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Recap / The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy S 1 E 1

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"Meet The Reeper"

Original Air Date: June 9th, 2000

On the tenth birthday of his hamster, Mr. Snuggles, Billy and his best friend Mandy are visited by the Grim Reaper, who's come to take Mr. Snuggles to the afterlife. Mandy challenges the Reaper to a game in exchange for the hamster's life. Being the sporting type, the Reaper raises the stakes by promising to be their best friend forever if he loses.

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"Meet The Reaper" contains examples of...

  • Black Comedy: The episode wastes no time establishing just what kind of show this is going to be.
    Billy: Awww, he had a wife and two kids.
    (Produces a set of plastic wife and kids)
    Mandy: Eh, he's better off this way.
    (Mandy continues to melt the soldier until he's nothing but a smoldering wad of black mush)
    • Later, when Grim appears as a swirling vortex of evil, Mandy's first instinct is to stick her finger into it and taste it.
  • Body Horror: When Billy and Mandy first arrive in Limbo, they don't appear in one piece, rather their skeletons land first, then their organs, then their skin and hair.
  • Brown Note: Mr. Snuggles goes rabid and starts biting people when someone says "kiss kiss" to him.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Just before Grim enters the scene, he appears as a glowing vortex in Billy's room, which the two of them seem more puzzle by than frightened.
    Billy: What's that?
    (Mandy approaches the beam of light, takes a dollop of it on her finger and tastes it like it's ice cream)
    Mandy: It seems to be a swirling vortex of pure evil coming out of your floor.
    (Takes another taste of it)
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  • Characterization Marches On: Billy, though still the dumber of the two, is slightly more coherent and soft-spoken than the loud, spastic doofus he's later become. Similarly, Mandy is a somewhat friendlier Deadpan Snarker, if not just a normal kid with a dark sense of humor, than and downright abusive Enfant Terrible (tellingly, the episode ends on her smiling, something which later causes the universe to implode). This being his first time meeting the two, Grim is less the beleaguered wreck he would later be and is more Affably Evil.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Billy spends most of the episode mistaking Grim for Santa Clause and failing to pick up that he isn't.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Subverted. Grim wants Billy and Mandy to be afraid, but Billy is too stupid to know who he is and Mandy is too smart for fear him.
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  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Though not a huge difference, Billy and Mandy lack the disproportionately-sized heads they'd later be drawn with (Billy's head is more circular than it's more famous egg shape) while Grim is drawn with slightly more realistic anatomy. The crew had also clearly not yet shaken the influence of their previous show, Cow and Chicken, as evidenced by Mr. Snuggle's appearance when he goes rabid.
  • Establishing Character Moment
    • The episode opens with a scene of Billy playing excitedly with toy soldiers in his front yard until Mandy shows up and intrudes by using a Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass to melt one of them. Billy is momentarily sad, but shrugs it off because he's happy to see Mandy. Right away, this tells us everything we need to know about both character and their relationship to one another.
    • Grim spends most of the episode being a sinister force of evil, but devolves into a whining ninny as soon as he loses, becoming the Harmless Villain he truly is.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've seen any episode of the series, you know that Grim is going to lose.
  • Irony: Despite being the first to notice that he's is probably going to die of old age soon, Mandy is the one who challenge Grim for Mr. Snuggles' life.
  • Living MacGuffin: Mr. Snuggles. His remaining alive is what makes him a MacGuffin in the first place, yet he's only ever seen again once in the series proper.
  • Love Hurts: Mr. Snuggles' "kiss kiss," as Mandy points out, is less a kiss and more like a vicious bite.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Grim sets the limbo bar impossibly low, mere inches from the ground in an effort to beat Billy and Mandy. Unfortunately, he didn't count on Mandy sicking Mr. Snuggles on him so he's trip over the bar.
  • Off-Model: When Mandy says "A deal is a deal," her otherwise normal-looking eyes briefly being Black Bead Eyes.
  • Pilot: Created as part of Cartoon Network's "Big Pick" shorts.
  • Purgatory and Limbo: Where Billy, Mandy and Grim's game takes place, as the game they play is The Limbo.
  • Shout-Out
    • The plot is loosely inspired by The Seventh Seal, notably the concept of challenging Death to a game in exchange for a soul.
    • Among Billy's toys is a Sock Monkey.
  • Sore Loser: As soon as Grim loses, he goes from being a calm and sinister to a whining Manchild.
  • Tempting Fate: Grim promises to be Billy and Mandy's best friend forever if he loses the game. Of course, he didn't bet on actually losing.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Neither Billy nor Mandy are particularly scared, let alone put off, by the fact that the Grim Reaper, a sentient skeleton, is in Billy's room.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Grim doesn't take losing well.

"Skeletons In The Water Closet"

Original Air Date: August 24th, 2001

Billy's mother is in a panic when she sees Grim in her son's room, but a series of contrived coincidences makes it look like she's just insane.

"Skeletons In The Water Closet" contains examples of...

  • Cassandra Truth: We, the audience, know that Grim is real and that Billy's mom isn't crazy, but because Billy's dad keeps missing him by that much, it just sounds as if she's seeing things that aren't there.
  • Characterization Marches On: This is easily the most competent and mature Harold is in the entire series, as opposed to the manchild who's equally as stupid as his son. He's genuinely concerned when Gladys tells him something bad might have happened to Billy and gets frustrated when it looks like she's lying.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Gladys freaks on open seeing Grim a third time, Grim bemoans that at least he has clothes on.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is the first time any human besides Billy or Mandy sees Grim and Billy's mom reacts to Grim's first appearance with appropriate fear. Later episodes establish that everyone including her views Grim as an Unusually Uninteresting Sight once they realize he's a Harmless Villain.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Harold referring to his sister as "sis" sounds like a nickname at first. Then Billy calls her Aunt Sis, revealing that that her given name is Sis.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Harold doesn't believe his wife that there's an animated skeleton in the house because every time she runs to tell him, Grim goes somewhere else and Billy takes his place.
  • Mama Bear: The only reason Gladys persists in trying to prove Grim's existence is her fear that Billy might be in danger.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Or in this case, naked skeletons. Billy's mom walks in on Grim in the shower, to both of their horror. Grim is even momentarily drawn with butt cheeks on the back of his pelvis for comic effect. Don't ask how a skeleton can be naked, or even why he'd need a shower, it's just funny.
  • Noodle Implements: When Gladys runs to Harold crying about the naked skeleton in the shower, Howard excuses himself and says "I'd better get the flail." In the next scene, he busts into the bathroom wielding one.
  • Spit Take: Grim does one when he realizes he has to be "it" for Hide and Seek.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: When Mandy asks Billy what they're going to do today, Billy chants "HIDE AND SEEK! HIDE AND SEEK!" while banging his fists on the kitchen table.
  • Toilet Humor: Harold and Gladys burst in on Billy sitting on the toilet while looking for Grim. Later, Grim looks for Billy and Mandy in the toilet while playing Hide and Seek.
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