The Saturday Morning Show at the Nerdist Theater is hosted by Kyle Clark and Dominic Moschitti. They greet audience members with bowls of sugary cereal before the show starts. It’s a Mystery Science Theater type of show where Kyle, Dominic and their guests watch old cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s and make fun of them. I had a hard time telling who was saying what because the performers are not on stage illuminated, but off to the side in the dark. It didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the show but did hurt the accuracy of this recap, so I’ll just apologize in advance for that. If I had sat closer to the front of the room I think I could have provided a more accurate recap.
Kyle and Dominic thanked everyone who had made it to their inaugural edition of the Saturday Morning Show. They said that this was actually an intervention because Adam Dorsey’s dopeness had become a problem. They told us that to prepare for the show they’d watched Nickelodeon bumpers for four hours and drank all the beers in the fridge. Dominic said he also ate all the Samoas. Kyle told us that the one idea that they didn’t keep from an early brainstorming session was Dominic’s idea that everyone could show up in pajamas.
The pair then welcomed the evenings guest panelist, Dominic Dierkes and Hampton Yount who shouted, “Lets do it,” as he took the stage. Kyle told us the he had selected an episode of The Real Ghostbusters that was actually terrifying, called “The Boogieman Cometh.” You can watch Part One on Youtube if you follow this link:: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_a0fY0qI3M
During the opening credits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pDZpNNLXlM the panel was having a blast and quipped about how it’s weird that the Ghostbusters let Slimer hang out and the phallic nature of energy beams. As the show began the panel noted that Arsenio Hall does the voice of Winston, the black Ghostbuster and also the only cartoon Ghostbuster that looks like his real world counterpart. They also pointed out that the guy who does the voice of Bill Murray’s ghost-busting avatar also does the voice of Garfield on the show Garfield and Friends; (which I’ll point out, makes for a strange Hollywood Ouroboros www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros when you realize that Bill Murray did the voice of Garfield in the recent CGI feature length film Garfield.
The episode starts with the Ghostbusters in their hearse chasing a ghost who’s driving a car. The panelist wondered at what point do the real cops get involved. The ghost looked like a fish with trout-like lips and gills and also was wearing a fedora and suit like an Italian gangster, I think Hampton asked Kyle to pause it so he could say that the ghost looked like he had,”slept with the fishes and then had kids with the fishes and raised those kids.”
The panelist found it odd that Ghostbusters all sleep in the same room and pondered what Slimer was when he was alive, “a kid who died of AIDS,” or, “Wesley Willis.”
Two little kids offer the Ghostbusters everything in their blue piggy-bank in exchange for the Ghostbuster’s help. The Ghostbusters agree to help the kids and follow them back to their home to investigate a monster in the closet. The panelist made quips about how piggy-banks aren’t blue, Egon’s character having a rat-tail and the cartoon version of Dan Akroyd looking much thinner than his real-world counterpart.
The monster that the Ghostbusters discover in the children’s closet is described by one panelist as looking like it was drawn by, “a Muslim who hates Jews.” The Ghostbusters soon follow the Boogieman into the closet discovering a universe of doors he uses to terrify children, (the panelist points out that it looks similar to the hall of doors in the movie Monsters Inc. and wondered if Pixar might have ripped it off.)
When Murray’s Venkman says “as an interior decorator this guy makes a good boogieman,” the panelist decode it as a weird anti-joke from the mind by a frustrated writer abandoning his dreams, to make ends meet by working on kid’s shows.
As the episode winded down, Kyle noted that there was always a, “dancy R&B chase scene” in every episode of The Real Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters final showdown with the Boogieman involved a proton-pack-powered-ghost-bomb, some marbles and a-”YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”-moment on a bridge; not just, “more lasers” as one panelist predicted. The credits rolled over footage of the Ghostbusters walking in a parade in their honor.
After the episode Kyle invited Lewis Sequeira on stage to read a serious essay about what it means to be a real Ghostbuster. Below I have printed Sequeria’s essay in full:
Realism Dialectics and the Family Romance in “The Real Ghostbusters.”
by Lewis Sequeira
The writers of “The Boogieman Cometh” seem to have taken up the
mantle of one of the 19th century’s most well-respected ghost-story
writers, Henry James. James’ novel The Turn of the Screw is a famously
ambiguous piece of work, seeming to anticipate postmodernist New
Criticism, with its unremitting doubleness. The governess could be
heroically protecting her students (two children, a boy and a girl, in
a parallel to our episode) or driven insane by her own sexual
frustration. After all, what is the more legitimate of the two choices
when they’re both equally fictional? Can fictions be further
fictionalized through interpretative action? Is what we imagine purely
imaginary or something somehow more substantial? In this essay, we
will examine the Jamesian notion of realism and the interpretative realism
dialectic and finally get to know the real The Real
In a sense, the world of The Real Ghostbusters is one composed of
dualities, lively dialectic arguments in the midst of which one could
feel as though they were in the Greece of the Socratic Dialogues.
