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10 Best Episodes of Beetlejuice: The Animated Series, Ranked

On September 6th, 2024, Tim Burton’s long-overdue follow-up to his 1988 smash hit that established him as one of the best directors in Hollywood will finally see the light of day. Beetlejuice Beetlejuice has had hype around it ever since it was just an internet rumor. Now that it’s a reality, with a trailer to back it up, anyone who was alive when the original was released is bound to be feeling more than a little nostalgic.

And thankfully, until we reach the film’s much-anticipated release, there is something else you can watch that may hold you over, and it’s not the 1988 original film. Beetlejuice: The Animated Series came out a year after the original film’s release in 1989 and ran until 1991. The show is a long-forgotten relic in the minds of many millennials and is hardly streaming anywhere besides ad-based streamers like Plex.


Release Date
September 9, 1989

Stephen Ouimette , Alyson Court , Tabitha St. Germain , Elizabeth Hanna , Roger Dunn


Still, those with internet savvy and enough time and motivation on their hands are bound to be able to find it online. And while maybe Michael Keaton and the rest of the A-list cast didn’t return to do the voices for the show (their schedules were busy), there are still a ton of wild moments within the plots of each episode.

The “ghost with the most” was a bit of a perv in the feature film, but this animated series made him a little more kid-friendly. So say his name three times, because here are the best episodes to come from Beetlejuice: The Animated Series.

10 “It’s the Pits”

Season 1, Episode 16

Beetlejuice always seemed like he would work well as a nightclub singer. In the first season’s sixteenth episode, he does just that, in a sense. By that, we mean he used his talents of being able to make farting sounds with his armpits. Lydia and other characters like Ginger and Jaques LaLean back him up as part of his band, and, of course, it all goes to his head.

The Rollin’ Kidney Stones

Beatlejuice’s band name, The Rollin’ Kidney Stones, is an obvious play on The Rolling Stones. As any E True Hollywood Story would go, the episode perfectly hits the beats of a band’s rise and fall in twenty-two minutes or less and does it in a comedic way thanks to the egomaniac that Beetlejuice can be. As usual, Lydia is quietly the savior of the whole episode, as the Ghost with the Most leaves his friends out in the cold eventually.

9 “To Beetle or Not to Beetle”

Season 4, Episode 35

Lydia is having trouble studying Shakespeare (a common predicament for teenagers), so Beetlejuice takes her to the Neitherworld to aid in doing some playwriting. She meets characters like Hamlet and Lady Macbeth, who all force Lydia to write a play for them. In the meantime, Beetlejuice aids Shakespeare in his writer’s block and comes up with some outlandish stories.

Beetlejuice and Shakespeare

Anyone with a general knowledge of Shakespeare will highly enjoy this episode and the puns that go along with the material. It’s a known fact that teenagers just don’t really get the hype in regard to William Shakespeare. Lydia perfectly encapsulates that, as she is a teenager trying to write a paper on the man, and she has no clue where to start. That’s where Beetlejuice steps in.

The episode hits great early 1990s kid humor perfectly, but it also makes you appreciate how Shakespeare’s themes are all over storytelling to this day.

Related: The Best Modern Shakespeare Adaptations

8 “Beetlebones”

Season 4, Episode 15

Beetlejuice gets a medical physical, and the worst of the worst happens to him: his skeleton escapes from his skin and runs off without him. His skeletal structure takes on a very snooty persona and a life of its own with the name Beetlebones. It’s up to Lydia to get the skin and bones reunited as a whole before they’re gone for good, and Beetlejuice will never be whole again.

A Perfect Blend of Horror and Comedy

This classic episode takes on tropes we would normally see in an adult horror-comedy film and perfectly translates them into children’s animation. The idea of your own skeleton removing itself from your skin is kind of graphic, but then having it take on a life of its own is kind of terrifyingly funny. There is also a nice nod to the 1989 horror-comedy film, The Burbs, woven into the plot.

7 “Spitting Image”

Season 3, Episode 5

In an episode written by Alan Wittert, Beetlejuice splits into two versions of himself. All of this happened because Lydia needed help on her science project. So, whatever science experiment she was working on has now taken shape as Beetlejuice morphs like amoebas into two versions of himself. It’s all fun and games until the two juices begin to get competitive with one another.

Typo in the Title

There are apparently a lot of goofs in this episode in terms of character traits and even typos. According to the show’s Wiki, the episode should be titled “Splitting Image,” not “Spitting Image,” since Beetlejuice literally splits into two versions of himself. Lastly, Lydia almost drowns, but in prior episodes she is seen being a capable swimmer. Regardless of the hiccups, the episode delivers double the humor by having two Beetlejuices and all their eccentricities.

6 “Beetlejuice’s Parents”

Season 1, Episode 16

Everybody comes from somewhere, even the Ghost with the Most. Lydia attempts to try and further understand Beetlejuice’s origins, so they go off into the Neitherworld and link up with his parents. We learn that his parents, Bea and Nat, are pretty much just like a lot of our parents. They are lovable, but they are also from a different era.

