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Western Animation / Beetlejuice

It's showtime!

Though I know I should be wary,
Still I venture someplace scary.
Ghostly haunting I turn loose:
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, BEETLEJUICE!
Lydia Deetz

Meet Lydia Deetz, a Perky Goth girl attending a private school in a sleepy little Connecticut town while trying to deal with her well-meaning but eccentric parents. One day she comes across Beetlejuice, the manic self-described "Ghost With the Most", who befriends her and whisks her off from her ordinary life into frequent adventures in the Cloudcuckooland world of the Neitherworld. Hilarity Ensues on a regular basis.

Based on the hit movie of the same name, the animated series was produced by Nelvana and aired for several years on ABC and Fox Kids. Its original run lasted from September 1989 to May 1992, with a total of 94 episodes - which in Recycled: The Series terms is equivalent to about 10 years. It bore only a passing resemblance to the movie: Barbara and Adam Maitland, the straitlaced protagonists of the movie, and Juno the Caseworker were eliminated entirely. With Beetlejuice as the main character, this ends up making the entire series something of a Villain Episode.

Since it was a children's show, despite many characters being technically dead, very rarely was the concept of actual mortality brought up. Beetlejuice's antics became more greed- and prank-based, and instead of a complete Jerkass, he was shifted into more of a family-friendly, moderately well-meaning Jerk with a Heart of Gold. The Dirty Old Man aspect of Beetlejuice's personality was cut almost completely, and most of their adventures took place in Beetlejuice's ghostly home dimension - the Neitherworld. Rather than the bureaucratic nightmare that was the Afterlife from the movies, Neitherworld was inhabited mostly by outrageous monsters with ironic quirks, including a skeleton who wants to be a bodybuilder.

Despite all the changes, the show maintained a lot of the same manic energy and clever visuals as the movie. Many jokes from the movie were recycled throughout the series. Tim Burton was involved as a producer, and Danny Elfman did the theme music (a re-orchestration of the film's theme). Therefore, it's generally considered one of the better film-to-TV translations - admittedly this isn't hard, but it is rare, especially when you're adapting a movie made for older audiences into a Saturday Morning Cartoon and you're trying to balance the adult content with kid-friendly content.

The entire series (both ABC and Fox episodes) was released on DVD in a 12-disc set on May 28, 2013.

The cartoon versions of Beetlejuice and Lydia, along with several of the supporting cast, were spun off into a handful of short novels ("ghostwritten" by B. J. Specter) and a short-lived comic book run.

The Animated Adaptation TV series provides examples of:

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  • 24 Hour Party People: In the Neitherworld, you can buy them in cans. Just don't use them during a full moon.
  • 555: Some of the CGI commercials include phone numbers to call for the product advertised, all of which begin with 555.
  • Absentee Actor: Despite being the co-star, there are five episodes in which Lydia doesn't appear.
  • Achilles' Heel: Beetlejuice's powers won't work unless his body is whole. If he's missing his head or his feet (to name but two examples), he's all but helpless. His shapeshifting isn't entirely voluntary either. Cleanliness is also like Kryptonite to him, although this is more of a personal quirk than an actual weakness.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Well, heroism is probably taking it a bit far, but Beetlejuice is not the antagonist he was in the film.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: The main characters were altered quite a bit from their original movie personas, in order to make the show suitably kid-friendly. Beetlejuice is still a ghostly con artist, but he's no longer a lech. Lydia still likes spooky, Gothic, and/or freaky things, but she's no longer suicidal, and Beetlejuice is her best friend; she didn't like him much at all in the movie. Delia is still an oblivious flake, but instead of being a social-climbing urban yuppie on the cutting edge of fashion, she's a blissful, preppy, suburban homemaker who now seems to be Lydia's biological parent (or at least is treated as such; the comic book spinoff makes the stepmother role much clearer). The only character from the movie who didn't change much was Lydia's father Charles, largely because he wasn't given too much of a personality in the first place.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Beetlejuice usually calls Lydia "Babes" or "Lyds;" very occasionally he'll address her as "my dear." In return, she often calls him "BJ" or "Beej."
    • He refers to the car, Doomie, as "Doomeroo" or "my boy Doomie."
    • Charles calls Lydia "Pumpkin," as he did in the film.
  • Alien Sky: The Neitherworld, as seen in a few episodes, has multiple suns and moons. (How many of each seems to vary from one episode to another.)
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted in "The Wizard of Ooze," a The Wizard of Oz parody. After clicking her heels (repeating "Ripple dissolve to scene 326" instead of "There's no place like home") and returning home, Lydia wakes up and realizes what a sappy dream she's had. Beetlejuice then appears and teases her about it. The subversion comes when Lydia asks how Beetlejuice could know what she dreamed about, and why everything is still in black and white. It then turns out that Beetlejuice is the one who was dreaming. He's mortified to have dreamt about a lot of the "cute" stuff that occurred in the Neitherworld's version of Oz.
    • Also seen in "Poe Pourri," when BJ has a string of Bad Dreams after reading Poe's stories.
    • Lydia has a bizarre nightmare in "How Green Was My Gallery," in which she wears a pink dress and plays the piano.
