Ghosts R Us
Production Number: 75002 [1986 - ABC Season One]

It's late at night in New York City, and the Ghostbusters are on a call to a haunted chocolate factory.

No sooner do they arrive when the factory explodes, raining chocolate down onto hundreds of terrified factory employees and the Ghostbusters themselves.

This place sure has a lot of employees... and they're all women....many of which look identical...

And of course, Slimer takes full advantage of this little incident...

Upon entering the factory, Ray is promptly hit in the face with more chocolate, and a small red ghoulish little goblin appears to be the culprit.

The ghost (named Slug) rides a piece of machinery up to a platform where he is joined by two other laughing specters - a pink female ghost (Snarg) and an ugly fat "baby" ghost with a huge diaper (Zonk) - they're a mischievous ghost family of sorts. Egon takes a reading with the PKE meter, but detects "almost no intellect".


Zonk remarks about how stupid the "mortals" look, and they quickly jump down a pipe into a large candy-producing machine to hide. The Ghostbusters gather around and demand that they come out, which results in more chocolate-in-face hilarity:

"I don't think they're taking us seriously."


But Peter's had enough fooling around and starts blasting his proton beam into the pipe while Ray holds an open trap at the other end of the candy machine. Within moments, the machine explodes and the ghosts are easily forced out and into the trap.


The evening's events make the local news and the owner of the candy factory bestows a year's supply of chocolate on the Ghostbusters for a job well done.


The Ghostbusters return to the fire house and for reasons I don't quite understand, they decide to give all the chocolate to their secretary, Janine.


But Janine is upset when she discovers that all of the candy boxes are empty. Well, all except one...


Slimer flies out of the last box, bounces off of Peter (thoroughly sliming him) and hides behind a ceiling lamp. Peter is angry about the ordeal and threatens that if he causes one more slip-up, then Slimer's outta here.


Ray dumps the captured ghosts into the containment unit and the Ghostbusters turn in for the night. However, Slimer keeps dreaming about food and can't sleep, so he goes to get something to eat from the kitchen.


Winston is awoken by the sound of the refrigerator door opening and goes to investigate, but he doesn't find the cause of the noise since he doesn't notice Slimer hiding underneath the stairs in the basement. Winston goes back to bed...


...and Slimer is so relieved that he wasn't caught that he slides down the wall, and accidentally hits the lever that shuts off the containment.

Now, I find it a little strange that Winston heard the refrigerator door open, but doesn't at all notice the alarms going off when the containement is shutting down, and nor does anyone else for that matter, but moving on...


As Slimer continues to eat his meal, he finally notices the containment shutting down and remembers what Peter said about how if he messed up one more time, he'd be thrown out.


Slimer quickly pushes the lever back up so the containment unit continues to stay on and function as normal, but not before something was able to escape through the pipes and onto the roof...


Yes, it's those same three ghosts from the chocolate factory.


"I thought I told you to put him on a diet!" ..... "I did! But he only lost weight from his head!"


Slug says he has a plan to put the Ghostbusters out of business, and changes his form to look a little more human... I guess... Which freaks out Zonk and causes him to accidentally launch Slug off the TV antenna.



Slug wastes no time in putting his plan to work. Zonk appears at a hospital and starts making goofy faces to scare the patients. Within moments, Slug and Snarg, disguised as humans and claiming to be from a company called "Ghosts R Us", show up to "bust" him.


The Ghostbusters have also been called to the scene, but when they arrive it's too late. Ghosts R Us have already beaten them to the punch.


Back at the fire house, Janine claims she's been getting calls all day from people asking about "Ghosts R Us". Peter and Winston suspect that they are phonies, but Egon insists the PKE meter said they definitely had a "Class 5 phantom" in their containment device.


While at the fire house, the Ghostbusters get another call for a haunting at the Smalldorf Hotel. Of course, once they arrive they discover that Ghosts R Us have again gotten there ahead of them and already taken care of the problem. Egon acknowledges that this company is putting them out of business (even though Zonk's stupidity almost gives them away.)


