In 1984, a Bill Murray/Dan Aykroyd/Harold Ramis supernatural comedy called Ghostbusters was a pretty substantial hit with younger viewers. Within a few years, they decided it would be a good idea to create an Animated Series about the further adventures of the four paranormal investigators.The problem was, there was already a Filmation cartoon in development called Ghostbusters, a sequel to the 1975 live-action series The Ghost Busters, in which two film noir style detectives and their gorilla fought the supernatural forces of Prime Evil. Filmations Ghostbusters (the Animated Series) was a flop, the victim of mistiming: kids were understandably upset, because these guys weren't "The Real Ghostbusters", but they had the rights to the title all the same.But from this observation was born an idea. The animated continuation of the movie Ghostbusters was released under the title The Real Ghostbusters. (The two animated series debuted in the same year, furthering the confusion.)The main characters from the film (with the notable exception of Sigourney Weaver's character) were all present and fought a variety of spectral adversaries. Unlike many other Animated Adaptations, this series took the basic premise of the movies and turned it into an example of the day-to-day busting that the movie didn't have time to show. The primary difference lay in the appearances of the main four characters: to get around having to get the rights to use the likenesses of the cast members of the film, each character was given a new face and look (Egon became a blonde with a pompadour, Ray became a red-headed short guy, and in the case of Peter, a complete character overhaul to make him a young 20-something instead a 30 year old, balding Bill Murray). They gained color-coded uniforms and slightly redesigned equipment, but overall retained the same basic personalities."Slimer", a green ghost who slimed Bill Murray in the first film, was added to the regular cast as a comic relief Non-Human Sidekick (Also The Unintelligible) (His nickname in the first movie was "Onionhead"). Somewhat atypically for cartoons of this genre and epoch, there was never a Big Bad, or any hint of larger forces at work. There were just ghosts who needed busting. (Although some of them came back for second tries..)Not all the ghosts and other supernatural things were evil. On some occasions, the Ghostbusters "busted" the ghosts simply by helping them complete their Unfinished Business so they could rest in peace, while on other occasions the creatures were the ones who actually needed the Ghostbusters' help - and sometimes they actually wanted to be busted, as the Ghostbusters' containment unit approximated resting in peace enough to satisfy them.Sadly, despite the success of the cartoon, things began to fall apart, thanks to Executive Meddling. As part of the build-up to the second Ghostbusters film, the series was renamed Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters (as executives fell in love with the cuddly and goofy cartoon version of Slimer) and much of the show's horror downplayed for cheap slapstick humor. Later episodes would incorporate trappings from the second movie, mainly the notion of the city of New York's injunction against the team. Louis Tully also became a recurring character at this time.Voice actors include Lorenzo Music (as Peter Venkman, the role originated by Bill Murray; it has not escaped notice that Murray would eventually play a live-action Garfield, one of Music's best known voice roles), Dave Coulier (as Peter in later seasons), Arsenio Hall (as Winston Zeddmore), and noted voice actors Maurice La Marche (as Egon Spengler) and Frank Welker (as both Ray Stantz and Slimer).Writers from this show included J Michael Straczynski, who went on to create Babylon 5, as well as sci-fi author David Gerrold, and Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle, the creators of Kim Possible.In 1997 it received a Sequel Series, Extreme Ghostbusters, with a new team and Egon as The Obi-Wan.
Acting for Two: Of the main characters, Frank Welker voiced both Ray and Slimer. Welker would also voice a number of antagonists, such as the Bogeyman, Sandman and Samhain. Maurice La Marche also voiced a number of roles, too. Lorenzo Music also voiced Peter's dad, with Dave Coulier taking over later. And since Laura Summer (who originally played Janine) is the only voice actress credited, she may well have played every female role in the series until she was replaced by Kath Soucie.
Peter Venkman is made slimmer, far younger looking and with slicked hair compared to Bill Murray's portrayal of the character.
Janine Melnitz as well. Whilst Annie Potts was by no means unattractive, she definitely was not the taller curvier redheaded bombshell seen in the series. And she still ended up going through a plot-explained Fanservice Pack as well.
Amusing Alien: Slimer, basically, even though he's a ghost rather than a proper "alien".
Angrish: Slimer can completely lose his tenuous grasp of the English language when he's angry or terrified, such as when he spots a legion of Heck House ghosts massing to attack and tries to warn Peter with a string of gibberish.
Animation Bump: The episodes that are done by TMS Entertainment, notably for Kazuhide Tomonaga's The Halloween Door. The Slimer segments are also more fluidly animated (if not simplified, design-wise) than the rest of the show (Interesting fact: the director for those segments went on to do several segments of Tiny Toon Adventures).
The American production company didn't care about character designs, so they left it to the Japanese animation studio, with the stipulation that they don't look like the actors from the film. They ended up liking the designs they got back.
Anime Hair: Egon has a naturally forming pompadour that resembled this trope.
This was a side-effect of the artists not being able to use the likenesses of the actors in the movie.
Also, appropriately enough, in Attack of the B-Movie Monsters, where they go to Japan to fight Exactly What It Says on the Tin, they all get anime hair from being exposed to static electricity.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Played with. Non-regulars will sometimes express disbelief in the supernatural, only to be quickly proven wrong. However, there are times where the Ghostbusters fall victim to this. In "Poultrygeist," Peter initially dismisses the idea of a werechicken - after having already encountered bonafide werewolves.
They all four fall victim to this in "If I Were a Witch Man." Peter and Slimer laugh when Winston asks about them doing witches and goblins, and Egon actually goes on a rant in Ecto about them selling out their principles.
In "The Scaring of the Green," Egon finds the notion of a four-leaf clover providing luck absurd, as opposed to ghosts, monsters, ancient curses or magic.
Awful Truth: When Egon reveals he discovered just how many ghosts there are in Heck House.
Egon: By way of comparison the Watley House in Arkham had thirteen, the Vincent Mansion had ten, and the most haunted house on record, the Crowley House in London, had twenty-five.
Peter: OK Egon, so tell us, how many ghosts are in this house?
Egon: Two-thousand four-hundred and thirty-six.
Slimer: Yaaaahhhhhh! <flies out of the room, smashing through the wall>
On the upside, it did get a terrified Slimer to stop clinging to Peter's leg.
Peter: Good job!
Egon: Wait 'til you get my bill.
Badass Bookworm: Played straight with Egon and Ray. Subverted with Peter in that, while he has his doctorate, any ghostbusting equipment he builds tends to be unreliable at best. This is a nod to the movie, as Peter's PhD's were in psychology and parapsychology, not any technical field(Egon, and to a lesser extent Ray, were the techies). By the time of the new video game, Winston becomes this trope when he acquires a doctorate of his own.
