Beetlejuice: The Animated Series’ Craziest Episodes

It's showtime! We present the most outrageous moments from the cartoon that encouraged kids to pick their noses.

Beetlejuice Animated Series
Photo: ABC

Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetle—uh…line?

For those of you who don’t remember (and for those who prefer not to), Beetlejuice is not just a movie starring Michael Keaton in a blonde wig looking pervy. It was also an Emmy Award-winning cartoon in the early 1990s that aired on both ABC and Fox Kids simultaneously – six days out of the week, in fact. And it was a pretty darn good one if I can say so myself.

Beetlejuice: The Animated Series was all about puns. You could go as far as to say it was one big punishment. Or, rather, a ton of pun. Lots of fun in the pun maybe? No? Fine, what about one long weekly session of punnilingus?

(Okay. So I took it too far.)

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What I’m saying is, you need a strong stomach to put up will all the punnin’ around that occurs in the span of a mere twenty seconds in an episode of Beetlejuice. I admit, some of these puns are clever. I can see why this show was popular with kids, and why it lasted so long despite being based on a movie that creeped me out when I was still in its target age group. Yet it’s a twisted, morbidly Carroll-esque vacation for your mind that lasts twenty minutes at a time that helps build mental associations and grasp the concept of nonsense by diving into it headfirst. 

Watch Beetlejuice: The Animated Series on Amazon

But we’re not here to talk about the groan-inducing puns; we’re here to name off the craziest, kookiest, and downright bonkers episods of Beetlejuice: The Animated Series ever. And guess what? We’re gonna do it – right friggin’ here, right friggin’ now. Let’s jam.

Season 1, Episode 8: “Laugh of the Party”

written by Patsy Cameron and Tedd Anasti

Lydia throws a party for Halloween. When her nemesis Claire Brewster plans on showing up, BJ’s number one ride-or-die girl gets pissed off. So what does the flatulent phasm do? He disguises himself as Mr. Beetleman and convinces his favorite chew toys, aka her parents, to let him cater the party. He also dresses up as his alter-ego Bettyjuice for the first time and attends the party as a guest just to have all fronts covered.

further reading: The Essential Episodes of Tales From the Cryptkeeper

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But when the party sucks a fat one and the turnout is thin, Beetlejuice breaks out a dangerous party favor from the Neitherworld: the Party People in a Can. Looks like they aren’t people so much as giant furry dehydrated monsters that can do a lot of damage to Pleasant Pines. Oops. (Just say no, Beej. Just say no.)

In the end, Lydia and Drop Dead Fre– er, I mean, Beetlejuice hunt the unholy sea monkeys down with blowdryers while laughing hysterically. Unsettling? Perhaps. Unsettlingly cute? Duh.

Season 1, Episode 14: “Pat on the Back”

written by Tony Marino

Beetlejuice’s phony hair tonic scheme is going pretty well, much to Lydia’s dismay. (She can be such a Debbie Downer for a goth girl sometimes.) But when her spectral bff says he needs a pat on the back, he gets it. Literally. A small leprechaun named Pat grows straight out of his shoulder somehow. Yeah…well, turns out Pat isn’t such a great influence on our Beetlejuice after all and only encourages him to be even more destructive. One thing leads to another and Beetlejuice’s hair tonic covers the Neitherworld Haunted House of Representatives in pink hair, leaving him in a heapin’ helpin’ of hirsute hilarity. In a plot twist that happens towards the end of almost every episode in this show, only Lydia can bail the Beet out. This episode is insane for many reasons, but the biggest might be that it’s never explained why Pat grows out of Beetlejuice’s back in the first place. Luck of the Irish, maybe?

