So my husband and I were debating the opening scenes of the two Ghostbusters movies, as one does, and we determined that Peter’s introduction in the first movie is not the same as Egon’s opening scene in the second. Stick with me, for all shall be revealed.
Venkemen’s opening scene is him, in his office, with a pair of presumably undergrad volunteers. He is in the midst of an experiment, as he states it, to determine what the result of stress (in our case, electric shocks) is to human precognitive — or perhaps telepathic– abilities. We see Peter lie to the male subject when he gets both incorrect answers and correct ones, giving him shocks for both. He appears to be making no notes or documentation. And as Mythbusters told us, science is only science if you write it down! After he drives away the man, he proceeds to hit on the woman, shamelessly. Were these things all part of the experiment? I think not. We all know Pete was being douchey and using his experiment to score himself a date with a much younger woman.
Contrast this with Egon’s first scene in the sequel. Here, also, is science! We could also make a case that Egon is being douchey here. After all, he’s had his assistant lie to a poor couple about their marriage counseling appointment, which seems likely to break their marriage permanently. He even alludes to taking away a little girl’s puppy!
However, I think there is a difference here that makes Peter a jerk but not Egon. That is because Peter was a jerk for his own ends, to score himself a date. It probably doesn’t help that he spends half the first movie throwing himself at Dana, putting him farther into creeper territory than I prefer my heroes (and even my anti-heroes) to be. I appreciate his not taking advantage of Dana while she’s possessed, but let’s be real: You don’t get special points for being a decent human being.
Egon, on the other hand, does what he does not for himself but for SCIENCE. It may be bat shit crazy or, a term I saw on Tumblr the other day – “guanomental” – science, but he’s trying to ascertain truth, not get himself laid. Intent, my friends, really can make all the difference!
So, in conclusion, Peter is a bad man. Egon is awesome. And if you haven’t watched Ghostbusters, we can’t be friends.