“Ugly little spud, isn’t he?” – Dr. Raymond Stantz
John Belushi was originally supposed to play Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters before his tragic death in 1982. In honor of Belushi, screenwriters Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd told their FX guy, Steve Johnson, to model Slimer—whose moniker at the time was “Onion Head Ghost”—after their friend. A ghost of pure Ectoplasm (with a gigantic appetite), Slimer is the first spirit ever captured by the Ghostbusters. As Bill Murray’s Venkman puts it, “We came, we saw, we kicked [his] ass!” You wouldn’t necessarily call the Ghostbusters and Slimer’s relationship friendly. However, like all toxic relationships, Slimer’s standing with the Ghostbusters evolved into something resembling that of a pet…maybe even a pet peeve.
A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly irritating to them, like the feeling of being annoyed when a pet doesn’t do as they’re told. That said, the films spend very little time exploring the wants, needs, and pet peeves of the Ghostbusters’ favorite pet, that’s right, Slimer. For example, how did Slimer feel about the Ghostbusters catching ghosts for a living right in front of him? Sure, some of them have it coming—causing death and destruction across the city. But others, those like Slimer, unable to move on due to an overwhelming appetite, don’t deserve imprisonment. In this edition of Mandatory Movie Speculation, we attempt to better empathize with the “ugly little spud.”
The proverb “blood is thicker than water” means that the bonds made by choice are more important than the ones bound by the water of the womb or, in Slimer’s case, the Ectoplasm of the afterlife. True to Ramis and Aykroyd’s intention (albeit unintentional), the character of Slimer (a staple of the franchise) exemplifies the everlasting bonds of friendship. So, Slimer couldn’t care less about the (original) Ghostbusters catching ghosts for a living. He supports it because it bodes well to support one’s friends.
Conclusion: Slimer ain’t afraid of no ghost(s).
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