Beetlejuice Cartoon (1989 – 1991): Remembering the Crazy adventures of Lydia Deetz & Beetlejuice

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The year 2020 will forever be remembered by the generations to come. It is the year that the world economies almost came to a standstill. But on the flipside. Some players in the industry have recorded quite some significant increase in numbers and revenue.

Netflix reported a record high of 195.15 million subscribers globally, out of which a whopping 73 million are from the US(Statista). On the other hand, YouTube recorded over 126 million unique monthly views in the last quarter.

Why am I talking about these statistics?

Well, because I have been part of it! Since the pandemic started, I have been binging on some old classic TV series, cartoons, retro-games, and everything that came from the ‘90s. And boy, I enjoy the way these shows quench my nostalgia.

Today, I watched Beetlejuice (1989 – 1991). This was one of the best-animated cartoon series thrillers that I watched back in the ‘90s. The adventures of Beetlejuice and Lydia Deetz in both the Neitherworld and the mortal world was so amazing and made my Saturday mornings back then.

Unlike my siblings, I used to get up quite early, at around 6:00 a.m. I was up and looking for something to binge on in the morning hours before heading out to play with the neighbors. After crawling from my Ed, Edd, and Eddy bed sheets, I would go to the dimly-lit kitchen to get the cereal bowl and some Hawaiian Punch and sit Infront of the TV to enjoy some classic cartoon shows. One of them being Beetlejuice: the animated series.

That said, let’s go back in time once again, to the amazing Beetlejuice animated show that graced out morning. This show made my Saturday morning glorious when I was a teen back then.

Let’s jump in…

The Background history of the Beetlejuice Animated TV series.

One year after Tim Burton’s big-screen Congo-dance show, the creative filmmaker produced an even more child-friendly version based on his bio-exorcist and early friend Lydia Deetz.
The show was mostly set in Beetle’s home called the Neitherworld. The series was about the adventures and challenges that the duo faced every day. The show was a great Saturday morning mash-up of viciousness and a touch of horror from the wandering skeleton in the closest, which ruined somebody’s day with harsh truth or Beetlejuice’s whole skeleton system, which would leave him for a holiday.

The show was based on the original movie of the same title.

Over 30 years down the line, Beetlejuice is still one of my favorite early 90s animated TV show. It only makes sense that I remember it since it was part of my most memorable TV show that I would wish could be rebooted.

When I was a teen, I started watching the Beetlejuice syndicated cartoon on Nickelodeon, and that is where I bumped into Lydia Deetz: my second best character in the show after Beetlejuice himself.

In the show, Beetlejuice causes many trouble in the cartoon series, but he and Lydia are essentially friends. He is a chaotic force, but Lydia almost always saves the day with wit and tenacity.

Lydia is a gothic Lisa Simpson and is one of the characters I dig in. Back then, my mom could not let me watch the show sometimes because she thought it was too scary for me.

Some years later, strengthened by my newly discovered affection for the Addams Family, I tried watching the show again after watching the original Beetlejuice movie.


Where it all began…


Beetlejuice was an animated TV series that was aired from September 1989 to October 1991 on Fox. It later ran from September 1991 to December 1991. It was based on the 1998 American film with the same name: Beetlejuice.

The show was produced and directed by Tim Burton. Danny Elfman composed the theme.

Beetlejuice Storyline
The show was based on the ghostly companion of Beetlejuice called Lydia, and their adventures in Neitherworld and the mortal world. Like in the movie, Lydia would call Beetlejuice from the Neitherworld by shouting his name three times.

The series was designed to focus on sight gags, wordplay, and allusion. Many episodes were parodies of popular movies, books, and TV shows. This was the case in almost all the final seasons. The “Brides of Funkenstein” episode was based on an idea put forward by a then fan of the show. She was a teen girl who loved the show.

Throughout the entire series, Beetlejuice frequently attempted to scam inhabitants of the Neitherwold – and at times even the mortal world. Lydia’s parents would always fall for these pranks.

Beetlejuice Cartoon Episodes

The show ran for four seasons showing 94 episodes spanning from December of 1989 to December of 1991. The show was broadcasted in two major networks: ABC and Fox Kids. The Seasons were:

  • Season 1 – Comprised of 13 Episodes that aired from September to December 1989 on ABC network.
  • Season 2 – Comprised of 8 episodes that aired from September to October 1990 on ABC network.
  • Season 3 – Just like season 1, it comprised of 8 episodes and was aired from September to October of 1991 on ABC network.
  • Season 4 – This was the final season that had 65 Episodes. It was aired from September to December of 1991 on Fox Kids. It contained the bulk of the episodes.
Beetle Juice Characters

The show had two main characters and some support characters. We will talk in-depth about the two main protagonists: Beetlejuice and Lydia. And then later look at the supporting characters.


Beetlejuice

Stephen Ouimette voiced Beetlejuice. He was a ghost and the main character of the show who enjoys eating bugs and is a prankster in Neitherworld. He is the oldest son of Gnat and Bee Juice. His parents keep nagging him to work, clean himself up. In the show, his parents refer to him as a junior.
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He has a cheerful brother called Danny Juice, who always but unknowingly gets to the nerves of Beetlejuice. He was named after a star called Betelgeuse. He can change shape, eat up objects, teleport, and do some magic. But his strength is varies depending on the situation he is in, like fear or the separation of his head from the body.

