Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Western Animation: The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
The Grim Reaper has come for a soul — specifically, a hamster in his dying days — but he's stopped from taking the hamster to the afterlife by two children: the blissfully idiotic Billy (the hamster's owner) and the cynical, amoral Mandy (Billy's best friend). The pair challenge "Grim" to a limbo contest to save the hamster; when Grim loses, he becomes Billy and Mandy's newest friend — and by "friend", we mean that he's contractually bound to be the kids' friend and cater to their every whim. Grim begrudgingly serves as something of an underworld version of Mary Poppins, thanklessly placating Billy's demands for cheap entertainment and Mandy's schemes for self-profit with his magical scythe while desperately trying to find a way to be rid of the duo for good. Thus go The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.Rounding out the show's cast are Irwin, Billy's best friend and the Token Minority (who also has a massive crush on Mandy); Sperg The Bully; Mindy the Alpha Bitch; HossDelgado, a supernatural bounty hunter with more brawn than brains; Eris, the goddess of chaos and discord; General Skarr (formerly seen in Evil Con Carne), who now wants to garden instead of conquering the world; and Nergal, the Sumerian Death God who lives in Earth's molten core and just wants to be friends with everyone, really.This show was actually the winner of a contest held by Cartoon Network to determine what cartoon would be their next new show. On an interesting note, Billy and Mandy ended up lasting longer than most of the shows that CN greenlit without fan input; Codename: Kids Next Door, the winner of the contest the following year, did likewise. (Think about this: those two shows, voted to greenlight status by the viewers, ended up lasting at least two more seasons than any other show CN greenlit afterward). Billy and Mandy was originally a much darker Three Shorts show that included another cartoon, Evil Con Carne (and known then as Grim & Evil), but became the more comedic (but still pretty dark) Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy when Con Carne was dropped after the first season in an unsuccessful Spin-Off attempt.The show lasted seven seasons (2001-2008) with two movies, a couple of specials — including a crossover with Codename: Kids Next Door — and a spin-off attempt called Underfist.
Attractive Bent-Gender: Averted. When Sperg the bully gets ahold of the wish-granting skull, the only thing on his mind is being able to go into the girl's restroom to rob them all of their money. Cue him turning into a girl so he can go in there, but the girls ridicule girl-Sperg for being such an ugly girl that he/she runs out crying. "Girls are so mean!"
Bad Santa: Voiced by Gilbert Gottfried in a Christmas episode/movie. Actually Santa isn't really bad, he is occasionally turned into a vampire by Mrs. Claus, who was a vampire before they married. That's happened quite a few times before.
Bat Family Crossover: In the episode Company Halt, Skarr gets a visit from his exco-workers Hector Con Carne and Major Ghastly, as they reinstate the Evil Con Carne criminal organization, develop a new diabolical weapon* a giant rubber band launcher on wheels and using it to terrorize the citizens of Endsville. Needless to say, Grim, Billy and Mandy go out and stop them.
Beware the Silly Ones: Billy is often the dumbest one on the show, but he has been shown to have bouts of psychotic rage that scares even Mandy.
Bigger on the Inside: Grim's trunk. Billy points this out by name in one episode when he, Mandy, and Irwin climb inside it.
Fred Fredburger, Fred Fredburger, Fred Fredburger, Fred Fredburger, Fred Fredburger, Fred Fredburger, Fred Fredburger, Fred Fredburger, yes!
Butt Monkey: Grim and Billy, naturally, but "Super Zero" had this adorable alien creature, who wanted to be Billy's friend, kept taking Billy's constant, near-lethal abuse.
Nergal doesn't start out this way, but as of "Loser from the Earth's Core," this becomes one of his defining character traits - including a cameo during "The Incredible Shrinking Mandy" solely for the purpose of having him be crushed by random falling things. Even lampshaded slightly in "Underfist," when his family knows something bad is coming because he brought up how well things are going for him...
Characterization Marches On: In the first episode she appeared in, Eris acted like a typical giddy blond teenage valley girl. Afterwards though she acted more regal and queenly with a British accent. Also a Shout-Out to Madonna.