Peter and Winston begin to feel like there's something familiar about these people. As Slug and his crew drive off, Zonk complains that he's getting tired of this gig and wants to know how much longer he has to keep it up. Slug says he has one more job to pull off and the Ghostbusters will be out of business for good.


Meanwhile, the Ghostbusters are heading home when they receive a call from Janine. She tells them that the PKE meter is saying that three ghosts have escaped from the containment unit. Egon says it is impossible for anything to escape the grid unless it's been shut off. Somehow, they deduce Slimer is responsible for this. (Well, he is, but I'm not exactly sure how they arrive at that conclusion.) Peter also finally realizes that "Ghosts R Us" are actually the same three ghosts from the chocolate factory.


While still on the same call, Janine tells them that she just received a call from someone claiming there's a ghost at an old abandoned toy factory. They agree to go, hoping that the Ghosts R Us goons will be there waiting for them. The call was, of course, made by Slug and crew, as they are hoping to lure the Ghostbusters into a trap. Off to the old toy factory they go...


The toy factory proves to be too creepy even for Zonk, who wants to leave right away, but Slug insists that his old friend Turlock lives here. Slug thinks Turlock can help them get rid of the Ghostbusters for good. Slug peers into a grating in the wall and starts yelling loudly for Turlock, banging a pipe around, and generally making a lot of noise.


And then there's this really great moment where the camera zooms far away from Slug, into the complete darkness, as the music changes to something creepier and a horrible moaning sound starts emanating from somewhere beyond the grate. "That's good, Turlock, but we're not ready yet!", yells Slug, but the moaning gets louder and louder. Suddenly, he's blown backwards by something coming out of the grate!


Slug realizes this is not Turlock and demands to know what happened to him. "Gone... permanently... and you... have disturbed me..." is the thing's answer. Slug freaks out and runs away.


The smokey monster starts gathering up old toys lying around in the factory and pulls them into a machine. The machine explodes and... something ... starts coming out of it. Something really big...


The Ghostbusters finally arrive and think that, for once, they're the first ones here, but then... LOL.


Slug and company hurry out of the toy factory with the toy monster hot on their heels. Ray remarks that the monster must be at least a Class 7, to which Egon responds that it's a full-magnitude Class 10, causing the little PKE meter arrow to bust out the side.


The toy monster goes on a rampage through New York, riding a giant tricycle and crushing a ton of cars in its path. It heads straight for the Brooklyn Bridge, angrily chasing after the three ghosts that disturbed its slumber. Peter and Winston go after it in Ecto-1, while Egon and Ray attempt to head it off at the end of the bridge in the Ecto-2 helicopter.


When Egon and Ray land the Ecto-2, Slug, Snarg, and Zonk are still running from the toy monster and are just about to come their way. Egon gets a trap ready, and the three bumbling ghosts fall right into it. However, they've still got problems as the toy monster has spotted them.


Peter and Winston are trying to get there in Ecto-1, but traffic has slowed them down. Peter takes a shortcut by driving Ecto-1 along the side of the bridge. Peter also reminds them along the way that if it wasn't for Slimer, none of this would have happened. Meanwhile, the toy monster takes a swipe at Ecto-2 with its teddy bear claws. Egon sees it coming and the helicopter goes airborne, causing the monster to miss.


The monster then notices the other Ghostbusters arrive in the Ecto-1 and attempts to stomp on them, but Peter quickly speeds the car into reverse, backing right into a disabled tractor trailer.


Ecto-2 comes back around and Egon tells Ray to "aim for the monkey". Ray hits the monkey with his proton beam and knocks it off... causing THIS horrible thing to pop out like a jack-in-the-box.


Ray's next plan is to fire a grappling hook at it, which does manage to hit the target, but predictably causes the monster to whirl Ecto-2 around like a lasso.


Peter and Winston fire their proton beams at the monster's leg, causing it to fall over and release Ecto-2. The helicopter crash lands on top of the bridge.