  • Almost Kiss: In "Critter Sitters," when BJ gifts Lydia with a spider brooch, she's so delighted by it that she declares, "I could kiss you!" and almost does - but the sight of all the bugs in BJ's teeth puts her off, and she opts to just hug him instead.
  • Alpha Bitch: Claire Brewster.
  • Alternate Continuity: From the movie, starting with Beetlejuice not being a villain.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Neitherworld.
  • Amazingly Boring Parents: BJ's folks are so dull, their picture is in the Neitherworld Dictionary under "boring". Literally.
  • Animated Actor: We discover in one episode that the cartoon is actually a (reality???) show on the Neitherworld Network, where Mr. Monitor works. After Mr. Monitor cancels BJ's show, BJ goes to work in the mailroom. He quickly takes the opportunity to steal some show ideas from a colleague and is rapidly promoted to Mr. Monitor's supervisor. He eventually gets demoted after running out of ideas, and ultimately gets his old "show" back.
    • Subsequent episodes sometimes came back to this idea and featured BJ hosting shows on the Neitherworld Network like Monsterpiece Theatre.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Beetlejuice's younger brother Donny drives him crazy. He's clean, honest, friendly, and essentially everything BJ himself is not. Donny, however, absolutely loves his big brother.
  • Anti-Hero: Beetlejuice is a type IV/V - while the series mellows him out from the villain of the movies, he's still the most disliked person in the Neitherworld. Not only is he a constant prankster, but he's also lazy, selfish, greedy and arrogant. It's easy to believe that he would be much, much worse if it weren't for the fact that he idolizes Lydia and would do absolutely anything to help her or make her happy.
  • Aside Glance: Both BJ and Lydia have a tendency to do this to the "camera." Lydia usually does it when a pun is especially lame or BJ is being particularly obtuse.
  • Author Appeal: Tim Burton's love of spirals and stripes has been noted in his entry on this trope's main page, and he indulges it here. While Beetlejuice wore a variety of outfits in the film, in the cartoon he almost exclusively wears his black-and-white striped suit and purple shirt, and almost all of his transformations involve stripes in one form or another. The sandworms are also colored with purple and blue stripes.
  • Bad Future: In "Pest O' the West," Beetlejuice uses a crystal ball to see what will happen if he abandons the town to Bully the Crud. To his horror, he finds that without his intervention, Bully pulls an And Now You Must Marry Me with Lydia, and they have several children besides. The Roaring Rampage of Rescue commences immediately.
  • Berserk Button: Beetlejuice gets pretty combustible when anybody threatens or insults Lydia, or threatens to get between Lydia and himself.
    • He also can't stand a wild goose chase, literally.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Beetlejuice pulls this off every now and again when Lydia is in real danger.
    • Lydia gets a turn of her own in "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted."
  • Bizarro Universe: "Dr. Beetle and Mr. Juice"
  • Black Sheep: Beetlejuice qualifies as this, as proven in the episodes where Lydia meets his parents — pleasant, hard-working clean freaks.
  • Blah Blah Blah: BJ tends to have this response to anyone giving him instructions or directives of any sort. Miss Shannon, the headmistress at Lydia's school, occasionally lapses into this when droning on about whatever she's teaching.
  • Bland-Name Product: Seen in a few episodes; for instance, in "Ghost to Ghost," Delia tries to sell Tackywarenote .
  • Blatant Lies: When Beetlejuice writes a salacious autobiography in "Ghost Writer in the Sky," he includes lots of these about his friends and neighbors to make the book more interesting. (He also completely omits Lydia's existence, although he explains that it's because he couldn't bring himself to say anything negative about her, even if it was a lie.)
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Charles, Lydia, and Delia.
    • Claire, Bertha, and Prudence.
    • Delia (redhead), her sister Zipporah (brunette), and her sister-in-law May (blonde).
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: The show manages to avoid giving its leads an actual romance, but only just barely.
  • Call Back: A number of later episodes reference earlier ones.
    • The spider brooch BJ gives Lydia in "Critter Sitters," in season one, reappears in "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" - three seasons later.
    • In "Out of My Mind," BJ watches television and sees a commercial for a product called Worm Your Way, a deodorant which attracts worms. Four episodes later, in "Worm Welcome," Lydia uses the very same stuff to try to lure a baby sandworm which has become trapped in the Outerworld.
    • In "Ghost to Ghost," Lydia's favorite horror actor, Boris Todeoffnote  is inadvertently summoned and gets into a face-off with BJ, who is less than enthused by Lydia's fascination with the guy. Later, in "Oh Brother," she's shown sighing over a scrapbook full of his photos - and BJ is still not happy about it.
    • Lydia recruits Dr. Zigmund Void to help restore BJ's memories in "Forget Me Nuts." She calls on him a second time in "Not-So-Peaceful Pines," referencing his earlier assistance.
  • Camp Straight: Jacques LaLean
  • Catch Phrase: "It's SHOWTIME!" Also, Lydia's "Deadly Vu!"
    • Examples. You know I hate 'em.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Beetlejuice, of course (sometimes literally); Lydia is also given to this at times, given her dramatic Perky Goth personality.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: As noted above, the cartoon doesn't have Otho, Juno, or Adam and Barbara Maitland. However, the way the Neitherworld is structured, there is theoretically room for Juno to exist.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Lydia's mother Delia borders on this trope. She actually seems to like the Neitherworld, and her bizarre art is extremely popular there.
  • Cool Car: The Dragster of Doom, a.k.a. "Doomie," is a Sentient Vehicle. He's actually a werecar, transforming into a monstrous version of himself whenever he sees a dog.
  • Cool Old Lady: Lydia's grandma (Charles's mother), who gets along famously with Beetlejuice in his "Grandpa Beetleman" disguise; they take a bunch of other seniors from a nearby facility on a crazy day trip.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Subverted when Beetlejuice is framed for some sort of crime and everyone automatically assumes he's guilty. The subversion comes when you remember that Beetlejuice has already pulled so many pranks, it's easy to understand why the rest of the Neitherworld automatically blames him whenever something goes wrong.
  • Could Say It, But...: In "Doomie's Romance," BJ disapproves of Doomie's efforts to romance the Mayor's convertible Pinky, and takes out his spark plugs to keep him from going to find her. But when both Lydia and Doomie give him sad faces, he gives in.
    BJ: ...whatever you do, stay out of my stinky sock drawer.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: A platonic(ish) variant. Beetlejuice acts like this whenever anyone else wants to seriously occupy Lydia's time - including a copy of himself. He's also not too happy when she shows any sort of interest in another character; the one exception was Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Crossdresser: Beetlejuice often disguises himself as "Betty Juice" to pass off as one of Lydia's girlfriends. In "Bewitched, Bothered, and Beetlejuiced," he also dresses up as a witch in order to help Lydia infiltrate a witches' ball.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the episode "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest", the minstrel character Alan Airedale sings songs about Beetlejuice that either advise his next move or serve as a type of The Villain Sucks Song. One particular verse:
    "Robin Hood, he can't be trusted; Robin Hood, his heart is rusted. Robin Hood, he's got no class; Robin Hood is such an..."
    *BJ breaks his lute over his head*
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Beetlejuice, for the most part.
    • Despite being into the dark and macabre, Lydia is very much a Nice Girl.
  • Dark Skinned Blonde: Claire.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Some of the other characters in the show occasionally have episodes that focus on them, although Beetlejuice and Lydia are still involved.
  • The Dead Can Dance: Beetlejuice loves to dance, and often pulls Lydia into midair to do just that.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Beetlejuice on the episode "Uncle BJ's Roadhouse."
  • Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu: Basically the whole premise. Beetlejuice is... somewhat more powerful than many of the other specters who appear, and is certainly very strange, while Lydia is a quirky but relatively normal living human teenager. Yet the two are all but inseparable.
  • Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Project: Charles insists on trying - and failing - to fix a leaky faucet in one episode. To earn money to buy one of Lydia's photos, Beetlejuice disguises himself as a repairman named Mr. Beetleman, and offers to fix it himself. Of course, he's even worse at it than Charles.
    Mr. Beetleman: Where's the drip?
    Delia: In the kitchen, trying to fix the leak.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Occasionally, Beetlejuice will look at the viewer and explain the pun which just appeared. For instance, in "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest," two talking swords kiss as a curtain closes.
    Beetlejuice: Swordplay. Get it? Sword? Play? *beat* ...Ingrates.
  • Don't Try This at Home: When he's about to jump into a small glass of water from 15,000 feet in the air, Beetlejuice takes a moment to warn the kids watching at home about his stunt:
    Beetlejuice: Remember, folks, don't try this at home, because I Have No Idea What I'm Doing.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Dragster of Doom.
  • Door Judo: In one episode, Beetlejuice repeatedly fails to break a door down before remembering he can simply teleport past it.
  • Dumb Blonde: Beetlejuice has his moments. So does Claire Brewster, although she's more vapid than dumb.

  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first several episodes, the pilot in particular, are quite different from the rest of the series in a number of small ways. Even the animation style is slightly different.
    • The pilot shows Lydia's room going through a rather bizarre transformation, bringing her to what looks like the interior of a castle to hang out with Beetlejuice. She's shown in that same location a few other times, and there's a door in one wall which leads out to the Neitherworld. This door is eventually dropped, with Lydia's incantation bringing her directly into the Neitherworld wherever Beetlejuice happens to be.
    • Beetlejuice's chronic terror of sandworms remains throughout the series, but it's never showcased to the same extent as in the early episodes.
    • The earlier episodes seem to imply that the crystal ball-shaped lamp on Lydia's bedroom table is relevant to the incantation. It's also shown in the pilot that her spiderweb poncho is actually the gray tablecloth which covers the same table; she seems to use magic, which she's never able to do in any other episode, to change it to its signature red color.
    • While they're consistently described as being Beetlejuice's neighbors (and one later episode shows that they've actually been his friends since high school), the early episodes appear to suggest that Jacques and Ginger actually live in various parts of BJ's Roadhouse.
  • Emotionally Tongue Tied: Beetlejuice, as a general rule. In "Oh Brother," Lydia urges him to tell his brother Donny that he loves him. BJ does actually attempt it (only because she asked), but he just can't get the word out. He has to settle for "I don't hate you like I used to," which is enough for Donny.
  • Episode Title Card: At the start of every show. In early seasons this would be accompanied by a spooky voice declaring, "Now here's Beetlejuice!" (or, after the mid-episode commercial break, "Now back to Beetlejuice!")
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Beetlejuice loves playing pranks on Lydia's parents, but he'll only go so far. Boris Todeoff doesn't have that problem in "Ghost to Ghost," and Beetlejuice ends up actually protecting Lydia's parents repeatedly from Boris's potentially lethal magic.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Lydia at the end of the Fox series opening.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: In a few episodes.
  • Everyone Can See It: Regardless of how the viewer interprets the relationship between the two leads, just about everyone (in the Neitherworld) picks up on Beetlejuice's attachment to Lydia. Some characters merely note their close friendship, while others assume it means something else. It often leads to her being abducted or threatened in an effort to make him cooperate; in nearly every instance, all it really does is make him mad.
  • Evil Laugh: Beetlejuice does this every now and again during the show proper, as well as in the intro of every episode. Lydia does it along with him when they turn into Mad Scientists while building Doomie.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: In "Not So Peaceful Pines," Beetlejuice's evil half speaks in a slightly deeper voice.
  • Evil Twin: As noted above, "Not So Peaceful Pines" splits BJ into good and evil twin versions of himself; they're called Posijuice and Negajuice.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Monster Across the Street is a... monster who lives across the street from Beetlejuice. He wears a cowboy hat and plays the guitar.
  • Expy: Prince Vince is based off of Vincent Malloy from Tim Burton's short film Vincent.
  • Face Heel Revolving Door/Heel–Face Revolving Door: In a Robin Hood parody, BJ steals from the corrupt Sheriff of Rotting-Ham and gives to the poor, but begins to keep more for himself, until he is the wealthiest person in the village. The sheriff, now destitute, becomes a vigilante to steal from BJ and give to the poor.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "Forget-Me-Nuts" and, to a lesser extent, "Out of My Mind."
  • Flanderization: Lydia's dad. "Large crowds make me nervous! Being nervous makes me nervous!"
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Poopsie, the dog belonging to the Monster Across the Street. He's very sweet tempered most of the time, but he hates Beetlejuice.
  • Forgotten Anniversary: Teased but then defied. In "Time Flies," Lydia thinks Beetlejuice has forgotten that it's the anniversary of the day they met (which they celebrate every year). It turns out he's just pretending to have forgotten because he enjoys surprising her.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Lydia. Several episodes show her helping wild animals in distress.
  • Fusion Dance: Beetlejuice has cloned himself, has had his skeleton develop a mind of its own and leave his body, and has been split into his "good" and "evil" halves. They always end up fusing back into the regular Beetlejuice.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: And plenty of it. That's what happens when Tim Burton produces a kid's show.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Whenever Beetlejuice eats a bug.
  • Gratuitous French: Jacques peppers his speech with French words and phrases, and speaks with a French accent. Justified in that he was, presumably, a Frenchman in life.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Beetlejuice almost literally turns into this in "Prince of the Neitherworld," when Prince Vince becomes so besotted with Lydia that he actually proposes marriage.
    • He has a slightly less extreme incident later in "To Beetle or Not to Beetle," when Romeo attempts to woo Lydia. After BJ removes her from the scene, Romeo is still trying, so BJ calmly pulls out a chainsaw and cuts off the balcony to which Romeo is clinging.
  • Halloween Episode: This show had two: "Laugh of the Party" and "Bewitched, Bothered, and Beetlejuiced."
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Mental, in the episode "In the Schticks." Beetlejuice even calls him "the hanging judge."
  • Hartman Hips: Delia
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Beetlejuice, under the effects of his "New-U" Cologne in "Dr. Beetle and Mr. Juice." It doesn't last long, though.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Beetlejuice often fails in his attempts to be nice to others. When it's suggested that he try to make his neighbors feel "wanted," he does this by putting up Wanted Posters of Ginger all over town, getting her arrested.
  • Hero Worship: Lydia's reaction to meeting Edgar Allan Poe in "Poe Pourri," as well as her initial response to Boris Todeoff in "Ghost to Ghost;" she's a member of the former's fan club, and cites the latter as her childhood idol.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Beetlejuice has one of these, although the absolute last thing he wants is for anyone (other than Lydia) to find out about it.
    "Don't spread it around! I have a reputation to keep up."
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: In "Keeping Up With the Boneses," Lydia is held as "collateral" to make Beetlejuice pay his credit card bills.
  • Humans Are Ugly: In the second episode "The Great Face-Off," Beetlejuice and Lydia compete on a game show in which they must out-gross their opponents. When they get to the final round and BJ is losing his steam, Lydia has an idea. He morphs his face into a copy of her father when he's unshaven and half-asleep, and this disgusts not only the opponents but the show's host and studio audience into fleeing in fear.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Often. They can get a little tiresome at times...
