I was 10 years old when the original Ghostbusters came out. I remember everyone in fourth grade talking about it. Everyone talking about how the “only REALLY scary part was in the library and its RIGHT at the beginning, after that it’s HILARIOUS.”
And it was. I got over my fear of whatever was in the library, and went, and LAUGHED. MY. ASS. OFF. And I felt cool. I felt like I “got” something that the older kids “got.” And grown-ups too. Ghostbusters had everything. It had unlikely leads, the nerd, a couple nerdier nerds and the deadpanned slacker saving the world. It had great special effects that still hold up pretty well. It had some cheeky romance, an exploding marshmallow man and plenty of fun evil bureaucrats to hate even if you weren’t old enough to understand bureaucracy.
I don’t remember being in love with Bill Murray. I remember wanting to BE Bill Murray. And at the time, I didn’t think there was any reason to believe I COULDN’T be Bill Murray. Why wouldn’t I identify with him? He was AWESOME. He was lazy and sarcastic and FOUGHT FUCKING GHOSTS. I don’t remember any of my girlfriends wanting to dress up like Dana/Zool and lounge around on a gargoyle wearing a red drape, but I do remember thinking a GREAT merchandise idea would be water guns shaped like Proton packs. (You can have that, Sony. All yours.) I would have begged for one. Ghostbusters wasn’t just for boys — even though it had boy leads. Ghostbusters was for everybody.
When I see the level of vitriol aimed at the Ghostbusters reboot, it simply makes my heart hurt. I get it when people are suspicious of reboots because they are so attached to the originals. But come on. This is unique. This isn’t a Jar Jar Binks, or a Ben Affleck/Batman situation. People really, truly hate the idea of women (four of the funniest working comedians today, but we will get back to that) “taking over” their beloved Ghostbusters. But I don’t feel like women are taking it over. I feel like women are getting to finally be Bill Murray. I feel like I get to see some of the funniest women in the world doing their proven brands of comedy AND FIGHTING FUCKING GHOSTS. Why isn’t THIS Ghostbusters for everybody? If you don’t like Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon or Jones, okayyyyyyyy…I guess…? You probably just don’t like comedy then. Or you are one of those permanently irrelevant humans that still think women aren’t funny. No need to be an asshole about it. Maybe just go watch a Three Stooges marathon and stop sucking the joy out of our shit. Or as my 6 year-old would say, “Stop yucking my yum.”
Gen X Guys, hear me out. It wasn’t JUST YOURS. You didn’t own it. We all did. All of us girls were right by your sides, cheering on Peter Venkman as he declared it was “time to show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown.”
Perhaps let’s take a beat on the hate and try to reframe your expectations here. Maybe this isn’t Prince performing “Let’s Go Crazy.” Maybe this is that viral video of the Hamilton cast performing their version of “Let’s Go Crazy.” Not the original, but equally chillingly awesome and special for it’s very own reasons.
And take your kids! Because if you are old enough to feel so precious about the first Ghostbusters, you likely have them by now. Let your daughters AND your sons believe that they could all grow up to be Kristin Wiig or Leslie Jones and be gut splittingly funny while kicking ghost ass.
Besides, once you show them the first Ghostbusters, they are probably going to beg you to see the new one anyway. (And they are not going to understand why you are being so bitchy about it). So stop yucking their yum and take them.
See you there.
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