There is nothing fun about being dead. You lay in the ground and rot and your spirit goes up to either a high plane or the other way. However, Hollywood has no issue with poking fun at death (be it the actual cause or the skeleton with a thing for black cloaks) or the dead for that matter. From Zombieland to Shawn of the Dead, Tinsel Town has tickled Death’s funny bone in more ways than one. One dead guy ended up being funny enough to get his own series. If you haven’t caught on yet, this is a Cheesy Cartoons review of Beetlejuice. I am Devildriver1313, your host with the most!
In 1988, Tim Burton decided to play with dead people long before Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. He made a hit movie about a dead guy who claimed to be a “bio-exorcist” by trade. What is a “bio-exorcist”? Supposedly, it’s kinda like what priests do to ghosts haunting homes but with humans. That movie went to be a cult classic and spawned an animated series. Beetlejuice follows the adventures of the self-proclaimed “Ghost with the Most” and goth teen Lydia Deetz in the Neitherworld, a place inhabited by zombies, monsters and ghosts alike. Thought the series is loosely based on the movie, there are references to the film. Lydia lives with her parents in “Peaceful Pines” (“Winter River” in the film). Her father Charles is still way uptight same as his movie counterpart and her mother Delia keeps making horrid statues and cooking rancid food, passing it off as her “best works.” Lydia attends Miss Shannon’s School for Girls. There, she hangs out with atypical outcasts with whom she shares a common interest in the strange and unusual. Bertha is a tall, lanky girl with an overbite and Prudence is a short nerdier version of Velma Dinkly, which isn’t really surprising since the original movie was distributed by Warner Bros who has rights to Scooby Doo.
CHEESE FACTOR!! No doubt that Beetlejuice would retain the deadpan humor of the film it is derived from. Where the jokes were humorous in the film, the series took literal expression to a whole new level. Beetlejuice typically uses puns and one-liners in his dialogue which leads to him expressing them physically. For example, when he said the phrase “Fly by the seat of my pants,” there was an actual fly by the seat of his pants. In another, Beetlejuice uttering “feeling a little tired” would have him turned into a tire, or “flat broke” in which he would turn into a record that falls to the ground and smashes into pieces. This type of humor was entertaining but it, at times, did become down right annoying. In fact, this played through the entirety of several episodes and you wanted Beetlejuice to almost say something else. In the movie, this type of wordplay is almost non-existent. Speaking of wordplay, that is another trademark of the Neitherworld’s notorious prankster. At one time, Beetlejuice and Lydia confronting Count Me-in (a parody of Count Dracula) and Lydia asked Beetlejuice to turn into a stake, thus Beetlejuice transformed into a flake steak. And there were times when the literal expressions were too literal and led to cheesy puns. When confronted with a beast that was far smellier than himself, Beetlejuice summoned a bull from his arm pit via that familiar sound and referred to it as a “pit bull.” He even parodied well known movies and people as well. Beetlejuice has taken on the persona of “Grimdiana Bones” when he and Lydia were exploring a temple. The running gag of this character is that he is run down by a boulder whenever he says his persona’s name, putting a twist on that iconic scene. And then he and Lydia were trapped in the Bermuda Shorts Triangle (in which the detained are clad in the “snazzy” attire) where they are attacked by pirates. To combat them, Beetlejuice turned in a hammerhead shark ala M.C. Hammer.
WHY WE WATCHED!! Despite the annoying and cheesy humor, Beetlejuice was no less entertaining to watch. In fact, it is because of BJ’s brand of comedy that made the show fun. We watched to see who he was going to prank next or what misadventures await him and Lydia or Lydia’s friends and family.
Beetlejuice ran for four seasons between September 9, 1989 to December 6, 1991. The series was a breakout hit on ABC in its initial season and later became one of the first series to air daily on Fox’s afternoon lineup. This led to a situation where Beetlejuice aired Monday through Friday on Fox while remaining part of ABC’s Saturday Morning schedule, making it one of a few series to be aired concurrently on two different networks. Danny Elfman’s theme from the movie was arranged for the cartoon by Elfman himself and Tim Burton stayed on board as developer and producer. Like the classic film, Beetlejuice has invaded our hearts and still continues to haunt our lives to this day.
Beetlejuice gets a cheesy rating of
Beetlejuice Season 1 Intro
Beetlejuice Season 2 Intro