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Western Animation / Beetlejuice

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"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 the Canadian studio 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 109 storylines in 94 episodes - which, in Recycled: The Series terms, is equivalent to about 10 years. It bore only a passing resemblance to the film: the Maitlands, the straitlaced protagonists, 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 his 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 film, the Neitherworld was inhabited mostly by outrageous monsters with ironic quirks, including a skeleton who wants to be a bodybuilder and a spider with dreams of dancing.

Obviously, the most ironic thing about the show is that if you were old enough to have seen the movie, you probably weren't in the same age group that the cartoon was aimed at. A notable aspect of the show, however, was that Tim Burton, director of the film, was involved as a producer, while Danny Elfman did the theme music (a re-orchestration of the film's theme). As a result, despite all the changes, the show maintained a lot of the same manic energy and clever visuals as the film and many of its jokes were recycled throughout the series. Beetlejuice is generally considered one of the better film-to-TV translations because of this. Admittedly, this feat isn't hard to pull off, but it is rare for a movie made for older audiences to be adapted into a Saturday-Morning Cartoon and balance 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 video game for the Game Boy, a handful of short novels ("ghostwritten" by B. J. Specter), and a short comic book run from Harvey Comics.

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.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Miss Shannon, the headmistress of Lydia's school, seems to be this to Beetlejuice when he disguises himself as a visiting professor in "Substitute Creature".
  • 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.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: To call Beetlejuice a full-on Nice Guy is a bit of a stretch (his brother Donny is the actual Nice Guy) but he's far more benevolent than Betelgeuse from the movies, and is far less malevolent, just a bit of The Gadfly who actually has a license to drive people crazy and doesn't want to cause physical harm. He's still the same con artist as in the film, but hasn't got the lecherous personality and has a conscience; this one, while not exactly evil, draws a line in the sand as to how far he'll go hurting people.
  • Adaptation Name Change: A subtle one, but "Beetlejuice" is now the title character's official name, instead of just a phonetic spelling of "Betelgeuse".
  • Adaptation Personality Change: The main characters were altered quite a bit from their original film 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 morbid 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).
    • Largely because he wasn't given too much of a personality in the first place, Charles is now a Nervous Wreck since being mildly anxious was about the only personality he did have.
  • Adapted Out: The Maitlands, Otho, and Juno are omitted from this series.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Beetlejuice usually calls Lydia "Babes" or "Lyds". He also has a few pet names for her that are less frequent, like "the Lydster" or simply "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.
  • Affectionate Parody: In "The Chromazone", Beetlejuice is pushed into said show to help Tod Sperling, who is stuck in a Postmodernism hell caused by a rebellious character he created with his Author Powers. There's even a The Twilight Zone narration and Twist Ending.
  • The Ahnold: One of the show's recurring characters is a green-skinned bodybuilder with a thick Austrian accent named Armhold Musslehugger.
  • 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 nightmares after reading Edgar Allan 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.
  • All That Glitters: In "A Ghoul and His Money", BJ wins a fortune (but will lose the money if he 'juices' anyone). After an episode's worth of frustration, Lydia points out that all that money isn't buying them any more fun, prompting BJ to cut loose with abandon.
  • 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. And how.
  • Alternate Continuity: This animated series has a lot of discrepancies from the movie, most notably the fact that Beetlejuice, while still pretty scummy and dishonest, is considerably less of a jerk than he was in the live-action film.
  • Always Save the Girl: Multiple episodes make it clear that Lydia's safety and happiness are Beetlejuice's number one priority at all times, even over his own selfish goals.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Neitherworld residents.
  • American Gothic Couple: "Brinkadoom" has a scene in the beginning where Beetlejuice and Lydie are exploring the Neitherworld in their car Doomie and fly past a couple who resemble the farmer and his daughter from the painting American Gothic, but with icicles hanging from them. Beetlejuice refers to them as Uncle and Aunt Arctica.
  • 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.
    • A few subsequent episodes come back to this idea and feature BJ hosting shows on the Neitherworld Network like Monsterpiece Theatre.
  • Anime Hair: When Lydia's hair is up in a high ponytail, the strands of neck hair fall in two exaggerated curls suggesting she has hair past her shoulders, while the hair in the ponytail stands almost straight up. But when her hair is down, she is seen to have a bob, collar-length at most.
  • 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, isn't intentionally annoying the way many examples of this trope tend to be; he genuinely loves his big brother and wants them to have a closer relationship.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: In "Time Flies", BJ and Lydia visit the place where time goes when it flies, and run afoul not of Father Time, but Grandfather Time (who is, of course, a grandfather clock). They accidentally cause him to stop ticking, creating havoc in the time stream.
  • 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.
  • Apple for Teacher: "In the Schticks" has Beetlejuice and Lydia get in trouble for cheating at a Neitherworld contest, with Beetlejuice's punishment being that he's sentenced to 500 years of teaching kindergarten. One of the kids offers Beetlejuice an apple with worms in it, which he promptly inhales.
  • Arrowgram: Beetlejuice receives one of these from the Sheriff of RottingHam in "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest" after the Sheriff kidnaps Lydia.
  • 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: 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.
  • Babysitting Episode: Much of the pilot, "Critter Sitters", fits this trope, with Lydia looking after an infant named Arlo and Beetlejuice babysitting Neitherworld babies in an effort to get some quick cash for an anniversary present for Lydia.
  • 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.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: "Forget Me Nuts" has a skeleton in a barrel exit Dr. Zigmund Void's office and retort to Beetlejuice's statement about talk being cheap by saying "Tell him that!"
  • Benevolent Monsters: The Monster Across the Street is one of these, except when Beetlejuice ticks him off. From what we see of them, it appears that most of the Neitherworld residents qualify for this; the majority of them appear to be benign characters, if not actually benevolent. Only Beetlejuice's enemies are truly malevolent.
  • Beyond the Impossible: In "It's a Wonderful Afterlife," the alternate reality Beetlejuice gets to see has his pal Jacques LaLean not as a fitness-obsessed Nice Guy, but a snobby, overweight restauranteur named Jacques LaLarge. The trope comes in when you remember that Jacques is a skeleton; how can a skeleton be overweight?
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Beetlejuice pulls this off every now and again when Lydia is in real danger.
    • Lydia gets a turn of her own on occasion, most notably in "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted."
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Gender-flipped with best friends Bertha and Prudence; Prudence is perhaps half as tall as Bertha.
  • Big "NO!": Lydia lets one out in "The Birdbrain of Alcatraz", when she finds out that Beetlejuice is sentenced to "the chair" and thinks that he's to be executed. It turns out that the two-headed Warden is merely spoon feeding Beetlejuice, who has turned into a crying infant, in an effort to stop criminal behavior. "The chair" in question is a baby's high chair.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • At the end of "Laugh of the Party", after spending a good portion of the episode getting them recaptured (after dehydrating them since they grow in water), Lydia wonders what BJ did with the "Party People In-A-Can".
      Beetlejuice: Oh, I just flushed them down the toilet.
      Lydia: You WHAT!?
    • In "Prince of the Neitherworld", Prince Vince falls head over heels for Lydia the moment he lays eyes on her, and asks for Beetlejuice's advice on how to win her heart. BJ agrees, in exchange for getting the job as Court Jester. At first it starts to go well, with Lydia liking the fact that Vince has a similar sense of humor as BJ. However, Beetlejuice takes this the wrong way and jumps to the conclusion that Vince wants to replace him as Lydia's best friend, and tries to sabotage their date. When all attempts fail, he goes back to the castle to sulk, and it's here that Vince makes a Love Confession to Lydia, much to BJ's shock and outrage. Lydia lets Prince Vince down easy, though.