By her next appearance, her personality change is lampshaded and Hand Waved away by her going through "a Valley girl stage" as is Grim's crush on her during that episode/stage.
Mandy started out as an apathetic Anti-Hero before becoming a sociopath who only saves the world so it will be free for her later, takes pride in being utterly evil, and suffers physical strain to say "please".
Mindy is pretty much a completely different character in her first few appearances.
Grim wanted to kill the kids at first, but later decided they're his only living friends.
Chekhov's Gun: From "Meet the Reaper", "Kiss kiss."note The phrase that makes Ms. Snuggles attack the nearest person.
Christmas Cake: Parodied with the host of Grim's favorite late-night show, Atrocia, whose show was cancelled the moment she turned 30.
"The network said no one wants to see a worn-out old bag like me on TV anymore."
The Codename: Kids Next Door crossover episode, which was not only a crossover of KND and this show, but of every one of CN's original shows. At least one character from each show appears in the episode, even one from Squirrel Boy.
Mandy even appears in Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends. She was there as part of a montage of people returning imaginary friends to Foster's. The one that she was returning was deemed "too happy".
The Great Grape Ape appeared as a giant monster on "Giant Billy and Mandy All Out Attack"
Dean Bitterman: Dean Toadblatt, specifically against Weaselthorpe House, and especially against Nigel Planter. Extra points for being voiced by the original Dean, John Vernon, in a parody of his role in Animal House.
Death's Hourglass: Parodied when Grim, Billy, and Mandy entered a sanctuary filled with the hourglasses of every human being on earth. Not only does Billy flip his and Mandy's hourglass, resulting in their lives instead moving backwards until the point where they don't exist anymore, but he even flipped Grim's hourglass too (odd considering Grim's hourglass was enormous). They also break at least one, causing that person (the show's creator) to blip out of existence.
Deus ex Machina: Grim, but more specifically, his scythe which can do anything.
Perhaps the biggest example in from the KND crossover, with the Bone of Barnacles, which was supposed to be a torture device used on Numbuh 1 to get information out of him, but was later used to give Numbuh 1 a giant mecha sized suit of Bone Armor to fight the Delightful Reaper.
Easter Egg: There was once an actual site online mirroring the Secret Snake Club's 1-page shrine to their god Shnissugah (which consisted of an animation of the deity in question slithering back and forth, "dancing" if clicked on, a message saying they would "pwn the cool kids," and some fake ads).
Eldritch Abomination: Nergal Jr's true form is apparently horrific. Cthulhu's also showed up, and Yog Sothoth almost did. Also, Mandy. (At least to her antagonists, and quite literally when she assumes an immortal slug form in the future, allowing her to conquer Earth.)
The ending of "Scary Poppins" where she is able to MIND CONTROL EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER FROM THE SHOW to scare the nanny away shows that Mandy is implied to be one.
Elemental Plane: One of several D&D references involved Grim trying to take Billy and Mandy to the elemental plane of fire.
Even Evil Has Standards: Mandy may support any and every legitimate attempt at revenge, dreams of ruling the world as a dystopian dictator, and doesn't flinch at any of the hellish Eldritch Abominations we see throughout the show. But she does NOT condone cheating.
Flanderization: Mandy, believe it or not. Earlier in the show, she was very witty and snarky, but by no means intimidating enough to order her own parents (or anyone else other than Grim, Billy, and Irwin) around. She also had a rare smirk or two in the early episodes before becoming a complete Perpetual Frowner whose smile could bring about The End of the World as We Know It. She was probably more of an Anti-Hero in some of those earlier episodes rather than the more consistent Nominal Hero later on.
Fratbro: In "Attack of the Clowns", while Mandy and Grim are trying to help Billy conquer his fear of clowns, Billy goes to his happy place in his mind where he encounter his imaginary "Inner Frat Boy" who helps Billy conquer his fear.
