Shout Factory recently released the entire Beetlejuice animated series on DVD. Based on the Tim Burton film, the animated series features Beetlejuice, his best friend Lydia, and their adventures in Beetlejuice’s wacky home world, Neitherworld. There are no special features, just the entire 94-episode run. Back in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, when the show originally aired, no one was thinking about DVD releases - DVDs hadn’t been invented yet. They are all on DVD, they look decent (no restoration, but again: it’s a cartoon) - that is my review.
So instead of a review of the set, let’s look back at five things you may have forgotten about the show.
In the film, it was enough to say “Beetlejuice” three times to get him there, but in the cartoon, Lydia has a rhyme: "Though I know I should be wary, Still I venture someplace scary; Ghostly hauntings I turn loose ... Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
There is a Pink Flamingoes Episode
In “The Big Face-Off,” Lydia and Beetlejuice take part in a Neitherworld game show to win the title of the Grossest in Neitherworld. This is the exact plot of John Waters’ seminal 1972 ode to bad taste, Pink Flamingoes. There are dozens of other pop culture references, but none quite as inappropriate as Pink Flamingoes.
Beetlejuice has an Entourage
I wouldn’t exactly call them “friends” because Lydia is his only true friend. But there is a cast of recurring characters: Jacques LaLean, a French skeleton bodybuilder (named after famed fitness expert Jack LaLanne); Ginger the tap dancing spider (named after film starlet Ginger Rogers); the big, faceless Texan known only as The Monster Across the Street (and his little dog Poopsie); and the Dragster of Doom, the car that Beetlejuice built for Lydia (they call him Doomie for short).
The Deetzes Were “Normal” and the Maitlands Didn’t Exist
In the original film, Lydia’s mom was a self-centered avant-garde artist and her dad was a “businessman.” In the cartoon, they are far more domesticated, with just a little bit of “cartoon quirk.” They resemble the Maitlands from the film, the ghostly couple who befriend the depressed Lydia. The Maitlands do not exist in the cartoon (though the bridge they died on is featured in the first episode).
Beetlejuice Aired on Two Networks at Once
Beetlejuice was one of the few shows to air simultaneously on two different networks during its initial run. The series started on ABC, during their Saturday morning cartoon block. During the third season, the show also aired on Fox as one of their flagship shows during their weekday, after-school programming block.
Beetlejuice: The Complete Series is now available on DVD.