Friday, November 5, 2010

November 5, 1985

...25 years ago...

...New York's fictional "Mayor Lenny" was re-elected to his second term.*

For all we know, Mayor Lenny had a pretty unremarkable first term as New York's mayor. That is, until, the city became a haven for paranormal events.

As always, things like this start with a full-torso apparition sighting a the public library.

This doesn't seem like too much of a big deal. It's just an isolated incident, right?

Well, no.

A hell beast later shows up in a refrigerator in Central Park West.

And then a focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm terrorizes a tony hotel.

Business picks up for the Ghostbusters. So much so that it is impossible to adequately show their success without a montage set to a song by Ray Parker Jr.

Side note, Parker was accused of plagiarizing the melody of I Want a New Drug by Huey Lewis and the News. They settled out of court. Both songs have suspiciously similar bass lines as Pop Muzik by M.

Despite the fact that ghosts seem to be overrunning the city, Mayor Lenny seems to be pretty hands-off until an allegedly genitalialess official from the Environmental Protection Agency orders the Ghostbusters to shut their power grid down.

Then comes another montage showing the city terrorized by ghosts. Finally, the mayor meets with the Ghostbusters, who warn the mayor that the city was headed for a disaster of Biblical proportions. Real "wrath of God" type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the graves. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.

Mayor Lenny decides to do anything it can for this unlicensed agency, who ultimately saves the city from the Apocalypse.

Granted, saving the city was a bumpy road. It wasn't done without first conjuring up Gozer, a shapeshifting Sumerian god, in the form of a 100-foot tall company mascot which could only be defeated by risking total protonic reversal by "crossing the streams." And sure, when they did save the city, it rained marshmallow on a few city blocks, but a saved city is a saved city.

Five years later, the city had seemed to forget all the Ghostbusters had done for them.

In the interim, they had been sued by multiple government agencies and since they did such a good job taking care of the ghost problem, they put nearly put themselves out of business. Their only source of income, as an organization, was making appearances at birthday parties full of kids who would be visited by He-Man, whose show hadn't had a new episode in four years by that time.

The Ghostbusters were forced to go their separate ways. Peter Venkman was hosting a TV show, "World of the Psychic" and Egon Spengler returned to doing lab studies when he wasn't helping Ray Stantz with his occult book store.

So, things were looking bad for the Ghostbusters. Mayor Lenny, on the other hand, won re-election. I imagine he did it rather easily like any slippery politician would have — taking enough credit for dealing with the city's ghost problem, yet still distancing himself from the now-hated people who actually dealt with the ghost problem. I'm guessing he also kept his true feelings about New York under wraps.

"Being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker's God-given right."

When paranormal activity ramps up again, Venkman tells Mayor Lenny that "almost 50%" of the Ghostbusters voted for him in his last election. I, of course, spent more time than I probably should have on thinking about that line.

First, I considered that if one of the four Ghostbusters voted for Mayor Lenny, that would be less than 50%, but it wouldn't be almost 50%. However, if Venkman was including their secretary, Janine Melnitz, as she is a vital part of the Ghostbusters organization, then that would make five people. If two of the five voted for Mayor Lenny, then that makes 40% of the Ghostbusters, which I'd say is "almost 50%."

Of course, I put thought into who of the five would have voted for him. It would have to be Ray and Winston Zeddemore. I would guess that Venkman and Egan aren't even registered voters. They both feel, in their own special ways, that voting is beneath them. Janine, on the other hand, probably takes her civic duty very seriously and would probably never vote for Mayor Lenny after what he had done to her former employers.

That just leaves Ray and Winston. I can't really make strong arguments as to why Ray and Winston didn't vote for Mayor Lenny, but if Venkman implies that 40% of the Ghostbusters voted for Mayor Lenny, I'd have to say it was Ray and Winston.

In real life, New York re-elected Mayor Ed Koch to his third term.

Sundae in New York

At one point during the sequel, an aide says that Mayor Lenny will be running for governor the following fall. That's actually a tough transition. The last New York mayor to become governor was John Thompson Hoffman and that was the 1860s. What could Mayor Lenny do to drum up enough support for the upcoming election?

Here's an idea. Spring the Ghostbusters from a mental institution and have them defeat Prince Vigo von Homburg Deutschendorf, whose spirit has taken over a large portrait being preserved at the Manhattan Museum of Art, by animating the Statue of Liberty and getting New Yorkers to sing Auld Lang Syne.


*I should note that Mayor Lenny's years of service are never explicitly stated, so I'm basing this on New York's real-life election laws. I'm working on the assumption that Mayor Lenny was mayor in 1984 when the first Ghostbusters was released and he was still mayor when Ghostbusters II took place five years later. One of his re-elections was even mentioned in the sequel. Since New York elects its mayors in the Novembers after presidential elections and inaugurates them the following Jan. 1. I'm left to assume that he was elected in 1981, 1985 and most likely in 1989. (The two-term limit was instituted in 1993 and was extended to three terms in 2008 and I think re-established in this past election.)

This would explain why when all of this bad stuff started going down late Dec. 1989, Mayor Lenny didn't just wipe his hands of everything and declare that it wasn't his problem.

Of course, he was running for governor, so maybe wiping his hands from all of that trouble on his way out of office would have looked bad.

1 comment:

  1. "And then a focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm terrorizes a tony hotel."

    I don't know that a tony hotel is, but I like the idea of it.