Giant Spider: Jeff, is a partial subversion - he's a giant spider, but he's extremely friendly, kind, and only wants his father (Billy) to love him. Billy's arachnophobia makes things very difficult...
Girl with Psycho Weapon: When Billy's mom tells you that dinner is ready, you better get your butt to the table. * revs up the chainsaw*
Oh, and if you've seen "Scary Poppins", Mandy is seen to be one as well, controlling everybody in Endsville.
Humiliation Conga: Boogie gets this to absolutely insane levels after Grim takes Horror's hand from him. A rock falls off the ceiling and lands on him, the ground he's standing on breaks and said rock falls on him again, the ground breaks again and the rock follows, he gets thrown into the ceiling by the giant squid from earlier in the episode, again, along with the rock, he lands (but not before getting attacked by a swarm of bats on the way down) and gets crushed by the rock, which breaks, only for a bus to come out of nowhere and send him flying into his ship, which tilts and sends him hurtling into a cannon, which fires him through his ship and into a wall, sinking it.
General Skarr: Wait a minute, I'm not a monster. Hoss Delgado: No, but I don't trust one-eyed weirdoes either.
I'm a Humanitarian: The series' version of Pinocchio believes that the only way he can become a real boy is if he eats the flesh of a real boy. One episode (Which Came First) has Sperg eat Pud'n's arms and legs after they get stranded in the desert together, though that becomes part of the show's Negative Continuity, while another episode (Tastes Like Chicken) is all about Billy jumping to the conclusion that Mandy is a cannibal who's eaten his friends and family and plans to eat him next, which ends with a played-for-laughs implication that she actually has eaten Irwin.
Implausible Deniability: In "Runaway Pants", Billy attempts to run down the street only to become exhausted taking a short leap forward. When Mandy tells him that he's out of shape, he's quick to deny it.
I Ate WHAT?: Grim's cookies. For those who don't know, Aunt Kali's secret ingredients are dung beetles, nightcrawlers, and mashed crickets.
Lampshade Hanging: In one episode, people are sucked through telephones and into an alternate dimension, leaving behind their shoes. Mandy asks why the shoes were left behind and Grim comments, "Of course they got left behind, shoes can't fit through a telephone, they're way too big."
Mistaken for Pedophile: In "Duck!" Grim is seen trying to show children he can't be the one making fart noises by showing them his skeleton body and his lack of organs while shouting "Look at my body!". He is arrested shortly afterward.
Nonindicative Name: "The Incredible Shrinking Mandy" is actually about Billy attempting to shrink Mandy but accidentally making her giant.
"Billy's Growth Spurt" even has a Nonindicative Title Slide depicting Billy as a middle-aged hick, when in fact the episode revolved around a growth on his back that eventually detached and turned into a miniature version of Billy (affectionately named "Yawb-yawb" by Billy himself for the sound it makes).
Noodle Incident: Several of the people stated by Boogie to have stolen Grim's scythe (including a girl scout troop, the Sleestaks from Land of the Lost, and a turkey salad sandwich) were not shown stealing it in the show, leading one to speculate what may have happened during these incidents.
Not This One, That One: Billy and Pud'n entered a pie eating contest and Billy ate all the pies he saw at a table. However, those were Pud'n's pies. Pud'n was declared the winner.
The Nudifier: General Skarr's "Atomic Hot Pants Raygun". Well, it doesn't cause his clothes to disappear, just change, but, still.
Off Model: Nergal and Nergal Juniors' teeth sometimes switch from jagged to flat and back again when they're talking.
Oh, Crap: Jack O'Lantern displays this expression when the knight who killed him (really Irwin in a knight costume) has returned to finish the job.
Opposite Day: A short in the first episode, as reckoned once the Evil Con Carne shorts were removed.
Overly Long Gag: DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL!...
I'll take the chicken.
DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL!
Also, the flashback when Billy wants to go on a picnic.