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the episode "Two Heads are Better than None," Beetlejuice claims that he never wears "stupid cowboy hats." But he wears one willingly enough in several other episodes.

  • Iconic Outfit: Beetlejuice almost always wears the same black and white striped suit and purple shirt with black tie, even though in the movie he only wore that for the pre-wedding climax. Lydia is best remembered for her red spiderweb-patterned poncho and black leotard.
  • Inconvenient Summons: On two occasions, Beetlejuice becomes a celebrity of such importance in the Neitherworld that his fans can't stop chanting his name... which proves problematic when Lydia is in a bind.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Beetlejuice really is the Ghost With The Most. How? We'll never know. One episode notes that his power is so great that he could easily conquer the entire Neitherworld, but where he gets the power is unclear.
  • Instant Book Deal: In "Ghost Writer in the Sky," Beetlejuice gets this. Jealous of an author who has great success writing "tell-all" books, he decides to pen his own (very inaccurate) autobiography, and it's a huge hit.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Lydia and Beetlejuice. At a guess, Beetlejuice may have been in his late 30s at his time of death - which was hundreds of years ago. Lydia, meanwhile, is confirmed to be in the seventh grade in the first season.
  • In the Name of the Moon: As seen in the page quote, Lydia has a magical incantation she recites to summon Beetlejuice and change her own clothing. Usually, however, she skips the long version and just says his name three times. She uses the full incantation multiple times throughout the series; presumably, this is really unnecessary, and just serves to remind us that Lydia has a flair for the dramatic.
  • Insult Backfire: Whenever Beetlejuice is called ugly or smelly, he is flattered.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Beetlejuice, based on wordplay in his dialogue. It's the cause of many a troublesome escapade and is his greatest weakness.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" is a rare example of being both subverted and played straight when it seems like everyone in the Neitherworld is better off without Beetlejuice, but it turns out that Lydia is miserable in the real world. BJ immediately thinks that he can just become part of her life and make her happy again, but is informed by his guide that he's allowed no contact with her. Cue the demand to have everything put back the way it was.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Beetlejuice is this trope. Aside from his affection for Lydia, he has a soft spot for Doomie and Lydia's parents; he also likes Jacques, which mortifies Beetlejuice when Jacques finds out. However, he does have a reputation to uphold, so he refuses to admit to any of these except Lydia (and sometimes Doomie).
  • Kick the Bitch: Claire Brewster is Beetlejuice's most common target, but she usually has it coming.
  • Kid with the Leash/Morality Chain: Lydia is both of these to Beetlejuice. He'll behave himself (however reluctantly) at her request, because by his own admission he has a hard time refusing her anything. But if anything happens to her, all bets are off.
  • Large Ham: Beetlejuice is this as a general rule, but in some episodes more than others. The episode where he becomes a rock star by making armpit noises is a particularly strong example. He admits it outright in "To Beetle or Not to Beetle," when having fun with Shakespeare.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Beetlejuice delivers this to Claire Brewster on a regular basis.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Most of the time, Beetlejuice is a lazy, pranking con man. But if Lydia is ever in any real danger, or if someone like Claire Brewster has insulted her, BJ will demonstrate just why he's called the Ghost With The Most.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared with the film.
  • Light Is Not Good/Sugar Bowl: The Neitherworld's prison system consists of a Candyland-like environment run by an Expy of Little Bo Peep, where malcontents are "rehabilitated" into cute, sweet and playful creatures. Beetlejuice is absolutely terrified of the place; in "Snugglejuice," the viewer sees why.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: BJ and Lydia fall into this in "Doomie's Romance," as they quarrel over how they're parenting their car. It Makes Sense in Context... mostly.
  • Literal Genie: Beetlejuice's Involuntary Shapeshifting.
  • Literal-Minded: Beetlejuice is also this at times. For example, in the very first episode, he thinks that babysitting involves actually sitting on babies.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Lydia is this (no pun intended) for Beetlejuice. Several episodes make it clear that he dislikes periods of separation; he'll go to great lengths to involve himself in her family vacations, school functions, and other events that would otherwise keep them apart.
  • Longing Look: Type one happens infrequently, and usually with a degree of subtlety. Type two (the jealous one) happens in "Prince of the Neitherworld," when Beetlejuice has his Green-Eyed Monster moment, with absolutely no subtlety whatsoever.
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: The episode "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" suggests that Lydia developed her confident, friendly nature as a direct result of her relationship with Beetlejuice.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Beetlejuice does this a lot throughout the series.
  • Mad Scientist: Beetlejuice occasionally becomes this, such as when he makes his "New U" cologne and when he builds Doomie. Lydia is a female version while helping BJ build Doomie.
  • Magic Spiderweb Poncho: Lydia changes into a red spiderweb-patterned poncho when she enters the Neitherworld. The trope is subverted in that even when the poncho moves, she wears a black leotard underneath.
  • Man Child: Beetlejuice was possibly in his late 30s at his time of death, and he's been dead for several hundred years. Mentally, though, he sometimes acts like he's about ten years old.
  • Media Watchdog: Goody Two-Shoes the fairy is a pretty obvious parody of them.