Though they tripped it up, the proton beams cannot actually stop the monster. In its rage, it starts running up the bridge cables to get Ecto-2. Winston and Peter are at a loss to stop it. Slimer suddenly remembers what Peter said about this being "all his fault", and starts growling like an angry dog.


Despite Ray's protests, Slimer heads right for the monster and slimes the bridge cable in front of its foot. The monster slips on it and falls into the river. Meanwhile, Egon had set Ecto-2 to "full power overload", meaning it's going to explode.


The pieces of the monster's toy form bob lifelessly in the river water, and then, holy shit!


But it's too late for the ugly beast to do anything as Ecto-2 goes critical and explodes, taking the monster with it, but somehow leaving the bridge unscathed.


With the day won, Peter and Slimer make up, although it results in Peter getting slimed again. Winston comments that it's a happy ending, but Egon replies, "Not for everybody", as he holds up the trap with Slug's family in it. "Did we win yet, Pop?" "Oh, shut up!"

Notes & Trivia

While the plot of this episode is a little weak, it's not a bad one to start off with. It showcases the series' ability to utilize both comical ghosts and more serious, scary ghosts. It makes some great use of facial expressions and has a solid structure and good pacing.

The main problem I have comes from a weird time discrepancy present throughout the episode. In Act 1, the Ghostbusters pull off the chocolate factory job late at night. Later on in the episode, near the end of Act 2, Peter says that "Ghosts R Us" remind him of the three ghosts they busted "this morning". While it could have been after midnight and technically been morning, that's still a weird way to put it. I would have said, "last night" instead of "this morning". This also implies that all of this episode's events happen over a 24-hour period. While we only actually see two "Ghosts R Us" calls, I assumed there may have been many more. But since it all happens in one day, probably not, and therefore it seems a little silly for Egon to think they're going out of business after Ghosts R Us beats them to only 2 calls.

According to the DVD commentary track, "It's raining chocolate!" was Arsenio Hall's audition line for the role of Winston Zeddemore. That line is in this episode and it's what got him the job.

Slug and Snarg are based on Archie and Edith Bunker from All in the Family. This is confirmed by the commentary track. Slug also reminds me of Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners.

Slug and Zonk's names are mentioned in the episode itself, but Snarg is never mentioned by name. However, the guide book that comes with the DVD provides a name for her.

The subtext of this episode is making fun of Filmation's Ghostbusters. This is verified by the commentary track. When Janine answers the phone and says, "No ma'am, this is the real Ghostbusters, not Ghosts R Us" and later, "Ghostbusters, we're still #1", these lines are specific jabs at Filmation. The moral of the episode is basically, "We're the real Ghostbusters and anyone else is a phony."

Smalldorf Hotel is most definitely a reference to the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. They probably couldn't use the name of the actual hotel for copyright reasons.

The people on the commentary track noted how much the toy factory monster's smoke form uncannily resembles the smoke monster from Lost.

Turlock, who we never actually see, is named after a city in California. Confirmed by writer Len Jansen on the commentary track.

The Tahiti song "Driving Me Crazy" plays during the part where Ecto-2 launches from the back of Ecto-1 as the toy monster is smashing cars along the bridge.

The parts of the toy monster include a tricycle, teddy bear, letter block, a monkey with cymbals, and a jack in the box.

A wind-up key can be seen on the toy monster's back when it first leaves the factory, but it isn't there in any later shots.

When Peter tells Slimer, "You look mahvelous!", he is quoting Billy Crystal from the Saturday Night Live sketch, "Fernando's Hideaway". This is also confirmed by the commentary track.

Okay, I saved the most obvious reference for last, let's just get it out of the way: Yes, "Ghosts R Us", with the R spelled backwards that I can't actually type like that here, is most likely a reference to Toys R Us, the popular toy store chain. Makes sense considering the episode's finale.

Final note of the day: Oldschool children's toys are creepy. It's for that reason I also found the nursery in Shadow Man for N64 creepy as well as Frantic Factory in Donkey Kong 64.



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