- “I am the Grim Reaper! Master of the forces of life and death!!”
- ―After losing the Limbo game and his lifestyle to Billy and Mandy for eternity
The Grim Reaper (or just Grim) is the titular main protagonist of the 2003 Cartoon Network animated TV series The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. He is an undead skeleton personification/manifestation of Death, who speaks with a Jamaican accent. After having lost to Billy and Mandy after Mandy cheated in a limbo contest over the soul of Mr. Snuggles (and also the soul of Billy himself), Grim is now forced to be their best friend forever. If Grim does not live up to his commitment, he will be stripped of his powers and be forced to spend eternity in Underworld Jail.
Grim is often stuck with cleaning up the consequences of mishaps that are in no small part due to Billy's stupidity and lack of common sense. On Mandy's part, Grim is often forced to do her chores and obey her direct orders, as her unwilling slave. It is stated several times in the series that he does the dishes every single day for Billy and Mandy ever since they first met, whom he genuinely despises for using his as a friend-slave.
Originally a resident of The Underworld, Grim is an 'Undead, talking, magical skeleton', along with the rest of his family: So far, Grim has been identified as having a father, (named "Earl" in passing,) a mother, (also only named in passing as "Miriam",) a grandmother known simply as "Granny-Grim", and a Great Aunt called "Aunt Kali", (named for the Hindu Goddess of the same name). Grim's mother has been heard speaking Jamaican accent like Grim does, along with Granny-Grim.
Born and raised in the Underworld, Grim attended Doomsday Junior High School with supernatural entities and other characters of the show, such as Eris, Nergal, Lord Pain, and The Boogeyman. Grim was unfortunate enough to be stuck as the favorite target of the school bully, Boogey, who enjoyed making the lives of the other students (Grim in particular) as miserable as possible. Grim played Underworld Little League as a child and was also a member of the 'Dead Poets Club' during junior high. But, thanks to Boogie's antics, Grim was labeled with the nickname of "Wedgie Shakespeare" for the rest of school. Despite this, a few of Grim's classmates have stayed on good terms with him, such as Velma Green, his very best friend, and Lubber (sort of). In Billy and Mandy Save Christmas, Grim mentions that he went to College with Santa Claus.
Grim also has ownership of the original Hellhound, of Greek myth; a massive, three-headed 'Demon-Dog' called Cerberus. How Grim ever came to own Cerberus was never addressed during the series, but it was evident in Cerberus' debut that Grim couldn't control him, claiming that Cerberus, "didn't just eat [Grim's] homework, [Cerberus] also ate [Grim's Dad]", (though it was probably just an exaggeration on the script writer's part).
Growing up, Grim has considered King Dracula his boyhood idol.
Grim's age is hard to pin down; in A Grim Prophecy, it shows an account of how Grim became the 'Grim Reaper' depicts Grim's early childhood taking place during the time of Neanderthal Man, putting Grim's age at around 137,000 years old in human years. In Wrath of the Spider Queen, it was shown that he was in his preteens in around the same time period, and that dinosaurs and cavemen were around then, which supports the same timeline. However, in Dad Day Afternoon, Grim says that it's been 1.4 million years since he became the "Grim Reaper".
Grim's appearance stays true to the iconic image of the Grim Reaper; Grim is depicted in the series as an adult-sized 'undead, talking magical skeleton'. Grim is most often seen wearing a long black robe with red on the inside with a hood. His ID says he's 6'6" and 77 pounds.
Grim is also seen with his scythe, an object of tremendous magical energy and power in the series and the source of most of Grim's abilities and powers. Though he does possess telekinesis.
Described by the series creator Maxwell Atoms as 'cantankerous', Grim is unsatisfied being stuck as Billy and Mandy's 'best friend/slave'. It is implied he is easily tricked, as he was tricked by two children into being their friend/slave, tricked by Boogey into falling for his own prank, and tricked by Jack O'Lantern, and had his scythe stolen from him many times. But that doesn't change the fact that he is a very dangerous and powerful being. This was shown very clearly during his encounter with A-Bom the Yeti and various other individuals.
First and foremost, Grim loves his scythe and his job, and was once sent to anger management because he loves his job "a little too much". Grim enjoys Ice Cream and Chocolate, his favorite part of the newspapers are the obituaries and his favorite time of the year is "El Día de los Muertos"--it's the only day of the year that is dedicated solely to him.
