THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDYMedium: TV animation
Broadcast by: Cartoon Network
First Appeared: 2001
Creator: Maxwell Atoms
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The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy was a TV cartoon about a bunch of childhood friends having child-type adventures, along the lines of Backyardigans or All Grown Up; or, in an earlier generation, The Get Along Gang. Only thing was, one of the little friends was a
supernatural creature and not just any supernatural creature, but the "living" personification of Death, The Grim Reaper himself.
The way Grim (Billy and Mandy always called him by his first name) came to be part of the gang was by losing a game to Mandy. Such games are usually heavily weighted against the mortal participant in the bet, so the supernatural guys don't mind betting extravagant things. But in this case, Mandy won by cheating.
What happened was, Billy and Mandy were celebrating the 10th birthday of Billy's pet hamster, Mr. Snuggles. Having decided ten years was long enough (it is a pretty good-sized lifetime for a hamster) Grim dropped by to claim his soul. Contrary to Grim's expectations, the kids weren't terrified to be in his presence; in fact Mindy openly defied him by refusing to hand Mr. Snuggles over until he gave her a chance to win him.
Grim responded by transporting them all to Limbo, where he agreed that if he won the game, he could take Mr. Snuggles without further interference; whereas if he lost, he'd be their Best Friend Forever and Ever. They played Grim's favorite game, Limbo. But when it came time for Grim to show how low he could go, Mandy got Mr. Snuggles to attack him, and startled, he fell. Grim didn't particularly like having to take up the task of being best friend to a couple of kids, but a deal's a deal.
Billy's and Mandy's deaths would release him, and it's usually not very healthy to be in a position where The Grim Reaper himself would benefit from your demise. But despite mutterings from time to time, Billy and Mandy managed to survive for several seasons, starting with the show's debut on August 24, 2001. (It had won its slot in a 2000 competition called The Big Pick.)
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy originally consisted of two of the three segments of Grim & Evil, a half-hour show on Cartoon Network (Johnny Bravo, Two Stupid Dogs}, an outgrowth of the old Hanna-Barbera studio. The "Evil" part was the third segment, Evil Con Carne, which was about an evil genius trying to conquer the world. On June 13, 2003, the two were separated into two shows, but Evil lasted only one season. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy went on until 2008, with more than 90 episodes altogether.
The setting was Endsville, which could have been located just about anywhere in the U.S. The history and geography of Endsville were a mix of familiar and unheard-of elements, and even very young viewers could easily see it was all fake.
Billy's voice was done by Richard Steven Horvitz (Invader Zim, Otis in Son of The Mask) and Mandy's by Grey DeLisle (Vicky in Fairly OddParents, Emily Elizabeth in Clifford). Grim was Greg Eagles (Luke Cage in Avengers animation, The Joker in Batman Beyond). The show was created by animation writer, producer and director Adam Burton, using the name "Maxwell Atoms". His other credits include episodes of Cow & Chicken and I Am Weasel.
A video game was released on September 25, 2006; and a feature-length production, Billy & Mandy's Big Boogy Adventure, on March 30, 2007. Reruns are still seen frequently on Cartoon Network.