In "Short Stuff," a spell accidentally turns Peter into a mouse. The change lasts only a few moments, though.
Baseball Episode: "Night Game." Good and evil spirits always do battle on a specific area of land on a certain anniversary. Finding a baseball field there this time, they agree to play baseball. As he was there upon their arrival, Winston gets to play short-stop for the good team. The stakes are for the fate of one human soul: Peter's.
Bed Sheet Ghost: While staying the night in Heck House, Ray tumbled down the laundry chute into a basket of dirty linen, which promptly transformed into several angry ghosts and gave chase. Ray managed to shut them inside an electric dryer, turning it on for good measure.
Big Applesauce: The Ghostbusters were based in New York City, where most of the hauntings took place, although they would also travel to other parts of the U.S. and even other countries in some episodes.
Big Bad: Averted. Unlike almost every action cartoon of its time, which would feature the heroes fighting the same big bad in every episode, the Ghostbusters almost NEVER fought the same ghost twice. Part of this was because it would kind of defeat the purpose of busting ghosts if they just came back every week, and also because the writers felt it gave the show more variety.
In later seasons, the network decided they wanted the boys to have a recurring nemesis, which led to the creation of "Ghost Master", the supposed ultimate lord of ghosts. Unlike most other ghosts on the show, who were content to wreak random havoc, Ghost Master actively tried to destroy the Ghostbusters by sending hostile ghosts to kill them. Or that was the plan, anyway, but the writers must have gotten sick of him pretty quickly, as he only showed up a couple of times and was ultimately busted.
Samhain also considered them to be his enemies, though they were only required to fight him once a year, of course.
Big Bad Wannabe: Several ghosts weren't content to simply cause trouble and instead had total conquest on their minds. The Ghostbusters busting them right away is what plays the trope straight. Samhain is probably the most notable example, given his loyal and willing followers. Watt and Hob Anagarak also qualify, as they wanted to raise undead armies and conquer.
Big Damn Heroes: Slimer and a group of teenagers are cornered by a huge mob of barrow wights, before the Ghostbusters smash the door down and charge in. Cue the asskicking.
Big Eater: Slimer, carried over from his first appearance in the movie chowing down on room service food.
Bigger Bad: There is the infrequent reference (such as in "Chicken, He Clucked," "Hanging by a Thread" or "The Devil to Pay") to a Satan or "Lord of evil"-type character.
Gozer could also be considered a Bigger Bad since the show featured several instances of the Ghostbusters mentioning him and the possibility for him returning.
And, of course "Cathulhu", who Egon says "makes Gozer look like Little Mary Sunshine".
Also seen in "If I Were a Witch Man" when one of Kestrel's Demons steals his glasses
Egon: Nail him, Winston, I can't...I can't see him!
Body Swap: "Slimer, Is That You?" between Slimer and Egon.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: In "Who Are You Calling Two-Dimensional?", when the Ghostbusters are sucked into a cartoon world. Winston asks Ray since they're in a cartoon, then where's the audience? Ray replies by pointing at the screen, where Winston proceeds to press his face on it while calling out if anyone's there. Coming back, Egon asks what happened, and he replied that "they changed channel".
Broad Strokes: How the series treats the events of the movies. The guys battled Gozer and Vigo, just not exactly the same way as in the movies. The movies are treated as fictionalized versions of the "real" story. (See also Celebrity Paradox, below)
Butt Monkey: Most of the slapstick and physical comedy was provided via Peter, which he hated immensely...but the other members of the team found hilarious.
By the Lights of Their Eyes: Used in an interesting fashion in "Knock Knock". The Ghostbusters went onboard a possessed empty train and suddenly the lights went out. They figured out they were alone since the only things that could be seen were four pairs of eyes, but when the lights came back again they found themselves surrounded by a bunch of undead, skeletal passengers.
Cannot Cross Running Water: This, as a weakness of vampires, was a plot point in "No One Comes to Lupusville", which dealt with a feud between a clan of werewolves and another of vampires. It was also a key plot point in "The Headless Motorcyclist" featuring the Headless Horseman from the Sleepy Hollow legend.
Canon Immigrant: A couple from the Slimer short toons made it to the main series late season: The insufferable Professor Dweeb made three appearances - looking not too different from his toon presentation. One appearance was "The Slob," which brought back the odorrific ghost Sleaze as the McGuffin for his older brother Glob.
Cardboard Prison: Generally averted, as the Containment Unit was actually pretty secure. When a ghost did manage to escape, it was usually because another ghost opened the Unit from the outside to let them out. A few episodes centered around various ghosts and demons trying to open the Unit to free all the captive spirits (such as "Mrs. Rogers' Neighborhood"), while on a few occasions Egon or Slimer would actually go into the Unit to retrieve another ghost they actually wanted to free.
It's mentioned that after the Gozer incident they upgraded the containment unit to be larger (in the movie it was mounted on the wall while here it takes up most of the basement) and more resilient.
The threat of the containment unit shutting down, on the other hand, cropped up several times - like where the city power grid and the containment unit's backup generator became possessed, leading Peter to quickly improvise a backup backup generator made from a bike, and Ecto1's generator, with Janine pedaling for dear life (and being forgotten about at the end of the episode).
There are also indications that the guys learn from past mistakes. In "Halloween 2½", two goblins are able to open up the Containment Unit within moments of trying. In "Elementary, My Dear Winston," we see a mechanism has been installed to force a time delay to give the guys time to get down there to halt the process.
Cartoonland Time: A family of ghosts starts up a phony ghostbusting business that outsells the Ghostbusters on the same day they started it up.
Cast from Hit Points: In "Citizen Ghost", the ghostly doubles of the Ghostbusters use packs that fire charged ectoplasm. Using them drains their own energy, so the more they fire the harder it becomes for them to maintain coherence.
Celebrity Paradox: Averted: Bill Murray and the other actors from the films still exist in The Real Ghostbusters universe, and they even play the same movie roles. Lampshaded when Venkman comments that Murray "doesn't look a thing like me".
Winston: Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis? Isn't that a law firm?
Characterization Marches On: The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. In "Cry Uncle" (not to mention the original intro and the unaired pilot), he's depicted as a malevolent ghost. In all other appearances, he's actually quite benign and even acts as an ally twice - considering the guys and Slimer his friends. He doesn't even mind being trapped in the Containment Unit. (The change may be justified and Lampshaded in "The Revenge of Murray the Mantis" by Peter saying, "He's all better now... we think.")