Grim dislikes Billy, Mandy, and Irwin and often fantasizes about their gruesome deaths, releasing him from their company forever. In Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure, Grim confirms that as much as he hates Billy, Mandy, and Irwin, his hatred of Boogie far overshadows his hatred of them, driving Grim to go through the "Cannibal Run" to get Horror's Hand before Boogie. Grim also reveals that Horror's Hand can't affect him because he lives his worst nightmares every day - being stuck with Billy, Mandy, and Irwin as their 'friend slave'. Grim also keeps a voodoo doll of Billy in his trunk. If Grim doesn’t live up to his deal with the kids, he will end up in Underworld Jail and be removed of his assets and powers (including his scythe).
Over time though, Grim grew to genuinely care about the kids. This is shown in instances where he's been given a chance to be free from them, but ends up not taking it. In most cases, Grim seems to prefer being with Billy more than Mandy, since Billy's generally much kinder and friendlier towards him than Mandy, although one thing he and Mandy have in common is that they both have similar personality traits and how they tend to get annoyed with Billy's stupidity (which they both take advantage of at times). Some examples showing Grim's genuine care for Billy and Mandy is when he challenges Nergal to a fight for Billy and Mandy's lives, helping Billy overcome his fear of clowns, and helping Mandy get her nerve back. Despite this, Grim is always in a constant battle of the mind in many episodes on whether he feels like getting rid of Billy and Mandy or saving them which he does both mixing it up every other episode.
Other things that Grim hates are old folks, health freaks, the community, community service, neighbors (and new neighbors even more so), false alarms while he's at work, anytime that Billy and Mandy mix his professional life with their personal life, whenever Billy goes through his trunk or robe pockets, and when Mandy makes him do her chores. It appears that he has met a giant monster named Cragera.
Grim is also shown to be very sensitive to insults, especially "yo mama"-type insults where his feeling are shown to be hurt when Mr. Goodbling or Billy made Yo Mama jokes onto him or when Sperg insulted him for being a skeleton. When Billy called Grim stupid after saying the rented video was stupid. Grim also usually doesn't miss the opportunity to laugh in a sinister manner whenever he witnesses the suffering of others.
Throughout the series, Grim has been attracted to many one-shot female characters.
- Eris - Grim had a huge romantic crush on her early in the series, during her 'valley girl' phase.
- Atrocia - A TV horror show hostess, (parody of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark).
- Malaria - A Goth woman who Grim first met at a beach. She later freaked out when she found out that he was the real Grim Reaper.
- Velma Green - Grim's former best friend from high school, who lost all love and respect for him because she thought he had cheated to become the Grim Reaper. Their strong and close friendship was renewed after the events of Wrath of the Spider Queen when Velma learned the truth. Despite Grim having feelings for Velma, he seemed to be okay with her marrying Jeff.
- Pinface's Unnamed Sister - Used to be best friends with her brother, Pinface, when they were kids, met her at the Netherworld Mall, but later broke up with her because her 'pinhead' bowling pins kept poking him in the eye whenever he tried to kiss her.
- Lubber - Not a romantic love interest of Grim's per-say, but Grim was her romantic love interest, she would follow him everywhere back at school and started to eat anyone who made fun of Grim, after eating most of the school's student body, Lubber was banished by the school principal to guard the 'secret of the universe'. She then tricked everyone and then pushed Mindy so that she protects what she used to.
- His Scythe - Grim has a very strong attachment to it, even naming it "Jodie" ("The Taking Tree"), and kissing it (Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure). Grim loves his scythe (first and foremost), and his job, and was once sent to anger management because he loves his job "a little too much" ("Anger Mismanagement").
Grim is the Grim Reaper, a privileged title, role, and position within The Underworld. Armed with the Reaper's Scythe, Grim come to collect those whose time has come and escorts them to the 'other side', in other words, Grim's occupation is primary as a psychopomp: In Schlubs, Grim comments upon how he used to charge two coins for ferrying souls across the River Styx. But Grim also has power over life and death, as he is able to extend someone's life, (as seen in Jeffy's Web,) and can be challenged to stop someone from dying (as seen in Meet the Reaper). On the darker side, and more biblical of the role of the Grim Reaper, Grim, as Death, and armed with the scythe, is meant to "carve a swath of despair and destruction through the world of men, to blacken the skies and redden the seas, leaving nothing behind but entropy and uncomfortable silence...".
