Close-reading the lady Ghostbusters names

Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot is coming together quite nicely. We’ve got an all-star stellar cast of funny ladies, we know they’re going to look spectacular while they’re ‘busting ghosts, and they’ve got a cool car to boot, too. Feig has been having a ton of fun releasing these little tidbits via his Twitter, and his latest piece of information is quite a doozy: we’ve got the names of the female Ghostbusters.

Supposedly (since Feig really hasn’t confirmed exactly who is who) Leslie Jones is Patty Tolan, Melissa McCarthy is Abby Yates, Kate McKinnon is Jillian Holtzmann, and Kristen Wiig is Erin Gilbert. That’s amazing! Top notch names, Feig, we like them. But what do they mean?

I like to think Feig and his friends working on the Ghostbusters movie didn’t just throw names into a hat and pull them out at random. These names have to mean something, and seeing as how we’ve still got a year until this movie actually arrives in theaters, I’m going to get to the bottom of it. Hopefully.

Patty Tolan. Well, her full name has to be Patricia, right? So Patricia Tolan, but that’s too formal, so let’s shorten it to Patty. The only other significant Patty I can think of off the top of my head is Patti Mayonnaise, but I doubt the character has been named after Doug Funnie’s girlfriend, you know? But then that would be awesome. I see Patty as the fun-loving one of the group, whose always got a quippy comeback.

Abby Yates. Once again, a shortened name. Abigail Yates. And I hear the name “Yates” and all I can think about is David Yates, who’s going to direct Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Doubtful there is any sort of relation. However, it would be amazing if they were related, and then Abby could be all like, “Hey, brother David, can you give me some juicy Harry Potter scoop?” and David is like, “little sister, Abby, I told you I can’t” and this goes back and forth for the entire movie.

Jillian Holtzmann. I Googled this so you don’t have to. There was once a theologian named Julius Holtzmann. Wish I could tell you all about this guy and his life’s work, but it’s kinda all in German. Oh, but then there’s also the Holtzmann Law, which is basically talking about why some letters and vowels sound different ways… in German. Once again, I don’t exactly speak German, and I really highly doubt that Feig would name one of his characters after a turn of the century German scholar. Maybe this Jillian is a great-great decedent of them, though? There’s also the Holtzman Ink Blot test, but that’s only one N, and Jillian has TWO N’s. That could be significant.

Erin Gilbert. I’m just going to go ahead and write my own Ghostbusters fanfic for this one. Because I imagine Erin Gilbert as growing up in Boston (where the film takes place), with a very strict family. They don’t support her in her decision to become a Ghostbuster, and tensions are strained. She hasn’t spoken to her sisters in years. Her dad works double shifts at the factory. Her mom has failing health, but maybe, if she can successfully prove the existence of the paranormal, she’ll bring honor back to her family’s name.

Know what’s also interesting about these names? None of them are doctors. The OG Ghostbusters had lots of doctors. So maybe their PhDs come later? Or they’re doctors, and we just don’t know it yet.

So, Feig, that’s what I think. Please feel free to correct me on anything/everything about my wild speculation. We love these little snippets of Ghostbusters intel, so keep it coming.

(Images via Twitter)


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