Season 1, Episode 16: “It’s the Pits”

written by Evelyn A-R Gabai

Beetlejuice decides to live out his life dream of becoming a professional armpit musician. But when Lydia, Jacques LaLean and Ginger start supporting him as his back up band and their act takes off, the fame starts going to his big ol’ bony head. (“It’s me that’s gonna make armpit music a hit! Immortality, here I come – again.”) So when the gang finally lands their dream gig – playing the Hollyweird Bowl – he leaves them out in the cold (except for Lydia, of course). When his head does finally grow big enough to float around the stadium like a giant dirigible, Lydia can only cross her arms and say “I told you so.”

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further reading: 13 Most Bizarre Appearances by Horror Icons in Other Media

Okay, fine, she does more than that. But you can feel her hesitancy. Or maybe I’m projecting that onto her. Either way…

Season 1, Episode 16: “Beetlejuice’s Parents”

written by Patsy Cameron, Tedd Anasti, & Janis Diamond

Curious about her sadistic spirit guide’s life, Lydia suggests that they pay his parents a visit in the Neitherworld. Much to Beetlejuice’s dismay, they do so. Turns out his mom and dad live in a spotless home and act like anyone else’s parents, really. (“Junior! When are you gonna get a job?” “I have a job, pops. I’m a waiter. I wait around for people to give me their money.”) His dad tries to get him hired on at his work at the Neck Bolt factory and it doesn’t pan out (surprise) but Beetlejuice does wind up saving him from a Sandworm attack in the end. Go him.

Season 2, Episode 4: “Scummer Vacation”

written by Evelyn A-R Gabai

In an episode inspired by National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation, Beetlejuice is upset that Lydia is going on a long summer vacation with her parents and doesn’t want to miss out on hanging with her. So he pretends to be their tour guide. What could possibly go wrong? Her mom and dad could wind up facing the guillotine, for starters. Jesus, why does he hate her parents so much?!

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Season 2, Episode 6b: “Running Scared”

written by Tony Marino

Claire Brewster strikes again when she runs for class president and rubs it in Lydia’s pale face. So who’s going to stand up to her if Lydia herself won’t? Bettyjuice, that’s who, and she starts with a smear campaign commercial. (“If you vote for Claire, there will be no more summer vacations!”) Watching BJ cause a ruckus in our reality is always a riot and this time around is no exception. Belch for Betty! 

Season 3, Episode 2: “Back to School Ghoul” 

written by Doug Molitor, Tedd Anasti & Patsy Cameron

While he harasses the Monster Across the Street, Beetlejuice is reprimanded by a Truant Officer (who is truly an ant) because he never finished school. Thus, his license to drive people crazy is revoked until he goes back and finishes. Lydia goes along with BJ to Neitherworld Kindgerarten because he made her skip school in the real world by faking a snow day with his copious amounts of dandruff. Beetlejuice faces the taunts of his fellow students and the lack of support from Miss Shapen, the teacher (not to mention cat calls from the Truant Officer). But Lydia turns everything around and helps Beetlejuice learn how to study to pass the Neitherworld Skills Test and the subsequent Smelling Bee. (He literally inhales all of the books and swallows them, which I think beats the hell out of Cliff’s Notes.) 

Season 3, Episode 5: “Spitting Image”

written by Alan Wittert

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When Beetlejuice splits himself at the amoeba level under Lydia’s microscope during her science assignment, he inadvertently creates a clone of himself that’s like his best friend – until they start fighting over Lydia.

further reading: Extreme Ghostbusters is Better Than You Remember

My god, he really wants to bone her doesn’t he? It’s kinda creepy.

Season 4, Episode 1: “You’re History”

written by Doug Molitor 

The fourth and final season of Beetlejuice: The Animated Series is arguably its craziest, kookiest, most subversive, and its most prolific. This is where the writing team’s imaginations ran wild. Much like cartoons such as Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, and Freakazoid, most of the jokes and the plots began to revolve around the TV and entertainment industry.

further reading: The Scariest Episodes of The Real Ghostbusters

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For example, the season premiere sees Beetlejuice dominating the Neitherworld airwaves with his new talk show You’re History, which features BJ mediating a panel made up of resurrected historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Elvis, and Marie Antoinette. When the series gets re-tooled while broadcasted live by network exec and new recurring villain Mister Monitor, the special guests get pissed and a fateful food fight breaks out.

