Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Beetlejuice

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    The Movie 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: When Lydia tells Betelgeuse she wants to die, he might seem actually concerned for her. He keeps Lydia from leaving the house, and maybe even to talk her out of it - presumably by telling her about himself. Alternatively, his reaction could also mean, "But okay, if that's what you want, let me out and I'll help you do it."
    Betelgeuse: You know, you look like somebody I can relate to. Maybe you could help me get out of here, you know, because I got to tell you, this dead thing... it's just too creepy. See, here's my problem. I got these friends I said I'd meet, and it's the kind of thing where I have to be there in person, so could you help me get out of here?
    Lydia: I want to get in.
    Betelgeuse: (genuinely surprised) Why? (pause) You know, hey, you probably got your reasons. I can't do anything from here. If you could get me out, then maybe we could talk or something.
  • Anvilicious: Lydia is fascinated by death because her parents misunderstand and neglect her, but the Maitlands do nothing but reminisce about how much they enjoyed their lives, even with hassles like a Nosy Neighbor and their lack of children. In the end they find a joyous existence only by making peace with the Deetzes and becoming a second set of parents for Lydia. Death Is Dramatic only for the dead, and it surely doesn't solve problems. Suicide Is Shameful, and even a "natural" death is a cast-iron pain in the ass.
  • Awesome Music: Aside from Danny Elfman's title theme, the use of Harry Belafonte, including "Day-O", which is also a Funny Moment.
    • "Jump in the line," used at the very end to great effect. Chances are you'll be tapping your foot to the tune.
  • Chaotic Neutral: Beetlejuice himself falls under this trope. He's dangerously unpredictable, and though he's willing to help others, his idea of "helping" often involves endangering lives or conning them in some way.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: This happens to the house at one point thanks to the Deetzes.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: It's possible to interpret Betelgeuse/Beetlejuice as Satan himself. Besides having a name that looks similar to the Biblical "Beelzebub" (literally, "Lord of the Flies"), Beetlejuice is also given an origin story that could have come straight out of Paradise Lost: Juno, who according to this analogy would represent God (and in fact is named after the queen of the Roman pantheon) mentions that Beetlejuice was once her assistant but had parted ways with her because he thought he could be a better exorcist. And it's not hard to imagine that Beetlejuice's threatened marriage to Lydia would have not only made her his wife, but very possibly would also have cost her her soul.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Just who was Betelgeuse before he died?
  • Fanon: Lydia's birth mother is never mentioned in the film. A large portion of the fanbase is convinced that she died when Lydia was very young, and that this fact heavily contributes to Lydia's fascination with death.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment/Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Sylvia Sidney plays a smoking ghost with a hole in her throat which emits smoke. Sidney died from throat cancer in New York City - at the age of 88.
    • Beetlejuice knocking Otho down the stairs is a little hard to watch now, knowing that his actor Glenn Shadix died of head trauma following a fall.
    • The dumb football players not getting that they're dead is now rather tragic thanks to the recognition in the 2000s of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, head injuries suffered by repeated blows to the head. They probably took so many blows to their head they can't tell that they took a killing concussion.
      • They didn't, it explicitly says in the movie they died in a bus crash when they finally cotton on that they're dead ("Hey, coach, I don't think we survived that crash!").
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • I Am Not Shazam:
    • Due to the two being homonyms, people make the mistake of thinking the character is named Beetlejuice as well, rather than Betelgeuse. The fact that his name is Beetlejuice in the Animated Adaptation doesn't help.
    • Additionally, despite the poster, the film credits make it clear that the title is Beetle Juice, not Beetlejuice.
  • Memetic Molester: Betelgeuse, particularly in light of his fixation on the teenage Lydia.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "I'm the ghost with the most, babe."
    • "Go ahead, make my millennium."
    • To a much lesser extent: "My whole life is a dark room. One. Big. Dark. Room."
    • "I, myself, am strange and unusual."
    • "Hi, how are ya?"
    • "It's showtime!"
    • Not bad, not bad. Now you.
  • Older Than They Think: The Cracked website may believe that the film's plot is borrowed from the Amazing Stories episode "Boo!", but both of them were actually taken from the 1937 film Topper.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Considering how many people commit suicide, "Enjoy your life while you have it" is a rather important message.
  • Squick: Betelgeuse's fixation on Lydia. Unlike in the TV show, where they share an affectionate friendship, here the latter is clearly disgusted with the former. The fact that she's still in school makes him an ephebophile.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Delia's sculptures.
  • Uncanny Valley: Most of the film's stop motion effects fall under this to a rather serious extent, though considering the themes and tone of the film, it's fitting.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Even though the film came out well after the PG-13 rating was introduced, it's still rated PG, but filled with content that is quite inappropriate for young children. Death and suicide are central themes, and there are countless depictions of bodily mutilation. Betelgeuse's behavior is also not kid-friendly. He shouts "Nice fucking model!" while grabbing his crotch in one scene and says "shit" in another. He makes a wanking gesture in a third scene. He also visits a whorehouse in one scene.

