|First appearance||Ghostbusters (1984)|
|Last appearance||Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)|
|Created by||Dan Aykroyd|
|Portrayed by||Annie Potts|
|Voiced by||Annie Potts (The Video Game)|
Laura Summer (The Real Ghostbusters; seasons 1–2)
Kath Soucie (The Real Ghostbusters; seasons 3–7)
Pat Musick (Extreme Ghostbusters)
Janine Melnitz is a fictional character in the Ghostbusters series. She is the Ghostbusters' secretary, confidante, and occasionally, a ghostbuster herself. She was played by Annie Potts in both movies, and in The Real Ghostbusters she was voiced initially by Laura Summer, and later on the series by Kath Soucie. In Extreme Ghostbusters, she was voiced by Pat Musick. Potts returned to provide her appearance and voice to Janine in the 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game.
Throughout most Ghostbusters media, Janine is often displayed as having a romantic attraction to Egon Spengler. This is shown in the first movie and more prominently in The Real Ghostbusters cartoons. In Ghostbusters II, however, she becomes involved with Louis Tully, who has become the team's financial advisor and lawyer. Despite this, Janine retains her attraction to Egon throughout the entire Real Ghostbusters series and into the Extreme Ghostbusters series.
In "Janine's Genie", in which Janine encounters an evil genie after receiving a possessed lamp (unaware that the genie is evil), one of her wishes was for Egon to fall in love with her, and in one instance when she is driving Ecto-1, Egon comments "Janine, you're beautiful when you drive." Egon and Janine share a handful of tender moments throughout the series, but Egon's somewhat stilted emotions often create a barrier between them.
In Ghostbusters, Janine is hired as the secretary of the Ghostbusters, where she keeps tabs on the clients. She also interviews Winston Zeddemore for the job as the fourth member of the team. Later, she helps Egon interviewing Louis Tully who was possessed by Vinz Clortho, the Keymaster of Gozer. After the battle with Gozer, she is seen outside of 55 Central Park West, hugging Egon, happy to see him alive and well, joining the rest of the Ghostbusters as they drive off in the Ecto-1.
Janine is the youngest daughter of a working-class family. Though her parents, sister, nephew and grandmother all live in Canarsie (as seen in "Janine's Day Off"), she has remained in Brooklyn Heights, where she grew up. She tends to wear loud, blocky jewelry and (in early seasons) wears a mini-skirt at work.
In 1987, Janine owns a red Volkswagen Beetle convertible, which is severely damaged after being loaned to the Ghostbusters in "Beneath These Streets". In "Baby Spookums" she has a yellow Renault 5 Le Car, although it is not known if this is a loaner/rental or her own car; in later instances she owns a pink Beetle convertible.
On numerous occasions, Janine has been forced to take up a Ghostbusters uniform and proton pack to bail the guys out of trouble in episodes "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me A Dream", "Janine’s Day Off", "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster" and "Jailbusters". In the episode "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster" from Season 2, she borrows one of Peter Venkman's uniforms, and in the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "A Temporary Insanity" she borrowed one of Egon Spengler's.
She has a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor and has been known to make jokes about the Ghostbusters, either to their faces or under her breath, but most of the time she usually gets along with Ray and Winston, while usually having a kind of sibling rivalry with Peter.
Season 3 of Real Ghostbusters saw significant changes to the character. In the first two seasons, her portrayal was almost identical to the rude secretary Potts portrayed in the film. However, Season 3 saw Janine get a new voice actor, a new character design, and a softened personality. Notably, her thick Brooklyn accent disappeared.
In the Season 6 episode "Janine, You've Changed", it is revealed that her changes were the result of her wishes to a "makeoveris lotsabucks", a demon posing as a fairy godmother (and even referred to as such by Janine herself). This was one of a handful of episodes writer J. Michael Straczynski wrote as a favor to the show's producers, as he could not return as a full-time writer due to other working commitments he had at the time. As such, the demon fed off of Janine's insecurity regarding her looks, and frustration in failing to win Egon's heart. The demon used her magic to blind Egon (and the other Ghostbusters) to Janine's changes, thus making Janine more dependent on the demon for "improvements" on her appearance in hopes she would become "perfect," making Egon notice her. Unknown to Janine, the demon was feeding on desire to be "perfect" for Egon to slowly strip away her humanity, and turn her into a "makeoveris lotsabucks" herself.
None of the Ghostbusters noticed until Slimer showed them pictures of Janine in their photo album. They demonstrated her startling changes over the years with a hologram projector. The demon had used ectoplasmic energy to alter Janine's cellular and bone structure. When Janine leaves the firehouse to meet the demon alone, the Ghostbusters send Slimer go after her. In the car Egon tells the others, just as he's realizing how much Janine means to him, now he could lose her forever. In the climax of the episode, Janine turns into a "makeoverus lotsabucks" with powers similar to those of her "fairy godmother" (allowing her to change her own appearance at will). She lashes out at Egon when he comes to her rescue, blaming him for hardly ever acknowledging her affection for him. Egon defeats the demon's hold over Janine by confessing his love for her (the NOW and Marvel UK comics ignore these changes). Egon's confession proves sincere (and is not just a way of defeating the demon), as he and Janine are later seen sitting on a bench together, watching the sun rise. It is here Egon puts his arm round Janine and asks her out on a date.
Janine's character was changed at the suggestion of consultants, who said that they wanted to change the shape of Janine's glasses (which they thought would frighten children), and change her from a feisty character to the "mother" of the Ghostbusters group as they felt she was "too abrasive". Additionally, the Brooklyn accent was discarded with a change in voice actresses. This, among other reasons, was why writer J. Michael Straczynski left The Real Ghostbusters.
In Ghostbusters II, she is rehired as secretary by the Ghostbusters, working side-by-side with Louis Tully, who became the team's financial advisor, accountant and lawyer. Later, Peter Venkman assigns her to baby-sit Dana Barrett's baby Oscar. She asks Louis Tully to babysit with her, where she, along with Dana and Louis see Oscar being kidnapped by Dana's boss, Janosz Poha. In order to help the guys fight Vigo the Carpathian, she lends Louis one of Egon's spare suits and a spare Proton pack, so he can join them in the battle. After the battle, she attends a ceremony to restore the Statue Of Liberty, where she and the Ghostbusters are awarded the Key to the City from the mayor.
Set six years after the series finale of The Real Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, Janine had bounced from various jobs since the Ghostbusters closed down in 1991. Having been recently downsized from her last job she returned to school at the New York City College and amongst the various (and unmentioned) courses she was taking was a paranormal one, where she was reunited with Egon, going on to help him form the new team.
Potts confirmed that she will reprise her role as Janine in Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021).
Janine has had brief appearances in the Extreme Ghostbusters Game Boy Color game (only released in Europe) and in the Extreme Ghostbusters game, Code Ecto-1 for the Game Boy Advance.
Annie Potts reprised her role as Janine in the Ghostbusters: The Video Game, once again being the team's secretary, warning them about what's going on, either by calling them or by radio, and making sarcastic comments about the situation. Her physical appearance is quite similar to the way she appeared in the second movie.
Janine appears as a non-playable character in the Ghostbusters Adventure World of Lego Dimensions voiced by Courtenay Taylor. She has two missions for the player: The first one has the player busts some ghosts for the mayor, while the second one requires the player to assist her in recovering the books for Ray's bookstore after they're scattered by ghosts.
In the film series and Ghostbusters: The Video Game, she was portrayed by Annie Potts. In the cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters, she was originally voiced by Laura Summer and later by Kath Soucie. In the cartoon series Extreme Ghostbusters, she is voiced by Pat Musick.