Season 4, Episode 13: “Poe Purri” 

written by Tony Marino

Beetlejuice continued its trend towards literary inspired madness in one of its quintessential episode inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When the horror mastermind comes by the Roadhouse searching for Lenore, the Beej lets him crash there, being the friendly ghost that he is. And what happens? He starts having freaky dreams about the writers’ most iconic works, like The Raven (the Rappin’ Raven in this instance) and the Pit and the Pendulum.

further reading: The Real Ghostbusters Actually Had A Soundtrack Album

Guess who comes to Beetlejuice’s rescue and finds Lenore so he can get back to sleep? No, not Winona Ryder. Cartoon Winona Ryder. There’s a difference.

Season 4, Episode 15: “Beetlebones”

by Tedd Anasti, Patsy Cameron, & Katherine Lawrence

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Beetlejuice’s skeleton is class act. So classy, in fact, that he’s sick and tired of being tied to his pungent and unkempt body. So he rips himself out of Beetlejuice’s body and threatens to go off and see the world on his own. Of course Lydia can’t let that happen. Of course the Skeleton Crew has to get involved in the process… 

By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, this show loved to personify Beetlejuice’s body parts and have them go on strike. It was this show’s go-to plot for some reason.

Season 4, Episode 19: “Sappiest Place on Earth” 

by Marty Isenberg & Rober N. Skir

Another standout classic. “Sappiest Place on Earth” introduced another member of Beetlejuice’s expanding Neitherworld rogue gallery, Bartholemew Batt – a mix between Felix the Cat, Mickey Mouse, and Bart Simpson. Lydia, her mom, and the Happy Faced Girls are all swept away on a rainy day to the Neitherworld by Denmother MacCree (aka Beetlejuice) to The Neitherworld’s newest amusement park: Grislyland. Turns out the rides are weird, the people are weirder, and Bartholomew Bratt is a douchebag. So, naturally, Beetlejuice lets him have it and earns a new nemesis in the process.

All in all, this episode is one big fat middle finger to Disney and it shows.

Season 4, Episode 27: “Poultrygeist”

written by J.D. Smith

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Beetlejuice refuses to eat the leftover chicken that’s been sitting in his fridge since he moved into the Roadhouse and eats the bugs out of it instead. This causes the cold and cruddy carcass to come alive and start terrorizing Beetlejuice so he won’t be able to go to sleep.

further reading: The Unmade Beetlejuice Sequels

Technically, this episode is one big endless gag looped over and over again – BJ disposes of the haunted chicken but it always comes back to ruin his slumber. But relying on golden age cartoon comedy is probably what makes “Poultrygeist” so effective.

This is a can’t miss episode of Beetlejuice, babes. We wouldn’t lie to you…right? *Nose grows so cartoonishly long that it pops like an overblown balloon animal.* Uh. Heh. Pretend you didn’t see that.

Season 4, Episode 30: “Cabin Fever” 

written by Mark Edens

In case you couldn’t already tell, Beetlejuice is nuts. So nuts that you could could make a butter of some kind out of him and eat it with slice of fuzzy, moldy, petrified bread. Num! (Don’t get us started, babes.)

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There’s no way he can get any nuttier, is there? Wrong!

When Beetlejuice tries to cure Lydia from her case of the measles, he winds up catching cabin fever in the process. This leads to a strange trip through the Roadhouse attic in which he rediscovers his old Salvador Dolly. The doll takes them into the world of surrealism, and that’s when things get really nutballs. 

Season 4, Episode 31: “Highs-Ghoul Confidential”

written by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir

Beetlejuice takes a trip down memory lane when he and Lydia flip through his high school yearbook. When they come across a picture that proves that he was Prom King, he tells the story of what happened. (Mostly, he manufactured a date out of spare machine parts and memory chips from an answering machine. It’s pretty freakin’ hilarious.)