Numerous dualities exist at the heart of the episode: young and old;
fear and bravery; animation and live-action. What constitutes reality
in this world? Central to the plot is the duality of ghost and
boogeyman. The realism in Ghostbusters is contingent on the fact that
the world is inhabited by ghosts — what then is the boogeyman? How is
the boogeyman different than a ghost? They’re both monsters. But the
boogeyman is more directly associated with children, representing a
child’s unique conception of the monster archetype. Taking this into
account, we change the whole vocabulary at the center of the story:
ghosts mean different things to children and adults. In a story that
is told from the joint psychological perspective of children and
adults, our question of what constitutes reality becomes complicated.
Recall that there is a car chase early in an episode with the
ghost of Edward G. Robinson. The theme song plays, indicating normalcy
in the Ghostbusters world. Consider this idealistic Ghostbusting
setting in relation to the frustrating, incomprehensible world of the
Boogeyman. The juxtaposition of these abstract realities parallels the
story’s more subtle reproductions of two central combative
psychologies, the Ghostbusters and the Children. This provides a stage
for the question essential to Jamesian ghost stories — i.e., in the
end, who’s to say what is real? In an unprecedented rhetorical
gesture, The Real Ghostbusters gives this conflict foregrounded
prominence, and, in the process, makes case for transmedia
representations of single characters and events resolving its own
existential dilemma as a multimedia franchise.
Realism is an obtuse mode for a multimedia franchise, given the
inconsistencies that arise from having to create multiple iterations
of the same characters and situations across just as many forms of
media. Peter Venkman is played in the film by the inimitable Bill
Murray, who is, in turn, imitated by, I’m pretty sure the guy from
Garfield and Friends.
How can you possibly resolve this inconsistency while at the same
time preserve your Jamesian realist aesthetic? By redefining the
parameters of realism in your world, and transforming the logical
inconsistency into a necessary byproduct of the Jamesian plural forms
of meaning. In short, anything can be anything to anyone. Meanings in
storytelling are regarded with the potential for infinite complexity.
The realism dialectic reinforces a general liminality that comes to
define the foundational elements of the realism of the Ghostbusters
Freud’s notion of the “family romance,” in which a child, growing
older and more independent, begins indulging escapist fantasy,
provides a psychological basis for the episode’s dominating sense of
liminality. “These cannot be my parents…” reasons the child. “I must
have been adopted. These adopted parents are nothing like my real
parents. My real parents are much nicer and wealthier.” At the heart
of “the family romance,” is a deep concern with storytelling; children
develop the need to invent their own stories in order to cope with the
sexualization of their bodies. “The Boogeyman Cometh” is equally
concerned with the literariness intrinsic to human experience,
commenting on form from the perspective of the two children. Children
aren’t haunted by conventional ghosts, they’re haunted by their
interpretation of a ghost, the Boogieman.
According to Egon, the Boogieman’s realm is “a sort of inbetween
place that opens up in children’s rooms all over the world.”
In a sense, the ambiguity that defines the story renders this universe
into a sort of Boogieman’s realm, a place of in-betweens, where
nothing is exactly objectively right. When the setting changes to the
Boogieman’s Realm, it enacts putatively deep, taboo urges and forces
the Ghostbusters, and by extension the audience, to participate in the
confusing sex nightmares of children.
In the end, “The Boogieman Cometh” qualifies competing fictions,
creating dimensions of fictionality that the audience reflexively
compares. Does the existence of a boogeyman make any less sense than
that of a ghost? What constitutes realism in a reflexively
interpretative audience? The realization that the comparison doesn’t
make any sense comes across as a deep, existential shock to the
viewer, whose sensibilities have already been challenged by its unique
postcolonialist concerns. The result is a labyrinthian complex of
meanings that can never be properly organized; a Borgesian library of
interpretative possibility that is at once reassuring and appallingly
After Lewis’ essay, the panelist watched a bunch of old commercials starting with a few for Ghostbuster’s toys and cereal. The panelists noticed that the Ghostbuster’s theme song was just slightly different in the commercials than it was in the movie. Then they watched some commercials for old boardgames starting with a few that were targeted at adults; Scruples and Therapy, (the former of which the panelist concluded was probably the basis for the movie Indecent Proposal.) Then they a couple different versions of Crossfire commercials, (are you supposed to italicize boardgame names?) They closed the inaugural Saturday Morning Show by watching commercials for three boardgames that the panelist concluded would fall into Milton Bradley’s,”Will-They-Buy-Anything?” Category; Shark Attack, Eat at Ralph’s, and Gooey Louie.
Most of these commercials can be found on Youtube and you can follow all these performers on Twitter: