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Friday: ‘Beetlejuice’

[IMG:L]Beetlejuice — 8/7c on ABC Family

Yeah, Friday nights tend to be a little light on the good stuff, but even on a must-see TV night like Thursday–no offense, Monday and Wednesday–Beetlejuice would be worth gazing back upon, if only for the nostalgia.

Watch closely and you can see all of the quirks that would come to define Tim Burton, all the way up to his soon-to-be-released musical Sweeney Todd: outlandishness, themes of death and goth, and unparalleled imagination.

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What you’ll also spot is a bevy of stars on the cusp in 1988, much like their director–who one year later would direct the first, and best, of the neo-Batman movies–such as Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, the late Robert Goulet and, of course, the then-future Caped Crusader Michael Keaton.

All the aforementioned elements and people meshed together in Beetlejuice to form a madcap near-masterpiece, and while there may be some dark undertones and freaky imagery, it remains innocent enough for the young’uns too. We both know you haven’t seen it in ages, if ever, so give it a whirl if you’re spending Friday night on the couch.

ALSO…

[IMG:R]The Office (British) — 8/7c, 11/10c on BBC America
How benevolent it has been of BBC America to continuously air Britain’s The Office episodes a night after the American version it spawned–as if to rub its superiority over the Yankee version (and most other TV of recent decades) in our faces–but that run comes to an end tonight, at least for those who inexcusably do not own the series’ three-DVD set. Tonight’s episode marked the true finale of the show, which ran through only two seasons plus this two-hour special, originally a two-parter entitled “Christmas Special” airing in 2003. The “documentary” crew returns to Wernham Hogg (Britain’s Dunder Mifflin) to catch up with Gareth (Mackenzie Crook), who is now regional manager, Dawn (Lucy Davis), Tim (Martin Freeman) and co. David (Ricky Gervais), meanwhile, has blown his severance package and is now selling cleaning supplies.

Man Vs. Wild — 10/9c on Discovery
Bear Grylls has taken some flak of late after being the ‘It’ crazy wilderness/adventurer guy–speculation is becoming rampant as to just how real and uncushy his show actually is. But forget all that for tonight, because this episode, shot in Florida’s Everglades, is easily one of the series’ best. Let’s face it: When people eat living things on TV, we as a nation just eat it up. Granted, Bear kills and cooks the turtle prior to gobbling it up–“Just like chicken”–but the frog and the creepy crawlers? They’re still wriggling when he throws ‘em in his mouth. Warning: Do not consume Man Vs. Wild within two hours of eating!

[IMG:L]Big Momma’s House — 8/7c on FX
Q: In which movie can you find a pre-classy Paul Giamatti and Terrence Howard hamming it up with a fat-suit-wearing Martin Lawrence? A: Big Momma’s House.

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