Beetlejuice is an American-Canadian animated television series which ran from September 9, 1989 to October 26, 1991 on ABC and, on Fox from September 9, 1991 to May 7, 1992. Loosely based on the 1988 film of the same name, it was developed and executive-produced by the film's director, Tim Burton. The series focus on the life of gothgirl Lydia Deetz and her undead friend Beetlejuice as they explore the world, called TheNeitherworld, a wacky afterlife realm inhabited by monsters, ghosts, ghouls and zombies.Danny Elfman's theme for the film was arranged for the cartoon by Elfman himself.
Episodes generally centered on the ghostly con-man Beetlejuice, his best (and only true) friend Lydia, and their adventures together in both the Neitherworld and the "real world", a fictional New England town called Peaceful Pines ("Winter River" in the film).
Beetlejuice's core character, that of a ghostly con artist, remained fundamentally the same as in the original movie, but was considerably softened, from maliciousness to pranksterism; nor, in the series, did he display the rampant lechery he did in the film, only occasionally embracing (or being embraced by) Lydia as between good friends. Although he had been seen ogling particularly gorgeous ghouls from time to time.
Lydia's character is portrayed as an upbeat goth girl who likes "weird" things from spiders to sloppy horror movies. As in the film, Lydia could summon Beetlejuice out of the Neitherworld (or go there herself) by calling his name three times, sometimes as part of a set chant:
- "Though I know I should be wary,
- Still I venture someplace scary;
- Ghostly hauntings I turn loose ...
- Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
Occasionally, there are other effects from that chant, such as Lydia's room changing to a gothic castle. On a few occasions, other people and ghosts went to the Neitherworld or the living world, either when Lydia takes them with her by chanting Beetlejuice's name, or presumably through a door that connects Lydia's and Beetlejuice's homes.
In only a very few episodes is Lydia not present, those being wholly escapades of Beetlejuice in the Neitherworld.
The episode "Brides of Funkenstein" was based on an idea submitted by a then-teenage girl, who was a fan of the show.
Throughout the series, Beetlejuice would often try to scam residents of the Neitherworld—and, sometimes, the "real world" as well (Lydia's parents were occasional unwitting victims of his pranks) – by various means, from "baby-sitting" (in which he literally sits on the grotesque Neitherworld babies) to trying to beat them in an auto race. Some humor also comes from Beetlejuice's fear of Sandworms. This was hinted at in a single line of dialog in the movie but was much expanded on in the series.
Beetlejuice – the main and title character of the show. His name-proper is "Beetle Juice Jr.", but is known better throughout the Neitherworld as "Beetlejuice", (all one word). He is the son of Gnat and Bee Juice, (who nag him to get a job and to keep clean), and he has a "disgustingly cheerful" younger brother, called Donny Juice, who whether he realizes it or not gets on his older brother's nerves. Beetlejuice takes more after his mother in looks, (but he is taller than her), and inherits his crooked teeth from his father. Beetlejuice's usual attire consists of a matching suit with vertical black-&-white stripes, a magenta-colored shirt and a black tie, and a pair of beatle boots.
Beetlejuice, (often addressed as just "Beej" or "BJ" by Lydia), is able to change shape, transform and conjure objects, teleport, and perform other feats of magic, although his powers can be reduced by various circumstances, such as encounters with Sandworms, (despite the fact that he has enough power to subdue or repel them with ease), or when his head becomes separated from his body. At times he must pause to think of exactly how to use his powers to escape a precarious situation unscathed. His name derives from the star, Betelgeuse, which – coincidentally, given Beetlejuice's love of foul odors and "armpit music" – is the armpit of the constellationOrion.
Due to what is later described in the series as his "juice", (his inborn source of magic), whenever Beetlejuice utters aloud a figure of speech, he or his surroundings change to act on the pun, (for example, if he says he is tired, he will transform into a tire; if he says he is flat broke, he transforms into a flat disc that falls to the ground and shatters; on one occasion, in reference to his own power, he declares "This literal translation stuff slays me!" and giant letters reading "Literal Translation Stuff" then fall from the sky to crush him). Almost all of his transformations maintain the black-and-white striped pattern he wears on his suit, although sometimes the stripes are coloured depending on the transformation.