      Lydia: This is wonderful, Prince Vince! I want all my friends to be your friends, too.
      Prince Vince: Lydia, you must know how I feel about you!
      Beetlejuice: (mockingly under his breath) "Lydia, you must know how I feel about you!"
      Prince Vince: The time has come for me to ask… w-would you be my Princess?
      Beetlejuice: WHAT?!
  • Bizarro Universe: "Dr. Beetle and Mr. Juice" gives the viewer one of these, when Beetlejuice invents a cologne called "New U". It turns the wearer into the polar opposite of their usual personality. This is funny when he tries it himself and becomes obsessed with cleanliness, although the bath he tries to take quickly washes it off. However, when Lydia tries it, she becomes a hellraising troublemaker who wreaks more havoc on the Neitherworld than even Beetlejuice ever has.
  • Black Sheep: Beetlejuice qualifies as this, as proven in the episodes where Lydia meets his parents (pleasant, hard-working clean freaks) and younger brother (who borders on Incorruptible Pure Pureness).
  • 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 form the most frequently seen trio of this sort. One can only assume that Lydia takes after her birth mother.
    • Claire, Bertha, and Prudence.
    • Delia (redhead), her sister Zipporah (brunette), and her sister-in-law May (blonde).
  • Bond Gun Barrel: "Snugglejuice" has Germs Pondscum, appropriately enough, go through a send-up of the gun barrel sequence from the James Bond movies where Beetlejuice tries to use a P-shooter (that is, spitting letter P's at Pondscum through a straw) and Pondscum sprays slime at Beetlejuice after being viewed through the end of the straw that isn't in Beetlejuice's mouth.
  • The Bore: BJ's folks are so dull, their picture is in the Neitherworld Dictionary under "boring". Literally.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: The show manages to avoid giving its leads an actual romance (considering the upsetting age gap of Beetlejuice being an adult and Lydia being an underage teenager), but only just barely.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Beetlejuice could qualify. He's much smarter than other characters generally think, as exemplified by many of his schemes and plans, but he'd rather con people out of money and play pranks on them than use his powers for anything especially productive.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Only once, in "Out of My Mind." When BJ breaks his promise not to play pranks on Charles and Delia, and then refuses to apologize for getting Lydia into trouble, she informs him she will not be speaking to him again until he does. To say he doesn't take it well is a mild understatement, and his Literal Genie powers lead to some pretty odd circumstances before they reconcile.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Happens often; usually BJ is responsible, but Lydia will sometimes do it as well.
    • The pilot, "Critter Sitters", opens with BJ directly narrating to the viewers (and asking them for money).
  • Call-Back: A number of later episodes reference earlier ones.
    • The spider brooch BJ gives Lydia in the pilot episode ("Critter Sitters") 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.
    • In "Scummer Vacation", Beetlejuice convinces Lydia to bring her parents to the Neitherworld for their family summer vacation so the two friends won't have to spend their summer apart. However, a series of mishaps occurs, and Charles and Delia almost wind up beheaded. One season later in "The Farmer in the Smell", when Beetlejuice asks why he can't come with Lydia on her visit to her Uncle Clyde and Aunt May's farm, she brings up that particular incident and how they had decided that sometimes they can't always be together.
    • In "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted", the plot is driven by a Villain Team-Up comprised of characters Beetlejuice defeated in previous episodes.
    • 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
  • Camping Episode: In "Campfire Ghouls", Beetlejuice (in his Betty disguise) camps in the Neitherwoods with Lydia, Prudence, and Bertha.
  • Captain Colorbeard: A Bluebeard is among ghost pirate Jean LeFoot's crew in "Ship of Ghouls".
  • Catchphrase:
    • Beetlejuice frequently exclaims "It's SHOWTIME!"
    • Lydia often says "Deadly Vu". Anytime Beetlejuice is behaving oddly, she also invariably asks, "What's the scam?"
  • Chewing the Scenery: Beetlejuice, of course (sometimes literally); Lydia is also given to this at times, given her dramatic Perky Goth personality.
    • Prince Vince only appears in a handful of episodes, but expect this to happen at least occasionally when he does.
  • Chirping Crickets: "Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Funny Bones" has the sound of a cricket chirping heard whenever Lydia tells jokes that fall flat.
    Beetlejuice: When I get my hands on that cricket, it's snack time!
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Delia borders on this trope. She actually seems to like the Neitherworld (though of course she doesn't actually know what it is), and her bizarre art is extremely popular there.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Villains like Scuzzo, Jesse Germs, or Bartholomew Batt might be able to give Beetlejuice trouble individually in separate episodes but once they all attack him together in "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted", Beetlejuice ends up owning them all at once without the same kind of difficulty he'd have in a simple one-on-one.
  • Conspicuous CG: The show's in-universe commercials (broadcast in the Netherworld) utilized some very primitive use of CGI for the time the show was made. The show predates Pixar by several years, which should give an idea of how the CGI looked at the time.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Subverted in "The Birdbrain of Alcatraz", when Beetlejuice is framed for a crime and everyone (except Lydia) automatically assumes he's guilty. The subversion comes when you remember that Beetlejuice has already pulled so many stunts, it's easy to understand why the rest of the Neitherworld automatically blames him whenever something goes wrong.
  • 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. Despite his Jekyll and Hyde persona, he mostly is a sweet, playful, nice car who adores his "parents."
  • Cool Old Lady: Lydia's paternal grandmother, who gets along famously with Beetlejuice in his Grandpa Beetleman disguise; in "Beetle Geezer", they take a bunch of other seniors from a nearby facility on a crazy day trip.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Monitor, the head of the Neitherworld Network Studios, comes across this way.
  • Could Say It, But...: In "Doomie's Romance", BJ disapproves of Doomie's efforts to romance the Mayor's convertible Pinky, and removes 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.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Neither-Neither-Land, the Neitherworld's jail system, is a Candyland-like environment run by Little Miss Warden, where prisoners are "rehabilitated" into cute, sweet, playful creatures. Beetlejuice is absolutely terrified of the place; in "Snugglejuice", the viewer sees why.
  • 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, though he did make an exception for Edgar Allan Poe (probably because that was All Just a Dream).
  • Crossdresser: Beetlejuice often disguises himself as "Betty Juice" to pass 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 to rescue her cat.
  • Curse Cut Short: In "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest", Wandering Minstrel Alan Airedale sings 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*
  • Daddy's Girl: Lydia seems much closer to her father in this series than she ever was in the film. Charles seems a lot more attentive and caring towards Lydia then he was as well.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Beetlejuice, for the most part.
    • Despite being into the dark and macabre, Lydia is very much a Nice Girl.
  • Dartboard of Hate: The Monster Across the Street is occasionally shown to have a dartboard with Beetlejuice's face on it in his house.
  • 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.
  • Deader than Dead: Heavily implied to happen to anyone, living or dead, that gets eaten by a sandworm.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A lot of characters fall into this at some point but Lydia is the most deadpan and snarky of them all.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Beetlejuice in "Uncle BJ's Roadhouse".
    • Also in “A Very Grim Fairy Tale”, when he fills in for the Messed-Up Codger (who may have been executed by the Sappy Face Ghouls, although this is left somewhat ambiguous).