Season 4, Episode 35: “To Beetle or Not to Beetle” 

written by Mark Edens

Do you “get” Shakespeare? Lydia doesn’t, because she represents the target audience who need their fart jokes told in contemporary english. So Beetlejuice takes her on a trip to the Neitherworld to meet all of his characters who are desperate for more lines. Hamlet, Lady MacBeth and others force Lydia to write plays for them while Beetlejuice helps Shakespeare overcome writer’s block. I gotta admit, this episode had me laughing my — *turns into a fish*– bass off! Ha-ha! Get it? Alright, watching this show has clearly had an effect on me. 

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But seriously, folks. The Shakespearian gags in “To Beetle…” are some of the funniest jokes you’ll find in the series. (“Julius! Sieze her.”) High-brow and nerdy? You betcha. But that was exactly the kind of humor that defined 1990s childrens television and this cartoon set the stage for it early on. 

Season 4, Episode 40: “Recipe for Disaster” 

written by Michael Edens

This episode has a high reputation amongst the fandom and I can see why. It’s absurd, ludicrous, wildly imaginative, and just plain silly. Lydia tries to whip up a casesar salad for Beetlejuice and makes a tryannical dictator instead. The salad dashes off into the Neitherworld and begins his invasion in the Seven Hills of Aroma, where all the leftover food goes. “Let the four basic food groups unite and found one mighty tasty empire. No food need ever fear breakfast, lunch, or dinner again – not if you follow me!” (Beetlejuice interjects: “Close your vinagrette, Caesar!”)

To say that this episode features all the food puns in the world might be something of an understatment. (Best line? “Hold your cheese dip, Caesar! Your salad days are over.”) But watching Beetlejuice turn into gravy boat to help his veggie comrades lead an insurrection against Caesar’s destructive ambition is worth the price of admission alone.

“Recipe” is twenty minutes of good old fasnion clean, gross, sophmoric fun, even if it gets a little – ahem – corny at times. Heh. Heh-heh. *Turns into an anthropomorphic popcorn machine.* Please don’t ask me for the hot buttered option…

Season 4, Episode 42: “Ghoul of My Dreams” 

written by Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

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The Monster Across the Street and his wife the Monstress Across the Street get into a big ol’ argument and separate for a while. So Mister Monitor makes Beetlejuice dress up in drag (again) and take the Monster out on dates and film in in secret because it’s getting a ton of ratings. BJ dons a few different personas here and tries to keep the two apart for the sake of the the network when all he really wants to do is sleep. “Ghoul” is a cute episode that’s worth a carton full of chuckles at the very least.

Season 4, Episode 49: “Super Zeroes” 

written by Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

With a Simpsons-esque level of foresight, Beetlejuice took on the superhero craze twenty years before it actually happeend in an episode that lampoons everything about the culture. Just listen to the narrator tell the origin story of the hero Beetlejuice comes up with:

“For no other reason except it’s a good way to start a story, mild-mannered Kent Beetleman climbs the Scummalaya Mountains and enters a cave where he finds an old walking stick. (Beetlejuice: ‘What walking stick?!’ *A stick casually saunters by.* ‘Oh. That walking stick.’)”

By saying “Shazoom!”, Beetle Man uses the stick – which is actually a magic socket wrench – to turn into Beetle Man.

“Carried into space by his cosmic socket wrench, Beetle Man is bombarded by ultraviolet rays. The rays further his mutation and send him plummeting back to earth where he lands in his very own garden only to be further transformed by blue lightning and the bite of a radioactive beetle. And thus was born the Neitherworld’s mightiest defender – Ultra Beetle Man!”

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This is only the beginning of what might be the one of the cleverest eviscerations of the superhero genre I may have ever witnessed. Thumbs up! *Thumb shoots off like a rocket ship or something.”

