Citizen Ghost

Season 1, Episode 11

Title: Citizen Ghost

Originally Aired: November 22, 1986

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski

Review Date: June 7, 2014

Watch It: Volume 1, Disc 2

Synopsis: After the success of Ghostbusters, news reporter Cynthia Crawford interviews Dr. Venkman about The Real Ghostbusters. The real question is finally answered, how did a ghost come to live with them?

Trivia: According to the introduction on Volume 1, Disc 2 J. Michael Straczynski explained he wrote Citizen Ghost because people would ask why would a ghost live with Ghostbusters. He use to make notes which became longer. Eventually he wrote an episode out of laziness.

Firehouse – Exterior

It just popped in there: As we’re getting a birds eye view of the Firehouse, what appears to be three oil drums or barrels can be seen. Two of them are on their sides. Seems a bit environmentally irresponsible. If this was today, people could post negative reviews on business related sites. Which could temporarily hurt The Real Ghostbusters business. Wouldn’t be the first time.

It’s Technical: The Ghostbusters “no ghost” logo sign, which is lit is flickering. This means it either just needs a replacement bulb or their’s too much power for The Real Ghostbusters electrical box to handle. Must be the latter.

A cab pulls up to The Real Ghostbusters firehouse. A woman exits a cab, entering the smaller door.

Firehouse – Interior – Office Area

Quote: “Well, if I must, I must. All things considered I’d rather be Meryl Streep. But then wouldn’t we all?” – Janine

Reference: Actress Meryl Streep is a New Jersey native and is considered by critics to be “the greatest living actress.” Around the time of Citizen Ghost she had played Rachel Samstat in Heartburn.

Cynthia Crawford from UBN news is here to interview Peter.

It just popped in there: U.B.N could stand for United Busters Network. That is pure “fun” speculation.

Janine informs her Peter is upstairs, as Cynthia begins to go upstairs we can hear a humming noise, Janine warns her not to go up, and begins a 28 second countdown. After 1, we hear a major malfunction. Routine for Janine and The Real Ghostbusters, for Cynthia she seems less than enthused.

It just popped in there: Since when are people (with appointments) allowed to leave the garage/office area to go upstairs? I know it was different, Mrs. Rogers was shown around by Janine, at least at first.

Firehouse – Lab Area


The Real Ghostbusters (most likely Egon and Ray) have been working on a large piece of equipment. Its smoking, creating sparks, and visible electricity.

Quotes: “Nice one Egon. I think you took out most of Bayonne with that one. Would you like to try for the Bronx this time? – Peter

Quotes: “Hey, I was born in The Bronx!” – Ray

Quotes: “I would say that was a good enough reason, wouldn’t you?” – Peter

You’ll need a reference: Bayonne is a city in New Jersey, built on a peninsula.

You’ll need a reference: The Bronx is one of New York City’s 5 boroughs. In Ghostbusters Ray tells Peter and Egon as they exit Manhattan Bank he was born in the house they used for financial collateral. Peter tells the guys to relax in part because everyone has three mortgages these days. How 1980s economic stability. :p


It just popped in there: Winston obviously knows this equipment isn’t working right. Why would he touch a part of it, getting hurt even a little

Quote: “You know I wish you guys would figure out what this thing’s suppose to be. If I’m going to be disintegrated, I’d at least like to know by what.” – Winston

Firehouse – Offices

Some time has passed with the interview which is being recorded with a cassette tape. Peter is telling Cynthia about a time in 3rd grade and a big guy name Rick. This isn’t the preview interview on the history of The Real Ghostbusters she wanted.

You’ll need a reference: Peter has a couple of toys on his desk. One appears to be a Transformer and the other some kind of plastic dinosaur.

You’ll need a reference: In Ghostbusters, naturally Dr. Peter Venkman had the biggest and front office behind Janine Melnitz’s desk. There wouldn’t be enough room for more desks like this cartoon counterpart.

As Peter appears to be rushing through the pre interview, pieces of the ceiling are loosened by the upstairs large equipment malfunctioning majorly again. Slimer appears in Peter’s office, startling Cynthia.

Quote: “Isn’t it a bit strange for a bunch of Ghostbusters to have a ghost living with them?” – Cynthia

With the pre interview over, Peter begins to explain about why and how Slimer came to live with them. We begin to see the history with a flashback from a framed photo of the Firehouse with structural damage.

Quote: “We just stopped Gozer The Gozerian from flattening the world. Though too late to save our HQ.” – Peter

You’ll need a reference: Of course Gozer The Gozerian was very big in Sumeria. With Ray’s help, she conjured the Traveller as a 100 foot marshmallow man. With Egon’s super intelligence and their state of the art equipment, they were able to drive Gozer back into an inter dimensional doorway, saving the world until the sequel.

Firehouse – Garage/Office Areas


The (Real) Ghostbusters come home to their damaged firehouse, wearing their khaki colored uniforms, covered in melted marshmallow.


Sorry, I missed it: The Real Ghostbusters don’t wear name patches. The actors playing the characters did in Ghostbusters. Also, the ghosts in the “no ghost” logos aren’t really colored in white.

Quotes: “The second order of business is to rebuild the Containment grid so we’ll have some place to put the ghosts. I think I’ll make it bigger.” – Egon

Quotes: “Get rid of our uniforms. They absorbed a frightening amount of Psycho Kinetic Energy during our battle with Gozer. They’ll have to be destroyed.” – Egon

Slimer can be seen hiding among the damage. Coincidentally the new uniforms The Real Ghostbusters ordered were delivered before the (Real) Ghostbusters battle with Gozer.


You’ll need a reference: Besides explaining why The Real Ghostbusters needed new uniforms, the color uniforms (and Egon’s blond hair) came about because its a cartoon, albeit a sophisticated one for children. The bright colors help define each character and help their first series figures stand out.

I always liked when details like these were added into the series.

It just popped in there: Oh, so that’s why The Ghostbusters didn’t wear them at the end of Ghostbusters, all that confusion. Despite a building size skylight, Janine seems happy. Or crushing on Egon? If they hadn’t hired Winston, she should definitely receive an employee of the year reward for staying around.

It just popped in there: Wouldn’t it be better just learning what Egon told them to change out of the old uniforms before even touching the new ones?

Sorry, I missed it: Ray’s Ghost Trap which is on his Proton Pack is missing its yellow coloring on the doors.

Firehouse – Basement – Containment Unit


Egon and Peter are working on the new, bigger Ecto-Containment Unit. The marshmallow covered uniforms are in the new uniform box close to the new Containment Unit.

It’s Technical: The Containment Unit has the following parts: transtator, field generator, ionization decay meter, plasmatic refractor, anti-ectoplasm destruct mechanism, bi-polar adjustor.

Quotes: “Transwarp drive.” – Egon.

Quotes: “Check.” – Peter

Quotes: “Ah ha, I caught you. We don’t have a Transwarp drive.” – Egon

Quotes: “If we don’t have one, then it can’t malfunction. If it’s not malfunctioning, then nothing’s wrong. If nothing’s wrong, then it checks right?” – Peter

Quotes: “I’m not going to talk to you for at least a week. It’s not good for me.” – Egon

You’ll need a reference: Transwarp drive is a fictional experimental starship engine (hence warp drive) from Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and much later on Star Trek: Voyager. Originally it was sabotaged by Scotty so the experimental USS Excelsior wouldn’t be able to stop some Enterprise personnel from stealing the suppose to be decommissioned flagship.

Nerd Talk: During the era of Voyager, the warp drive was modified for transwarp speeds (beyond warp 10) to really cross the universe. Unfortunately, at least for a while it devolved two senior crew members, turning them into some kind of lizards!

It just popped in there: Yes, the Firehouse was being rebuilt and The Containment Unit is just as important, if not more. Why weren’t the old uniforms taken care of almost immediately? Yes their is trust, (after all they saved the world together) Egon or Ray should have gotten rid of the old uniforms instead of asking Peter who of course partially put it off.


With the old uniforms now very close to the Containment Unit, a crack in the containment field allows ectoplasmic energy to leak out steadily. The old uniforms are absorbing it. They’re too busy rushing to repair the Firehouse to notice where they felt they were being watched.

Firehouse – Kitchen

With the Firehouse restored and renovated, the guys and Janine sit down to a celebration meal, coincidentally near Thanksgiving. It isn’t long before they can hear and detect a ghost.

Its Technical: Egon who has his P.K.E. Meter with him, picks up a reading really close by.


It just popped in there/You’ll need a reference: Slimer, like his movie counterpart, “Onionhead” to no one’s surprise loves to eat. Although Slimer had been hanging around the Firehouse, he may have originally come back to it from near Dana and Louis’ former apartment high rise. Speculation from when we see Slimer at the very end of Ghostbusters.

Quote: “It’s him. Its the one who slimed me at the hotel.” – Peter

Reference: While searching for Onionhead, after Ray radios about it being “an ugly little spud,” the ghost who he’ll later name Slimer flies down a The Sedgewick Hotel hallway sliming Peter. Turning the word slime into a verb.

The Real Ghostbusters quickly get their Proton Packs. Peter fires at Slimer by the garage doors, missing.

It just popped in there: Where did The Real Ghostbusters park ECTO-1? Good thing it isn’t in the garage coincidentally where it could get damaged by proton beams.

It just popped in there: I understand why The Real Ghostbusters are trying to capture Slimer. They know the kind of damage their equipment can cause. They must have spent a lot of money not covered by insurance to rebuild the Firehouse and more. Firing licensed nuclear accelerators indoors isn’t the safest return on their investment.

Sorry, I missed it: This may not be a goof, after they lose Slimer the close up of Ray and Winston makes them seem heavier then they are. It could also be the perspective with the scene.

Egon, then The Real Ghostbusters come up with reasons why Slimer didn’t escape after The Containment Unit exploded. They’re quick to dismiss Janine’s theory that they’re the first people to pay attention to Slimer and that’s why he hangs around.

Firehouse – Computer Lab & Garage Areas


During the week The Real Ghostbusters saw more of Slimer and reacted in their own ways:

  • Egon, using a high tech computer to study Slimer.
  • Winston, being polite and friendly to Slimer.
  • Ray, who basically treats Slimer like a pet, wanting to train him “to do all kinds of stuff.”
  • Peter, remains on alert and would sooner capture Slimer then keep him around.

Quote: “You know, Peter’s right. We need to give you a name. Just to annoy Peter, let’s say we call you Slimer.” – Ray

It just popped in there: Janine, who will have plenty of opportunities to react to Slimer in her own way wasn’t around. She could have been doing something else at the firehouse since business appears slow, could have been out, or maybe she was off.

Firehouse – Basement – Containment Unit – Night

As it was getting back to sorta business as usual, the old uniforms continued absorbing ectoplasmic energy from the crack in the containment field.

It just popped in there/You’ll need a reference: Sure, could be a trust thing from certain segments of the population, with all the ghosts that escaped The Containment Unit in Ghostbusters, referenced earlier too, why haven’t The Real Ghostbusters been inundated with calls? Where did the ghosts go?


The old uniforms absorb enough ectoplasmic energy to form spectral doubles of The Real Ghostbusters! Somehow they’re able to form real boots and real looking Proton Packs.

Firehouse – Bedrooms


These “spectral versions” of The Real Ghostbusters think they should be the only Ghostbusters and fire ectoplasmic proton beams at the The Real Ghostbusters, missing them as the The Real Ghostbusters quickly get their Proton Packs.

Firehouse – Garage – Lockers Area

Sorry, I missed it: When The Real Ghostbusters are running to their lockers, they’re wearing bedtime clothing. Suddenly and very quickly Peter, Ray, and Winston are not only changed into their uniforms, just about have their Proton Packs on. We don’t see their bedtime clothing.

Sorry, I missed it: Egon, who must not be very awake isn’t changed as Janine comes into the firehouse. As she is beginning to see what is or isn’t happening, the driver’s side ’59 “rocket” is no longer painted red.

