“I, myself, am the strange and unusual.”
It’s an iconic quote from one of the most iconic characters in the world of film and musicals. It’s none other than Lydia Deetz of “Beetlejuice.” Played by Winona Ryder (“Heathers,” “Girl Interrupted,” “Reality Bites”) in the film and Sophia Anne Caruso in the 2019 Broadway musical, Beetlejuice’s Lydia is a force to be reckoned with. She can see ghosts, she’s assertive and she’s lovably weird.
It’s no wonder that people still love Lydia (even Beetlejuice himself will agree!). So if you forgot why Lydia of Beetlejuice is one of the best characters in musicals or films, we’re refreshing your memory.
What Happened to Lydia in Beetlejuice?
Goth queen Lydia is an aspiring photographer who ends up seeing ghosts and nearly marrying a “freelance bio-exorcist” with a hard-to-pronounce name. But luck was on deceased couple Adam and Barbara Maitland’s side when they met Lydia. Initially, they wanted to scare her and her family off, so they can have their home without the Deetzes. But when an exorcism is unfortunately thrown in the mix, it is up to Beetlejuice’s Lydia to save the day.
However, her heroism came with a price. She had to marry Beetlejuice if she wanted his help. This means he can cause chaos in the world of the mortals while Lydia is miserable in his company. But she won’t have it. In the musical, she works with the Maitlands to try to send him back to the Netherworld. She successfully stabs him but Juno (who turns out to be Beetlejuice’s mom) returns and tries to take Lydia back with her.
“Recently deceased” Beetlejuice eventually saves the day by crashing through the wall as he rides a sandworm, which eats Juno. Before leaving, he says goodbye to Lydia while she, with the Deetzes and Maitlands, rejoice in their victory.
In the film, Lydia nearly marries Beetlejuice but is saved by Barbara who rides a sandworm through their house.
Are Beetlejuice and Lydia Dating?
The relationship between Lydia and Beetlejuice varies depending on which version of them you’re watching.
In the film, he gets a good look at her and decides that “Edgar Allan Poe’s daughter” is the only person who can understand him. Eventually, Lydia is forced to summon him so he can save her friends in exchange for her marriage to him. Once he stopped the exorcism of the Maitlands, he instantly starts a wedding and dresses Lydia up in her iconic red wedding dress while Beetlejuice suits up in a dirty tux.
With one word left in the ceremony, Beetlejuice’s attempt to marry Lydia fails when Barbara interrupts. This begs the question: did Lydia and Beetlejuice still get married or not?
In the TV series, it is established that Beetlejuice and Lydia have known each other for a year prior to the pilot. At the beginning of the show, he complains that he has to buy a gift for their anniversary. Lydia, however, is only in seventh grade in the series so the viewers are led to believe that they are only friends.
However, there are moments in the show that indicate they are more than friends. Beetlejuice’s uncle refers to Lydia as “your girlfriend” while the main villain calls Lydia “Beetlejuice’s Main Squeeze.”
In the musical, Lydia sings a ballad about being invisible and alone, which Beetlejuice interrupts. He reprises her ballad to talk about why he’s alone and realizes the human girl can see him. He persuades her to say his name so he can plot revenge against her father, but the conversation ends up with Lydia pushing him off the roof.
By the end of the first act, Lydia realizes she needs Beetlejuice and summons him. They spend their first three days together scaring people. The pair is happy in the house until Lydia discovers that she can see her mother again. Beetlejuice takes this as a rejection and tricks Lydia into marrying him. But she tricks him back, agreeing to marry him before running into the Neitherworld to find her mother.
An enraged Beetlejuice attempts to murder the family but Lydia returns and marries him. For a few moments, he is alive and cannot handle the emotions of his body. For his sake, Lydia kills him. This impresses him and persuades him to save Lydia from his mother.
Why Lydia Deetz Remains an Icon to This Day
One of the reasons Beetlejuice’s Lydia is an icon is her style.
From an outfit standpoint, her clothes launched the mood boards of many goth girls. To her dedication of maintaining her styled bangs to improving her school uniform with an extra black shirt, Lydia’s a stark contrast to her parents’ fussy styles, and Adam and Barbara’s dull clothes.
In the film, most of her outfit choices are black. It isn’t until the end of the movie that she has a change of heart and style. After surviving her interrupted wedding to the monster and being forced to wear red, Lydia ends the film in her blue school uniform with a broach and a preppy jacket.
It has been nearly three decades since “Beetlejuice” and its first release but Lydia’s look — black eyeliner, bruised-looking dark circles, baby bangs and otherworldly pale skin — remains a relevant look that inspires goth girls. To others, she might seem like a fashion nightmare, but Lydia is forever a style icon.
Apart from her fashion sense, Lydia Deetz is an icon for the following reasons:
She is Unafraid to be Herself
Lydia starts the film or musical with a gloomy attitude, which is reflected in her clothes. But what’s cooler about her is her refusal to be the happy and bright person her parents want her to be as they move into her new home. Instead, Lydia befriends ghosts.
By the end of the film, she’s smiling and dancing (with dead football players as her backup dancers). But just because Lydia’s happy, that doesn’t mean she forgot who she was. She’s still her lovable Goth self and has displayed more parts of herself. She seamlessly combined the old and new versions of herself.
She’s a Loyal Friend
Even if her new friends were ghosts, Lydia proves that she’ll do anything for them. To keep them from getting exorcised, the turns to Beetlejuice for help, even if it ends up backfiring since she has to marry him. But the fact that Lydia is willing to do anything for her new friends is worth the admiration.
She’s a Skeptic for a Good Reason
Lydia doesn’t easily believe deals. When she calls on Beetlejuice, she knows that he’s not 100% honest. When he tries to marry her, she doesn’t go down without a fight and tries her best to stop her sham marriage by saying his name.
We don’t know if there will ever be a Beetlejuice sequel in the works, but even if there isn’t, we know that Lydia will forever be the Patron Saint for Goth Girls, Weird People and Everyone Who Just Wants to be Unique.