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Basically the whole premise. Beetlejuice is a ghost with Inexplicably Awesome Reality Warper powers and something of a Cloudcuckoolander disposition, 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 Handy Man named Mr. Beetleman, and offers to fix it for him. 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: In the episode "Pest o' the West", when he's about to jump into a small glass of water from several thousand feet in the air, Beetlejuice takes a moment to warn the audience about his stunt:
    Beetlejuice: Remember, folks, don't attempt this at home, 'cause I have no idea what I'm doing, y'know what I mean?
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Dragster of Doom. He's even the mode of transport when they visit Brinkadoom.
  • Door Judo: In one episode, Beetlejuice repeatedly fails to break down a door before remembering he can simply teleport past it.
  • Dork in a Sweater:
    • A couple episodes introduce Donny, BJ's annoying brother. Donny is a colossal dork who works on almost everyone's nerves eventually because he's so nice, and this is accentuated by his sweater ensemble and bow tie.
    • Also, in one episode Beetlejuice himself dons a sweater specifically to invoke this trope. He enters a contest in which the participants have to dress like living people, and his costume includes a letterman sweater and glasses. The contest announcer lampshades it, observing that BJ has opted for "a traditional 1950s dork look."
  • The Dreaded: For Beetlejuice, the Poultrygeist could count as this. His magic has no effect on it and nothing he throws at the creature slows it down in the least. After a while, the Poultrygeist pretty much drives BJ out of his mind with fear and paranoia.
  • Dr. Fakenstein: "Snugglejuice" features a mad scientist who is an expert on practical jokes named Dr. Prankenstein, who founded the Neitherworld holiday Pranksgiving and is a personal idol of Beetlejuice.
  • Driving Up a Wall: A gag in one episode has Beetlejuice guilt-ridden from blowing up the Monster Across the Street's house, to the point where he ends up in a tiny car driving vertically and shouting, "He's driving me up the wall! I'm gonna hit the ceiling!"
  • Dumb Blonde: Beetlejuice has his moments. So does Claire Brewster, although she's more vapid than dumb.

  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Mayor Maynot's first season look differs so much from his appearance in the second season onward that you'd swear they were different characters. He starts out looking like a short, chubby monster, but gets a redesign later on and has the appearance of a mummy with sunglasses and a fancy suit.
  • 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. The use of this door, and the entire castle location, is dropped after only a few episodes; instead, Lydia's incantation brings her directly into the Neitherworld wherever Beetlejuice happens to be.
    • Beetlejuice's chronic fear 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 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. This may in fact be true, but the later episodes don't indicate one way or the other.
  • Elective Broken Language: Thing Thong from "Beauty and the Beetle" uses Hulk Speak because "this is what monsters do." After Lydia helps him gain confidence in himself, she also convinces him to start speaking normally.
  • 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 (though he notes he's only doing it 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.
  • Enfante Terrible: Little Miss Warden, a little girl who's in charge of a jail system that brainwashes prisoners into being cute and cuddly.
  • 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!")
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Played for Laughs in "Mr. Beetlejuice Goes to Town". When Mayor Maynot tries to have the Roadhouse demolished to make room for a super highway, Beetlejuice retaliates by running for Mayor himself, and actually wins. But unsurprisingly, he turns out to be an even more corrupt mayor than Maynot was. Lydia then comes up with a plan by dressing up in a purple dress and veil and tricks Beetlejuice into getting caught red-handed taking a bribe, which results in him getting impeached. Then at the end of the episode, Beetlejuice says this near verbatim after learning how Lydia tricked him.
    Beetlejuice: One thing I still don’t get… who was that mysterious babe in the veil?
    Lydia: (in the mysterious accent she used while in disguise) Darling, I thought you'd never ask. (playfully bats her eyes)
    Beetlejuice: (gasps in shock, then grabs his chest) Et tu, Babes? (faints)
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Beetlejuice loves playing pranks on Lydia's parents, but he'll only go so far, and he would never hurt them; he just likes driving them crazy (crazier?) when opportunity presents itself. Boris Todeoff doesn't have that same limitation in "Ghost to Ghost", the result being that Beetlejuice has to protect Charles and Delia 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, such as "Brinkadoom."
  • 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.
    • The episode "In the Schticks" has Beetlejuice's Uncle Sid refer to Lydia as the former's "girlfriend". Neither of them correct him on this, but that's most likely because they were too focused on trying to escape the River Schticks.
  • 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 Lawyer Joke:
    • Occurs in "Sore Feet" when Beetlejuice responds to his feet complaining about how he treats them by claiming that they don't deserve respect because of how low they are on the food chain. BJ mentions lawyers as an example of lower life forms.
    • Another joke poking fun at lawyers happens in "Ship of Ghouls", where Beetlejuice is made to walk the plank and sees that the water is full of sharks. BJ then looks at the audience and says "Bet you can't tell which one's the lawyer!"
  • 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. In "It's a Wonderful Afterlife", which has an altered reality, he becomes The Monster Down the Street instead.
  • Expressive Uvula: The intro has the titular character rising out of the grave, laughing maniacally as the screen zooms in on his face. For a brief moment, his uvula dons a face before panning back to his face, saying his catchphrase, "It's Showtime!!!"
  • Expy: Prince Vince is based on Vincent Malloy from Burton's short film Vincent.
    • Unless it's an Adaptation Name Change, I. M. Smallhead is loosely based on Harry the Hunter from the film.
    • A number of side characters are also assorted expies; see the Shout-Out page for a full list.
  • Fake Better Alternate Timeline: Beetlejuice is shown a universe in which he wasn't around anymore. While his ghostly neighbors are shown to have a much better life without him, he sees that without him, Lydia ended up a loner with zero friends.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: In "Sore Feet", one of the denizens of the Neitherworld Beetlejuice messes with is a vampire with false teeth. Beetlejuice kicks him in the rear as he bends over, resulting in his fanged dentures popping out and Beetlejuice dancing around the false teeth.
  • Famed In-Story: Pretty much everyone in the entire Neitherworld knows Beetlejuice for his pranks and cons, and he's strangely admired for it even though almost nobody likes him very much. In "Snugglejuice", he enters the annual Hanky-Pranky Awards contest, and the announcer observes that "We hate it when he pulls pranks on us—but we love to see him pull pranks on other people!"
  • Fangirl: Lydia behaves like a major one of these when she meets Edgar Allan Poe in "Poe-Pourri".
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "Forget Me Nuts" and, to a lesser extent, "Out of My Mind".
  • Flanderization: Charles, in the film, moved his family to the Maitlands' house so that he could stop being such a stressed workaholic, but it wasn't a major focus of the film or of his personality. Here, being anxious is pretty much his only character trait.
    "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.
  • Foil: Claire Brewster to Lydia; even setting aside the physical contrasts between them, their personalities couldn't be more different. Claire has more conventional interests for a teenage girl, but is extremely shallow and often outright cruel, while Lydia, despite her quirky and peculiar interests, is sweet and universally kind.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Beetlejuice's magic is practically the Superpower Lottery of the Neitherworld, with very few other ghostly beings showing the same degree of power. Some episodes show him having magic potent enough to take on an entire party of witches or assorted other magical beings, like Bartholomew Batt or Scuzzo the Clown, and dispatch them with little effort. But in others, he picks up the Distress Ball and devolves almost into a panic - even though he could wipe the pavement with whatever's threatening him. Sometimes this is used deliberately; in one episode, he spends considerable effort trying to break down a door, then smacks himself and teleports past it.
