It's often hyperbolic to call a film or television show a “fever dream,” but that’s one of the few ways to accurately describe the cartoon adaptation of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. The 1988 film follows a married couple navigating the afterlife after an auto accident. With the help of a lecherous ghost named Beetlejuice, the couple tries to scare a big-city family out of their home. How anyone saw this dark comedy and thought, “That should be a children’s cartoon,” is mind-boggling. However, it happened, and you need to know about it.
The series adheres to the film's plot in broad strokes. The Deetz family, the parallel “Neitherworld,” and Beetlejuice’s predilection for trouble are all here, but they feel out of place. Each of the 94 episodes reimagines the Beetlejuice story in its own way, remaining faithful to Burton's vision in some aspects while abandoning it in others. There are weird monsters, references to classic literature, and, of course, bug-eating. Nothing about this show makes sense.
Adam And Barbara Are Noticeably Absent
Despite being the main characters of Beetlejuice, married ghosts Adam and Barbara Maitland do not appear in the cartoon. Instead, the series focuses on Lydia and Beetlejuice. Occasionally, the Deetz family pops in to act as the butt of one of Juice's pranks.
There's no reference to these characters who act as the catalyst for the film's plot. The series isn't any worse for the omission - it's just weird that they never even get a mention.14934Is this weird?
At One Point, Beetlejuice Grows A Leprechaun On His Back
Making sense of Beetlejuice is difficult. Scholars could study the cartoon for hundreds of years and still have a hard time describing the various story arcs. However, one oddity that sticks out is an episode from Season 1, "Pat on the Back." In it, Beetlejuice grows a leprechaun on his back.
It's never explained exactly how or why this happens. Nonetheless, the leprechaun exerts his influence on Juice and encourages him to cover Neitherworld in pink hair. Maybe the episode is an allegory about the pitfalls of greed, or perhaps it was just an excuse to cash in on the leprechaun craze of the late '80s.8633Is this weird?
The Fourth Season Is Full-On Crazy
The fourth and final season of the series is an example of a show firing on all cylinders as it races across the finish line. The episodes make a ton of references to both pop culture and decidedly non-YA reading material like the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe and Moby-Dick.
In one episode, Edgar Allan Poe sleeps on Beetlejuice's couch, giving the ghost with the most nightmares based on the gothic author's most famous works. In another, the carcass of a chicken comes to life and haunts the Juice.6436Is this weird?
Prince Vince Is Basically Tim Burton
The Neitherworld, the parallel universe Beetlejuice calls home, is sort-of-kind-of ruled by Prince Vince, an emo patriarch who looks very similar to one Mr. Tim Burton. Vince is so sad that he's followed around by a rain cloud that threatens to cover the entire Neitherworld.
Initially, he falls in love with Lydia. After she brushes him off, he pops up now and again to make bummed out puns and show off his shaggy black hair. It should also be noted that the name "Vince" is likely an homage to Vincent Price, one of Burton's many spooky muses.6649Is this weird?