Study Guide

Beetlejuice Family

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JANE: Honey, today I'm $260,000!

BARBARA: No Jane. It's 6:45 in the morning.

JANE: This offer is real. From a man in New York City who only saw a photograph.

BARBARA: Jane, don't send people photos of our house.

JANE: He wants to bring the wife and family up here for some peace and quiet.

BARBARA: That's exactly what we're looking for.

JANE: But, Barbara, this house is too big for you. It really ought to be for a couple with a family, you know. Oh, pumpkin, I didn't mean anything. It's just that really this house is too big.

For someone who's supposed to love Barbara, Jane can sure say some moronic stuff.

BARBARA: Jane says we should sell the house to someone with a family.

ADAM: Well, I don't think that it's any of Jane's business. Besides, we could try again on this vacation, you know.

Adam's right: it's not any of Jane's business what they do. But he's also smart enough to suggest they turn their two-week stay-cation into a baby making adventure. Nicely played, sir. The Maitlands' inability to have a child despite really wanting one is one of the sad subtexts of the film, but it's not developed that much except maybe to explain why they get so attached to Lydia.

DELIA: I can't believe we're eating Cantonese. Is there no Szechwan up here?

LYDIA: Plan to have a stroke from the amount of MSG that's in this food.

DELIA: This is our first meal in this house, so why don't we all do our little private parts to make it a pleasant one?

CHARLES: Don't bait your mother, Pumpkin. Soon as we get settled, we'll build you a darkroom in the basement, okay?

LYDIA: My whole life is a darkroom. One big dark room.

DELIA: So you were miserable in New York City, and now you're going to be miserable out here in the sticks. At least someone's life hasn't been upheaved.

This conversation tells you just about everything you need to know about the dynamics in the Deetz family. Her patronizing parents trivialize her unhappiness, and she's sarcastic and negative whenever she gets the chance.

LYDIA: What happened to the people that used to live here?

JANE'S DAUGHTER: They drowned.

JANE: Yes, they were family. I was devastated. Here, take that.

LYDIA: Is this the key to the attic?

JANE: That's a skeleton key. That key will open any door in the house. Give that to your father. And you might mention that I single-handedly decorated that house in case he needs any advice in that arena have him come see me.

Yeah, Jane seems real devastated. Wonder if she waited until after the funeral to get the house listed for sale.


CHARLES: Can't you see I'm relaxing in here?

LYDIA: Well, I want to tell you what I saw.

CHARLES: What is the point of my coming here up if you people won't let me relax? Pumpkin, sweetheart... go help your mother.

LYDIA: Maybe you can relax in a haunted house, but I can't.

If you can't get your dad's attention by telling him his house is haunted, it's pretty hopeless. Charles stopped taking Lydia seriously long ago, it seems.

CHARLES: Lydia, is Connecticut so boring? I had Maxie Dean on the phone, honey. Dad's found a way of making some money while I relax, so would you scram? Your mother's gonna kill you when she sees you cut holes in her $300 sheets.

Charles can't tell a real ghost when he sees one; it's not Lydia dressed in a sheet—it's Adam. He makes his priorities real clear here: money over his daughter.

LYDIA: Why were you guys creeping around in Delia's bedroom?

ADAM: We were trying to scare your mother.

LYDIA: Stepmother. Anyway, you can't scare her. She's sleeping with Prince Valium tonight.

For the first time in the movie, Lydia clarifies her relationship with Delia. Of course, the icy looks made it pretty clear up until now. There's no love lost between this girl and her slightly clichéd wicked stepmother.

DELIA: Ghosts. You're telling me we have ghosts in this house. Those pictures are of ghosts. Are they? Ghosts! Lydia, I am giving a dinner party tonight for seven people. My agent, Bernard, is bringing a woman who writes for Art in America. In fact, no one dining here this evening has not been in Vanity Fair. Except you.

LYDIA: I told them you were too mean to be afraid.

DELIA: Don't you dare speak to others about me! The only thing that scares me is being embarrassed in front of the few hip people I can get to set foot in this part of Connecticut. So let's play family just for tonight.

We love this scene. Maybe it's the way Catherine O'Hara chops veggies while she talks or the way she dresses down her teenage stepdaughter for never having appeared in Vanity Fair? These few lines capture Delia's character so perfectly—she's desperate to be loved by important, artsy people and she most certainly does not have time to entertain her stepdaughter's ghostly fantasies. The comment about "playing family" is very telling about how things operate with this bunch.

CHARLES: Maybe this was all a bad idea.

DELIA: I didn't say anything. Oh, who are we kidding, Charles? You've never had a bad idea.

CHARLES: Yeah? Yeah, this could all work out. Home. Though I'm not sure that this is the right environment for Lydia. Snakes. Ghosts.

DELIA: Shrimp.

Could Charles be thinking about Lydia's well-being for once? Could Delia actually be complimenting her husband?

ADAM: What time is it, honey?

BARBARA: It's about 3:30, I guess.

ADAM: Give or take a year.

LYDIA: Hello.

ADAM: Well? Did you get the paints?

LYDIA: Yes. And I took pictures of the new town hall for you, too.

BARBARA: How'd you do on that science test?

LYDIA: It was gross. They wanted me to dissect a frog. I told them "no way." I said it was against my religion. So I got a "C."

BARBARA: And how about the math test?

ADAM: You have got to be kidding me? We spent the whole week studying for that test.

LYDIA: I got an "A." So can I?

ADAM: Well, I don't know. Got a "C" on the science test.

BARBARA: Adam, don't tease her. You never got an "A" in science—

This is how parents should be. They're interested in Lydia's art and keeping a close eye on her schoolwork. For now, it's a big happy family, the Deetzes and Maitlands co-existing. Shmoop guesses that the Deetzes are all too happy to have the Maitlands take Lydia off their hands.

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