  • 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.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: "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?"
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Beetlejuice, when he's "Betty Juice", is this for Lydia's other friends. Prudence and Bertha are both very uncomfortable around Betty and can't understand why Lydia wants to spend time with her, though they tolerate her for Lydia's sake. Charles also dislikes her; when he learns that she's at Lydia's Halloween party, he immediately wants to call the police. Delia, on the other hand, thinks she's delightful.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Lydia. Several episodes show her helping wild animals in distress, and a few even suggest that the animals can understand her when she speaks to them.
  • Fusion Dance: Beetlejuice has cloned himself, has had his skeleton develop a mind of its own and leave his body, has seen his head and body operating as two separate characters, and has been split into his "good" and "evil" halves. They always end up fusing back into the regular Beetlejuice.
  • Gadget Watch: The "Droolex" Beej gives Lydia for their anniversary in "Time Flies".
  • Gesundheit: In "Moby Richard", Lydia is putting on a production of Moby-Dick for the Neitherworld's Disasterpiece Theatrenote  TV show. Her first line, "Call me Ishmael," is immediately greeted with a "Gesundheit" from a stagehand.
  • Girliness Upgrade: Lydia in the series. In the film, she's just kind of a regular Goth girl. Here, she still loves Gothic culture and spooky stuff, but is more of a Perky Goth, with a rather sunny disposition. Basically, the show keeps her sunny disposition from the film's ending but also lets her keep the interest in goth.
  • Good Stepmother: Assuming Delia is still Lydia's stepmother as she was in the film (and is in the spinoff comics), she falls into this. While the two still clash occasionally over aesthetics, Lydia calls her "Mom" and they clearly have a loving relationship.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: One episode has Beetlejuice, dressed in a trenchcoat, accidentally flash the viewers (and Lydia) - revealing his beetle-patterned boxer shorts.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Whenever Beetlejuice eats a bug, the scene always cuts away the moment he bites into the insect.
  • 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: Seen a few times in the course of the series whenever anyone makes the mistake of paying too much attention to Lydia. Beetlejuice does not like sharing.
    • He almost literally turns into this in "Prince of the Neitherworld", when Prince Vince becomes so besotted with Lydia that he actually proposes marriage. His eyes aren't actually green, but they flash different colors repeatedly, and smoke pours out of his ears.
    • He also becomes insanely jealous of himself in "Spitting Image", when he accidentally gains a clone. They spend the episode arguing about which one Lydia likes better.
    • He has a slightly less extreme incident later in "To Beetle or Not to Beetle", when Romeo attempts to woo a rather confused 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.
    • In two different episodes, but most particularly in "Ghost to Ghost," he's quite disgruntled by her being a fan of the dead actor Boris Todeoff. However, in "Poe-Pourri," she mentions being the president of Edgar Allan Poe's fan club, which BJ doesn't seem to mind.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: The Neitherworld version of golf has some very interesting inclusions, as seen in "Caddy Shock". Besides being played by demons and the course hazards including attacking monsters, it has strikes and outs like in baseball, goals like in ice hockey, and chutes and windmills like in mini-golf.
  • Grossout Show: An Ur-Example of the trope, this is Beetlejuice's hat in the animated series, replacing the generic evilness of his cinematic counterpart. He’s not shy about showing off how bad he smells, his various diseases, or any number of disgusting habits of his. That said, being the first of its kind meant that the show still had to keep it pretty tame in order to avoid tangling with the censors.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Uncle Clyde, Charles's brother (first introduced in "Cousin B.J."), is apparently a lot older than Charles is and has some of these characteristics. In "Ghost to Ghost," he grumbles about the "new-fangled gadgets" that the Deetzes have in their kitchen. "Never woulda happened in my day!"
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Of the rivalry sort. Black-haired Lydia is a Nice Girl who simply happens to have a fondness for the weird and macabre. Blonde Claire is an overly tanned phony who enjoys being popular and looking down on those who aren't.
  • Hair Reboot: When Beetlejuice calls Lydia from the Neitherworld in "A-Ha!", the ghostly operator asks Lydia if she'll accept the charge. When she does, it turns out to be an electrical charge. Lydia is embarrassed rather than hurt, but the shock gives her a Marge Simpson-like hairdo. She turns it back to normal by simply combing it once.
  • Half-Witted Hillbilly: The hunters in "Worm Welcome" are not-too-bright rednecks.
  • Halloween Episode: Two, in fact: "Laugh of the Party" and "Bewitched, Bothered, and Beetlejuiced".
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Mental is prone to wishing to deliver a harsh sentence on Beetlejuice, in "In the Schticks". Beetlejuice even calls him "the hanging judge".
  • Hartman Hips: Delia has wide hips.
  • Haunted House: BJ helps Lydia build one for her school's fundraiser in "Bizarre Bazaar".
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Beetlejuice, under the effects of his "New-U" Cologne in "Dr. Beetle and Mr. Juice". Lydia is visibly gobsmacked. Of course, the second he takes a bath, it's all over.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: In the Robin Hood parody "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest", BJ steals from the corrupt Sheriff of Rotting-Ham. The original plan is to give the money to the poor, but he instead keeps it 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.
  • Henpecked Husband: Uncle Danforth, the husband of Delia's sister Zipporah, is much smaller and meeker than his wife and she doesn't often let him get a word in edgewise.
  • 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 Depths: Beej has his ditzy moments, and sometimes comes across as being more than a little dim. However, he's actually quite brilliant at chemistry, knows enough about auto mechanics to take care of repairing Doomie on his own, and is extremely well-versed in the works of his good friend Shakespeare.
    • Lydia’s friend Prudence comes across as a timid bookworm most of the time, but in “Brides of Funkenstein”, it’s revealed that she not only has a fondness and talent for singing hard rock music, but has always dreamed of becoming a rock star.
  • 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 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 an unshaven and half-asleep Charles, and this disgusts not only the opponents but the show's host and studio audience into fleeing in fear.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Often. YMMV as to whether they're overused.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "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, such as "Pest o' the West."

  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
    • In "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest", Beetlejuice isn't really interested in helping the peasants: "Listen, I'd like to avenge the oppressed as much as the next guy, Lyds, but... I gotta get home and feed my fish. To my piranha."
    • During the flashback in "Highs Ghoul Confidential", young Beetlejuice tries to ask a female skeleton to the prom. She literally laughs her head off and says she'll be washing her hair.
  • 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, which appears in most episodes (and wasn't in the movie at all).
  • 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.
  • Inconvenient Summons:
    • In "Worm Welcome", 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.
    • In "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest", Beetlejuice summons the Monster Across the Street and Flubbo to the forest to be his "Merry Men" without warning. It's particularly inconvenient for Flubbo, who apparently was in the shower.
  • 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 if he weren't so lazy, but the origin of the power is unclear.
  • Instant Book Deal: In "Ghost Writer in the Sky", Beetlejuice gets this. Envious 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.
  • Instant Costume Change: Whenever Lydia goes to the Neitherworld, her clothing changes to a red poncho with a spider web design. This is demonstrated in the opening credits and the pilot episode.
  • Insult Backfire: Whenever Beetlejuice is called ugly or smelly, he is flattered.
  • 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.
  • Interspecies Romance: In addition to the one-sided "romance" forced on her by the anthropomorphic bull ghost Bully the Crud, Lydia (human) briefly dates the Neitherworld's ruler, Prince Vince (ghost), although they ultimately decide they're Better as Friends.
