It feels like at least some of the vitriol surrounding Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters is starting to die down, now that the movie’s actually out. (That, or we’ve finally learned to stop sticking our hands in the woodchipper and going on Reddit.) Still, the lingering spirit of all these childhoods being ruined could probably use a little exorcism, courtesy of someone whose childhood was actually defined by the 1984 original: Harold Ramis’ daughter, Violet Ramis Stiel.
Splitsider has just posed a new essay from Ramis Stiel, one part tribute to her father—who died in 2014—and one part reminder not to take Ghostbusters so damn seriously. She walks the reader through her own history with the franchise—including her outrage at seeing her dad be replaced by “some blonde guy in Sally Jesse Raphael glasses” in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon—while also emphasizing his warmth and openness to change. “‘It’s business, Violet,’” she recalls him saying when she asked him about the transition. “‘The cartoon is its own thing. The same way you used to ask if the fans knew I wasn’t really Egon? Well, I’m not. It’s a character. There was a different Superman when I was a kid. Things change.’”
Ramis Stiel discusses her slow processing of the emotions brought on by Feig’s remake (which includes a tribute to her dad in the form of a statue outside Kristen Wiig’s office), which was announced shortly after her father’s death.
“When Sony announced that Paul Feig had signed on to direct a new Ghostbusters movie, I felt so torn. I had been a big fan of Paul’s television work and of Bridesmaids—watching my dad, in his hospital bed, shaking with laughter at Kristen and Melissa was one of the happier memories from the years of his illness. Still, even though I knew Paul was a smart and capable filmmaker, not to mention a fan of my dad’s, it felt somehow like a betrayal.”
Then, she writes, “I started reading comments. O-M-G.”
You can read Ramis Stiel’s entire essay, including her praise for some of the homebrew fan communities that have grown up around the franchise without becoming rampaging women-denouncing jerks, right here.