Pete Venkman is a Stand Up Guy

My favorite movie when I was a kid was the original Ghostbusters. And it’s still in my top 10 movies of all time, and I doubt it will ever get knocked off that list. It’s original. It’s funny. And oddly…it’s full of good men. 

There’s Ray, whom Venkman at one point calls ‘the heart of the Ghostbusters.’ He’s so obviously kind and diplomatic. It seems his main focus with Ghostbusters is the desire to ease people’s fear and protect them. He even seems to have empathy for the ghosts. He wants to reason with Gozer before turning to violence. He chooses the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man because of his cuteness and sweetness and softness (‘…something that could never ever possibly destroy us…’) He’s kind of the lovable straight man.


And there’s Winston, with his common sense, skeptical, outsider-let-inside’s view of things halfway through the film. A team player, but never afraid to speak up when he needs some action explained or thinks the team’s going in the wrong direction. He offers some real insight to Ray in that car ride alone about the situations they face at work. And of course, he’s funny. He has my personal favorite one-liner in the movie…”Ray…when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say, ‘YES!'” Haha!


 And then there’s this guy…


I always kind of had a crush on Egon. And J is a lot like Egon.
He’s tall and smart and has that deep, soft speaking voice (and those glasses…swoon).
He’s seen as the prepared, serious one in most groups he’s a part of. He’s into gadgets and science and machines and engineering. He’s concerned with everyone’s safety. When the guys go on their first job at the hotel and Ray expresses concern about them not having a proper equipment test first, Egon says, ‘I blame myself.’ Just like J. Not even kidding. And of course there’s, ‘Don’t cross the streams…it would be bad.’
He explains all the technical, scientific terms he knows in lay terms to adequately teach (see: that Twinkie up there).
And he knows when to take drastic measures for the benefit of the greater good. He tells them to cross the streams at the end to destroy Mr. Stay Puft and save the city. ‘There’s definitely a very slim chance we’ll survive.’
And he can also be extremely funny; it’s just that his delivery is usually dry and sardonic.

OK…I kind of grew up and married Egon. Maybe that’s super weird, but I’m not embarrassed. Egon is the sexiest Ghostbuster, in my opinion.
And I love all the guys, but I know the majority of people who are Ghostbusters fans like Pete Venkman. He’s almost everyone’s favorite. The kids from Stranger Things fought over who gets to be Venkman for Halloween for a reason. I get it.
He’s openly, obviously funny. He’s the cool one. He’s confident and brash. He’s the guy who gets the girl. He’s usually the one speaking for the group, and he’s never wary about speaking up. He usually gets his way. (His idea to go into business for themselves…he makes up the pricing structure for their first job…he talks to the press…he talks to the EPA guy…he does the most convincing talking to the mayor). And we’re supposed to believe that he’s kind of a slacker, and a bit of an entitled womanizer. His behavior in the movie is picking up a student while he’s employed at the university, and he’s very nakedly interested in Dana when they meet. She isn’t impressed. She even insults him at one point.

dana and pete

You know, you don’t act like a scientist…you’re more like a game show host.’

Of course, I like Dr. Venkman. I’m a Bill Murray fan, generally, and of all the roles of his to love, Venkman is still my favorite. That’s not changed since I was a little girl. When I was a girl, I *did* like him because he was such a silly cut up.


But when I watch Ghostbusters now as an adult, I like him because he’s a stand up guy. It’s very rare in film of any variety to see a man so clearly make a choice in favor of a woman’s informed consent at his own expense, but Venkman does that.

No, I’m totally serious here. For real.

Dana’s possessed. By Zuul. Zuul *wants* Peter. She not only is dressed and made up provocatively when she answers the door for a date that was pre-planned (with Dana), but she actually *says the words*, ‘I want you inside me.’ This is a man with a reputation and history with women (we are to infer from the film’s beginning) interacting with a woman he’s wanted since the moment he met her. He’s persuasive and good at getting what he wants and even arguably arrogant. She invited him (as herself) over to her apartment. She answered the door and said, precisely, ‘I want you inside me.’ She pulled him into her bedroom and made physical moves on him. 

And he STILL turns her down.
Because he recognizes that she’s not herself. And she can’t give him enthusiastic, informed consent.
Ghostbusters is still a great movie. And it’s full of good men. Even Pete Venkman. He’s a stand up guy.



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