  • Involuntary Dance: When Lydia's parents invite her aunts and uncles for a dinner party, Beetlejuice attends as "Cousin B.J." The party is a dud until Beetlejuice magically compels all the partygoers except Lydia to start singing and dancing. Everyone enjoys themselves so much, they keep singing and dancing even after Beetlejuice stops using his magic.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Beetlejuice, based on wordplay in his dialogue. It's the cause of many a troublesome escapade and is his greatest weakness.
  • Ironic Echo: Done twice in "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest":
    • "Couldn't they find a better picture [of him]?" regarding Beetlejuice's wanted posters. First said by the ghost himself because he's smiling in the picture, then later by the evil Prince John Don Juan when comparing it to Lydia, whom he'd captured by then.
    • "I don't think I like this guy" - said by Beetlejuice and later the Sheriff of Rottingham, regarding Alan Airedale.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" is a rare example of both subverting the trope and playing it straight. The subversion comes when it seems like everyone in the Neitherworld is better off without Beetlejuice, so he's willing to leave the situation as it is; 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, only to be informed by his guide that he's allowed no contact with her. Cue the demand to have everything put back the way it was.
  • Jekyll & Hyde:
    • Beetlejuice and Lydia's sentient car Doomie is ordinarily docile and amiable, but occasionally transforms into a manic, werewolf-like vehicle called the Dragster of Doom.
    • "Dr. Beetle and Mr. Juice" has Beetlejuice create a cologne that turns people into the opposite of their normal personalities. It turns Lydia into a trouble-making punk, himself into a handsome germophobe (which wears off as soon as he rushes off to bathe himself) and at the end of the episode turns Mayor Maynot into a hippie who's fine with letting Beetlejuice off the hook on the grounds that "boys will be boys".
    • "Beetlebones" begins with Beetlejuice getting his bicentennial checkup from a Neitherworld doctor who is a version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jekyll patiently tries to get Beetlejuice to cooperate with the examination, but becomes Hyde when Beetlejuice peeves him off by his stubbornness towards taking the procedure seriously.
  • 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's also very attached to his own parents, and is fonder of his brother than he likes to acknowledge even to himself. 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).
  • Joke of the Butt: In "Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Funny Bones", one scene has Beetlejuice changing himself to match various titles he gives himself while bragging about his expertise in telling jokes, such as becoming a king as depicted on a playing card when saying that he's "the king of comedy" and a superhero when calling himself "the hero of hee-hee-hee". Lydia cuts him off during an off-screen transformation where he calls himself "the butt of" something.
  • Karloff Kopy:
    • "Ghost to Ghost" features a ghostly horror actor named Boris Todeoff (a play on "bore us to death"), who resembles a green-skinned Boris Karloff and even sounds like him.
    • "A-Ha!" ends with Beetlejuice and Lydia finding out that the reason Doomie went missing was because he was watching a film festival starring his favorite actor Boris Carlot.
  • Karma Houdini: In the Status Quo Is God sense of things, Beetlejuice is this. No matter what sort of karmic retribution he may receive for his actions in one episode, they're usually confined to that specific episode, and his neighbors and friends have forgiven him by the next one.
    • This is explained in one episode, where he is shown to have a License to Drive People Crazy, literally. The license is temporarily revoked, and the episode's plot involves getting it reinstated.
  • Karmic Trickster: Averted. Most of Beetlejuice’s victims are actually very nice people who haven’t done anything to deserve his tricks. Really, he just does it for fun (and sometimes profit).
    • Played absolutely straight with Claire, though. Whenever she hassles Lydia, Beetlejuice makes her regret it.
  • Kinder and Cleaner: Given that the series is aimed at children, the cartoon uses no profanity compared to the film from which it originated.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Often. Two notable examples in "The Birdbrain of Alcatraz":
    • Lydia finds the stolen punchlines Scuzzo planted onto Beetlejuice and reads one of them aloud, then concludes that she's found proof of Beetlejuice's innocence.
      Lydia: "What did one morgue wall say to the other morgue wall? Meet me at the coroner." This proves it! Beetlejuice would never steal a joke this bad!
    • Beetlejuice asks another inmate of The Big House, Rico, if he got arrested for "indecent decomposure". Rico replies that his joke stinks.
  • Large Ham: Beetlejuice is this as a general rule, but in some episodes more than others. "It's the Pits", 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.
  • Last Episode, New Character: The final episode "Not so Peaceful Pines" introduces the Mayor of Peaceful Pines, who makes the mistake of peeving off Beetlejuice by declining to pay a fee for BJ's services in getting rid of the noisy partygoers like he promised.
  • Legion of Doom: "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted" is dedicated to this concept, with the villains Scuzzo the Clown, Jesse Germs, Little Miss Warden from "Snugglejuice", Bartholomew Batt from "Sappiest Place on Earth", Mr. Big from "Ear's Looking At You" and recurring nuisance Lipscum are assembled by Neitherworld television executive Mr. Monitor to form S.N.O.T.R.A.G. (Society of Neitherworld Outlaws, Thugs, Rogues, Antagonists and Gangsters) trick Beetlejuice into saying "I'm coming apart at the seams" and destroy him by scattering his pieces and preventing him from reassembling himself until sundown.
  • 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.
  • 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 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. She's honestly not much better, though.
    "I can't live without you! ...of course, I'm already dead."
  • Long John Shout-Out: "Ship of Ghouls" features a pirate named Long John Silverware among Jean LeFoot's crew.
  • 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: "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" suggests that Lydia developed her confident, friendly nature as a direct result of her relationship with Beetlejuice.
  • Loser Friend Puzzles Outsiders: In "Critter Sitters", Judge Mental and all those present in the Neitherworld court are utterly baffled by Lydia not only coming to Beetlejuice's defense when he's about to be thrown to the Sandworms, but outright calling him her best friend.
    Lydia: I object, Your Honor!
    Judge Mental: What are you, some kind of sicko? We can get rid of this disgusting creep forever!
    Lydia: This "disgusting creep" is my best friend!
    Beetlejuice: Yeah!
    Judge Mental: You mean you hang around with Beetlejuice on purpose?!
    Lydia: (proudly) Yes, Your Honor.
    Crowd: WHY?
    Lydia: Because, he makes me laugh! And he knows 101 ways to eat beetles.
    Crowd: (Groans in disgust)
  • The Lost Lenore: Literally. Poe shows up trying to find the lost Lenore in "Poe-Pourri".
  • Lying Finger Cross: Beetlejuice does this a lot throughout the series.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Beetlejuice often says "[X], you know I hate/love them", with X being whatever inconvenience or interest of his has come up.
  • 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 Skirt: 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.
  • Mailman vs. Dog:
    • "Skeletons in the Closet" revolves around Beetlejuice causing trouble because of his habit of lying causing his closet to eventually explode and unleash a bunch of skeletons who will tell the denizens of the Neitherworld the truth behind his lies. One of the fabrications Beetlejuice tells is when the Monster Across the Street confronts him for bothering his dog Poopsie, and BJ fibs that Poopsie is actually upset because a mailman bit him.
    • In "Keeping Up with the Boneses", Beetlejuice tries to trick the titular wealthy couple who moved into his neighborhood out of their money by pretending to have various jobs that would require being near their house. When he tries to impersonate a mailman, Beetlejuice is chased off the premises by the Boneses' dog.
    • Poopsie bites a mailman on the backside in "Oh Brother".
  • Mall Santa: Beetlejuice has to work as one at the end of "Keeping Up With the Boneses" in order to pay off the exorbitant interest on his credit card.
