A Single Female SEO Womansplains Ghostbusters

A handy interpretation guide to this summer’s most controversial movie.

I can be a bit of a feminazi sometimes, so it won’t likely surprise any diehard WTFSEO readers that I was pretty excited to see the Ghostbusters reboot and to form my own opinions on the gender brouhaha.

SERPs in the Intro

Ghostbusters Wiig

And lest you blast this as irrelevant WTFSEO content, like so many reviewers have panned the movie itself, I’d like to note first and foremost that search rankings are a somewhat vital early plot point, SO THERE. You could also argue this new foursome has to build a ghost-busting brand and execute a content strategy, SO THERE AGAIN. Although now that I think about it, I’m a little disappointed they didn’t live stream any of their videos…and Melissa McCarthy never ordered Chinese food via bot. And Kate McKinnon’s contraptions didn’t incorporate AR/VR or the Internet of Things…ooh – and wouldn’t it be great if Leslie Jones’ uncle’s hearse was driverless?

Nevertheless: I should also note that while I have seen the original movie and liked it well enough, it was a long time ago and I probably wouldn’t rank it among my all-time favorites. I.e., I didn’t walk into the theater with strong emotional attachments to the macho version (ed – did you just describe Harold Ramis as “macho”?). And if your feelings are more intense, the reboot may be hard for you.

But, as fellow lady Susan Wloszczyna, who is filling the movie review shoes of the late Roger Ebert, sagely noted, “To those who are disturbed by this remake, let it be known that no one is burning all the DVD copies of the 1984 model.” Touche, Susie. Touche.

Mind-Boggling Umbrage

Per the Hollywood Reporter, actress Octavia Spencer, who was speaking at a conference with Ghostbusters Director Paul Feig, said, “The fact that there are people who take any type of umbrage with [the movie] is mind-boggling to me.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

Will it outrank — wink, wink — Citizen Kane as one of the greatest movies of all time? Probably not.

Is it super-fun and happy? Absolutely.

And I hate to go back to the gender well, but you guys started it and…I think maybe boys just don’t get it? I.e., it’s not about dudes this time around. The jokes aren’t necessarily 100 percent man-friendly. Which I think makes it easy to dismiss this as meaningless lady power drivel.

But, Men of SEO, I’m here to make sure you don’t fall into that trap. Do you have to love this movie? No. Of course not. But I hope the following will at least help you hate it less. And/or maybe understand it better? And then you can go forth and spread the good word…which will surely go a long way in curing our societal ills, etc., etc. (Just kidding. We’re doomed.)

And now…I shall take a closer look at reviewer complaints and swiftly debunk them, one by one:

1. It’s not funny.

Let’s start with the argument that, with the exception of McKinnon, the movie is not funny, which was a complaint in a number of reviews that accused it of “hit-and-miss one-liners” in a “laughter-free zone” that is “thuddingly unfunny.”

Ghostbusters Hemsworth

I think the tongue-in-cheek objectification of one-time Sexiest Man Alive Chris Hemsworth — who, by the way, is officially my favorite Hemsworth brother now, with all due respect to Liam and the other one (ed- Leona? Oh wait, no, that was Helmsley…nvm) – is a great place to start here. The jokes themselves – which were mostly funny, but not always home runs — almost take a backseat to the fact that, in this context, McCarthy is powerful enough to subjugate Thor himself. And that’s a delightful notion, even if it’s make-believe. Women in the theater – myself included – laughed out loud with each he’s-so-dumb-but-who-cares joke…because in part this so rarely happens. Sure, movies throw us a bone every once in awhile – look no further than this “guide” to the “hottest shirtless guys in movies,” which I hate myself a little bit for having pinned to my browser bar referencing – or they come out with C-grade bachelorette-party-themed fare like Magic Mike XXL, but I think we can agree the shoe is far more often on the other foot…even if sex in advertising doesn’t sell like it used to. And, heck, to see that turned on its head – even for a micro-moment – is somewhat gratifying. Annnd…I’m even tempted to argue that the writers didn’t simply opt for an eye-for-an-eye take on objectification but were rather big enough to leave room for Hemsworth’s character to have nuance (…which I am maybe stealing a bit from one of the many reviews I just read…).