Season 4, Episode 52: “Wizard of Ooze” 

written by Alan Bunce & J.D. Smith

Antother tried and true literary classic is distorted under the warped lens of the Neitherworld when Lydia falls asleep while reading L. Frank Baum’s book about Judy Garland’s mushroom trip. And what happens? She dreams of each member of the Beetlejuice cast becoming a character from the book, as is expected.

Initially, I thought this episode would be kind of boring and trite so I didn’t feel like revisiting it. But I’m glad that I forced myself to, because this is a fun jaunt down the Grey Asphalt Road. (It’s like the Yellow Brick Road but better.)

Season 4, Episode 53: “What Makes B.J. Run” 

written by David Finley

This just might be my favorite episode of Beetlejuice: The Animated Series ever. It’s certainly the best and funniest time it tackled the TV industry.

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Beetlejuice climbs his way up the corporate ladder and becomes head of programming for TNN, making Mister Monitor his lapdog. But where is he coming up with all of the cool ideas for his shows? From the notebook he stole from the guy in the mailroom he used as a stepping stone on his way up.

You must watch it. I don’t care if I have to force your eyelids open in a Clockwork Orange allusion gag. It’s going to happen.

Season 4, Episode 54: “The Chromozone” 

written by John Halfpenny

There is a dimension between first-run and re-run. Between the afterlife as it seems, and the afterlife on TV. I should know: I created the darn thing. Leave your colors at the door, because you just crossed over into…The Chromozone. (Insert logo here.)

If the previous episode is a personal favorite of mine, this episode is a series high point that is definitely in the top five greatest Beetlejuice episodes of all time. It’s a parody of The Twilight Zone – for the most part. Yet it’s also another metacommentary about TV writing and the creative process of making a television series in the first place. When Rod Sperling (sendup of Rod Serling) recruits BJ to stop his creation Ima Loon from writing her own scripts. Things are never quite what they appear to be in The Chromozone, as the twist ending to this episode proves.

Season 4, Episode 56: “The Neitherworld’s Least Wanted” 

written by Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

If you’re familiar with Batman: The Animated Series (and I’m sincerely hoping you are), this episode may remind you of its classic entry “Almost Got ‘Im!” in which all of Guano Man’s enemies band together to talk about how they almost bumped him off.

Well, in “Least Wanted”, the rogues’ gallery that Beetlejuice spent most of its fourth season fleshing out team up under the direction of the mysterious Mr. Big and Mister Monitor, who trick Beetlejuice into saying “I’m coming apart at the seams” so his body parts will scatter everywhere.

Even though this isn’t as remarkable as its B:TAS analogue, I think this makes a fitting final episode if you choose to view it as such.

Season 4, Episode 59: “Midnight Scum” 

written by Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

We met Beetlejuice’s parents somewhere back up there, correct? Well, I forgot to mention that he also has a brother Donnyjuice. (He made his debut in an episode we skipped over called “Oh, Brother!“)

Donny’s a pretty nice guy, very clean cut and almost too accomodating to the point of annoying even Lydia herself. So why is suddenly a wanted man? And how can Beetlejuice save him from Deader Alive, the infamous bounter hunter seen on Neitherworld TV? I dunno, babes. Watch the epi-*burp*-sode and stop buggin’ me already.

Season 4, Episode 61: “Relatively Pesty” 

written by John Antoniou & Tom Johnstone

Beetlejuice transforms a few ants into his Aunties by accident. Meet Auntie Pasto, Auntie Social, Auntie Septic and Honey Aunt. They’re pretty annoying. So annoying, in fact, that they royally piss off BJ’s landlord. So Lydia and the Beej have to get rid of them. This is wacky enough to be watchable because it’s out of left field and there’s giant friggin’ ants for no reason.

So there you have it: the craziest episodes of Beetlejuice. What more do you want? An acupressure massage? Go home. I need my ugly sleep.

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