  • Medium Awareness: Several episodes contain references to the fact that they're in a TV show. In "It's a Wonderful Afterlife," BJ outright says it to the audience.
    BJ: This isn't real! *Aside Glance* That's right, kids, I admit it - it's a cartoon. But even as cartoons go, this is way out of hand!
  • Medium Blending: In-Universe television commercials are CGI animated - although the quality is clearly dated.
  • Meganekko: Prudence; also Lydia, in a few episodes where she dons glasses as part of her outfit or disguise.
  • Monster Clown: Scuzzo the Clown, as well as his brother Fuzzo.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The show's main form of Dis Continuity. Beetlejuice either started living in the Neitherworld after his death or he lived in the Neitherworld his entire life and always was a ghost.
  • Must Make Her Laugh: BJ's basic attitude regarding Lydia; several episodes make it clear that he hates seeing her unhappy and will do whatever he can to fix the problem. His ability to make her laugh is stated in the pilot to be her favorite thing about him. "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" shows that without him to make her smile, she's very lonely and miserable, suggesting that she may have been this way before they met.
  • Mythology Gag: Several scenes and in-jokes from the movie:
    • Beetlejuice sings Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" in the debut episode.
      • Lydia also sings that song in the debut episode as well, while riding her bike through the bridge where the Maitlands crashed.
    • In "How Green is My Gallery," Beetlejuice hocks into his jacket.
    • In "Stage Fright," after Lydia (accidentally at first) sends Beetlejuice away to keep him from trouble, he screams at Claire to "SAY IT!!" (saying his name 3 times).
    • In "Not So Peaceful Pines," Beetlejuice introduces himself as a "bio-exorcist" - his job from the movie.
    • Beetlejuice's fear of sandworms comes from the movie, where one eats him.
    • Several episodes feature cameo appearances by ghosts that attended the waiting room of the dead, such as the diver that was eaten by a shark and the fashion model who was cut in half.
    • The fireplace in Beetlejuice's house strongly resembles the one from the wedding scene in the movie.
    • In the episode "Running Scared," Beetlejuice shuts up Claire Brewster by making a metal plate appear over her mouth, which he did in the movie to keep Barbara Maitland from saying his name after she unzipped her lips.
    • In "Spooky Boo-Tique," he advertises through the TV like he did with the Maitlands in the movie. He even dresses like a cowboy at one point, exactly like in the movie. He also does this in "Pest o' the West," again complete with cowboy garb, although this is for Lydia's amusement only.
    • In a few episodes, Beetlejuice grabs an insect and stuffs it into his jacket, remarking, "Save that guy for later."

  • Name Drop: From "Super Zeroes":
    Beetlejuice: (as "Super Beetleman") As Jack Kirby is my witness, I'll never go arch-villainless again!
  • Narnia Time: The Neitherworld appears to run on a very different timetable than the Outerworld. Lydia is often with Beetlejuice for hours or even longer (such as in "Ship of Ghouls," when they go on a cruise for several days), and yet she's never shown to miss any school or have her absence noticed by anyone.
  • Nephewism: Beetlejuice sometimes disguises himself as Lydia's nonexistent cousin B.J. in order to tag along on Deetz family outings. Her parents, though mildly confused, never seem to outright object or question this. Charles and Delia apparently each consider "Cousin B.J." to be the other's nephew.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Aside from shapeshifting according to what he says and flying, Beetlejuice sometimes displays other bizarre powers, such as controlling inanimate objects, using his shapeshifting power on other ghosts, and making Claire grow a thick black mustache, among other things.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Lydia. She's an ordinary human with a taste for the macabre, likes bugs and spiders, takes frequent trips to the Neitherworld, and is best friends with a proudly disgusting ghost.
  • Noodle Incident: It's shown in two episodes that Beetlejuice and Lydia celebrate every year on the anniversary of the day they met. But at no time does the show actually explain how they met. Given the context, it seems unlikely that the situation from the movie would have carried over to the show (not least since the Maitlands aren't in the cartoon), so the audience is left wondering about the details.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: In one episode, Beej and Lydia (and others) are playing baseball in the Neitherworld. At some point it is announced that the game has changed to "Sudden Death", meaning that the losers will have to stand in the "Losers' Circle," an area enclosed by a rope. Beej is unimpressed (as he's been dorking around the entire game anyway) until the "circle" opens up into a fang-lined maw that belches a fireball into his face.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In "Bewitched, Bothered, and Beetlejuiced," Lydia and Beej infiltrate a witches' Halloween ball to rescue her cat Percy; they dress up as witches and Beej calls himself 'Beatrice.' A warlock in attendance becomes smitten with 'Beatrice' and they dance together quite a bit. When Lydia finds him in the warlock's embrace, a flustered Beetlejuice immediately tells her, "It's not what you think." As she points out, "It's not what he thinks either!"
  • Once an Episode: A short animated clip directed by Tim Burton, usually framed as a Show Within a Show. It's often relevant to the plot of the episode.
  • One-Gender School: Miss Shannon's School for Girls. One episode has them partnering with the local boys' school for an event.
