Are you sure that "mealy gaminess" isn't just the taste and texture of too much yeast, if indeed you end up pitching so much that no cell division occurs? I mean the taste and feeling of the cells, not by-products thereof.
Biochemically speaking, what Denny says makes sense.
I've noticed on forums that a lot of people use the term ester to refer to any flavour compound the yeast produce, not just literally esters. Maybe that's where some of the confusion lies.
BTW, specific to this discussion, I've seen papers indicating that overpitching can lead to more diacetyl production. Of course, there are also more cells to clean up that diacetyl, so maybe that doesn't actually matter?
WattsOnTapp, if you assume that the saturation point of your starter wort and your beer wort are the same, then a 1 liter starter should divide roughly 4-5 times in your beer. On a cell number level, that translates into 16-32x more cells than in your starter. So using a normal sized starter it probably is impossible to overpitch into 5 gallons of beer. Pitching onto a fresh yeast cake will net you close to zero cell division and would be considered an overpitch, I imagine.