Chickification: Janine went from a snarky secretary with a stereotypical Jersey Girl accent (Egon referred to it as an "annoying Brooklyn Accent" in Janine, You've Changed) and hairdo with triangular glasses (in other words, you know, just like the movie - to the point that early on people thought the voice actress, Laura Summer, was simply Annie Potts using a non de guerre for some reason) to a softer spoken woman with straight hair and round glasses over the series, thanks to Executive Meddling from ABC (as noted below). It was even justified (sort of) in Janine, You've Changed where it turned out Janine was under the influence of a malevolent spirit who played to her self-image and changed her appearance accordingly.
More of an inversion. True the suits wanted Janine to have a milder personality, but they also wanted to make her a full fledged Ghostbuster. JMS wanted her to keep her personality, and her job as secretary. After JMS left, Janine soon began training with the Ghostbusters, following them on missions, and eventually even got her own pink uniform with her name stitched on it. She was also a Ghostbuster in the action figure line.
It's worth noting that Kath Soucie (the one hired to voice the milder Janine) stated in DVD bonus material that she was skeptical of the softening of the character in the first place.
Comes full circle in Ghostbusters 2 where she actually resembles the new Janine anyway, in looks if not in attitude.
In Janine, You've Changed, Egon says "Remember when Janine had that really annoying Brooklyn accent?"
Christmas Episode: "X-Mas Marks the Spot." The guys accidentally travel back in time and unknowingly bust the Three Ghosts of Christmas before they could reform Scrooge, changing history. To set everything right, Peter, Ray and Winston have to find a way to reform Scrooge on their own, while Egon goes into the Containment Unit to rescue the three ghosts.
Clip Show: "Deja Boo," where Professor Dweeb captures Slimer and uses a machine to see his memories.
Color-Coded Characters: As the page image indicates, each of the guys has different colored uniforms. Word Of God said this was done to make it easier to tell them apart when shown at a distance.
Con Man: Peter's father Pops is one, which doesn't exactly thrill Peter—especially when Mr. Venkman starts trading on the Ghostbuster name for his cons.
Coattail Riding Relative: More specifically, the elder Venkman uses his son's ghostbusting fame to move into selling phony "ghost repellers," claiming that he taught his son everything he knows about the supernatural. Later, he and another scam artist inadvertently resurrect an ancient demon. In both instances, Peter and his colleagues reluctantly step in to save him from himself...and to save his victims.
Continuity Nod: On a few occasions when we see the inside of the containment unit, we can see some of the ghosts the boys busted in earlier episodes.
The boy in "The Grundel" is said to have kicked Mrs. Faversham's cat.
Ironically, when the show was rebranded as Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters and featured many reviled changes, Continuity Nods actually improved; particularly with regard to the movies. Among other things, the Ghostbusters reminisce about their first case when they visit New York Public Library, Zuul is in the new intro, Vigo and the psychokinetic slime from the second movie are mentioned, and Louis is added to the cast.
The changes were made in the series to capitalize on the popularity of the second movie. In turn, the second movie itself recognized that the Ghostbusters were a big hit with children, thanks in part to the cartoon. The adult humor was toned way down, while Slimer (identified by the name which the cartoon had given him, and redesigned to look more like his cartoon self) made a cameo as a bus driver.
Used as the main weapon of the Peoplebusters in middle-season episode "Flip Side."
Crazy-Prepared: Ecto-1 gets dropped into a body of water with the guys inside, which would be a problem — until they activate the inflatable raft on the bottom of the car which both floats them to the surface and allows them to hydroplane back to dry land.
In "The Two Faces of Slimer," after facing off with a troublesome spook, Peter tells the others to utilize "Plan 55-A."
Dancing Theme: The ending, where the move in question was taken from the original Ghostbusters theme music video. The only person missing from the music video's line-up is musician Ray Parker Jr himself.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Some ghosts are smart enough to separate the Ghostbusters from their equipment to leave them at their mercy.
Special mention for Poso in "Partners in Slime." He kidnaps Janine and Louis to force the Ghostbusters to hand over their technology - not because he means them harm, but because it would give him the definitive edge against other ghosts.
Watt set up a Haunted House in "Mrs. Roger's Neighborhood" as a trap to catch the Ghostbusters, so he could open the Containment Unit while they were away. Since it turned out that the unit would only response to a Ghostbuster, Watt waited for them to return—possessing Peter once he was away from the others.
Dark Is Not Evil: Not all the supernatural beings the Ghostbusters encountered were evil; some wished merely to rest in peace, and others needed the Ghostbusters' help against entirely human villains.
Dartboard of Hate: In at least one episode Venkman had one of this cop who kept hassling them.
Deadpan Snarker: Peter and Janine, just like in the movies. Egon gets in on the act pretty regularly, too.
Peter: Egon, I just had a thought. Egon: You had a thought? Peter: Yes. Egon: Here. Have a cookie. Peter: Why? Egon: It's how they train seals, Peter. Unfortunately, I'm all out of fish.
Deal with the Devil: "Chicken, He Clucked" features a man who hates chickens so much that he wants to make a deal with a demon to get rid of them. Embarrassed by being summoned for such a silly request, the demon gives him the power to send anything away as a compromise. Soon, every chicken on Earth is sent to another dimension and (after annoying the man) so are the Ghostbusters. The demon agrees to help the Ghostbusters, though, because his colleagues found out about the deal and won't stop mocking him. The demon reveals a loophole that the Ghostbusters manage to exploit to cancel the deal.
Done by accident by Ray and Winston in "The Devil to Pay" where they unknowingly sign a contract that had them soul-bound to take part in a demon's game show where they have to play for their lives. They win, but the demon tries to pull a fast one—leaving them to die in the final challenge. After escaping, Peter threatens bodily harm to the demon host to give them the all-expense-paid trip for four to Tahiti he promised them, which he had no choice but to grant.
Slimer does this to Samhain twice. In "When Halloween Was Forever," after Samhain demands that he renounce the Ghostbusters and join him, Slimer blows raspberries in his face. In "Halloween II 1/2," as part of the Ghostbusters' plan to stop Samhain, Slimer slimes him in the face.
In "The Halloween Door," the little girl Emma essentially does this to Boogaloo.
Emma:(laughing) You're funny. Boogaloo: Wh-what's wrong with you? Aren't you afraid of me? Emma: Nope.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The aforementioned "Collect Call of Cathulhu", although it was specifically stated that the Ghostbusters only managed to banish Cthulhu, rather than truly harming him.
Appropriately, though, the Ghostbusters only managed to do so by reading H. P. Lovecraft's original story. (Lampshaded by saying that Lovecraft researched the Necronomicon for story ideas.)
They also required a force of nature to do so; Cthulhu was unharmed by anything they themselves could throw at him and took a couple of lightning bolts to defeat.
"Cthulhu makes Gozer look like Little Mary Sunshine."
Disappeared Dad: Peter's dad apparently spent more time on his cons than being at home with the family. It's a sore point for Peter, especially in "X-Mas Marks the Spot."
Winston was also found to suffer this. He and his father had a falling out when he became a Ghostbuster rather than stay in construction. The two did patch things up on-screen, though.
It's curious that Egon's mother appears in two episodes, but there's never any mention made of his father.
Disguised in Drag: When the boys need to go undercover to investigate spectral readings at Lewiston Girl's Academy, Ray is disguised as a male janitor and Winston as a male substitute coach. Egon and Peter draw the short straws and have to "blend in" as students.
Peter: Forget it! Winston and his bright ideas. I just wish he had to wear these pantyhose; they're murder, man!
Divide by Zero: At one point, Egon manages to overload his calculator with an offensive football play that, if executed, would not only completely collapse the defense but perhaps all known space as well.
Driven to Madness: One of Ray's former paranormal studies professors investigated Heck House, becoming the only one to spend half the night there and survive, but at a cost.
Ray: <sadly> He was a...brilliant man.
Winston: Was? What's he do now?
Ray: Drool a lot...
Winston: Got it.
Ray and Winston themselves come pretty close when they go.
Egon: What's wrong with them?
Peter: I dunno, I think they saw something upstairs.
Ray: <frozen in wide-eyed shock> ...and it...it had two-hundred eyes, I know...I...I counted...
Eldritch Abomination: Not only the aforementioned C(a)thulhu, but also the Mee-krah, a horrible octopus-like entity who awakened every few millennia and left complete destruction wherever it went (it is said in the episode that the Gobi and Sahara deserts were results of its activity). It fed upon the spiritual energy of ghosts, who practically begged to be captured by the Ghostbusters.
Eldritch Location: Many of the dimensions the Ghostbusters get sucked into, the Bogeyman's domain and the New Jersey Parellelogram (an Expy of the Bermuda Triangle) being two prime examples.
Every Man Has His Price: When a lawyer arrives at the firehouse with a proposition to "clean up" Heck House, Egon and Ray refuse. Before they can leave, the lawyer stops them in their tracks with just three words.
Egon: We've faced demons, monsters, Gozer, multi-dimensional invasions, but there is nothing that will get me within a mile of Heck House.
Another more benign example occurs when the heroes are trying to raise money for an orphange. The president of the company that makes Stay Puft marshamallows asks to borrow Mr. Stay Puft for an advertising campaign, and they don't think it's a good idea... They all change their minds when he says how much he'll pay them.
Executive Meddling: Despite its runaway success, ABC decided they needed to "fix" the show. And not just once. Janine was changed to be more feminine and meek, and received round glasses because her pointy ones could scare children. More changes were forced upon the writing staff starting with Season 3. Recurring child characters were added. More focus was placed on Slimer, who spun off into his own (doomed) cartoon in Season 4. The whole team ended up taking on fixed roles: Egon was "The Brain", Ray was "The Hands", Peter was "The Mouth" and Winston was "The Driver". This was enough to make J Michael Straczynski, the head writer at the time, leave his position after Season 3 (though he wrote some later scripts for the show as a free-lance writer).
Also Foot Focus as she has her bare feet propped up on the desk. In fact there are a couple of times the show would focus on her feet or her playing with her shoes.
There was also an episode where Janine was in the shower, carefully showing only her face and legs and carefully avoiding the rest. Ghosts begin to bug her and she spends the next few moments running around in nothing but a towel. As the scene ends, Janine walks off screen and the towel is suddenly thrown off as she's out of frame.
That's not counting all the times the guys are shown shirtless, in the shower, or even just in their boxers.
Flash Back: As part of an Evil Counterpart episode, it showed the team discarding their old, evil-marshmallow-encrusted uniforms and building replacements for the equipment damaged in the first film's climax. And as a result of being encrusted with ectoplasm, the originals then became the team's ghostly Evil Twins.
Fusion Dance: The episode "Slimer Come Home" featured a massive poltergeist who was absorbing the energy of many smaller ghosts to increase its power, while "Robo-Buster" pitted the boys against a colossal ghost that had been created by the dissipated energies of dozens of smaller ghosts broken up by Robo-Buster's modified proton beams.
Genre Savvy: The Ghostbusters, natch, but not always enough to avoid close calls. In "No One Comes to Lupusville," when told they don't know if proton packs will work on vampires, Winston wants to leave. "I've seen enough movies to know you don't face the undead without knowing what you're doing, and we don't." Of course, the promise of a hefty payment causes him to ignore his better judgment.
Ghost Pirate: The boys had to deal with a crew of these who invaded New York to recover their buried treasure after it was discovered and put on display in a city museum.
Gilligan Cut: See Something We Forgot. In "Killerwatt", Janine is left to run a pedal powered generator when the power goes off. Fast forward—monster defeated, power back on, heroes are celebrating, but "Wait—we forgot to tell Janine to stop, she must still be pedaling the generator.. nah she'd have figured out she can stop by now right?" Gilligan Cut to Janine STILL pedaling.
In "Beneath These Streets"
Peter: "Yeah, I'm not going on a wild goose chase at this hour. Mama Venkman didn't raise no fools!" (cut to the Ghostbusters searching in the sewers)
Winston: (to Peter) "Say, Fool!"
Grail In The Garbage: In one episode, Ray finds himself in possession of the shears belonging to the Three Fates, finding them on the ground just as he needs to cut something. He keeps them, forcing Clotho to chase him all over New York to try to (discreetly) get them back, because she's the one who dropped them in the first place. As far as he can tell, they're just a pair of scissors, but they're really awesome scissors.
Grand Theft Me: Happened to Egon most of the time, the two best-known cases being:
"If I Were A Witch Man", being possessed by a witch-like ghost.
Another time was in "Egon on the Rampage", when his soul was sucked out due to a machine malfunction, and a demon escaped and took his body for a ride, turning him into a purple Hulk expy.
The demon Watt possessed Peter in "Mrs. Rogers' Neighborhood" in an attempt to open the Containment Unit.
Everyone including Janine and Slimer (don't ask) except Egon gets possessed in "Ghostworld".
"When Halloween Was Forever": A pair of ghosts free Samhain, the Spirit of Halloween, whose goal is to create a permanent Halloween night.
"Halloween 2½": Samhain is freed from the Containment Unit and tries to again achieve his goal, while also seeking revenge against the Ghostbusters.
"The Halloween Door": Seeking to end Halloween forever, a Moral Guardian steals Ghostbuster tech to use for his machine. Doing so, however, breaks an ancient, ghostly contract—allowing hordes of supernatural terrors to invade New York City. The only one not to feature Samhain, a choice on JMS's part owing to the previously mentioned Author Tract.
Haunted House: Several, with Heck House as the great-granddaddy of them all.
Egon: That place chews up paranormal investigators like Slimer goes through jelly beans.
Haunted Technology: One episode featured a ghost trapped in a vat of molten steel. Every object made with the ghost's steel wound up coming to life and wreaking havoc.
Headless Horseman: "The Headless Motorcyclist" featured a descendant of Ichabod Crane cursed by a headless apparition on a motorcycle who chases her.
Heel Face Turn: Slimer and Stay-Puft (Although in the latter's case, whether he was good or evil could be Depending on the Writer). Robo-Buster also counts once Egon reworked its proton guns so they fired the same types of beams as the Ghostbusters' weapons and it helped our heroes clean up the mess its creator had caused.
Heroic Sacrifice: The title character of the episode "Drool the Dog-Faced Goblin" did this to save a group of humans that were trapped by a murderous shape-changing phantom. Drool's biting the phantom forced it to let up on its attack and gave the Ghostbusters time to zap it, but Drool was caught by the proton beams too and couldn't escape. When the boys hesitated about using the traps for fear of taking Drool with the phantom, he told them to go ahead and do it.
There have been a few of episodes where the boys themselves very nearly have to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world. Fortunately, they always seem to get a reprieve.
Hidden Depths: Given the way he behaves, you'd almost forget that Peter has a doctorate. He actually comes up with several good plans against ghosts, such as capturing Nexa (a primordial god). He's also a softie at heart, which could lead one to consider that he actively employs a Jerkass Façade.
In the Blood: Winston is a possible example. In a previous life, he was an African shaman who battled supernatural monsters. He's doing it again in 20th century New York, only now he uses proton packs and ghost traps instead of magic spells.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Peter Venkman, period. He complained the most, got freaked out the most, and was somewhat of a douche at times, but if any of his friends, or even any civilians were in danger, he'd be the first one to jump into it to save them.
This is particularly evident in his relationship with Slimer. Peter would normally yell at or threaten Slimer if he was being annoyed. However, Peter was not one to tolerate anyone harming Slimer, as seen in "Citizen Ghost." ("You zapped my little buddy!")
Jewish Mother: Egon's mom. Not explicitly stated, but the stereotype is there, right down to feeding him a special mix of chicken soup, tea and a bunch of other stuff, when he falls ill with the cold. When the other boys fall sick in the same episode, just as she's about to leave, she decides to stick around until they're back to full health. Also does the, "my son the suchandsuch" thing frequently.
Justified Title: The show was called "The Real Ghostbusters" to legally distinguish itself from Filmations Ghostbusters, due to Filmation owning the rights to the title "Ghostbusters". The slightly awkward title was justified in-universe in an episode where it was explained that the live-action movie was based on the exploits of the animated-characters, hence making them the "real" Ghostbusters.
Kangaroo Court: In "Jailbusters," the guys are kidnapped to the Ghostworld and put on trial for crimes against ghostkind.
Ray: I'd say we have two chances for a fair trial: zilch and none.
Kill and Replace: In the "Citizen Ghost" flashback, the doppelganger ghost take the form of the Ghostbusters, and also try to take their spot by killing off the originals.
Kissing Discretion Shot: When Egon uses a homemade dream-reader to show Ray, Winston, and Slimer a blissfully unaware Peter's fantasy, we see a brief shot of a city skyline on the monitor before the "camera" turns to show their reactions to what we can't see.
Knight of Cerebus: While the show was usually light-hearted in nature, there were many episodes featuring a ghost that was truly sinister, serious, and far more lethal than most threats the boys in gray faced. Notable examples include the Boogieman, who scared the living daylights out of children For the Evulz, and the Grundel, who's M.O. was corrupting kids to transform them into members of his own kind. One example that really stands out, though, is Mee-Krah from the episode "Standing Room Only". The episode in question was from one of the Lighter and Softer later seasons, but Mee-Krah was an Eldritch Abomination that sought to devour every ghost it could find and had caused an alarming swath of destruction before the Ghostbusters succeeded in destroying it.
Lampshade Hanging: Winston and Ray get up to a bit of this in "Ain't NASA-Sarily So":
Winston:(upon meeting the crew of Space Station Galileo) "Do these people look familiar to you?"
Ray: "I was just about to ask you that!"
Lethal Chef: Most notably Ray, although one time Egon fed them all sweat sandwiches.
Lightning Can Do Anything: The Ghostbusters' proton beams don't faze Cthulhu at all, but they eventually get the idea to focus their beams on a nearby metal rollercoaster track. The sheer amount of electricity surging through the metal framework is enough to banish Cthulhu back to his infernal prison, although it's specifically mentioned that they only imprisoned the monster, rather than destroying him.
It wasn't the electricity surging through the track, that held him in place and attracted the lightning bolts. It was also explained that the idea came from Cthulhu mythos on how to defeat him, so rather justified.
Limited Wardrobe: Surprisingly averted. The show focused on their job, so the boys were often in uniform, but they were often shown out of uniform as well, and appeared in multiple different outfits, both formal and casual. They were even shown to own multiple pairs of pyjamas.
Living Dream: The Sandman's MO; he puts his victims to sleep, and their dreams come to life. Three of the Ghostbusters fall victim to this: Ray dreamed of a giant pizza (which fell on and covered Ecto-1), Peter dreamed of driving a solid gold car while being showered with all sorts of awards and prizes, and Egon dreamed of... Albert Einstein.
Winston managed to devise a plan based on this by having Janine fall victim to the sleep, where she dreamed herself as a Ghostbuster, assisting Winston to capture the Sandman and awaken everyone in the city.
Manchild: Ray is a more realistic version of this trope, in that he's fully mature but also possesses a childlike idealism and enthusiasm for life. This actually helps the Ghostbusters lure the Boogieman once they figure out a way to trap the monster.
Mirror Universe: Our heroes once ventured into a parallel dimension where ghosts were the normal inhabitants, and the living were the ones that haunted them. This universe was protected by the Peoplebusters, who zapped living humans and trapped them in a "containment unit" that basically replicated the conditions of our own world.
This led to their undoing, as the overwhelming negative energy of the flip side prevented the Ghostbuster's weapons from functioning outside the unit, but when they found a way out and the Peoplebusters gave chase...
Missing Mom: Peter's mother is implied to have died, and he is more serious than usual whenever the subject of her comes up.
"The Thing in Mrs. Faversham's Attic" practically waves on the audience's face that Peter's mom died and he regrets not having spent more time with her when he still had the chance. This leads to a tearjerker ending where Peter returns to Mrs. Faversham's place to visit the old lady, as she is completely alone in the world, just as Peter's mother was before she died.
Mr. Alt Disney: Walt Fleishman in the episode "Who're You Calling Two Dimensional?"
Ms. Fanservice: It wasn't all the time, but there are several instances of Janine in skimpy outfits or playing with her shoes, and in "Janine Melnitz" Ghostbuster" there's even a scene of her in the shower.
Mythology Gag: "Egon's Ghost," "The Copycat" and "Jailbusters" feature terror dogs similar to Zuul.
In "Buster the Ghost," as in the first movie, the guys' TV commercial ends with them saying, "We're ready to believe you."
"I Am the City" recalls a memorable moment from the first movie (though uses Peter instead of Ray):
Marduk: Are you going to stop me?! Are you gods?! Peter: Uh— Winston:(covers Peter's mouth) Yo, don't you say a word.
Never Say "Die": Usually averted, as some cases explicitly involved ghosts of dead people. Played straight with "Egon's Ghost," where Word Of God acknowledged that they had to tip-toe around the subject as best as possible.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Paul Smart is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who steals the Ghostbusters' technology and tries to run them out of business by using their weapons to create a ghostbusting robot called Robo-Buster, stating that Robo-Buster could destroy ghosts rather than just capture them. Unfortunately, all the ghosts zapped by Robo-Buster simply have their energies dissipated, and all this ectoplasmic power simply combines into one gigantic ghost that threatens to destroy the whole city.
Unlike others in the cast, Maurice La Marche was purposefully impersonating Harold Ramis. He was actually asked not to during his audition, but LaMarche couldn't think of any other appropriate way to do it. Fortunately, casting liked what they heard and hired him.
Dave Coulier's Peter was, of course, his Bill Murray impersonation from his act.
Noodle Incident: In "The Haunting of Heck House" Ray and Winston are the only ones to go upstairs to their rooms and wind up regretting it, discussing it later in the dining room.
Ray: ...and it...it tried to grab me.
Winston: I don't wanna remember, eat your dinner.
Ray: Yeah, I'll eat my dinner, good idea. <picks up a sandwich with green lettuce> It was...it was green, Winston...
Nonstandard Character Design: Professor Dweeb and his dog Elizabeth look quite out of place when they appear in anything other than the Slimer! segments.
One scene in "The Slob" alone makes it clear that he has the standard four fingers for cartoon characters - even though that's not the case for other human characters.
Oh Crap: Twice over after Cthulhu himself is summoned. First, the Ghostbusters try blasting him and cause only minimal damage, which heals up immediately anyway. When the Ghostbusters try again, Cthulhu looks directly at them.
Winston: Uh-oh! I think we made it mad! Egon: RUN FOR IT!
Omniglot: In addition to having multiple doctorates, Egon is fluent in Sumerian, Russian, English, Japanese, and American Sign Language.
Averted in one episode where Egon tells a Western Community the Ghostbusters don't want their gold (though in New York, two of their folks gave them gold as a "retainer": as the episode ends, Peter uses "gold" in every other phrase to remind Egon they'd literally "blown a golden opportunity" to make money).
Averted again in "You Can't Take It With You," where after they trick a miser into putting his building into the Netherworld, gold and cash rain down on them. Peter, after a evil grinning look from the other Ghostbusters, reluctantly doesn't take the riches (the cops show up not too long after).
Averted yet again in "The Thing in Miss Faversham's Attic." The old woman doesn't have much money, and Peter assures her that "it'll only cost [her] a smile." He admits later that she reminds him of his mother; his voice has a tinge of sadness and regret.
Only Sane Man: Every Ghostbuster has these moments throughout the series, but Winston being The Everyman meant he usually led the pack.
Winston: Sometimes I think between the four of us we don't have the brains God gave a doorknob.
On One Condition: In The Haunting of Heck House the Ghostbusters stood to inherit millions of dollars as long as they stay in the most haunted house on Earth for a night—without their proton packs. To defeat the house they have to use the wiring inside to turn it into one big ghost trap. Unfortunately the house is SO haunted that spiritual energy takes up most of the structure, so it collapses in on itself and they're forced to leave it or be crushed inside. Sadly, the lawyer sees this before time runs out, and is forced by the will to deny them the cash since there was no self-preservation escape clause provided in the will; they HAD to stay in the house even if doing so killed them.
Out of Order: Comparing the syndicated episode premiere dates and the DVD ordering, one can see a multitude of differences. Due to its stand-alone nature, this would've hardly been noticeable for the series, except for two major examples:
"Cold Cash and Hot Water" premiered before both "Venkman's Ghost Repellers" and "The Spirit of Aunt Lois" - despite those two formally introducing Peter's dad and Doctor Basingame, respectively. ("Cold Cash and Hot Water" even references Basingame's bogus seance at Aunt Lois' house.)
"Slimer, Is That You?" and "Transylvanian Homesick Blues" features a weird example. The former was produced as part of the syndicated package and the latter for ABC. However, the two were somehow flipped, with "Slimer, Is That You?" premiereing September 26, 1987 on ABC and "Transylvanian Homesick Blues" December 11, 1987 in syndication (the last premiere episode in the syndication run, no less.) It's largely noticeable due to the different voices for Peter and Janine (though the latter maintained her original design in both episodes).
Plot-Driven Breakdown: A few episodes introduced these to deprive the Ghostbusters of their equipment to force them to think their way out. While sometimes reasonable, one excuse—running out of juice after hours and hours of constant busting—was Jossed by the second movie establishing the astonishing half-life of the proton packs.
I think what they were talking about in the second movie was if the equipment would work after being unused for several months.
Post Modernism: If "Take Two" isn't this, then this Troper doesn't know what is.
Post Modern Magik: Part of the premise, and especially apparent when the Ghostbusters have to get creative against a supernatural enemy (such as charging up a roller coaster rail to briefly turn Cthulhu into a lightning rod).
Power Levels: From 1-7 is standard, though there's always a few "stronger than Gozer" beasties that pop up from time to time.
Among others, Cthulhu and the antagonist of "Ragnarok and Roll" were stated to be so far off the scale nothing the Ghostbusters have can so much as scratch them.
The Power of Rock: The Ghostbusters used this & specially tuned instruments to defeat Malachi, a ghostly jazz trumpet player and his band.
Winston: "Egon, are you sure this is gonna work? Malachi's music is pretty powerful."
Egon: "We'll match his rhythms with something even more primal and powerful: Rock & Roll."
Punny Name: What was the scientific name of the creature that changed Janine's appearance? Makeoveris Lotsabucks.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted since they do use their super-science equipment to make money. There was even "Ghost Busted", the episode where the guys became crime-fighters during a severe drought in ghost work, and made more money than they did busting ghosts. That same episode also demonstrated one of the reasons the trope exists; the guys did so well, they effectively made NYC crime free, running themselves out of business. Thank goodness for the Reset Button.
Refugee From TV Land: During one episode, a comic book superhero was brought into the cartoon world and thought the Ghostbusters were supervillains.
Rogues Gallery: Sort of-adversaries like the Boogeyman, the Grundle, and Samhain returned for a second round with the Ghostbusters, even if they didn't exactly form a rogues gallery. Many C-list ghosts also reappeared, to prevent the animators from having to create new ones from scratch every episode.
And, of course, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Rogues Gallery Showcase: The retooled intro for Slimer And the Real Ghostbusters featured a number of enemies from earlier seasons, such as Samhain, being zapped by the Ghostbusters.
Science Marches On: Thanks to the espionage conducted by Paul Smart, a super-advanced, AI-driven Robo-Buster X1 was set to put the "dinosaur" Ghostbusters out of business. At its unveiling, the robot revealed it had an incredible 20MB of on-board memory.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Used in a few episodes. Notable examples include the Boogieman, who was trapped by the team in "The Boogieman Cometh" by sealing him in his own dimension with a ghost bomb, only to return in "The Boogieman is Back" after feeding off Egon's fear from nearly falling to his death; as well as the animal demon Rall in "It's a Jungle Out There", the greedy demon Lothgar in "Busters in Toyland", and most famously the Doomsday Door in "Knock, Knock" to name but a few.
The Shadow Knows: In the episode "Mrs. Rogers' Neighborhood", Peter gets possessed by a ghost/demon. His shadow when under its effect resembles the creature's shape (which by the way looked like a cross of a T. rex and a mole rat).
Ship Tease: "Janine, You've Changed" is packed with it for Egon and Janine. This crops up a little earlier as well (carrying forward what was in the original movie) but that episode stops just short of making them an Official Couple. It was even the last episode JMS wrote for the show, and you have to wonder if he was trying to give longtime fans some payoff...
The tease even went on to Extreme Ghostbusters as Egon and Janine (as well as Slimer) are the only original members of the group remaining to help with the new blood.
Hell, Extreme Ghostbusters had several moments that blatantly imply and Egon and Janine are in a relationship, but are remaining private about it.
Shout Out: One of the outros features the Ghostbusters dancing in a similar way as the 1984 Ray Parker video.
On the other hand Ray Parker Jr. played a major role in the music for the first two seasons of the cartoon show. He wrote the songs that played in the chase scenes (the duo Tahiti performed then). He did the whining guitar solos for the background music. He even sung and reorchestrated the theme song for the intro and outro, playing the guitar along with the band.
In the episode "Ragnarok and Roll", there's a scene where the villain of the episode says 'magic words' to gain power. These words are "Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. Khazad-dûm!" The first sentence contains the words inscribed on the One Ring as read in the tongue of Mordor from Lord of the Rings. "Khazad-dûm" is the Dwarven name for the Mines of Moria.
As noted in Too Dumb to Live below, the Doomsday Door in "Knock, Knock" warns the city workers "Do not open until doomsday!", a probable reference to the Outer Limits episode "Don't Open Till Doomsday".
The episode "Dairy Farm" has the boys and Ray's cousin Samantha barricading themselves in a farmhouse to escape a horde of zombies. The episodes original title was "Dairy Farm of the Living Dead".
The Bogeyman look a LOT like The Joker if he were a mutated monster.
One of the show's funniest shout outs is in the second episode dealing with the Old Ones. Some cultists are trying to summon up one of the Old Ones with a special chant. What's the chant?
And then there's the episode "Ain't NASA-Sarily So", which has a host of shout-outs to Star Trek, including - but not limited to - a Scottish chief engineer, an African-American communications officer, and Dr. Venkman mentioning that the crew of Space Station Galileo have been "out exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations."
In "Revenge of Murray The Mantis", when Egon calculates the amount of psychokinetic energy the titular creature is packing, the parade organizer asks what it means:
Peter: It means if Darth Vader were willing to loan us the Death Star we might have a chance. Might.
Shown Their Work: And not just the Cthulhu Mythos. Whenever a ghost from another culture, such as Samhain, appears, you can be sure to check off the references to the original story.
In adition to that the containment device and the process for unloading traps works exactly the same way it does in the movies, right down to the same buttons and lights.
In "Ghostbuster of the Year," Egon shouts, "Cowabunga!" (but not without some hesitation) before jumping onto the sled.
Skepticism Failure: Winston mentions in one episode that he didn't believe in the supernatural when he first became a Ghostbuster, and only applied with the organization because he was having trouble finding a job. Of course, actually seeing the supernatural makes him a believer.
Something We Forgot: In the episode "Killerwatt", Janine pedals a bike generator to power the containment unit. Later on, the ghost is defeated and the Ghostbusters are in an impromptu parade. They wonder if Janine is still pedaling, then dismiss the idea as ridiculous; Gilligan Cut to Janine still pedaling.
Also in the episode "Deadcon", the Staypuft Marshmallow Man was released to attend a ghost convention held (without permission) in a hotel which was currently having a costume party. Later, the 'busters exhausted every trap they had to capture all the ghosts. They then realize that they had forgotten one BIG thing... Gilligan Cut to the Staypuft Marshmallow Man still at the hotel, who even won an award for "best costume".
Somewhere a Paleontologist Is Crying: "Play Them Ragtime Boos" features the group being transported back in time to the Cenozoic Era right in the middle of the ocean, where a hungry Megalodon eyes them for dinner. Whilst the time period is accurate to a point, and the Megalodon does first show up with a giant fin cutting through the water, when the creature is actually shown under the water, it looks less like a giant shark and more like a Mosasaur.
Spin-Off: Slimer! In addition to his increased role here, Slimer received his own show in 1988. The series had 15 minute episodes (later edited into a two shorts format for reruns) and boasted a more cartoony atmosphere aimed at a younger audience. The Ghostbusters and Janine regularly appeared, but Slimer had his own cast of characters to interact with (some of them are shown in the Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters intro and Professor Dweeb appeared in three episodes here). It lasted one season.
Just to hammer it home, for the new intro that accompanied the new title, Slimer shouts at the end, "And me! And me!"
Stylistic Suck: Crops up in "Take Two." What the producer claims is the inside of the Containment Unit looks like a set reused from a previous sci-fi movie.
Surprise Jump: Ray falls victim to this trope in "Look Homeward, Ray".
Take That: The show's title is a pretty obvious shot at Filmations Ghostbusters. Also, in the episode "Spirit of Aunt Lois", the fraud medium is dressed almost exactly like Jake Kong, the leader of the "other" 'busters.