  • Manchild: Beetlejuice was possibly in his late 30s at his time of death, and he's been dead for several hundred years. Nevertheless, 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.
  • Men of Sherwood: In "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest", the Monster Across the Street and Flubbo are drafted to serve as this, although it's ultimately somewhat subverted since they never do any actual fighting. The Monster is Little John (complete with plunger) and Flubbo becomes Friar Flubbo. They are not at all merry about it, and only agree to go along with the scheme as a favor to Lydia.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" has Clarance Sale state that Solving Problems is his middle name, then correcting himself that those words are his two middle names.
  • "Miss X" Pun: When Beetlejuice is forced to go back to school in "Back to School Ghoul", his teacher is Miss Shapen, so named because she looks like a Pablo Picasso portrait.
  • Mocky Mouse: Recurring villain Bartholomew Batt is a clear pastiche of Mickey Mouse, even having his own amusement park, Grislyland. Another Mickey expy can be found in his debut episode, when Beetlejuice brings up a cartoon character he prefers to Bartholomew Batt; Louie Louse, a gigantic insect wearing white gloves whom Beetlejuice notes for having a distinctive high-pitched voice.
  • Monster and the Maiden: Perky Goth Lydia Deetz's best friend is Beetlejuice, who is described as "The Ghost With The Most", but acts more like a Literal Genie.
  • Monster Clown: Scuzzo the Clown and his brother Fuzzo are both sinister clowns who are often out to cause trouble for Beetlejuice.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The show's main form of Canon Discontinuity. Beetlejuice either started living in the Neitherworld after his death, or he has been in the Neitherworld since his existence began 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 episodes include in-jokes which reference the movie:
    • Beetlejuice sings Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" in "Critter Sitters".
      • Moments later, Lydia is singing it while riding her bike through the bridge where the Maitlands crashed.
    • In "How Green is My Gallery", Beetlejuice hocks into his jacket.
      • In the movie, Delia's agent says that he's been losing money on her art for years and calls her a "flake" to her face. In this episode, the living people of Peaceful Pines laugh at Delia's strange art. The ghosts of the Neitherworld love it, though.
    • In "Stage Fright", after Lydia (accidentally at first) sends Beetlejuice away to keep him from causing trouble, he screams at Claire to "SAY IT!!" (meaning to say his name to summon him).
    • An extremely subtle one - in "Poe-Pourri", Lydia says that she's the president of the Edgar Allan Poe fan club. In the film, Beetlejuice refers to her as "Edgar Allan Poe's daughter."
    • In "Not So Peaceful Pines", when the Mayor of Peaceful Pines declares that he'd pay to have Lydia's loud, partying new neighbors run out of town, 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 Lovely Assistant who was cut in half.
    • The fireplace in Beetlejuice's house strongly resembles the one from the wedding scene in the movie.
    • In "Running Scared", Beetlejuice shuts up Claire Brewster by making a metal plate appear over her mouth, just like 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."
    • The Season 4 opening begins with Beetlejuice awakening from his tomb, resembling the one in Adam's model of the cemetery.
    • In "Sore Feet", when a vampire's teeth fall out, Beetlejuice (while dressed like a Spanish dancer) starts dancing around them, like he did with Adam's teeth.
    • In "Cousin B.J.", Beetlejuice livens up the Deetzes' boring dinner party by forcing Lydia's parents, aunts and uncles to sing and do an Involuntary Dance. The Maitlands forced the Deetzes and their friends to dance and sing "Day-O" during a dinner scene in the movie.
      • In the same episode, BJ "throws his voice" by possessing the ventriloquist dummy of Lydia's Uncle Clyde. This is a reference to how he describes possession in the movie; "Learn to throw your voice, fool your friends, fun at parties!"
    • In "Highs-Ghoul Confidential", we learn that Beetlejuice went to the Ghouliard School for the Exceptionally Twisted in his high school days, which is an obvious pun on Juilliard, which he claims he attended while listing his qualifications to Adam and Barbara in the movie.

  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Germs Pondscum in "Snugglejuice", as to be expected from a James Bond pastiche, introduces himself this way.
    Germs Pondscum: The name's Pondscum, Germs Pondscum.
  • 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. Either Narnia Time is a thing in the Neitherworld, or this is some kind of side effect of Beetlejuice's magic - but it's never clarified in any way.
    • Possibly the most glaring example of this is in the episode "In the Schticks". Delia throws a party, and Lydia lags about coming downstairs (because she doesn't want to go). She ends up slipping off to the Neitherworld, entering a costume contest with Beetlejuice as part of a scam, getting arrested, getting sent to court, and being sentenced to wash dishes at the Resort of Last Resort for an unknown number of days until Beetlejuice can rescue her. When they get back to her room, they go downstairs and the party is in full swing.
  • 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 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.
  • No Fourth Wall: As noted under Medium Awareness, both BJ and Lydia periodically demonstrate the fact that they know they are cartoon characters in a Saturday morning TV show. In fact, the very first episode establishes this, when Beetlejuice asks the kids watching to give him all their money, since he is broke.
  • Noir Episode: "The Chromazone"
  • Nominal Hero: Beetlejuice is lazy and disgusting on purpose, and plays pranks on people who haven’t done anything to deserve it. He’s only the “hero” in the sense that he’s kind to Lydia and that there are others in the Neitherworld who are much, much worse than him.
  • 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 are we given any idea as to 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.
  • Nothing Nice About Sugar and Spice: Little Miss Warden likes frilly dresses, has long blonde ringlets, and brainwashes prisoners into cute, cuddly versions of their former selves.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: In one episode, Beej and Lydia and some of their friends 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 per Episode: A short animated clip directed by Tim Burton, usually framed as a Show Within a Show. It's sometimes 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.
  • Onion Tears: "Recipe for Disaster" has Beetlejuice appear to shed tears after hearing the plight of some anthropomorphic vegetables who have been forced underground by Caesar Salad, then explains that his eyes are watering because of the onion among them.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • In "Snugglejuice", when Lydia first sees Beetlejuice after he's been "rehabilitated" in Neither-Neither-Land, the worst punishment imaginable in the Neitherworld's prison system, she initially thinks that it's just another one of his scams or pranks... but when he refuses to eat a beetle, that's when she knows that something is seriously wrong.
      Lydia: You turned down a beetle? YOU!?
    • "Moby Richard" has Lydia observe how crazy Beetlejuice has gotten when he's playing the role of Captain Ahab in a Neitherworld television adaptation of Moby-Dick and has become a bit too into character, to the point that the normally greedy ghost is offering a bounty to whoever helps him find the whale.
      Beetlejuice: I'd give anything to get me hands on Moby Richard. Money isn't important!
      Lydia: He is sick!
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Most of Beetlejuice's villains tend to be monstrous, ghostly, magical, or simply supernatural in nature. Mr. Monitor, however, comes off as something completely different, being a corporate suit with four TV screens as his heads. Unlike the other villains, his goals usually involve threatening to cancel Beetlejuice and Lydia's show, often breaking the fourth wall in the process.
  • 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: 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; indeed, in the episode "Out of My Mind" she frets about the possibility of them finding out and preventing her from ever seeing him again. 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.
  • Pendulum of Death: In an episode riffing on numerous Edgar Allan Poe stories, BJ finds himself in four-point restraints under a descending razor pendulum, which cuts through his tie and lapels just before a commercial break.