    The Animated Series 
  • Accidental Innuendo: Lydia nicknaming Beetlejuice "BJ" and the car "Doomie."
  • Cargo Ship: In "Doomie's Romance," Cool Car Doomie falls in love with Mayor Maynot's adorable pink convertible, whom he names Pinky.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Without the Framing Device of the film, how exactly did Beetlejuice and Lydia meet? And what became of their friendship after the end of the series?
  • Ghost Shipping: Lydia and Beetlejuice. Word of God says this was intentional.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When Claire Brewster loses the election for class president in the episode "Running Scared," she immediately demands a recount. This became funnier in light of the 2000 Presidential election, when a whole lot of hubbub erupted over how close the votes were in Florida, with Gore's campaign calling for a manual recount.
    • The Running Gag in "Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest," in which there are repeated comments about Beej's wanted posters, may remind modern viewers of the similar gag in Tangled.
  • In Name Only: Due to the different premise, Lydia and Beetlejuice are friends now, and the Maitlands and Juno are nonexistent. Lydia is also younger than the movie version.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Beetlejuice himself, in "It's a Wonderful Afterlife." It's not hard to understand why most of his neighbors would be enjoying much better circumstances without him on hand to wreak havoc (and keep them humble in the process), and he does begin the episode by complaining about everything and being generally annoying. Nevertheless, you can't help but feel sorry for the guy when he feels like nobody wants him around.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Gender Inverted. In some episodes, Beetlejuice can seem like this to Lydia, although this doesn’t necessarily detract from the show like other examples. She lives a mundane and somewhat lonely life, while he has magic powers and lives in a creepy Adventure-Friendly World. He also adores her endlessly, loving nothing more than to see her having fun.
    Lydia: Some days are so predictable! Sometimes I just want a little variety.
    Beetlejuice: I’ll give you variety! Come on an adventure with me, babe!
  • Retroactive Recognition: Lydia was played by a pre-The Big Comfy Couch Alyson Court.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Claire Brewster for being an Alpha Bitch and always insulting Lydia and her friends.
    • Not many fans care for Beetlejuice's sickeningly sweet brother Donny, either.
    • Prince Vince, with his overly dramatic tendencies, is seen this way by a portion of the viewers as well.
  • Ship Tease: Frequently between the two leads, despite the age difference and the gender-flipped Boy Meets Ghoul.
  • Something Completely Different: The whole show was this for kids’ cartoons at the time. Most cartoons of the time period were merchandise driven, had very clear good and bad characters, and usually taught “lessons” in every episode. This series, by comparison, has one protagonist who exists to cause trouble and often gets away with it in the end, and another who is as much of a nightmare-fetishist as one could put in a show for kids. The humor is gross-out and has quite a bit of Parental Bonus, which may have contributed to the fact that it had a decent run and has become a minor Cult Classic in the years since it ended.
  • Squick: You think Beetlejuice's crush on Lydia is creepy? At least BJ is relatively human - in the episode "Pest O' The West," Lydia gets the unwanted attentions of an anthropomorphic bull ghost who wants to marry her. Beetlejuice even sees what Lydia's future will be like if he doesn't go back to rescue her. No wonder he starts screaming.
    • If that wasn't bad enough, in his vision, there's little baby heifers running about all over the place.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Neither-neither Land invokes this deliberately.
  • The Woobie:
    • Percy the Cat in "Bewitched, Bothered, & Beetlejuiced."
    • Lydia in “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife”. Without Beetlejuice, she is miserable and utterly alone. Even Bertha and Prudence join Claire in mocking her!
  • Uncanny Valley: Subverted, albeit unintentionally. The CGI used in the fake commercials looks pretty off (it was The '90s, after all), but that actually fits the creepy tone of the show, especially since most of the commercials in question are shown on the Neitherworld television programming rather than in the mortal world.

    Other Media 
  • Award Snub: The stage musical was nominated for several Tonys but won none of them. The ones that the fans feel most snubbed over are the Scenic Design and Lighting Design awards, considering how many effects the show uses.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The song "Creepy Old Guy" in the musical, where everyone scams Beetlejuice into thinking Lydia really does want to marry him. And about how it's totally okay for a girl her age to marry a creepy old guy if she really wants to.
    Mr. Deetz: Have you guys seen Lolita? This is just like that, but fine.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The comic books hint a fair bit at gender-flipped Boy Meets Ghoul, much as the cartoon does.
    • The NES game (based on the film) has Betelgeuse outright describing Lydia as "my true love." The Game Boy game (based on the cartoon) is also full of ship tease, particularly in the many affectionate nicknames Beetlejuice has for Lydia.
    • The spin-off novel series has an installment, Lydia's Scream Date, whose plot centers entirely around BJ being a Crazy Jealous Guy over Lydia possibly going to a school dance with a living boy.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Usually averted with the cartoon, as even die-hard fans of the film often find it amusing if nothing else. Fans of the cartoon usually at least get a kick out of the comic books as well. However, even those who prefer the cartoon over the film tend to agree that the spin-off novel series is pretty bad, with flat writing and very OOC behavior for the characters.
    • The musical feels designed to strike a balance between the movie and animated series in order to avoid this trope.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: