A Friendship With Death


The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (a.k.a. Billy & Mandy) was an animated, comedy/fantasy based series created by Maxwell Atoms and aired on Cartoon Network from June 13, 2003 to November 9, 2007. Billy & Mandy was originally part of a show titled “Grim and Evil” that consisted of a both Billy & Mandy and Evil Con Carne. Due to growing popularity, Cartoon Network decided to give both shows their own series. After the first season, Evil Con Carne was cancelled, but Billy & Mandy continued strong.

The series follows two children: Billy, a dim-witted, innocent boy, and Mandy, a sinister, intelligent girl. After challenging the Grim Reaper (Grim) to a game of limbo in an attempt to save the life of Billy’s hamster, the two manage to win, causing Grim to become their best friend forever. By becoming best friends with death himself, adventures involving the supernatural start to occur.

Over the weekend, I watched what little of the series Netflix had to offer. I mean, come on! Why only have the third and fourth seasons? But, this is beside the point. Cartoon Network has since stopped airing re-runs of Billy & Mandy. The last time I had seen an episode had to be back in 2010. After watching one episode on Netflix, it all came back to me. The problem I had with Billy & Mandy was the overly disgusting factor that the show played around with. In almost every episode, Billy was eating boogers, eating moldy or revolting food or just talking about a disgusting incident. Even as a child, I thought the gross-ness in this series was a bit much. The aspect that kept me going back was the well-thought-out humor. Billy’s innocence, Mandy’s dark personality and Grim’s loyalty to the bet that he lost makes great stories and adventures to be had with the trio.

When I was re-watching some of the episodes, I realized that the humor within the series was well spread out. Billy’s character was aimed toward the younger audience, while Mandy and Grim were aimed toward an older audience. Mandy’s “take no bullshit attitude” becomes entertaining once the viewer realizes that’s what her attitude basically is. As a kid, Mandy just comes off as a scary character. Grim himself becomes entertaining to the older crowd by realizing that HE IS DEATH. Two kids are controlling death. Not to mention, during his time spent with Billy & Mandy, he is also keeping up his basic reaper duties of reaping souls (this concept appears quite often throughout the series).

Some of my favorite things about The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy are the parody characters and plots. The series pokes fun at everything from The Smurfs to The Evil Dead. A favorite episode of mine is Toadblatt’s School of Sorcery, which is clearly making fun of Harry Potter with a character named Nigel Planter. A kid can easily catch this reference and find the humor in this. Something that I didn’t catch until a few years ago was the character Has Delgado. This chainsaw-armed (literally) slayer of all things evil is clearly a play on The Evil Dead’s protagonist, Ashley. There is no possible way I would have caught that reference as a kid. Though still one of the best characters introduced in the Billy & Mandy series, knowing this connection makes his presence so much more entertaining.

Billy & Mandy is a series that I would recommend giving a shot. Though Netflix only has the third and fourth season up, I believe those seasons alone will either make it or break it for you. The series is full of disgusting humor that can sometimes be a bit over exaggerated, but catching the subtle references – such as Has Delgado and Ashley – makes this series interesting and entertaining.

Be sure to toon in next time when I review Invader Zim!