  • Perky Goth: Lydia dresses in black and has macabre interests, but is rather cheerful and upbeat.
  • Person as Verb: Characters occasionally use "Beetlejuicing" to refer to Beetlejuice's tendency to use his reality-warping abilities to cause trouble and mess with people.
  • The Pig-Pen: Beetlejuice loves being this.
  • Pirate Girl: Lydia dresses in a pirate girl outfit when she recruits pirates to help to find Beetlejuice's head in the episode "Quit While You're a Head."
  • 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".
  • Pooled Funds: In "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest", Beetlejuice relieves the royal accountant of all the gold coins he's carrying. He is then seen diving into a large swimming pool full of said coins and doing the "buckstroke" (backstroke) as Flubbo calls it.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: A lot of episodes have these, often being punny or gross versions of titles from films and other media. These include "The Unnatural," "The Wizard of Ooze," and "It's a Wonderful Afterlife."
  • 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.
  • Power Up Letdown: In "Vidiots," Lydia and Beetlejuice are sucked inside an arcade game, and the villain gives Lydia an assortment of weapons... none of which do anything.
  • Precious Photo: As noted elsewhere on the page, Beetlejuice has a lot of pictures of Lydia throughout his home. One in particular, however, is given the precious photo treatment; during the events of "Out of My Mind," when she's not speaking to him and he's growing more despondent by the second, he's shown staring at a picture of her holding a worm and getting very emotional.
  • Precision F-Strike: The show managed to do this exactly once, in "To Beetle or Not to Beetle." Beetlejuice gets a donkey’s head courtesy of Puck, and screams, “Nobody makes a jackass out of me!”
    • The same episode removes the word “damned” from the sentence “Out, damned spot!” - because in this instance, Spot is Lady Macbeth's dog and she's telling him to go out.
  • 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.
  • Prison Episode: "The Birdbrain of Alcatraz" has Beetlejuice end up in jail after being framed for a crime.
  • Psycho Supporter: 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.
  • 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.
  • Pun-Based Title: Several of the episode titles are this, often creating a gross or spooky play on words.
  • 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.
  • Pungeon Master: Beetlejuice, especially when he shapeshifts. For instance, he "uses his noodle" to deal with one villain, turning into a living plate of spaghetti and meatballs, then says "Pasta la vista!" as he leaves.
  • Punishment Box: Little Miss Warden sometimes forces prisoners to spend the night inside a Scary Jack-in-the-Box, where Jack plays videos for Brainwashing.
  • Punny Name: Many of the side characters, especially those who only appear once, have these. Examples include Clarence Sale, the Sheriff of Rottingham, Ima Loony, M.D. B.A.D. G.A.L., 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, of course; it's shown to appeal to a few characters in various episodes.
  • Reality Warper: Beetlejuice seems to be on the lower end.
  • Redheads Are Uncool: Prudence. Delia too.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The raven in "Poe-Pourri". Justified in that, in Poe's own words, the raven "came a-rapping".
  • Rhyming with Itself: Alan Airedale's introduction during "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest":
    "My name is Alan Airedale, and I'm a traveling minstrel,
    I'm here to tell your story in song..." (sings faster) "but I can't think of anything that rhymes with 'minstrel'."
  • Rich Bitch: Claire Brewster, again.*
  • Riddling Sphinx/Our Sphinxes Are Different: In "Brinkadoom", to escape from the eponymous disappearing village, Beetlejuice and Lydia must correctly answer the riddle posed by the Stinx, a giant sphinx-like skunk with the personality of a game show host.
  • Ridiculous Repossession: In the episode "Keeping Up With The Boneses", BJ runs up his credit card to an exorbitant degree and then is unable to pay the bill. Rather than take the stuff he bought, the repo men instead take Lydia as "collateral."
  • Riding into the Sunset: The ending of "Pest o' the West".
  • 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.
  • The Rock Star: Prince Vince tries to become this in "The Prince of Rock and Roll", thinking that being a music idol will make his people love him. Only problem is, he's a Dreadful Musician... fortunately, his people already love him, and so they pretend to like his music until he wises up. Once he does, he rewards their kindness by promising that they will never have to listen to him sing again.
  • Rogues Gallery: The show had several recurring villains who went up against Beetlejuice throughout its run, including Scuzzo and his brother, Mr. Monitor, Lipscum, Jesse Germ, Mr. Big, Bartholomew Batt, and Little Miss Warden. And in "The Neitherworld's Least Wanted", they even form a Legion of Doom to attack Beetlejuice together.
  • 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".

  • Scary Fiction Is Fun: True to her character, Lydia regularly watches scary movies (even if they terrify her human friends). Due to everything she goes through as Beetlejuice's accomplice, there's little in the movies that can scare her.
  • Scary Scarecrows: Beetlejuice becomes one in "Scarecrow" when he gets a job as a scarecrow on a beetle farm. He's tasked with scaring away the birds that want to eat Farmer Bailey's glowworms before they hatch into beetles, and is very good at it.
  • Secret Diary: Subverted in the episode “A-Ha!”. BJ jokingly says that he picked the lock on Lydia’s diary, but it just turns out to be a decoy diary that she leaves around for Delia to find.
  • 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 Homage: BJ dresses up as Sherlock Holmes (or rather, as "Sherlock Homely") in "A-Ha!"
  • Shipper on Deck: Lydia is this for Doomie and Pinky in "Doomie's Romance."
  • 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.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The episode "Oh, Brother!" introduces BJ's younger brother Donny, and it quickly becomes apparent that the two couldn't be more opposite of each other if they tried.
  • Sick Episode: "Cabin Fever" has Lydia struggling with the measles, and then Beetlejuice develops the titular fever since he was cooped up all morning trying to cure her.
  • 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.
  • Sir Verb-a-Lot:
    • The episode "Family Scarelooms" has Beetlejuice and Lydia trying to find Beetlejuice's family's Coat of Arms so that his parents will be allowed membership in the Society for the Oldest and Moldiest Families of the Neitherworld. The antagonist of the episode is the long lost uncle of the society's executive president Vera Snooty, a brutish knight named Sir Lost-A-Lot who turns out to be a dishonorable thief willing to stoop as low as stealing a child's goldfish. In the end, Beetlejuice recovers his family's Coat of Arms in addition to discrediting Vera Snooty by exposing to the other members what a disgraceful cad her long lost uncle Sir Lost-A-Lot truly is.
    • One of King Arthur's knights in "King BJ" is named Sir Lunch-A-Lot.
  • 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.
  • 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 still managing to call on his Morality Chain for help.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Done in multiple episodes:
    • In "Quit While You're a Head", Beetlejuice's head is separated from his body, and while the head retains his usual personality and voice, the body develops its own, using its hand as a puppet to speak. Beetle-head and Beetle-body fight and Beetle-body takes off. When literal head hunters capture Beetle-head and plan to sacrifice it (and, of greater concern, Lydia) to a giant sea serpent, Beetle-body comes running back to the rescue. Only when the head rejoins the body can the serpent be sent packing.
    • "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 episode 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."
    • "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. She gets to visit it during "Out of My Mind."
    Will Power: He thinks about you all the time! See? *pointing* His shrine to Lydia!
  • Standard Snippet: "Also sprach Zarathustra" appears frequently.
    • In "Cousin B.J.", when posing as a ventriloquist dummy, during the "water-drinking" bit, BJ sings "By a Waterfall" from the Busby Berkeley film Footlight Parade.
  • Stock Scream: The Insane Tantrum Scream is used in "The Chromazone".