Though many Neitherworld denizens have some magic, it is Beetlejuice's greatly superior power, (no real cause for it is ever given), that affords him the title—albeit mostly self-asserted—of "The Ghost With The Most," (another line borrowed from the movie), in fact, in multiple occasions Beetlejuice was able to effortlessly subdue a number of supernatural beings, and his dis-corporeal, self-sentient brain once claims that Beetlejuice's power is more than enough to conquer the whole Neitherworld. Because of that power, almost everyone in the Neitherworld is fair game for his pranks, though no more so than he himself, since he is not immune to careless use of his power; for example, he was once tricked by his enemies into saying "I'm coming apart at the seams!" which caused him to break into several pieces, with which his enemies then stole and scattered to different places in the Neitherworld, rendering him helpless as Beetlejuice can only use his powers when all of his body parts are together. However, with Lydia's help, he soon reassembled himself. Sometimes Beetlejuice will mix up one of his transformations, due to homophone-based confusion (when Lydia told him to turn into a stake to fight off Count Mein, he turned into a flank steak).
At times, various of his body parts (including his feet and his entire torso) manifested minds of their own, independent of Beetlejuice's control, with his brain and even his entire skeletal system having abandoning him once. Beetlejuice's main pastime is pulling various pranks on the other denizens of the Neitherworld such as Jacques, Ginger, The Monster Across the Street, Poopsie, the Mayor and in the Living World it is Lydia's rival Claire Brewster, Lydia's parents or sometimes Lydia herself. In the episode "Scary Fools Day", Beetlejuice and Lydia had a Scare War with each of them playing pranks on each other throughout the episode. Lydia only succeeded in scaring Beetlejuice once with the prank that his mother was coming to stay with him for a month, but Beetlejuice successfully pranked Lydia at least four times using his much more effective powers. These pranks included popping out of her desk drawer as a jack-in-the-box, pretending to shred her school essay, disguising himself as Claire Brewster who would be staying with her while her parents were on a six month holiday and using a sock puppet and a lamp to create the illusion of a Sandworm. Beetlejuice's pranks on many seem to cause them great embarrassment or damage, but for Lydia however, his pranks are only done to tease her, not to cause harm which shows his care for her. Lydia in fact, seems to be the only person who has any control over Beetlejuice. He even said in one episode he would do anything for her, and she in turn reciprocates his feelings.
Beetlejuice is also constantly coming up with get-rich-quick con schemes to get money, as he dreads having to get a job, and in later episodes (particularly in the second half of the fourth season), Beetlejuice greediness becomes so intense that he starts to overlook his friends and family, and even when Lydia openly scolds him, Beetlejuice shows unbelievable reluctance or unwillingness to give up of his schemes. His favourite foods are insects of various types, especially beetles, and worms. In one episode however, he gets a job as a scarecrow on a beetle farm. When he finally gets his chance to eat the beetles one is cheering his name in admiration and Beetlejuice, overcome with guilt finds he cannot eat them. Acts like this prove that Beetlejuice has more of a heart than he likes to think. Beetlejuice also loves causing mayhem in the Neitherworld and being filthy, and this last makes Beetlejuice have a pathological and psychotic hatred of bath (at one point, when Poopsie once waters him (Beetlejuice) with a hose, Beetlejuice went berserk with fury and was nearly going to eat Poopsie). Despite this cynical and childish attitude, Beetlejuice prove to be a profound and insightful person, frequently reciting quotes of philosophical and humanitarian importance (but of course, Beetlejuice rarely follow his own lessons and lectures).
The things he hates include Sandworms, cleanliness, and anything "cute". He expresses his likes and dislikes via variations on a singlecatchphrase, as in "Nerd humour...you know I love it!" or "Sandworms...you know I hate 'em!"
Beetlejuice's origins are rather fuzzy. On one hand, he frequently claims to be dead, a ghost, (having died centuries before—though his references are often hundreds of years apart), which implies a prior life in the "real world". Yet some episodes show his parents residing in the Neitherworld, and it is apparently there that he was born to and raised by them: there are, for example, photos of him in the Neitherworld as a baby—-showing him with his stock ghostly complexion and bizarre snake-like tongue—-and tales of his youth already manifesting his trademark personality. One possible explanation may relate to his saying something about his parents "making him feel like a kid again" and being unsure how to fix it without his growing up all over again; another is that continuity was not a key importance in the series. He have in fact have been 'reborn' in the Neitherworld after his death in the real world. More likely, the creators probably changed it to avoid scaring off viewers; (in the original opening, he is shown leaving his grave as a corpse, later airings featured new animation of him producing stripes on his clothes), or the writers simply were not keeping track of plot details.