While the position of the Grim Reaper is a privileged one, Grim is not immune from punishment for misuse of his power, as seen in Home of the Ancients when he had used his powers to pull the moon out of orbit and used it as a bowling ball for Billy and Mandy.
In the episode The Halls of Time, Grim is seen having a very special sand timer, larger than regular humans, and full of Black Sand. In the episode Duck!, Grim explains to Billy that, as the Grim Reaper, Grim cannot have good dreams. If Grim has good dreams, then a vortex would open in the back of his skull, giving all manner of unsavory ‘bugaboo’s access to the human world. In the episode Scythe 2.0, Grim can go to F, a humanoid, Q-like character in the Underworld who is responsible for repairing the scythe. In The Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name, Grim's profession is touched upon as less about reaping a person whose time has come, as Grim is shown explaining to Billy that "the first rule to a successful reaping is selection".
Becoming the Grim Reaper
Several conflicting accounts and a number of clues have been given as to how Grim first came to be The Grim Reaper:
Evidence that It Is Hereditary
- Billy and the Bully: In this episode, Grim's mother is seen in silhouette, in the same foreboding robes as Grim, hinting that the position of the Grim Reaper is hereditary.
- Lil' Porkchop: In this episode, when Grim shows Mandy a picture of his old pet skeleton fish, called "Chudney", the picture also shows Grim as a preteen in his traditional foreboding black robes, supporting the back story that Grim's position as the Grim Reaper is hereditary.
- A Grim Prophecy: In this episode, Grim is shown as having been forced into the role of the Grim Reaper by both his parents, further supporting that Grim's position as the Grim Reaper is hereditary.
Evidence that It Is Not Hereditary
- Dad Day Afternoon: In this episode in season 6, Grim is shown as becoming the Grim Reaper after coming across the scythe randomly, unbeknownst to his father, whom Grim lead to believe that he had become a Country Western Rocker. Grim also says that it's been 1.4 million years since he became the "Grim Reaper".
- King Tooten Pooten: In this episode in season 7, Grim muses over his time as an intern for Osiris, God of the Egyptian Afterlife, before he became the Grim Reaper.
- Wrath of the Spider Queen: In this story it's shown that, 137,000-years earlier, Grim was elected to the role of the Grim Reaper by his classmates after his display of supernatural powers with the scythe.
- Bully Boogey: In a flashback in this episode, Grim is seen in ordinary clothes as a child and not in his black robes.
- The Secret Decoder Ring: In a flashback in this episode, Grim is seen in ordinary clothes as a child and not in his robes.
As a supernatural undead being of the Underworld, Grim naturally has tremendously powerful supernatural abilities of his own, such as being able to grow in size and elongate his form and the ability to possess the living, (as seen in 'Get Out of My Head"). As an undead, talking magical skeleton, Grim is a complete animated skeleton of bones that is able to function both as a complete skeleton or independently as individual bones. Grim has also been seen creating flames whenever his tempers flares, even his eyes will shoot out flames when he gets angry or determined. It can also be seen that Grim has telekinesis. He used this when he flew the Chupricabra tape into his hand out of the VCR.
Beyond this, Grim has demonstrated the use of spells in earlier episodes; consulting with Underworld editions of books and manuals of magic, (such as in Tickle Me Mandy when Mandy went away for a day, Grim used some of Billy's toys to make a 'Mandy-Substitute' to keep Billy company). Grim owns copies of many Underworld tomes, such as "The Bad Book", the "Destruction Manual", "The New Jersey Book of the Dead", and "The Monster Manual - vol 1".
Possibly because of his profession as the Grim Reaper, Grim has the power to extend any living thing's lifetime by adding sand to their hourglass (shown to be manufactured by Father Time) which he does to Jeff (so that he can keep scaring Billy, stating that while, he doesn't like spiders, he loves watching Billy wet his pants).