Overwhelming Exception: Despite Mandy's apathy and cold personality towards anyone she encounters it has been implied multiple times that Mandy actually cares for Billy and he is the only one she respects the most (unlike Grim who gets abuse on a regular basis by slave labour while billy would relax with Mandy) A notable example would be in Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure she was in denial and was teary eyed when Billy supposedly died however she was pleasantly surprised that he had survived but regretted worrying about him because as she said "billy's always fine".
Mandy has commented several times that she hates Billy, and she would rather not have him in her life. But, in the Dune parody, she has a Billy Clone and a lot of spares made after the original died. If she truly hated him she wouldn't have made clone of him.
Mandy: So, aren't you gonna rush over to the boys' room? Billy: You know the funny thing? I don't need to go anymore. [Billy walks off] Mandy: Ew.
In the Christmas special, Billy mistakes the Mall Santa line for the line to the bathroom. "I feel like my bladder's gonna explode!"
Also happens in the episode "Tricycle of Terror", after Billy drinks too much lemonade.
Power Trio: Mandy (evil), Billy (stupid), Grim (hapless)
Pragmatic Villainy: In the crossover, the Grim Adventures of the Kids Next Door, Mandy and the Delightful Reaper get into a Giant Mecha style fight. Once Grim and Numbuh One get on the scene, she allows herself to be assimilated so she can join the winning team, and also seems to totally take over the Delightful Reaper's Hive Mind in the process.
In "The Firebird Sweet", Mandy asks what type of cereal box comes with a phoenix. Grim looks at the box and says, "Well, this cereal came from Arizona." In other words, Phoenix, Arizona. (except we see it came from "Eris-zona" - a place owned by the Goddess of Chaos, Eris.
In "My Fair Mandy": "IMPORTANT! COMMERCIAL! MESSSAAAGGGEEE!"
Put on a Bus: Billy's Mom goes away to live with her sister in the first episode of the main series but comes back in the same season. (Which, for strange scheduling reasons, was 11 months later.)
Raised by Wolves: Pud'n was raised by wolves. Funnily, said wolves are seen watching TV in his backyard after he reveals this.
According to Mandy's parents, a band of wolves stole her away shortly after she was born to invoke this trope. They're both still unsure if getting her back was really for the best.
Relax-o-Vision: In "Here There Be Dwarves", a Drill Sergeant (voiced by R. Lee Ermey, no less) pops up to explain they'll be showing a cute koala instead of the overly-violent battle between the dwarves and the elves.
Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The early episodes are a lot darker and morbid in tone. After a few episodes though the series hit it's stride and evolved into the wacky, nonsensical show it's known as.
Retraux: One episode had the trio wind up in a world made to homage the black and white cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation. Too bad Mandy puts a stop to it, since she despises retro cartoons.
Sanity Slippage: Happens quite a few times, but one of the most notable is when Mindy loses her cheerleader position. This stirs up the B plot of the respective episode, making Mindy attempt to hinder, incapacitate, and even kill Mandy to get her position back.
School Clubs Are Serious Business: There was an episode where the students joined school clubs. Mandy joined the Secret Snake Club, who believes in a snake-god that will eat all of the cool kids. Billy joined the Secret Service club, and discovers the knitting club is being used as a criminal front.
"Chicken Ball Z" begins with Mandy repeatedly punching Billy in the face at a karate dojo, portrayed this way.
Towards the end of the episode "Sister Grim", the giant nun (formed by many regular sized nuns) sends Grim home with a big punch after they find out that he wasn't actually a nun the whole time.
At the end of the episode "Hoss Delgado: Spectral Exterminator", Hoss fights a werewolf. They jump up, and the camera pans, Matrix-style, to (almost) the POV of the werewolf. Hoss fires his slime gun at the werewolf, filling the screen to a fade-to-black.
Ship Tease: The topic of Billy and Mandy getting married seems to come up often. In one episode, he even kissed her.
When Mandy finds out that Billy fell in love with a seemingly normal girl. Cue a shocked expression, a slightly saddened expression, then a total verbal beatdown of how desperate the girl is. If it were anyone else other than Mandy, this troper would call her jealous.