  • Storybook Episode: "A Very Grim Fairy Tale".
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Happens to Lydia in "Generally Hysterical Hospital".
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Beetlejuice's powers and competency will fluctuate from episode to episode. In one episode, he may be shown to be powerful enough to battle a whole party of witches while in another, a band of pirates with no magical ability will send him running away in a panic. And when he puts his mind to it, he can go all-out in a magical battle against a magical being like Bartholomew Batt - but come another episode, he'll get beaten and intimidated by a pair of debt collectors while putting in zero effort to juice them like he would his other enemies.
  • Superhero Episode: "Super Zeroes"
  • Surrealism: Even though most episodes have clearly defined plots, the Deranged Animation and generally weird tone pushes the show into this.
  • Take a Third Option: Beetlejuice does this, perhaps unintentionally, when he and Lydia can't agree on the answer to the Stinx's riddle in "Brinkadoom." The question is, "What's black and white and red all over?" Lydia wants to offer the traditional answer of "a newspaper", while BJ insists that it's "an embarrassed zebra". When time runs out, he's flustered by the argument and exclaims that it's "an embarrassed newspaper" - which, inexplicably, is the right answer.
  • 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.
    Beetlejuice: BS&P? (Beat) Can you say that on television?
  • Talking in Your Sleep: In "How Green Was My Gallery", Lydia inadvertently summons Beetlejuice during her weird cutesy nightmare by saying his name in her sleep.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: One of Lydia's hobbies is clothing design and manufacture, which crops up repeatedly throughout the series. She briefly opens a store of her own creations in "Spooky Boo-tique", and serves as the costume designer for her school's production of Romeo and Juliet in "Stage Fright". In "It's a Wonderful Afterlife", she's shown wearing a dress she made for the school dance.
  • Three Shorts: Some episodes were made up of two eleven-minute shorts, while most were full-length twenty-two minute stories. "Uncle B.J.'s Roadhouse" was the first and only episode to screen three shorts. The other shorts included in that episode were "Scarecrow" and "The Son Dad Never Had".
  • Transformation Sequence: Lydia, in the pilot. The second opening gives her a very abbreviated version.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Played for Laughs in "Laugh of the Party". Charles gets a horrendous haircut, courtesy of Delia, and spends the Halloween party dressed as a Bedsheet Ghost just so no one will see it.
  • 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.
  • 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. It's one of the only instances of the show averting the Status Quo Is God trope.
  • 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, in many respects, 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 Protagonist: Played with. Beetlejuice certainly isn’t a nice person, what with always pranking people who don’t deserve it (he got his neighbor thrown in jail in one episode!). However, he often goes up against villains who are far worse than he is, and he usually does the right thing in the end - if only because he’s utterly devoted to Lydia, who’s a lot nicer than him.
  • Villain Team-Up: In "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.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: In "Dr. Beetle and Mr. Juice", the New-U cologne turns Lydia into a wild and uncontrollable version of herself. She's actually worse than Beetlejuice.
  • Was Once a Man: It's not really touched on, but the ghosts of the Neitherworld are implied to be the spirits of dead humans who take on all sorts of bizarre forms after they die.
  • Waving Signs Around: Parodied in "Ship of Ghouls". BJ and Lydia go to see a concert at the Nose Bowl, and on the way in people start holding up protest signs. They're not actually against anything; it's just that when you go to the Nose Bowl, you gotta picket.
  • Weather Manipulation: Prince Vince is able to command thunderstorms using the force of his emotions. Prior to befriending Lydia and Beetlejuice, he's shown to be permanently depressed, making his surroundings perpetually waterlogged; his courtiers are very excited for him to go out with Lydia because it means they finally have a chance to dry out their clothes.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!:
    • "Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Funny Bones" has Beetlejuice lend Lydia his funny bone when she has doubts about her ability to tell good jokes. Without his funny bone, Beetlejuice becomes a reserved and humorless stoic far removed from the unabashed prankster most people know him as. Unhappy with how boring Beetlejuice is without his funny bone, Jacques LaLean, Ginger and Lydia take measures to restore Beetlejuice's funny bone, which ends up causing trouble by cracking the denziens of Peaceful Pines up (in both senses, as his victims are both laughing uncontrollably at his jokes and cracking apart).
    • "Snugglejuice" has Beetlejuice sent to Neither-Neither-Land for "rehabilitation" as a result of getting in trouble for a prank gone too far, where he is transformed into a saccharine and well-mannered shell of his former self. It takes Dr. Prankenstein using the Prankenbeetle on Snugglejuice to turn him back into Beetlejuice.
  • What Are You in For?: Beetlejuice asks a fellow inmate of The Big House this question in "The Birdbrain of Alcatraz".
    Beetlejuice: What are you in for? Indecent decomposure?
    Rico: My name's Rico, and that joke stinks.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Or the Deetz family cat, Percy, in this case. He was a recurring minor character who got spooked by BJ's antics in the first two seasons. But after his final appearance in the season two episode "Bewitched, Bothered & Beetlejuiced", Percy pretty much disappears from the series and is never seen again.
  • What's In It For Me?: In "It's a Wonderful Afterlife", Clarence Sale wants to know the answer to this question before he'll agree to talk Beetlejuice out of his funk. (Answer: the new car of his dreams, a "Deadsel".)
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Two of them, "Highs-Ghoul Confidential" and "Journey to the Center of the Neitherworld", although it's implied that the latter never actually happened.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Or Sandworms, in Beetlejuice's case.
    • Or 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.
  • Wicked Heart Symbol: Neither-Neither-Land has them everywhere... on the walls, the furniture, the uniforms...
  • 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.
  • Wimp Fight: "Moby Richard" ends with Beetlejuice and the episode's titular character ineffectually trying to hit each other.
  • Wink "Ding!": In "Mom's Best Friend", Lydia's wink to a disguised Jacques LaLean (posing as the owner of B.J., who has turned himself into a dog that Delia likes and wants to keep) is accompanied by a "clang."
  • Working on the Chain Gang: In "Snugglejuice," BJ, after being sent to Neither-Neither-Land, is forced to work on the "daisy chain gang."
  • Wrench Wench: Lydia, if "Dragster of Doom" is any indication; she knew how to rebuild the car's engine pretty much from scratch.
  • Writer's Block: In one episode, Shakespeare shows up suffering from this.
  • Yes-Man: Mayor Maynot's assistant I.M. Smallhead.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: In "Snugglejuice", Beetlejuice is sent to Neither-Neither-Land after being framed for shoplifting. He's shocked to encounter his pranking idol, Dr. Prankenstein, and to discover that not only is he also locked up there, but he was also framed by the exact same guy who framed BJ: Germs Pondscum. Beetlejuice is eager to escape, only for Dr. Prankenstein to tell him that there's only two ways out of Neither-Neither-Land; one is to serve your time there. When BJ asks him what the other way is, his response, while glancing at the Jack-in-the-Box is, "Trust me, you don't wanna know." Unfortunately, BJ does find out, the hard way.
  • Zany Cartoon: Seriously, some of the episodes could give Tex Avery a run for his money (though considering the movie which inspired it, it's really no surprise).
    Lydia: I’ve never seen so much senseless violence!


Video Example(s):


Prince Vince meets Lydia

Prince Vince, the morose ruler of the Neitherworld who can cause weather changes based on his mood, becomes instantly enamored with Lydia the moment he lays eyes on her.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoveAtFirstSight

Media sources: