There’s another reason why I wanted to spend some time looking into the Extreme Ghostbusters this week, which is because it has a rare moment in the franchise — a licensed cross-over between installments. In the two-part episode “Back in the Saddle,” the Real Ghostbusters come visiting — and I had to see it.
So the premise is that it’s Egon’s 40th birthday, and to celebrate Ray, Peter, and Winston come back to celebrate with him. Toss in a ghost emergency and some friction between the old and new school of ghostbusting, and we’re in for a wild time.
I don’t even remember Extreme Ghostbusters being on the air, but I know I would have flipped if someone told me that the Real Ghostbusters were coming back for a special episode. RGB was one of my top three cartoons in the 80s, and this would have been like a reunion show of all shows. As it stands, it’s nice to get to it, oh, 23 years later.
In any case, everyone’s looking a bit older and — in the case of Peter — a little more unkempt. Ray’s totally got a dad bod going on. But they’re all pretty happy to see each other.
Even Slimer’s pretty happy to see them… especially Peter. I forgot how much he would always belittle the green goblin. It was a special thing they had.
The new team is pretty excited to meet the “real” Ghostbusters (all except Eduardo, of course), but they don’t quite click. Egon asks Peter about the movie he’s been trying to pitch to Hollywood about their exploits, a possible nod to how pitches for a Ghostbusters 3 were getting tossed all around in the ’90s. Ray’s a salesman at a car dealership, while Winston is a pilot.
During the party, the headquarters gets a call about a ghost, and Peter comes up with the idea that the original crew go out and handle it — for old time’s sake, and for Egon’s birthday’s sake. The suits are a little harder to zip up than they used to be, but they get back on the road like the old days.
It actually doesn’t go too bad, although Ray, Winston, and Peter are a little surprised at the kick that the upgraded gear has. They take down a spook at a bowling alley with little problem and return in remarkably good spirits. Janine explains it a “mid-life crisis” to the new team, and I can understand the feeling. Sometimes you just want to feel young again, if only for a little bit.
I do think the Extreme Ghostbusters get upset with the Real team a little too conveniently and quickly, although I’m sure that there’s some territorial feelings at play here.
Of course, it really doesn’t help when the Real team tries to backseat coach the Extreme team through an encounter over the radio. Initially it goes fine for the Extremes, but they run out of juice and two more Class 4 Feeders show up. The Reals arrive in a taxi and talk all condescending-like toward the Extremes while they take down the remaining ghosts with ease. The Extremes have to admit that these “geezers” might be better… but they’re pretty demoralized even so.
With the Extremes off pouting, the Reals end up taking a call to handle even more identical Feeders. This show could really crank out fierce and sometimes genuinely frightening ghosts. These ones aren’t scary, but they are pretty aggressive, chewing up anything with metal — including cars with families inside. Egon figures out that every time they kill one of these ghosts, they duplicate, which could become a big problem if the multiplication happened enough.
Without a clear way to fight the ghosts, the Reals are helpless to restrict the Feeders from chewing up the bridge and causing a collapse. Janine calls the Extremes in for backup, and they come in the nick of time. Of course, the Extremes don’t heed the screams not to shoot the ghosts, so they do it anyway — and four become eight.
Weirdly enough, this semi-failure seems to get both teams more compassionate toward each other, and they start working together back at headquarters. Kylie figures out that it’s the Ghosbusters’ proton packs that are triggering the multiplication.
“She’s good!” Winston says. “She’s my student,” Egon smugly replies. The teams start working on modifying their gear to fuse ions together, which somehow might stop the ghosties.
Of course, before they leave, the eight Ghostbusters have to pose for… Janine I guess? It’s a hero thing, I’ve never been a part of one.
“OKAY PEOPLE, LET’S MAKE THESE SPOOKS CRY UNCLE!” I’ve missed Peter Venkman’s gung-ho battle quotes. The combined eight take down the eight ghosts, but the first episode ends on a cliffhanger as Egon picks up even larger readings out in the water.
As the second episode opens, Peter and Garrett go fishing out in the ocean, just in time to watch a tentacled killer fog roll in and sink a boat (including its two passengers). The same fog keeps Ray and Winston from boarding their flight back home for Thanksgiving, so everyone gathers back at headquarters for a meal.
“That fog ate a boat!” Garrett said. “And I think we can all agree that you don’t usually see that kind of behavior in a weather system,” Peter added. They soon take a call bringing them over to New Jersey, where whatever was in the fog rolled over a small coastal village and wiped it out.
When they made Extreme Ghostbusters, there was an attempt to take some of the same qualities from the Real Ghostbuster team and spread them around. So Peter’s persona got split between Garrett and Eduardo, for example, which makes it kind of interesting to see them hang out together like they were brothers or something.
The fog-ghost catches up with the boat and munches most of it, sending four Ghostbusters overboard. They have to ditch the proton packs because of the weight, and as all this is happening, I can’t help but think that Kylie’s hair looks so much better when it’s wet and not auditioning for a Heart cover band. Don’t worry, the Coast Guard comes to pick them up.
At headquarters, Egon says that he thinks the fog-ghost is what caused all of the Bermuda Triangle disappearances. If so, it’s a long, long way from home up here by NYC. Ray thinks it’s a teenager. Thanks, Ray.
Since the entity is heading toward the city, the eight Ghostbusters fly out to Liberty Island to put themselves between it and several million people. Long story short, the guys in grey can’t stop it… and the thing eats the Statue of Liberty. It also consumes the Twin Towers which is really unsettling in retrospect.
Needing additional firepower, the team grabs a couple of trucks and start converting them. One gets turned into a tank with a giant proton gun, while the other (a garbage truck) is converted into a big ghost trap. Ask your parents to buy them for you this Christmas, kids!
Unless there’s one mother of a reset button at the end of this episode, New York City will suffer billions upon billions of dollars of damage — not to mention the loss of most of its iconic structures and many skyscrapers. This thing is wrecking everything like an unstoppable tidal wave.
The showdown happens in Central Park where, after some on-the-scene jury-rigging, the trucks manage to stop and trap the entity.
And there’s my reset button, right on time! Anything the Bermuda Triangle monster ate is returned intact to the city, including the buildings and people.
All eight Ghostbusters, friends forever, return to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal — and swear at Slimer, who ate both of the turkeys.
And there you have it, kids: The one and only time on television that two generations of Ghostbusters collided. It’s actually a great ride, even if the ghost from the second episode isn’t all that interesting. At least I got to dine on some nostalgia, which I pass on to you. Enjoy the leftovers.