Study Guide

Ghostbusters Love

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PETER: I have to go now, Jennifer, but I'd like to work with you some more. Perhaps you could come back this evening, say at—

JENNIFER: Eight o'clock?

PETER: I was just about to say eight o'clock! You are a legitimate phenomenon!

When we first meet Venkman, he's way more about sex than love. In his first scene, we see him convincing a pretty young co-ed that she has ESP just to get her in bed. Way to be creepy Dr. Venkman.

LOUIS: Listen, that reminds me, you shouldn't leave your TV on so loud when you go out. The creep down the hall phoned the manager.

DANA: That's strange. I didn't realize I'd left it on.

LOUIS: Well, yeah, you know what I did? I climbed on the ledge and tried to disconnect the cable, but I couldn't get in, so you know what I did? I turned my TV up real loud too so everyone would think all our TVs had something wrong with them.

Venkman's only competition for Dana is Louis, her nerdy accountant neighbor, though really Louis is no competition at all. It's clear that Louis is head over heels for Dana, however, especially since he climbed out on the ledge of the building to help her not get in trouble with the super.

JANINE: You're very handy. I can tell. I bet you like to read a lot, too.

EGON: Print is dead.

JANINE: Oh, that's very fascinating to me. I read a lot myself. Some people think I'm too intellectual, but I think it's a fabulous way to spend your spare time. I also play racquetball. Do you have any hobbies?

EGON: I collect spores, molds and fungus.

It's really common in romantic comedies for there to be a main romantic couple and then a secondary one that's mostly played for laughs. In Ghostbusters, that couple is Janine and Egon. They buck convention, because the woman is the sexually aggressive one and sex seems like the furthest thing from the hyper-intellectual Egon's mind.

PETER: I'm gonna go for broke. I am madly in love with you.

DANA: I don't believe this. Will you please leave?

PETER: And then she threw me out of her life. She thought I was a creep, she thought I was a geek and she probably wasn't the first...

Venkman is up to his old tricks again when he hits on Dana while inspecting her apartment. Just like with the sexy young co-ed we saw him with at the top of the movie, he's using his supposed paranormal expertise to try and get a date. Dana is a lot more with it than that co-ed, though, so he's going to have to come up with a new approach.

PETER: I'll prove myself to you! [...] And then you'll say, "Pete Venkman's a guy who can get things done!"

The script pulls a popular narrative trick here by tying the main plot in with a love story. Peter is going to win Dana's love by taking care of her Zuul problem. It's really not a lot different than all those stories about knights killing whatever monster to either rescue the fair lady or to win her heart.

PETER: I'm working on that. If we could get together Thursday night, I'm thinking nine-ish, you know, we could exchange information.

DANA: I can't see you Thursday, I'm busy!

PETER: Miss Barrett, you seem to think there is something wrong up here in your mind that says: he enjoys taking his evenings off and spending them with his clients. No. I'm making a special exception in your case. Because... I respect you. It's corny but I respect you as artist. And as a dresser, too! This is a magnificent coordination you have going here today.

DANA: All right. I'll see you Thursday.

On Peter's second pass at Dana, she finally gives in to his shtick. At this point, the Ghostbusters have become successful, which probably makes her feel more comfortable with Venkman's general weirdness. Also, he's actually come up with some research on her Zuul problem, so maybe he seems more legit. Still, we can't help but wonder if on some level we're supposed to think that she's in some way dazzled with his newfound stardom.

DANA: Take me now, subcreature.

PETER: [...] I make it a rule never to get involved with possessed people. Actually, it's more of a guideline than a rule.

DANA: I want you inside me.

PETER: [...] No, I can't, sounds like you've already got at least two people in there already.

Venkman's hot date with Dana turns hotter than he expected when he finds her possessed by Zuul. Though he has to wrestle with the decision (and Dana) a bit, he eventually says nah to having sex with her. Could this mean that he's actually starting to develop sincere feelings for the real Dana? Or is it just that having sex with a possessed person is too freaky even for Peter.

LOUIS: I am the Keymaster!

DANA: I am the Gatekeeper.

At last Zuul/Dana and Vinz/Louis meet, and quickly get involved in a pretty fierce kiss, which leads to everything else. It's great how the movie defies our expectations here. We were expecting Venkman and Dana together, but instead Dana and Louis do first. Yeah, they're possessed by demon dog demi-gods at the time, but still. What makes this hook-up extra funny is that neither Dana nor Louis remembers it at the end of the movie.

PETER: Hello, New York! Well, hi, everyone! Dr. Ray Stantz! Would you please? The heart of the Ghostbusters! Thank you. They love you. They love you here!

The way we figure it, there are two kinds of love here. There's the love of the adoring crowd, which Venkman adores himself. Also, we see brotherly love between Peter and Ray, as Venkman somewhat uncharacteristically gives his fellow Ghostbuster some props.

WINSTON: I love this town!

Winston's screams this out after the defeat of Gozer/the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Here, we see a whole other kind of love: love of city. Not so uncommon after a major disaster, huh?

The crowd cheers for the Ghostbusters. PETER gives DANA a long kiss on the lips. [...] EGON leaves building. JANINE runs into his arms.


They kiss. He pats her cheeks.

The movie wraps up our love stories without any dialogue. Peter and Dana kiss, wrapping up our A plot love story, and Janine plants one on Egon, wrapping up our comic B plot love story. Sure, this is an 80's comedy about guys that bust ghosts, but it works in the same way as the comedies of Shakespeare… where everybody gets married at the end.

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