The Grim Reaper's Scythe
For full information on this subject, see The Reaper's Scythe
As the Grim Reaper, Grim is the "Master of the Forces of Life and Death" and the owner of 'The Reaper's Scythe'; an Underworld object of enormous magical strength and power, (other such objects of power include, Eris' Apple of Discord, Pandora's Box, and Horror the Ancient's 'Left Hand of Horror'). All the most prominent of Grim's powers stem from this scythe. For the most point, Grim is dependent upon the scythe in the series for his powers and is usually rendered powerless when disarmed, but has been seen shown as capable of magical feats without it.
Other Magical Artifacts
Grim is also in possession of a Magical Trunk, larger on the inside than it is on the outside, Grim stores a menagerie of sinister, evil, and, more importantly, dangerous magical objects for safekeeping. A handful of episodes show the calamities that follow when Billy, having unheeded Grim's instruction not to do so, opens and takes things out of Grim's trunk.
Grim's Black Robe is also magical, aside from being able to expand along with him whenever he shapeshifts, Grim's robe has been seen as sustaining damage and then seen again intact. In Sickly Sweet, it is revealed that aside from keeping cursed objects within his trunk, Grim explained to Billy that he also keeps "terrible, cursed objects", such as magical metal gloves, or "The Mask of the Beast" in the pockets of his robe.
Grim admits that he used to play "that 'Stairway-to-Heaven' thing" back during high school and is very good at playing the guitar, (or bad depending on one’s interpretation, seeing as when he once played 'Stairway to Heaven' out in the street, it sounded good, but it also tore down the surrounding neighborhood.) Grim played the lead guitar position for Sperg's garage band, Purple Filth, for their entry in the Endsville 'Battle of the Bands', (see Battle of the Bands).
Grim also love to play Golf and Mini golf--he has an excellent golf-swing technique--as well as any sport that involves swinging a stick, such as Baseball. Grim's favorite dance is The Skeleton Dance--but hates having to dance it with amateurs.
Grim is apparently the only person immune to the Hand of Horror. This is due to the fact that, since being forced to befriend Billy and Mandy, he has to 'live his worst nightmares every day' and so the hand doesn't show him anything new.
Being a skeleton also gave him a natural talent for limbo, as he can bend in ways the living can not.
|The image gallery for Grim may be viewed here.|
- Grim's voice actor is Greg Eagles in the series (who also voices Sperg), but in Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion, it is Neil Kaplan.
- In Grim & Evil, Grim's voice was more deep and scary, but his voice became louder over time.
- Grim always has at least $50 on his person at any given time.
- The hilt on Grim's scythe disappears and appears randomly, sometimes there like a conventional scythe, sometimes not.
- Grim was bullied in high school by the Boogeyman and lots of his friends, namely one event was when he was wedgied whilst reciting Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- The scene for the quote, however, is incorrect. The scene is from the same play, Hamlet (specifically "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio." from Act 5 Scene 1) whereas the quote he gives is from Act 1, Scene 1.
- The quote was ironically parodied, as Grim, being a skeleton, held a human head, whereas in the actual play, a human actor holds a skull.
- It could be implied that because Grim takes souls to the Underworld, this is why his favorite game is limbo.
- Grim made a cameo in the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode, Crossover Nexus, where he appears as one of the Cartoon Network heroes that were summoned and defeated by Strike. Grim later appears as one of Ben Tennyson's transformations to defeat Strike. He can also be seen in the episode "Monster Party", on the cover of Teen Scare magazine.
- In Schlubs, Grim comments upon how he used to charge two coins for ferrying souls across the River Styx as a reference to ancient Greek mythology
- He became The Grim Reaper because of Boogey.
- Despite hating Mandy and being treated like a slave, he has more things in common with her than with Billy (although Billy tends to be nicer to Grim than Mandy).
- Grim was originally supposed to be voiced by Jonathan Harris and be given a British accent, but Greg Eagles was hired instead. Also, Eagles' initially voiced the character imitating Trinidadian actor Geoffrey Holder, which supposedly sounded more Jamaican. The writers then decided to just let Grim have a Jamaican accent instead.
- In a commercial for the premiere episode of Grim & Evil, Grim claims to be the ruler of the Underworld.
- For some reason, Grim can close his eye sockets and make complex facial expressions, despite the fact that his face is solid bone.
- He is also occasionally depicted with a tongue in varying colours (usually purple or green) and states of decomposition.