but not used, as a plot point in the movie, as it happens.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: In the episode "Xmas Marks the Spot", the team accidentally busts Scrooge's ghosts and changes history. They then have to go back and fix the mess they made. The whole affair turns out to be the ghosts' Batman Gambit to teach Peter the value of Christmas.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Mild case, but obviously, the animated Ghostbusters don't resemble their motion picture counterparts. This is because the producers wanted to avoid rights fees. Note also that the more famous the actor, the less his character resembles him. An episode about someone making a Biopic about the Ghostbusters used real footage from the movie to Lampshade this.
  • Your Favourite: Janine brings Egon some mushroom soup when he's in hospital. Could possibly also be considered Through His Stomach.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In the episode "Elementary My Dear Winston", Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson and Moriarty appear as ghost-like beings, even though they weren't real people. Egon theorizes that the sheer and consistent belief of fans all over the world enabled this.