Get a Job, Beetlejuice!

A standout piece of comedy is the father-son dynamic that Beetlejuice has with his dad, Nat. Like many dads, Nat is concerned with what his son does for a living. He ends up getting him a job at a neck bolt factory, which, of course, does not work out for Beetlejuice. The episode also has a giant sandworm attack that nearly harms Nat, but it’s his son who ends up saving him. Mom and Dad Juice would appear a few more times throughout the show’s four-season run.

5 “Laugh of the Party”

Season 1, Episode 8

Season 1 saw the release of the show’s Halloween episode. In it, Lydia decides to plan a costume party to rival another party going on. The only issue is that it seems nobody is going to show up to hers. This springs Beetlejuice into action as his event-planning alter ego, Mr. Beetleman, who brings party decorations and even ghostly ghouls from the Neitherworld to partake in the evening festivities.

Lydia’s rival, Claire Brewster, eventually makes her way over to the party. Craziness ensues.

Other Movie References

Lydia is dressed up as a wolf during her party when people have shown up, but prior to that, she is dressed in a pink bunny suit that she looks miserable in. It’s a direct reference to A Christmas Story, where Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) has to wear a bunny suit from his aunt for everyone to see. Also, Lydia has a Dirty Harry moment where she confronts Claire and says, “Go ahead, make my Halloween night.”

Related: 10 Movies With Tons of References to Other Movies

4 “Wizard of Ooze”

Season 4, Episode 52

From the title alone, you probably get the reference. In an episode that aired late in the series’ run, “Wizard of Ooze” sees Lydia fall asleep while reading the actual novel, The Wizard of Oz. It’s here that she imagines all the people in her life and those from the Neitherworld as characters in her dreamlike version of L. Frank Baum’s novel.

Plot Twist

As we venture down the Grey Asphalt Road (the alternate version of the Yellow Brick Road) in Lydia’s dream, we encounter many different parallels to what Dorothy encounters in her dream in The Wizard of Oz. However, when Lydia wakes back up, Beetlejuice is in her room, and he knows everything she dreamed about, and lastly, the scene is in black and white. Then we smash cut to Beetlejuice waking up; it was all his dream all along.

3 “Midnight Scum”

Season 4, Episode 59

Throughout the series, we encounter the vast world and personal life of Beetlejuice. We meet his parents a few times on the show, and his brother Donnyjuice in an earlier episode titled “Oh Brother.” In Midnight Scum, Donny returns as a wanted man, and Beetlejuice looks to make a quick buck off of collecting the bounty on his brother’s head, but that is before a Neitherworld bounty hunter named Deader Alive gets to him first.

Midnight Run

The fifty-ninth episode of season four has a title that is a play on the film Midnight Run, a comedy-road film about a bounty hunter (Robert De Niro) who goes out to catch a mob accountant with a price on his head. Donny is a charming character, just like his brother, who’s quick at jokes, but he always seems to find himself in trouble, and Beetlejuice is always in need of making a quick buck. This could have been a feature film if it wanted to be based on their chemistry.

2 “Back to School Ghoul”

Season 3, Episode 2

Beetlejuice gets reprimanded for, you guessed it, harassment. He soon learns, after being under arrest by the law in the Neitherworld, that he never finished school. So he snatches up Lydia from the real world to help him get through school and pass his assessment tests so he can get back to doing what he does best, driving everyone in the Neitherworld utterly crazy.

Lydia Always Saves the Day

Beetlejuice has Lydia help him get through kindergarten; she teaches him everything he needs to learn in order to get back on his feet. He gets her out of school in the real world by utilizing all the dandruff in his hair to create a snow day for her (yeah, you read that right). Beetlejuice must pass the Skills Test and the ever-putrid Smelling Bee in order to get back on his feet again.

This episode is another prime example of how outlandish the world of Beetlejuice can be. How can he learn so much in a thirty-minute episode or less, you ask? Well, he literally inhales all the books he needs to read. It’s a tactic that beats studying every time.

1 “What Makes BJ Run”

Season 4, Episode 53

Beetlejuice tackles the TV industry in this season 4 episode. He has climbed his way up the ladder of the corporate world and now runs his own television network titled TNN. He sits back and cranks out TV hit after TV hit from his trusted notebook of ideas. The only thing is, that notebook was never his to begin with.

The Funniest Episode of the Series

There are other lists of the best episodes of the show to look into, but many state that “What Makes BJ Run” is the funniest of the whole series. Beetlejuice has ripped off all his ideas for the network shows from a mailroom clerk. Showing once again that even though Beetlejuice is highly cunning and likeable, he’s still just a demonic sleazeball at his core. The funny ideas he has for shows and the antics he pulls from his corner office are all children’s comedy television gold.

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