The Real Ghostbusters: The 80s Toon We All Loved But Ruined The Franchise (A Vicious Love Letter) | LRM’s RetroSpecs

Look, we all loved The Real Ghostbusters when it first came out. We were young and the original movie’s more mature themes and content didn’t hit us yet. We saw a fun sci-fi adventure, while our parents or older siblings saw a comedy classic. Flash forward a few years and we see that our older familial units didn’t quite like Ghostbusters II as much as we did. Why? It was basically like watching a live-action episode of The Real Ghostbusters… Oh, that’s it.

The Real Ghostbusters Staypuft Captured

The Cartoon Destructor:

When the original Ghostbusters hit in the 80s, it appealed to a large audience. The humor was top tier and clever, the action was fun, and some of the scares could really get you. It was an instant classic and what many call “lightning in a bottle.” Hollywood did what they do, ever since Star Wars, and started selling merchandise to the new franchises’ youngest fans. This lead to the bright idea for a cartoon. Enter The Real Ghostbusters.

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Despite the title, I am not here to bash this cartoon. It is an amazingly cheesy (in the best way) but beautifully written cartoon. Well, a lot of it at least. This is in part thanks to writers with a passion for the characters and the world(s) they inhabit. On the top of that writers list, is J. Michael Straczynski. The same dude that gave us Silver Surfer Requiem, Babylon 5, and a few episodes of Murder She Wrote. Yup, that guy did all of that and more. He’s a weirdo, but he’s MY favorite comic-writer-weirdo. Many people find certain episodes or story arcs to be very compelling or outright mirroring their own lives, the music is often incredibly entertaining, and the toys were… everything you wanted them to be at 9 years old. However, it shifted the focus of the franchise from general audiences to kids.

The Toys That Nailed The Coffin Shut:

The Firehouse, Proton Pack, monsters, and the awesome 4-6 inch action figures were all in my personal toy collection. I loved using the air-operated trap to catch my toy ghosts and ghouls in. For every new episode, I needed a new toy it seemed. Again, no duh. All of these toy sales from the cartoon meant certain doom for the upcoming live-action movie sequel.

Kyle Malone Ghostbusters Toys

You see, if kids liked the original film, but LOVE the cartoon, it only makes (Sony) sense to make the next movie more like the cartoon! This would bring more kids in than the first time plus all of those original fans, right? No! Our older family and friends HATED Ghostbusters 2. Okay, not all of them, but you and I both know now that it isn’t as good as the first. We loved it then, we like it now, but we know so much more was possible.

Raising The Dead To Kill It Again:

I hear you saying, “What about the 2016 movie, Kyle?” To that, I say, “I told you so.” That movie tried to equally apply the lowest hanging fruit jokes of the original with the silliness of the cartoon. It failed at both. The silliness wasn’t just silly, it was in desperate need of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus Colonel Character, played by Graham Chapman, to come in and put an end to it.

The adult humor was all bathroom humor and there was no attempt at being clever. However, the worst thing about that movie wasn’t the poor writing (what little writing there was allegedly) or the cast. No, the most atrocious thing was the song.

Lastly, we will touch on how The Real Ghostbusters has already “ruined” Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Actually, I’ll just leave the picture above, from a clip released several weeks ago. Straight up from the old comics that were…. toon based.


I absolutely love GhostbustersGhostbusters II, and The Real Ghostbusters. However, only one of those IS the REAL Ghostbusters. The original film was truly lightning in a bottle, and like lightning striking the same spot twice… Okay, I am done with the silly puns and wordplay as some British guy just kicked in my door. One of the very first cartoons my son ever watched, knowingly, was The Real Ghostbusters. I own the whole series and put it on my son’s tablet for road trips. He loved the Christmas episode, Xmas Marks the Spot, the most. We always had to start playing from there. That episode was written by J. Michael Straczynski.

It will be impossible to recapture what that first film did, but that doesn’t mean that new things can’t be good. They just won’t be… The Real Ghostbusters, and that’s okay.

What was your favorite episode of The Real Ghostbusters? Are you excited about Ghostbusters: Afterlife? Let us know in the comments below!

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