A number of times, Beetlejuice interacted with Lydia's parents in the "real world" of Peaceful Pines, always under the name of "Mr. Beetleman", and in a couple of instances, he performed a gender change on himself to become a teenage girl about Lydia's age, as "Mr. Beetleman's" younger female relative "Betty Juice", along with once or twice appearing as the male gender "Cousin BJ" claiming to be on Delia's side of the family. In "Out of My Mind" it's revealed that Beetlejuice loves to pull pranks with spaghetti.
Lydia Deetz – a goth girl in her preteens at the start of the series, (she was in the seventh grade) and early teens later in the series, (at one point she expressly states that she is 14). Lydia is established as being a creative, bright, sharp, yet eccentric young girl, but otherwise Lydia's unique outlook on life makes her stand out from most of the other school-girls, which leaves her feeling out of place and alone in the real world, finding it difficult to fit in well with most of her classmates—leading her to frequently visit and seek out reassurence with her closest best friend, Beetlejuice, in the Neitherworld, where she is accepted and loved for who she is as a person. Her regular outfit at home is a long dark purple top, a pair of black leggings, a light purple and pink sash tied around her waist and black slipper-shoes. Her Neitherworld attire consists of a large spiderweb pattern red poncho, over a full-body black leotard, (the ends of the sleeves are like finger-less gloves, and the bottom of the legs double as footware).
Lydia is an amateur, but nonetheless, talented photographer, entomologist, seamstress, and sketch artist with an innate affinity and love for all things gross, scary, weird, surreal and macabre, and who celebrates all that is (in the words of her film incarnation) 'strange and unusual'. Despite her love of all things 'strange and unusual', Lydia is also a positive, well-mannered, friendly and patient girl, (being best friends with Beetlejuice is a testament towards Lydia's saint-like patience.) And aside from also being emotionally mature for her age (given what her best friend and her parents are like), Lydia can be accredited as being very responsible for a girl in her age group. Lydia is also shown to be a naturalist, shown to feel very strongly about environmental issues, (in Spooky Tree Lydia cut school and chained herself to a tree in protest of the workmen who were about to chop it down). She has also shown that she is extremely gifted with anything mechanical, and understands a lot about cars (she knew what to do to build Doomie, while Beetlejuice did not know very much, such as what a carburetor is).
In the series, Lydia attends "Miss Shannon's School for Girls" and is in seventh grade. Lydia is Beetlejuice's best friend; in the events of the pilot episode, Critter Sitters, both she and Beetlejuice have already known each other for a year, as they are celebrating their firstanniversary of friendship. Beetlejuice frequently addresses her as "Lyds" or "Babes" rather than "Lydia" though he does use her full name from time to time, like when he is scared, amused, or worried about her. For example: in "Worm Welcome" when Beetlejuice found out that "Worm Your Way" deodorant, causes baby Sandworms to go crazy, he was scared Lydia would be eaten by the baby Sandworm thus in turn, makes himself shout her name. Lydia knows how to summon Beetlejuice to her presence, or make her own way to his: by calling his name aloud three times. Occasionally she is shown making use of a longer, more elaborate ritual using the aforementioned four-line chant to bring him out of the Neitherworld or send herself into it, but that seems not to be a necessity.) Unlike Beetlejuice himself, Lydia is almost universally loved by the Neitherworld cast of the show.
In the pilot episode, Critter Sitters, she is shown summoning him through the longer ritual; as part of the ritual, the colour of her clothing changes, possibly merely by her choice. (Her invariable Neitherworld costume—unless she is in disguise—is a full-length red spiderweb-patterned poncho worn over a black, form-fitting body suit.) She is not the only person capable of summoning Beetlejuice—apparently the calling of his name would work for anyone (in one episode, Claire Brewster summons him accidentally)--but Lydia is the only person he will heed (because she is his friend, not because she summons him). Having found herself a kindred spirit in Beetlejuice, Lydia looks up to Beetlejuice in certain ways; admiring his outrageous sense of humour, as she would constantly be seen laughing at his jokes or gags. In one episode Beetlejuice lent Lydia his funny bone so she could be funny as part of a school show. But without his funny bone, Beetlejuice became much more serious and normal, this change in him even disappoints Jacques and Ginger. When Beetlejuice gets his funny bone back however, he becomes his abnormal self again much to Lydia's delight as she hugs him.
