We call it “ghosting” when someone you’ve dated/hooked up with drunkenly a few times (same thing amiright) stops texting you back because you wonder if they’ve died or otherwise transitioned to the spirit realm where fingers no longer exist. Usually they’re not dead, of course, and then you catch this person Instagramming their brunch and you’re like, “THAT WAS OUR THING!!” Do you ever wish you could dispatch a task force to find out exactly what the hell happened that led someone to disappear on you?
That’s the premise of the new comedy web series Ghostedbusters, in which a foursome of investigators, played by local comedians, takes on cases of ghosting to hunt down the perpetrators. Instead of shooting proton lasers and forcing them into a tiny trap, they shoot questions at them and force them into awkward situations.
Co-creators Emily Fleming and Marie Cecile Anderson were inspired by trailers for the new Ghostbusters movie due out next month, and also by their own real-life romantic frustrations.
“We both had just hit a wall with guys we are dating. For me, there were several different situations of being ghosted,” Anderson said. “It just hit us: this is the perfect time. We just looked at each other like, ‘Oh my god, we have to do Ghostedbusters.’ ”
Their main aim is humor, but they hope it opens up some people’s eyes to what it’s like to be slimed by a relationship ghost.
“Because of online dating, we’re removing the humanity,” Anderson said. “If anything we hope that people see Ghostedbusters and think, ‘Hey wait a second, I owe this person a little more.”
The first episode of the three-episode run debuted on June 14. In it, the four leads fill the roles in the new film, wearing replica jumpsuits: Anderson plays the Kristen Wiig role; Fleming does a pretty spot-on impression of what Kate McKinnon’s character will probably be like (gun licking and all); and Sharron Paul and Jackie Zebrowski round out the group with the Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy spots, respectively..
In the first episode, the ‘busters take on a case where they track down and mock the suspect for saying “I don’t have the time to text,” jabbing at their phones comically to sell the point.
Anderson lives in Fort Greene and is one half of the raunchy comedy country duo Reformed Whores (who we wrote about back in March). Fleming is a comedian who lives in Nashville right now but is making a move out to L.A. soon; she’s appeared on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep and @midnight (catch her there again July 5).
Ghosting is not just a New York problem, but it’s probably a generational thing. It’s certainly not something that would have existed in 1984 when the original movie came out (though that fanbase crosses many generations).
“Our parents don’t get it,” Anderson said. “They say, “I don’t understand what’s happening in your dating life. Why aren’t you married?”
Unlike the CGI-laden movie, the whole series was done on a low budget: Most of it was shot in Anderson’s Fort Greene apartment, featuring some of her neighbors and the group’s comedy friends. They hope to shoot a second season if they get funding.
“It was a real community type project,” she said. “It was really super DIY; we did it in one day.”
They also have some fun with the backlash — as small but vocal and knuckle-dragging as it may be — over the remake regendering its four lead characters. In the first episode, the ghoster, when confronted, says: “Why are you four specific people dressed like people who are supposed to be men? It’s infuriating. I think I might tweet about it.”
The series shares a sense of female empowerment with the movie. Plus, who doesn’t like making fun of bros who get mad about ladies invading their space?
“I kinda enjoy watching dudes get their panties in a wad about stuff like this, stuff that doesn’t matter in the long run about life,” Fleming said.
Fleming and Anderson are anti-ghosting, but the series does bring up the point that ghosting can sometimes be a gray area. What if the relationship wasn’t advanced enough to command a grand end-of-interaction statement? What if the ghostee is just reading it wrong? What if technology has conditioned us expect too much instant contact all the time?
Fleming said she at least expects someone to be mindful of how much much of her time they’re wasting. For her, anything is better than silence.
“If you picked up a phone and called me and told me over the phone, that’s plenty good for me,” she said. “I don’t need: ‘We’ll meet up in a safe public place where no one can do anything outrageous.’ ”
It can happen in friendships, too. When the first episode dropped last week, Anderson texted Fleming, but didn’t hear back. Had she gone off to the containment unit with the rest of the ghosts?
“People are flaking on you when they have the technology in front of their face all the time,” Anderson said. But not in this case: Fleming was on a canoeing trip in Tennessee and everything fell out of the canoe, putting her out of touch for a long time. The phone, not the person, had gone ghost.
Find all Ghostedbusters episodes online here. Catch Fleming on @midnight on July 5; Anderson and the Reformed Whores are opening for Weird Al (!) at the Sturgis Bike Rally in August, locally catch her at this free Knitting Factory show on Monday.