Character Sundays: Mandy
Okay Grim, when the rainbow appears, you take me to the end of it, and I’ll shake down the leprechaun for its gold.
I first discovered the Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy way back in 2005 and it very quickly rose to become one of my very favourite cartoons. Yes, the humour is slapstick and sometimes violent, the stories are completely wacky, and even the very premise is rather absurd. I mean, just how could two kids end up “owning” the grim reaper after winning a game of limbo?
The above reasons are not the full story however, as the characters themselves are one of the strongest and most likeable aspects of the show. You have: an idiot (Billy), a beleaguered anti-hero (Grim) and an acerbic, domineering little girl (Mandy), our focus for today.
Mandy’s character is comparative to a black hole in nothing good can ever come out of it. She is selfish, controlling, conniving, intelligent and above all, pessimistic about life in general. These she impresses upon everyone she meets; no-one is safe from her ire.
Surprisingly enough, Mandy does have some positive aspects. She remains friends with Billy despite his idiocy, and while she never displays a lot of emotion towards him, she does see to it that he is kept safe from himself and others. She also displays an odd mixture of tolerance and acceptance of Grim, who in spite of his powers is rendered subservient to her and her will and makes his dissatisfaction known.
Mandy remains somewhat of a loner throughout the series having only superficial relationships with other characters besides Billy and Grim. It is implied that she is equally feared and loathed by others, a situation that causes her some consternation. Although she often tries to bury it as the problematic “nice” side of her character, she still somewhat resents the situation.
What makes Mandy so endearing is that she, in a way represents, the sane voice of the universe of the show. In such a crazy world where a kid can have an Egyptian mummy for a mother (Irwin), there is a need for someone to fly the flag for sanity. Mandy happens to be the one in this case, even if she is notably missing a nose.
It is this apparent contradiction between sanity and uncontrollable rage that makes Mandy such a great character for a cartoon. She engages so much with the other characters and adds a lot of depth to what otherwise could have been just another slapstick cartoon.