In some respects Lydia sometimes has been seen virtually parenting Beetlejuice. It is frequently made clear that Beetlejuice's dedication to her is a source of Lydia's own self-confidence. Although most of Beetlejuice's antics are motivated by self-amusement rather than malice, he can become genuinely hostile if Lydia is threatened. Meanwhile, any who might conceivably threaten their relationship (such as Prince Vince) are the objects of Beetlejuice's profound jealousy and resentment. In one episode, it is learned that Beetlejuice actually has a working shrine to Lydia in his mind. Lydia never shows any romantic interest in anyone else except Prince Vince, and that quickly turns into a straight-out friendship. She has hugged Beetlejuice a few times (if in a sisterly manner), and frequently goes on dates with him (such as to movies)--always, of course, in the Neitherworld. Also, when she was inside Beetlejuice's head, she gave a donation towards the maintenance of his shrine to her. Her main hobbies, aside from photographing every sort of strange thing, hanging out with Beetlejuice, drawing, includes watching horror movies and customising dolls into famous horror movie characters and monsters, reading literary classics such the collective works of writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King and others.
- Charles Deetz – Lydia's father, a nervous man who likes quiet activity and calm. One of his favourite hobbies is ornithology, which he seems to be very fond of, and he also likes baseball. Charles is allergic to dogs. He is often the victim of Beetlejuice's continuous pranks and mischief. Despite this, Beetlejuice is sort of oddly fond of him, probably because he is one of the few people who is always falling for his pranks, usually when Beetlejuice is in his "real-world" guise of "Mr. Beetleman". Charles' catch phrase is, "Try to relax. Try to relax."
- Delia Deetz – In the film, she was Lydia's stepmother, but the cartoon appears to present her as Lydia's actual biological mother; Lydia refers to her as "Mother" or "Mom", instead of using her first name as in the film. Her relationship with Lydia is somehow a close relationship, although sometimes, both of them do not agree in some issues. Due to her eccentric/airheaded/yuppie nature, Delia is not easily frightened, unlike her husband. Being a surrealistic artist, she mistakenly thinks that the frightening things she experiences are part of something else. Her weird art is often rejected by living people, but is very popular in the Neitherworld. Delia wants Lydia to give up scary stuff and focus on cute stuff.
- Percy – Lydia's pet cat, an animal so high-strung that he makes Charles look relaxed. Considering the amount of torment that Beetlejuice puts Percy through, this is not really surprising. Although Percy is most times a victim of Beetlejuice's pranks, he sometimes manages to take revenge on him, in more than one way.
- Bertha - Lydia's tall best friend with an overbite. Bertha loves to swoon over teen boys, read teen magazines, and eat chips.
- Prudence - Lydia's short other best friend. Although Bertha and Prudence both share Lydia's interests in anything scary or gross Prudence doesn't like it if anything's too scary. Prudence is a straight A student and she loves to read.
- Claire Brewster – Lydia's upperclass rival and Beetlejuice's second rival. Claire is epitome of the 'spoiled little rich girl' stereotype; your typical spoiled princess, being overindulged by her parents, Claire believes everything should go her way and because of that she clashes with Lydia, serving as a personality foil for Lydia in the series. Claire hates Lydia Deetz with a passion and swears to embarrass or outdo Lydia at all costs, (usually because Lydia stands up to her), but the one person she hates more than Lydia is Betty Juice. For the most part, Lydia tries to ignore Claire's scathing remarks, comments and attempts to humiliate her, not wanting to validate any of Claire's actions, but nevertheless many a time is that Claire gets under her skin, and Lydia dreads being humiliated in front of Claire, see "Stage Fright", "Laugh of the Party", and "Caddy Shock"). Claire is a narcissist, who believes she is the prettiest, beloved and most popular girl of all the times, (though it is clear nobody likes her), and abuses any power she's given, (as seen in "Foreign Exchange"). Claire is not only egotistical and overtly vain, she is also cruel, unapologetic and incredibly obnoxious, and shows no redeeming values whatsoever; she also reacts very badly to anyone who, (by her own definitions), is prettier than her, as shown in "Foreign Exchange", when she dilberately embarrassed Alex Spenceten, a female foreign exchange student from Scandinavia, (whose eyes were bluer and whose hair was blonder than Claire's). In "Brides of Funkenstein", it is revealed that Claire is tone deaf. In "It's a Wonderful Afterlife", it is revealed that, had Beetlejuice never met Lydia, Lydia would never had the confidence to stand up to Claire's antics.
