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Literature / Andy Griffiths' Just Series

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This was written for kids.
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Andy Griffiths' Just...! series is a collection of stories revolving around the antics of a pre-teen protagonist.

Andy is an imaginative boy who thinks outside the box any chance he can. He's also a notorious mischief-maker whose schemes blow up in his face due to his lack of foresight. Among the recurring cast are Andy's sidekick Danny, his love interest Lisa, his bewildered parents, his sister Jen and her hot-tempered boyfriend Craig, his dad's boss Mr Bainbridge and his wife, dog Sooty and teacher Ms. Livingstone.

This Australian series has been running from 1997 to 2012 and includes the following books:

  • Just Tricking! (1997)
  • Just Annoying! (1998)
  • Just Stupid! (1999)
  • Just Crazy! (2000)
  • Just Disgusting! (2002)
  • Just Shocking! (2007)
  • Just Macbeth! (2009)
  • Just Doomed! (2012)

The Just...! series also spawned a Animated Adaptation in 2001 called What's with Andy? that was made by the Canadian animation studio CinéGroupe.

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Keep in mind that this is about Andy Griffiths, not Andy Griffith as it is based on his early life.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Pervert: In "The Last Jaffa", Andy crawls around the floor of a cinema trying to find a chocolate ball, which leads to him accidentally sticking his head up a dress.
  • All-Natural Fire Extinguisher: Subverted in "Busting" from "Just Stupid", in which Andy apparently pees on a fire at the mall, but it turns out the story was All Just a Dream... and Andy wet the bed in his sleep.
  • Angrish: In "Band-Aid", when Andy tries to pull a bandage off from under his eye, he describes the pain in three pages' worth of Angrish.
  • Anti-Hero: Andy is a trickster, annoying, stupid, crazy, disgusting and outright shocking. Really, the only reason he's considered any kind of hero is because the stories are told from his point of view.
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  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Andy to Jen, including copying everything she does for two straight days and dressing up as a gorilla at her birthday party.
  • Are We There Yet?: The title of one chapter. Andy pesters his dad while they're driving through the middle of nowhere. His dad decides to punish him by dumping Andy by the road.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Andy once trolled Jen by cross-dressing and imitating her up until the school dance. His disguise was so good Craig fell for him.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Andy usually goes out of his way to annoy his sister Jen. However in "Have a Terrible Christmas and a Crappy New Year" he's horrified when he thinks a Christmas-card joke might have caused her friends to turn against her and eventually owns up to Jen about it. He's also happy to let her take the credit for the joke, just on the condition that she "doesn't tell Santa."
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: After Sooty literally eats Andy and Danny's homework, they put him through all sorts of hell to make him throw it up. This includes making the dog smoke cigarettes.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death: Andy hears some noises at night and is afraid, but then wonders if it's just the cat. Then, he realises they don't have a cat... or rather, they used to have one but it went to the vet and never came back. His dad says it was put to sleep, so Andy wonders if it woke up.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: In "Swinging on the Clothesline" Andy uses a mad dog to spin the clothesline with him on it. The momentum builds up to the point where Andy is flung towards a window. The book ends with him thinking about how if the impact doesn't kill him, then his parents certainly will. Subverted since this only happened in the second of eight books.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: As annoying as Andy can be to anyone older than him, children manage to be a pain in his neck. "Dum-Dum" and "Um-ah!" being the two prime examples.
  • Companion Cube: Andy is very attached to a rubber ducky. Said rubber ducky becomes the mascot for "Just Disgusting!".
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Andy has the worst luck when it comes to impressing Lisa. She always gives him another chance, which he blows the very next time she appears.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Griffiths family, entirely by Andy's doing.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The stories in Just Tricking! are written in different fonts.