  • Overly Long Gag: All throughout the episode "Beauty and the Beetle": "Grim-diana BOOOOOOOOONNNNEESSSSS!" *Cue the giant boulder* This happens a grand total of six times over the course of one episode. Beetlejuice lampshades it, too, the last time it happens:
    Beetlejuice: Talk about a running gag.
  • Papa Wolf/Protectorate: The fastest way to make BJ angry is to threaten or insult Lydia. (Flirting with her in his presence is also not advised.)
  • Parental Bonus: Every episode contains at least a little of this; the Shakespeare and Poe episodes, among others, are full of it.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Charles and Delia are very much guilty of this. It's plausible that they could overlook Lydia's friendship with BJ since they have no idea he exists. But after his Mr. Beetleman form becomes known to them, they don't seem to find it remotely strange that this weird thirtysomething guy spends a lot of time with their daughter. She even brings him to a party in one episode (and he has his arm around her almost like he's her date) and Delia just commends her thoughtfulness in inviting him.
  • Perky Goth: Lydia
  • The Pig Pen: Beetlejuice loves being this.
  • Plot Allergy: A minor example played for laughs. In "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest," it's revealed that Lydia is violently allergic to roses. She's in such a miserable state that when the Sheriff introduces her as "Maid Lydia, Robin Hood's main squeeze," they decide to use her to lure Beetlejuice by announcing that she's now "Prince John's main sneeze."
  • Poisonous Friend: Beetlejuice is this for Lydia at times, as he will happily drag her along into his latest scheme or scam, whether she's willing or not. He's deeply loyal to her, though, and he will not tolerate any ill treatment of her.
  • Power Incontinence: Implied. Beetlejuice suffers Involuntary Shapeshifting to match some throwaway word or phrase he uses.
  • The Power of Love: Seen in "Doomie's Romance," when Doomie falls in love with another car. Doomie is a Sentient Vehicle, but Pinky is not, making the romance difficult to say the least. But by the end of the episode, the trope is invoked in two ways. Doomie's love for Pinky actually causes her to become a Sentient Vehicle. Less overtly, Beetlejuice's own affection for Doomie (and Lydia) overcomes his annoyance about the whole thing.
  • Principality: The Neitherworld is implied to be this, since its ruler is Prince Vince; there's never a mention of anyone ranking higher than him, and when he proposes to Lydia in "Prince of the Neitherworld," he specifically asks her to be his princess, saying they'll rule the Neitherworld together.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: In the episodes where Beetlejuice becomes cloned, divided, or ripped into assorted pieces, this is what has to happen for him to regain his normal state.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Oddly, some episodes imply that Beetlejuice falls under this trope. In "Ghost to Ghost," part of the reason he takes issue with Boris Todeoff is because he maintains that haunting the Deetz residence is his job.
  • Punny Name: Many of the side characters, especially those who only appear once, have these. Examples include Clarence Sale, the Sheriff of Rottingham, and three of the four aunts from "Relatively Pesty" - Auntie Pasto, Auntie Septic, and Auntie Social. Some of the more clever puns probably went over kids' heads, serving as extra helpings of Parental Bonus.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Lydia, natch.
  • Reality Warper: Beetlejuice seems to be on the lower end.
  • Redheads Are Uncool: Prudence.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The raven in "Poe Pourri." Justified in that, in Poe's own words, the raven "came a-rapping."
  • Rich Bitch: Claire Brewster, again.
  • The Rival: Scuzzo the Clown is Beetlejuice's arch-rival; Claire's is Lydia's in certain situations. More accurately, Claire sees Lydia as this, while Lydia would usually just rather not be bothered.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: This is to be expected any time Lydia's in serious danger.
  • Running Gag: Several.
    • "Grimdiana Boooooooooooones!" *BJ is run over by a boulder* He even explicitly calls it a running gag.
    • And a one-episode gag - "Brinkadoom!"
    • Ginger crying every time she's called a spider in "The Wizard of Ooze."

  • Security Cling: Lydia does this to Beetlejuice on occasion; she has a tendency to clutch his arm while watching scary movies. In a few episodes, she outright runs/jumps to where he can put his arms around her.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Subverted. A few times, Lydia and BJ encounter characters (such as BJ's Uncle Sid and the Sheriff of Rottingham) who explicitly refer to Lydia as BJ's girlfriend. They never bother to correct the speaker.
  • Sherlock Holmes: BJ dresses up as him (or rather, as "Sherlock Homely") in "A-Ha!"
  • Shotgun Wedding: As noted elsewhere, Bully the Crud tries to force Lydia to marry him. His proposal includes six-shooters in her face.
  • Shout-Out: So many that they needed their own page.
  • Shrunken Head: I. M. Smallhead appears to be based on the hunter at the end of the movie, in that he has a tiny head and his lips seem to be sewn together.
  • Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!: BJ's attitude throughout most of "Doomie's Romance," as he vehemently denies that he would ever fall in love and thinks the whole concept is a terrible idea. Unfortunately for him, his heart keeps popping out of his chest to argue the point.