It just popped in there: Yeah, its possible Janine could be working at night or over night. The Real Ghostbusters were sleeping not long before she arrived. I know, if they had a call, she could wake them with the bell/alarm.

After Egon narrowly saves Janine from the spectral version of himself, he changes and is wearing his Proton Pack in a flash. The Real Ghostbusters begin to fire proton beams at the spectral doubles.

Sorry, I missed it. When ECTO-1’s front window breaks by the driver’s side, we don’t hear any glass shattering noise. Maybe ectoplasmic energy causes the glass to react different then proton beams?

Its Technical: The Nutrona Wands can be adjusted to account for radius. In this case, 6 feet.

It just popped in there: Why are Peter, Ray, and Winston, (I think Slimer out of frame) happy the spectral versions are on the run with ECTO-1’s damage.  i.e.: hood, glass, rooftop equipment, dents. Along with the ceiling around one of the Fire poles.

Firehouse – Upstairs

The spectral versions of The Real Ghostbusters have escaped, running down a street.

Sorry, I missed it: It could be from lack of indoor lighting in the room. Both Egon and Winston’s Nutrona Wands have parts that are colored brownish like the handles instead of a blue color.

Firehouse – Basement – Containment Unit

Egon confirms what they had already suspected.

It’s Technical: “Ectoplasm is like puddy. The more you add, the bigger it gets.” – Egon.

You’ll need a reference: The spectral versions look like The Real Ghostbusters because of their mental imprint, like a finger print.

It just popped in there: It wouldn’t have happened, how great would it have been if the spectral versions looked like the Ghostbusters? Talk about an expensive call back.

Three Days Later – New York City – Street – On A Call


Not For Sale: The Real Ghostbusters have a “caution barricade” with a “no ghost” logo at the center with a flashing light on top.

Sorry, I missed it: Maybe it isn’t necessary, the left and right barricades don’t have Ghostbusters logos or lights. Even those orange cones seem spotty at best.


After things had settled down from saving the city and rebuilding the Firehouse The Real Ghostbusters are chasing small ghosts in NYC. Until the spectral versions are on the scene too, firing ectoplasmic proton beams at The Real Ghostbusters.

You’ll need a reference: The imprint extends to a very similar voice pattern.

Before the other spectral doubles can fire at Egon and Winston, they’re able to trap the small ghost.

Sorry, I missed it: Yeah, it’s been a few days. Now we see a restored, undamaged ECTO-1. The Real Ghostbusters and these companies work fast! Last time my car needed body work, it took up to a week, if not a little more.

Firehouse – Office Area

The Real Ghostbusters finally have a chance to eat basic sandwiches, discussing how to deal with the spectral doubles of themselves.

  1. Try to disarm them, unknown if their packs can be removed.
  2. If they can remove their energy, they’ll disappear.

Firehouse – Garage Area

Of course since the spectral doubles are in a way like The Real Ghostbusters they could try to do something similar. In the meantime, they would rather sneak back into the Firehouse to steal ECTO-1.

It just popped in there: Why would The Real Ghostbusters leave ECTO-1’s keys in the ignition? Unless the spectral versions took them from nearby.

It just popped in there: Why did they drive ECTO-1 crashing through the Firehouse doors if they were only going to park her on the street anyway and then come back inside the Firehouse? Unless they definitely knew The Real Ghostbusters wouldn’t have enough Proton Packs.

Firehouse – Battle Of The Real


Fortunately their is a spare Proton Pack. With a plan in place, the guys distract the spectral doubles, moving behind Janine’s desk and filing cabinets as Peter runs to retrieves it.

Its Technical: The cartoon counterpart to the Proton Packs from Ghostbusters have to be charged, probably similar to today’s high end electronics. i.e.: cell phones, lap tops.

You’ll need a reference: In a draft of Ghostbusters, a prototype Proton Pack, demonstrated by Egon had to be plugged into a wall socket. The surge in power melted the outlet and caused the power to go out.

At Egon’s bequest Peter fires proton beams at the spectral doubles, hitting their ectoplasmic proton beams. Which shows them weakening.