Whenever Irwin tries to kiss her or woo her she either gags and literally throws up or gets angry and punches him. When it is suggested in one episode that Mandy use her feminine wiles on Billy, she's not really that against it and she didn't gag or throw-up. In fact, she moaned and got a little annoyed but compared to her normally extreme reactions-especially when Irwin is involved-this was nothing.
Side Effects Include...: In "Nergal's Pizza", Nergal tells Jr. to spike Granny Grim's pizza sauce with some "horrible ghastly elixir". When Jr. asks what it does, Nergal responds "I don't know, but it's ghastly."
Snap Back: With gusto. A good third of the episodes end with characters dead.
Speak of the Devil: Lord Moldybutt. If you say his name, something breaks nearby, whether it be a tree falling, or a door knob falling out. It doesn't matter who's affected by it, (because once, a tree falls on him) it will happen.
Spider People: The title character of the episode "The Wrath of the Spider Queen".
Spotting the Thread: When Nergal Jr. tries to impersonate Mandy he screws it up by smiling, something she would never do, and Billy picks up on it immediately. No one seems to notice that Mandy suddenly got glasses for no apparent reason, though.
Squashed Flat: In Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure, the villains' boat gets flattened vertically in one scene, and then falls over on its side.
Sudden Anatomy: In one early episode, Mandy spontaneously grows nostrils when Billy picks her nose. Later on, however, her not having a nose is actually a plot point.
Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: In the Underfist special, Irwin pleads with Hoss, Skarr, and Jeff that, among other things, Mindy was kidnapped by a marshmallow bunny. However, his hysterical Inelegant Blubbering couldn't be understood by anyone save Jeff, who speaks "crybaby."
Territorial Smurfette: One episode featured a tribe of Smurfexpies and Grim tried to capture them. One of his attempts consisted on disguising himself as a female of their species, resulting on him getting a beating from their Smurfette.
Those Two Guys: Grim and Mandy often play this part in the episodes that revolve around Billy.
Toilet Humor: Constantly. In "Hog Wild", Billy, fed up with rules, tries to fart on Grim. Instead, he soils his pants.
Actually, this is at near-Running Gag level with Billy. You'd be hard-pressed to find an episode without at least one occasion of Billy needing to use the toilet or talking about how he soiled himself. Very common random joke for this show.
Vague Age: None of the main kids' (Billy, Mandy, Irwin, etc.) exact ages are ever mentioned (though they appear to be around 11 or 12), and their school seems to be a combination of both elementary school and junior high. Billy mentions repeating the 2nd grade again, but that might have been just a one-off gag.
Valley Girl: Eris was portrayed as one in her first appearance. To explain the change regarding her later characterization, Grim mentioned her going through a "Valley Girl phase."
Was It All a Lie?: Parodied in "Scary Poppins". Being informed that Mandy is not related to him is such a shock to Billy's Dad that it causes him to question whether anything in his life is true, including his real son and his marriage. Granted, Billy's dad is an idiot.
Grim and Billy believe that Mandy is afraid of ice skaters, but Mandy denies it, she just "doesn't trust the way they spin".
Grim: Like that ice skating thing? Mandy: It's not a thing, alright? It's not... a thing!
With Friends Like These...: Grim, Billy and Mandy's supposed "best friend," is normally treated like little more than a slave, and openly mentions on more than one occasion that he often fantasizes about killing them.
There is one episode where it saves Billy's more visible cat Milkshakes from a fire or something, only to be eaten. It breaks free in the end and Billy mugs the camera to announce "Oh, come on, like we'd really do that."
Yandere: Nergal Jr. (although a sweet and lonely child) can become so obsessed with making friends that if someone befriends him, he'll do anything to make sure that he is their best friend. Usually, he doesn't realize how angry and jealous he can get.
His father was a bit like this himself.
The rabbit from the wishing skull episode.
Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: The brain-eating meteor doesn't find anything in Billy's head. Human and Martian zombies also find nothing appetizing in Billy's head.