  • The Slacker: Beetlejuice dreads the idea of having to get a job, preferring to play pranks on people and con them out of their money. It's subverted in one episode when he gets a job as a scarecrow on a beetle farm and proves to be very good at it. In part, it's because he wants to eat the beetles himself, but also because he has a lot of fun using his powers to screw around with the birds who are trying to eat the beetles first.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Claire is convinced that she is God's gift to Peaceful Pines. She's also oblivious to the fact that just about everyone hates her guts.
  • Something Completely Different: "Uncle BJ's Roadhouse," a full episode parody of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and "Poe Pourri," which can best be described as "What if someone put Edgar Allan Poe's poetry to animation?"
  • Spanner in the Works: Lydia serves as this during "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted" (see Villain Team-Up, below). Beetlejuice's enemies were correct in thinking they could trick him into accidentally making himself fall apart. What they didn't count on was him calling on his Morality Chain for help.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Done in multiple episodes:
    • "Spitting Image" has Beetlejuice accidentally cloning himself. The two Beetlejuices start competing for Lydia's attention, which ends up making her miserable. When they realize this, the two Beetlejuices merge back into one.
    • Yet another has Beetlejuice's skeleton escape from his flesh out of protest. His bones prefer a classy lifestyle, rather than seeing things through "gross colored glasses."
    • The final episode, "Not So Peaceful Pines," has Beetlejuice splitting into his good and evil sides. When the evil side threatens to destroy Peaceful Pines, Lydia and the ghostly psychiatrist Dr. Zigmund Void have to merge them back together again.
  • Stalker Shrine: A humorously innocent variation on the trope. Beetlejuice's adoration of Lydia extends so far that he's built her a shrine... inside his head.
    Will Power: He thinks about you all the time! See? *pointing* His shrine to Lydia!
  • Standard Snippet: "Also Sprach Zarathustra" appears frequently.
  • Sugar Bowl: Neither-neither Land, the only place the ghouls truly dread.
  • Take That: "Uncle B.J.'s Roadhouse", a parody of Pee Wee's Playhouse. See also Goody Two Shoes, who represents the Neitherworld Bureau of Sweetness and Prissiness, or BS&P for short.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Lydia inadvertently summons Beetlejuice during her weird cutesy nightmare in "How Green Was My Gallery" by saying his name in her sleep.
  • Three Shorts: Some episodes were made up of two eleven-minute shorts, while most were full-length twenty-two minute stories. The episode with "Uncle B.J.'s Roadhouse" was the first and only episode to screen three shorts. The other shorts that episode contained were "Scarecrow" and "The Son Dad Never Had."
  • Transformation Sequence: Lydia.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Delia's weird sculpture art makes her a laughingstock in the real world, but the residents of the Neitherworld love it. invoked
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Beetlejuice's Mr. Beetleman disguise dabbles in a variety of different professions, including plumber, caterer, travel agent, and exterminator, among others.
  • The Unapologetic: A plot point in "Out of My Mind" is that Beetlejuice breaks a promise to Lydia, and then refuses to apologize for it, leading them to have their only fight in the entire series. By the end of the episode, he... almost does. Unusually for the trope, however, he seems to learn from the experience; a number of later episodes have him tacitly saying sorry to her for minor inconveniences.
  • The Unfavorite: In "Oh Brother," it's revealed that Beetlejuice is this to some of his extended family, who vastly favor his younger brother Donny. His neighbors also like Donny better. When BJ mistakenly thinks Lydia prefers him too, it actually sends him over the Despair Event Horizon, and she and Donny have to find him before he does something drastic.
  • The Unintelligible: Scuzzo the Clown's brother Fuzzo, who speaks solely in honks, beeps and squeaks.
  • Useless Superpowers: Beetlejuice's powers are only good for "juicing" (pranking) people. This is good when Acceptable Targets are present. It is not good when one, say... needs stock for a bake sale.
    Beetlejuice: "Do not dunk?" (dunks Neitherworld cookie in milk) "Instant Monster, Just Add Milk!"
  • Valley Girl: Like, Claire Brewster, for sure.
  • Vanishing Village: The title location in "Brinkadoom."
  • Villain Team-Up: In the episode "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted", several antagonists from past episodes team up to get revenge on Beetlejuice by tricking him into making himself fall apart, at which point his powers won't work and he's easy prey. They form the Society of Neitherworld Outlaws, Thugs, Rogues and Goons. Or, S.N.O.T.R.a.G!
  • Visual Pun: Beetlejuice's Involuntary Shapeshifting, and a number of background items.
  • Wild Card: Beetlejuice is one; even when he makes a promise to Lydia, he inevitably crosses his fingers, and usually breaks it. He's extremely unreliable as a good guy, and it's only because of Lydia that he does anything vaguely heroic at all - and even then it's usually to set right what he made wrong.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: This show had two of them, "Highs-Ghoul Confidential" and "Journey to the Center of the Neitherworld," (although it's implied that the latter never even happened.)
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Or Sandworms, in Beetlejuice's case.
    • Or even cutesy things.
    • For Lydia, it's apparently doctors; in "Generally Hysterical Hospital," she's hesitant to get her fractured foot examined because she's afraid of emergency rooms.
  • Writer's Block: In one episode, William Shakespeare shows up suffering from this.
  • Yes-Man: Mayor Maynot's assistant I.M. Smallhead.