[youtube] [youtube]

However, despite the raucous Hemsworth scenes, my pal Susan was one of the voices complaining the movie wasn’t funny enough. And before I remembered Ebert was dead, I was tempted to accuse him of simply not understanding lady humor – I’m sorry, Roger! I’m sorry! – so I’m not sure what Susan’s deal is…

Because it definitely wasn’t just wonton jokes! (ed: was it the two-ton jokes?) I don’t want to ruin it, but there was a DeBarge joke (!!) that was so unexpected it slayed me…and if you’ve never heard the Rhythm of the Night, please do yourself a favor and listen to it now. I’ll wait. This quasi-hit from some of Detroit’s finest is one of the most underappreciated songs of the 20th century. And on a related note, I am totally in if anyone wants to do karaoke at Pubcon.


There was even, coincidentally, a joke about the state CoCuMo’s handsome founder calls home (ed: you’re still not getting paid). And between this and the aforementioned chart-toppers from Motown, I think WTFESO’s next post HAS to be on the role Michigan plays in modern cinema and what this means for SEO, right? Stay tuned.

In short: Was Kristen Wiig’s line about getting slime in her crack hilarious? No. But there’s plenty of funny material.

2. Central characters shouldn’t have self-doubt.

Ghostbusters Ecto 1

Wloszczyna also took issue with McCarthy and Wiig’s characters not being more confident:

“…she-geeks Wiig and McCarthy are cowed into playing misfits who were shunned by others because of their spooky interests…and are now emotionally damaged goods trying to prove themselves right.”

Wloszczyna may count herself among the elite who roam the earth with Kardashian-like confidence – and, if so, I tip my hat, you lucky broad – but…I am not. And it didn’t seem odd or even remotely out of place to me to hear women question their purpose or direction. In fact, my girlfriends and I talk about things like this all the time…while also despairing about dying alone, natch.

And so while women may get collectively screwed in many respects – the pay gap (ed: you get paid the same as the male writers… in exposure), childbirth and long bathroom lines included – there are some actual perks to being a lady beyond $5 cocktails at the Melting Pot on Thursday nights and getting out of speeding tickets by smiling demurely. And by that I mean female friendships, which this movie serenades. Sure, there’s a time and a place for boys, but would that bro from Tinder risk life and limb AND listen to you drone on about your hopes and dreams? Decidedly not. Even if he Super Liked you.

And while that may be a stretch for man minds to appreciate, I’ll note this is also the story of a merry band of misfits who find their place in the world with each other…and I don’t want to point any fingers, but I’m pretty sure that’s a story line at least one SEO can relate to.

3. The special effects are underwhelming.

Ghostbusters Ghost

News Flash: Special effects might be overrated.

I know, I know, I’m losing you. And this may be more specific to me than female SEOs in general, but hear me out: While I can appreciate special effects are neato sometimes and even actively wonder, “Gee, how did they do that?” if/when they’re good enough, I can’t think of any movie I would go to for special effects alone. There has to be some kind of plot or something, too. Otherwise, I feel like it’s just another Michael Bay movie waiting to happen…and, frankly, I’m still angry about Pearl Harbor. On a related note, I would be more than happy to make my case about why it’s the worst movie of all time. Perhaps after we belt out DeBarge in Vegas.


I.e., they needed ghosts to bust. They used movie magic to create said ghosts. Could they have done better? Maybe. But they delivered on their promise. Let’s not overanalyze this.

4. It’s dull.

Ghostbusters Laser Things

Four funny women save New York – and, by association, the world. I rest my case.

Now go buy your kids (and/or yourself) a lady action figure.

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