There were many Take Thats against other popular animated shows of the period: for example, in one episode the Ghostbusters' HQ was visited by a family of ghosts that looked like grotesque versions of The Simpsons. Another episode featured a group of Totally Radicalreptilian humanoids, and another one where TV characters came to life had, among the others, a dumb brute from planet Petunia.
Title Drop: A few times, most triumphantly in "Citizen Ghost":
Ray: Say goodnight, fellas, cause the Real Ghostbusters are here to stay!
Too Dumb to Live: The city workers digging for a new subway tunnel in "Knock Knock"; they stumble across a Door of Doom that warns them not to open it until the end of the world. They open it anyway, because they refuse to let a talking door tell them what to do, and release Hell on Earth.
Ray: And an atomic bomb is just a couple of rocks slammed together.
Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: A massive water elemental demon swallows our heroes whole and it looks like the end...until he makes a disgusted face and literally spits Peter out.
"Chicken, He Clucked": A man with an unusual hatred of chickens summons a demon to get him to rid all the chickens on the planet. The demon was baffled at such a request since this is the first time someone didn't ask for something extravagant, so he instead gives him the power to make anything vanish. The man uses his newfound power to transport all the chickens in the world off the planet and into another dimension. The demon started to get constant ridicule from his fellow demon employees for making a deal over something so stupid. He decided that a soul wasn't worth this hassle as was reduced to asking the Ghostbusters for help to cancel the contract before his reputation is shot forever.
Unexpected Inheritance: One episode involved Ray inheriting a castle in Scotland from a distant relative he barely knew. The castle is (of course) haunted.
Unfinished Business: Some of the ghosts weren't evil, and the Ghostbusters could get rid of them just by helping them accomplish their goals.
Unknown Rival: Professor Dweeb thinks he's the most brilliant scientist in town and that the Ghostbusters are feeble-minded. He wants to one day outdo them at their own game. Of course, they never even met him until "The Slob" and when they do, they consider him an annoyance more than anything else.
Van Helsing Hate Crimes: On one memorable occasion, a vampire who had taken to eating synthetic blood and posed no threat to humans hired the Ghostbusters to help him deal with an overzealous vampire hunter.
Viewers Are Morons: Done in-universe when Corrupt Corporate Executive Paul Smart displays Robo-Buster's apparently superior ghostbusting abilities by seemingly destroying ghosts rathe than just capturing them the way the Ghostbusters do. Egon protests that Smart's claims are impossible, because ectoplasmic physics don't work that way, but no one at the press conference where Smart is showing off Robo-Buster understands what he's talking about, and they don't believe him.
On a slightly lesser scale, the statue of Atlas at Rockefeller Center in "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster".
We Help The Helpless: The Ghostbusters' clients have included everyone from elderly women who live alone to families and business owners to Detroit auto companies and even the French government.
Though they operated a business and were often paid, the Ghostbusters would just as often have cases without any chance of payment.
When Mrs. Faversham (a woman that reminds him of his mother) explains she doesn't have much money to pay them, Peter says the only payment they require is a smile.
Averted in "Xmas Marks the Spot", when Ebenezer Scrooge refuses to pay the Ghostbusting bill, Peter actually threatens to release the ghosts again. Sure, its Scrooge, but he's still an elderly man plus they didn't know it was him and it was Christmas. The Ghostbusters not knowing it was him actually worked in his favor, if we consider what they did once they learned.
In "The Boogieman Cometh," two kids terrified of the Boogieman want to hire the guys and offer up their piggybank. Peter shakes it and only hears loose change, but he says it qualifies for their new rate.
Weird Science: Pretty much the cornerstone of the Ghostbusters franchise.
What Happened to the Mouse?: As often as the show likes to make callbacks to the movies, it pointedly avoids making any mention of Dana Barett.
Interestingly enough, the Marvel UK comics based on the show featured Dana as The Unseen — she would never actually appear, but Peter would sometimes mention her, and he would occasionally be seen preparing for a date with her. (The Norwegian translation of the comic featured a suprisingly witty lettercolumn where Peter answered the kids' letters, and the kids would sometimes ask why Dana Barett never appeared in the comic. Peter's answer varied — "She's too beautiful to appear in the comic," "Because my personal life can't interest anyone," "I asked but I think she's too shy.")
However, there was a comic adaptation of Ghostbusters II which used The Real Ghostbusters designs, which meant that the cartoon design for Dana was created specifically for that. Like the other stars of the movie, she did not look like her actress.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One episode deals with an enormous multitude of ghosts coming to find the Ghostbusters not to harm them but to find refuge against a creature that eats ghosts and destroys everything around itself. Eventually, the Ghostbusters think of a plan to defeat it but need to lead it somewhere, which they do by emptying their storage tanks and throwing hundreds of ghosts who only wanted to be kept safe at it to be eaten. Nobody gives sacrificing all these ghosts a second thought, but then again the Ghostbusters series as a whole rarely hits upon showing ghosts much compassion.
Egon can stare down Cthulhu and other powerful beings without wincing but the Boogeyman is enough to almost shut him down out of pure fear. While it's true that Egon was tormented by the Boogeyman as a child, there is a serious difference between it and Cthulhu.
Plenty of possible reasons for that, aside from simple childhood trauma. Some people have severe problems with the Uncanny Valley... the Boogeyman actually might be more scary to them since it's something not human, but seems like it's trying to look human. Cthulu isn't the least bit human, being basically the definition of alien and strange... someone, especially Egon, might find it easier to deal intellectually with something so obviously different than something stuck in between monster and human.
It should be noted that Egon handled himself very well in facing his childhood fears in "The Boogieman Cometh." He was freezing up in "The Bogeyman is Back," but he was coming off a nearly deadly fall off the World Trade Center. His fear grew because he wouldn't accept it, which Bogey later exploited.
Wrong Genre Savvy: In "The Boogieman Cometh," a ghostly gangster tries using supernatural shape-shifting to scare the willies out of the Ghostbusters and make them run away. Would've worked if it had been anyone but these four guys. Other ghosts tend to try the same kind of thing with the same results.
Yanks With Tanks: Winston used to be one of these before he became a Ghostbuster, which explains why he's the best shot with the proton gun. This was considered, but not used, as a plot point in the movie, as it happens.
You Don't Look Like You: Mild case, but obviously, the animated Ghostbusters don't resemble their motion picture counterparts. This is because the producers wanted to avoid rights fees. Note also that the more famous the actor, the less his character resembles him. An episode about someone making a biopic about the Ghostbusters used real footage from the movie to lampshade this.
Your Mind Makes It Real: In "Elementary, My Dear Winston," Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson and Moriarty appear as ghost-like beings even though they weren't real people. Egon theorizes that the sheer and consistent belief of fans all over the world enabled this.