I have been debating when to introduce Ghostbusters to my son. He is only six, and I didn’t show his sister the movie until she was eight, but he tends not to be scared of movies like she sometimes is. Even better, he will let us know when something is scaring him and ask us to turn it off. This is an important skill to have. When I was a kid I would see a scary movie and sit through the whole thing, covering my eyes. In fact, I still do this sometimes. How wonderful to be able to recognize when something is not appropriate for you and then self-regulate.
So Ruby has seen Ghostbusters, and Edward has not. Seeing as how the new movie is coming out this summer, there is a fair bit of excitement in my house about it; Ruby and I both cannot wait to see this new take. But do I show Edward the original? He is only six! I have known six-year-olds who have seen it, and I myself saw it at age seven, but every kid is different. What is okay for some is not okay for others. What I do not want to do is to scar his first experience with my favorite movie. Luckily, there is an alternative.
Edward is home sick from school today with a stomach bug, and we are sitting on the couch together watching my favorite cartoon from my childhood, The Real Ghostbusters. If there is one thing I should have known my son would like, it’s Slimer. In the movie, Slimer is a scary(ish) ghost that attacks, slimes, and is captured, but in the cartoon he is more like a rampaging puppy with crazy powers. He eats everything, he kisses everyone, and is always getting into trouble for his antics. In short, he is lovable, hilarious, and everything a six-year-old is looking for in a cartoon character.
After only four episodes I can tell you that my son will not be scared of Slimer when he sees him in the original movie. I can tell you that he already knows that the Ghostbusters can beat the scary ghosts. I can tell you that he is falling in love with these characters the same way I did, and that he is very excited to watch the film. Obviously he won’t “get” every joke or every line. Neither did I, as a kid. But my favorite movie and my favorite son have at least been introduced. I don’t know if I will take him to the new (PG-13) movie this summer or if he will have to wait to see it, but thanks to Slimer I can now share some of this joy with my son.