Less than a week ago, your friendly neighbourhood Z ended up looking after three of her little cousins, while the ‘adults’ conversed on … whatever matters it is they talk about. I don’t really know, I’m one of those people who while they have physically grown up, there’s still that part of the brain that’s an over-excitable child that is easily distracted by the shiny. That’s not the point of the article though; the little cousins were asking how come I had so much animation and what cartoons I liked the best. I wished, dear reader, that the show I’m reviewing for this here GUST had arrived in time for me to show it to them. It has a mind-screw of an opening, with fantastic voice acting, and all round general awesomeness. And we’ve already looked at the movie of it. Yeah, today we’re going to be looking at Beetlejuice the animated series!
First and foremost, we are going to refer to the titular ghost with the most by his most commonly used moniker, BJ. Last time we used the full name three times and, well, let’s just say it’s rather hard to get rid of a bio-exorcist from the Towers. Not that BJ actually is one in the cartoon. He’s actually the Neitherworld’s biggest prankster, to the extent that he is quite rightly firmly disliked by many – if not all – its citizens for the constant pranks he pulls. That’s alright though, because he has somehow managed to gain a deep friendship with human girl, Lydia Deetz. Who is still a goth in the cartoon, but far more cheerful than her movie counterpart. Other returning characters are Charles and Delia – though Delia now appears to be Lydia’s biological mother, rather than just her stepmother. No, the Maitlands are not in the cartoon, nor is there any sign of them ever having existed in this universe.
The cartoon is … well, it’s a mix of things, really. We get the moral story episodes, albeit usually slightly twisted because despite him being more sympathetic and now really an anti-hero, BJ is still not that great a person – except when it comes to his friendship with Lydia, but she’s really a morality pet of the highest degree. But yes, the show can be a mix of things, from half hour long episodes, to shorts, to even a take off of Pee Wee Herman at one point. It brought in a lot of original characters, and really help to… increase the scope of the Neitherworld, and the little we knew of it from the original movie. Though what we know may make us question – on the odd occasion – why BJ was so desperate to get out…
Tim Burton stayed on as a producer for the cartoon, and his influence can definitely be seen, especially in one particular character; Prince Vince. Who is pretty much… Victor from Frankenweenie with some Victor from Corpse Bride, but he out dates the two. Well, not the Frankenweenie Victor, but I’m relating the appearance more to the newer Disney movie than the original short. The Burton presence is also pretty clear in the designs, lots of stripes and spirals which does make for a visually interesting landscape in the cartoon.
One of the fun things? This show gave the distinct feeling that it was the radar, and just waved as it passed it by. That’s not to say it was incredibly explicit; no it was, after all, primarily for a younger age group, but there were many moments in which someone older could sit down and have a silent chuckle as the joke went straight over the young audience’s heads. This really was one of my favourite cartoons growing up, but then again I’ve always been a bit into the strange and unusual, and this cartoon can really fit those categories.
So is it worth re-watching? Actually, I’m going to say yes, but probably not too often. Not because you wouldn’t like it, but because all good things are meant to be savoured. Plus, for a kid’s cartoon, there’s actually kind of a lot of it, having five seasons an’ all, so that’s an aspect also to be considered. Check out the adventures of the ghost with the most, you’ll find it frighteningly good.
Z McAspurren (So… is Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian actually happening…?)