  • Epic Fail: Andy is an epic fail factory.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In "Cake of Doom", a pick-your-own adventure story, Andy tries making a cake for Mother's Day. Each outcome ends with him getting killed in the most outlandish way possible. The last ending lists every way he could have died before he accidentally poisons his family and is given the death penalty for murder (although there isn't one in Australia in real life, the book states they brought it back just for him).
  • Food Fight: Andy and Danny start one in a restaurant by accident.
  • Getting Sick Deliberately: Andy doesn't want to be in the school play of Romeo and Juliet since he's being cast as Romeo and his best (male) friend Danny is being cast as Juliet. At one point, he deliberately gives himself a stomach bug to get out of acting in the play, but he recovers in time.
  • Grossout Fakeout:
    • In "Just Stupid", the story "Busting" has some kids spray Andy in the crotch with squirt guns. When he asks a hippie for directions to the toilets, the hippie says, "Looks like it's a bit late."
      Andy: "That's not what you think it is."
    • In "Emergency Spew Relish", Andy tries pranking an old woman by pretending he's eating his vomit and using it as shampoo when it's actually corn relish. As it turns out, though, she's blind, so the prank doesn't work.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": An in-universe example is "The Story of the Very Stupid Boy and the Very Big Slug", where (fictional) Andy writes himself into a Mary Sue who is superior to the antagonist (Danny) and ultimately gets the girl (Lisa).
  • Hippie Teacher: Ms Livingstone. She's traveled the world and isn't the least bit fazed by Andy's weirdness.
  • Identity Amnesia: Andy's attempt at making his own Jack-in-the-box leads to him getting bashed in the head and losing his entire memory.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: While he manages to get on everyone's nerves, it turns out Andy can be completely outdone by children younger than himself, with his reputation preventing any adult from taking his side (and that's assuming they aren't just getting back at him).
  • Mascot with Attitude: The original cover art of each book has an animal (or something resembling an animal) drawn in the most gnarly way possible. Said mascot appears on each page number and references an incident in each book (e.g. the fly in "Are we There Yet?", the snail in "Snail-Aid" etc.)
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In "Wish You Weren't Here", Andy takes his neighbour's garden gnome on holiday to make them believe it came to life and ran away. Then strange things start happening to Andy.
    • Did Danny really end up inviisble at the end of "Invisipills"?
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "Beat the Bomb!", Andy pranks some poor kid into believing he'd just won $500. The boy says his family could really use the money since his dad died. Out of guilt, Andy decides to give him the $500 prize money he'd just won.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Andy has a habit of getting naked at the worst possible moment. Mr and Mrs Bainbridge are usually on the receiving end of it. In "Just Nude!", the inverse occurs: Andy is the only clothed person at a nudist (or naturist) resort.
  • Nightmare Sequence: In "Pinch", Andy has a series of nightmares revolving around Danny trying to eat Andy's goldfish, before moving onto Andy.
  • Oh, Crap!: In "Born to Die", Andy believes he can intimidate some school bullies with a hardcore tattoo. This initially seems to work...until both bullies reveal they've got the exact same tattoo and force Andy to drink a milkshake made from pureed slugs.
  • Potty Emergency: The plot of "Busting". It turns out to all be a dream, which ends in Andy wetting the bed when he dreams about putting out a fire.
  • Sadistic Choice: Andy asks his family if they'd rather be eaten by ants or lions. His mother takes a third option and decides to be eaten by lion cubs.
  • Self-Insert Fic: The protagonist is named after the author. In a departure from most versions of this trope, he's also an unruly brat that nobody in their right mind could warm up to.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Danny. At one point Andy was able to convince him that some jellybeans were "invisi-pills".
  • Unconventional Food Usage: In the story "Emergency Spew Relish" (which would later inspire the What's with Andy? episode of the same name), Andy uses corn relish to pretend to vomit, claiming it looks, smells, and tastes like spew.
  • Unstoppable Rage: An already annoyed Mr Broadbent goes completely over the edge after Andy and Danny's attempts to get him to de-stress wind up doing the complete opposite, so that Andy blasting him with a hose has no effect whatsoever.
  • With Friends Like These...: Andy and Danny are far from the best of friends. Andy only hangs out with Danny because he doesn't have any other friends. Danny only hangs out with Andy because he's too stupid to see that Andy's a bad influence.

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