In case we missed it earlier, Ray excitedly reminds us why this solution (which Egon did tell us about) is working.

You’ll need a reference: True to his movie counterpart, Winston is the “everyman” quickly telling 8 year olds with little to no “technobabble” how they’re going to defeat the spectral doubles.

It just popped in there: I didn’t know it then, the message of possibly sacrificing oneself for the greater good (of course ala Star Trek) is heavy for a kids cartoon. One of the elements that The Real Ghostbusters have over other cartoons of the era are their sometimes adult themes. In a different era then perhaps today, the show in earlier seasons didn’t talk down to children.

Slimer uncharacteristically will not allow Ray to potentially be put in harms way, he flies around, helping to weaken the spectral doubles.

It just popped in there: Its possible Slimer (being made of ectoplasm himself) couldn’t really get hurt by the spectral doubles ectoplasmic proton beams anyway. Maybe its because they’re in a weakened state, didn’t the spectral doubles know what would continue to happen to them?

Outside The Firehouse

With the spectral doubles unable to fire ectoplasmic proton beams, Peter’s able to fire a proton beam towards them so The Real Ghostbusters can get their Proton Packs from ECTO-1.

Sorry, I missed it: It appears ECTO-1, (which was on the street earlier) has been driven to be parked on the sidewalk facing The Firehouse. Who moved it?

Quote: “Say goodnight fellas cause The Real Ghostbusters are here to stay.” – Ray

You’ll need a reference: Much like with Ghosts ‘R Us, the real refers to Columbia Pictures not being able to secure the rights to use Ghostbusters for an animated series. Since their had already been a different cartoon with the title. In what is still a brilliant clever move, our beloved Ghostbusters became Real at the end of the title sequence.

With the spectral doubles weakened and no fake equipment, The Real Ghostbusters are able to capture all 4 into one Ghost Trap provided by Winston.

Sorry, I missed it: One moment the spectral doubles had their Proton Packs, by the time the ectoplasmic energy was out of the uniforms they had completely disappeared. I do feel this is less of a goof since they were so weak, the spectral Proton Packs would have disappeared anyway.

Quote: “Winston my man. Do it!” – Peter

It just popped in there: Why didn’t the proton beams destroy the old uniforms? In Take Two, a tiny part of a proton beam destroyed a cup.

Because of the importance Slimer, another friendly ghost brings to The Real Ghostbusters, it’s Peter (who is asked by just about all) to keep Slimer. Just like a pet.

Sorry, I missed it: Unless Winston is out of frame, he has disappeared immediately from the scene. Unless he went to empty the Ghost Trap.

Hopefully the crack in the containment field has been fixed or better yet replaced by now.

Firehouse – Offices (Present Day)

Now that Cynthia Crawford knows the history of The Real Ghostbusters, she leaves to get the story ready. As she’s leaving, surely she hears Peter as he tells Slimer (yes Slimer) she is crazy about him.

Firehouse – Recreation Room

The guys, Janine, and Slimer are watching UBN News, about to watch Cynthia present “The History Of The Real Ghostbusters.”

It just popped in there: Which must be kinda part two since the news reporter in Take Two had shown a brief history of The Real Ghostbusters.


To everyone’s surprise and the hilarity of kids, the news story is about Slimer!

It just popped in there: Where did UBN get that image of Slimer for their news graphic?

You’ll need a reference: Peter called Slimer Spud. In Ghostbusters, Ray of course referred to the Onionhead ghost as a spud. Actually in a shot of Slimer flying around the ballroom ceiling, a peanut was used. If you’ve ever seen concept drawings of Onionhead, a potato really was more fitting.


One thought on “Citizen Ghost

  1. “It just popped in there/You’ll need a reference: Sure, could be a trust thing from certain segments of the population, with all the ghosts that escaped The Containment Unit in Ghostbusters, referenced earlier too, why haven’t The Real Ghostbusters been inundated with calls? Where did the ghosts go?”

    My best guess: When they all went to the Shandor building during the “Magic” scene, they all got absorbed into Gozer. When they guys sent Gozer back to…well, wherever she came from, all the ghosts got sent that way too.


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