He has to think twice before using his powers to escape from a dangerous situation. One strange thing about Beetlejuice is that whenever he utters a word, the environment would transform and act on the prank.

Almost all of his transformation retains his stipped black-and-white style, although the stripes are often colored depending on the transformation. Even though the residents of Neitherworld have some magic, his magic is more powerful than theirs. There hasn’t been an explanation as to why that is the case. It is because of this that he was named “The Ghost wit the most,” as a reference in the Beetlejuice movie.

Beetlejuice would subdue many enemies without effort, and his self-sentient brain claims that his power is enough to rule the whole of Neitherworld. Because of this influence, almost everyone in the Neitherworld falls for his pranks, including himself, because he is not resistant to his reckless use of the powers.

At times, different parts of his body, like feet and torso, would have their minds separate from the power of Beetlejuice. Sometimes even his skeletal system would leave him. His favorite activity is to prank the residents of Neitherworld like Jacques, Ginger, The Monster Across the street, Poopsie, the mayor, and Claire Brewster (Lydia’s arch-enemy), and sometimes her parent in the mortal world.

Lydia Deetz
Alyson Cou1606866679300.pngrt voiced her. She is a young gothic girl in her teen at the start of the show, and later on in the show; she is seen to be in her early teen. Her favorite pastime is reading classic books by Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, and some other Gothic and Horror books.

In the show, Lydia is a creative, sharp, alive, witty yet eccentric young lady who has a unique life view. This makes Lydia stand out from every other girl at school. Being unique makes her feel she is out of place and alone in the world; hence she finds it hard to fit in well with most of her classmates. This pushes her to spend more time with her closest friend Beetlejuice in the Neitherworld, where she is well received and adored just the way she is.

Her best dress code is lengthy dar purple top, a pair of black leggings, a light purple and pink sash tied around her waist. She is always seen wearing black slipper-shoes. While in Neitherworld, she is seen wearing a large spiderweb patterned red poncho with a Unitard covering her full body.

She is a talented photographer, seamstress, and an artist with affinity and lover of everything disgusting, frightening, and weird. Lydia is an optimistic, well-mannered, polite, and patient girl. She exhibits high levels of emotional maturity for her age. She is a responsible girl compared to her peers.

The show depicts Lydia s being a naturalist who has an affection for nature. This is seen when she chained herself onto a tree that Beetlejuice brought to life to save it from being cut.

Lydia knows a lot about cars. This is seen when she knows what to do to build Doomie, while Bee-gor Beetlejuice did not know very much. He even had no idea what a carburetor was. She is a seventh-grade student at Miss Shannon Girls School.

She is the best friend of Beetlejuice; the show reveals that they have been friends for one year, as seen when they were celebrating the first anniversary of their friendship. Beetlejuice would sometimes call her Lyds or Babes.


Supporting Characters.

Charles Deetz


Roger Dunn voiced Charles Deetz. He is Lydia’s father. He was a nervous man who likes things to be handled quietly and calmly. He has an awful allergy to dogs as well. One of his favorite hobbies is ornithology, which he seems to enjoy very much.

He’s closer to Lydia than Delia is, though they share a baseball passion. He is an easy target for Beetlejuice’s pranks and mischiefs. He is among the few who still fall for his pranks when Beetlejuice is in the real world. His favorite catchphrase is Try to relax.

Delia Deetz
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Elizabeth Hanna voiced Delia Deetz. She is the wife and stepmother of Charles Deetz. Delia is depicted as an eccentric, air-headed, and often somewhat self-absorbed yuppie. She is convinced that she is a great cook and a good artist, but her cuisine and her surreal art are both not well received. She doesn’t understand why her art is ignored or laughed at by mortal people, whereas the people of Neitherworld adore it.

She is not easily scared, unlike her, husband. This is because of her yuppie nature. She is often seen to try and dissuade Lydia from loving scary things and concentrate on cute normal things.

Percy
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Credit: Brandy Lyon
Percy is the black cat that belongs to the Deetz family. The cat usually makes Charles feel comfortable. In the show, Beetlejuice is always seen tormenting Percy. While Percy always falls for Beetljuice’s pranks, he usually takes revenge in one way or the other.

Bertha
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Tara Charendff voiced Betha. She is Lydia’s schoolmate. She is a tall, gangly lady with an overbite. She loves swooning over teenagers, reading teen magazines, and eating chips. Just like Lydia, she loves weird stuff. In the show, Beetlejuice sometimes calls her Burp!

Prudence
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Credit: Fandom
Paulina Gillis voiced prudence. She also schools at Miss Sannon Girls school. She has a smaller physique compared to Bertha. Just like Bertha and Lydia, she is also interested in some weird stuff but not too scary.

She loves teaching. Beetlejuice calls her ‘Prune.’ Beetlejuice taught her how to be confident during the group discussion period of their rock band.


Final Word.


In short, this was an amazing show that I wouldn’t mind watching a revival. Nick, Disney, or Fox should give it a chance, just like they did for Spiderman and Teen Titans that have been revived severally.

It is a show that I would highly recommend you watch. Especially with the extra time, we have been accorded by the raging pandemic.

Did you watch the show back in the days? What is your take?
 
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