I’ve been reacquainting myself with Ghostbusters lately and I feel I have to admit something: Peter Venkman is my least favorite Ghostbuster.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love all the Ghostbusters, so that means I even love Venkman. Do not doubt this. The thing is, I love the other Ghostbusters so much more. I can make a case for each of the other Ghostbusters to be my favorite*. Ray’s childlike sense of wonder and the enthusiasm and general goodness is immediately endearing. Egon’s unflappable, deadpan nature and near-robotic devotion to his science always makes me laugh. And Winston has got that pragmatic, level-headed everyman thing going that makes him more relatable to someone like me, who loves science but can’t really do it. All three, I love.
Peter though. He’s slimy (And not just post-meeting Slimer). Dana even compares him to a game show host in, what was not meant to be a flattering light. Now, obviously, I am aware that this is the point of the guy. This is what makes him amusing. And I am amused. Bill Murray did it brilliantly and you don’t need me to tell you it. But I don’t connect with the guy. This is all the worse considering that, really, Peter is the star of those movies. There’s an ensemble cast, but really Venkman is the lead. Of all the Ghostbusters, he’s the only one who has a real arc, the other four just dealing with the plot, Venkman’s relationship with Dana is the real meat. It does not hurt the movie, though. I watched Ghostbusters twice this month and it is basically a flawless movie as far as PDR is concerned.
*Note that I am talking Primary Four Ghostbusters here. I am fully aware of the many other Ghostbusters who have found various roles over the course of the expanded universe of cartoons and games. But they’re not what I’m discussing here. This is about the first four.
Speaking of the cartoons, one of my earliest memories is of a morning when I was in primary. I was getting ready to go to school and I was twirling a comb around in my hair trying to replicate the bizarre pompadour they gave Egon in the cartoon. I knew style when I saw it. Perhaps it was my failure to achieve that look that has left me so disillusioned with hairstyling.
Anyway, I guess I just had to get that out. Sometimes one must talk about Ghostbusters.