- Jacques LaLean – A French skeleton bodybuilder (a humorous reference to the fitness guru Jack LaLanne) and neighbor of Beetlejuice. A running gag in the series entails Jacques getting broken into multiple pieces, often thanks to Beetlejuice who will then proceed to call a number of random dogs upon him. In spite of such antics, Jacques actually likes Beetlejuice, and in one episode it is revealed that Beetlejuice likes Jacques despite his vehement pretensions to the contrary. He pursues a dream of becoming a great bodybuilder, a mostly comedic endeavor as he has no muscles, nor a body to devote fitness to, a fact he is very aware of, but regardless, does not take into consideration. According to "Highs-Ghoul Confidential", Jacques and Ginger attended the same high school as Beetlejuice, and went to the school prom together; and Jacques was on the school train track team, and had an Overbite.
- Ginger – A cute pink mediocre tap dancing spider (another humorous allusion, this to Ginger Rogers). Another of Beetlejuice's neighbors, her act is often ruined by pranks of Beetlejuice. She dreams of someday being a famous tap dancer, and can be very sensitive to cruel pranks. Although she is one of the innocent creatures in the Neitherworld, she has admitted that she stole a few dance steps from other living and dead dancers. Ginger speaks with a New York accent. According to "Highs-Ghoul Confidential", Ginger and Jacques attended the same high school as Beetlejuice, and went to the school prom together; and Ginger was on the school Cheerleading squad, and had magenta-colored hair in a fifties hairdo.
- The Monster Across the Street – A tall, hairy monster from the West, who bears a slight resemblance to Gossamer from the Warner Brothers animation studio. He is another neighbor of Beetlejuice. It is no secret that he cannot stand Beetlejuice (although it is acknowledged by many that he does not really care for anyone), yet refers to Lydia politely as "Miss Lydia", often removing his Stetson hat in her presence. He speaks with an exaggerated western drawl. He resides in a house (suitably across the street from Beetlejuice's roadhouse) that looks like the skull of a giant-sized buffalo. He also has a little nephew called "The Little Monster from Around the Corner", as seen in Goody Two Shoes. He dates The Monstress Across the Street.
- Poopsie – The Monster's beloved and talented pet dog, one of Beetlejuice's favorite prank victims, and because of this he strongly dislike of him, but he has the same affection towards Lydia that Beetlejuice shares with. Poopsie's girlfriend is The Monstress Across the Street's dog Poopette.
- Doomie – Beetlejuice and Lydia's convertible, neon-green-painted sentient car. The origin of his name is Lydia having desired to construct a "Dragster of Doom," though this title was only utilized in a single episode. Doomie is normally an affable and friendly creature, but due to the abnormal brain Beetlejuice gave him during his construction (ala Frankenstein's monster), Doomie transforms into a vicious "four-wheeled werewolf" type of monster in response to the presence of a Neitherworld dog near him, or to anger, fear, or the danger of his 'passengers', somewhat like a vehicular Jekyll and Hyde (correspondingly, even in his more sedate form he displays subtly dog-like traits such as panting, implying that he fills a pet-like role for Lydia and Beetlejuice). A recurring gag is for Doomie to turn into his "werewolf stage" to chase Dogs around the Neitherworld, (a flip-switch to dogs chasing cars). In later episodes, he is known to "speak", which is given as the sound of an engine turning over in ignition. It is at these times, Lydia usually plays translator for him, as we understand a more complex, benevolent, and hopelessly romantic side to Doomie, such as when he began courting Mayor Maynot's convertible, Pinky. Beetlejuice makes a point of claiming his ownership over Doomie, and oftentimes demands his loyalty whenever Doomie should contradict him or is needed to aide in Beetlejuice's endeavors. However Beetlejuice can be greatly apathetic to any plight of Doomie's, necessitating Lydia's persuasion to help him.==Awards==