There was always some truth in Simpson’s Itchy & Scratchy show inside the show, in that one of the best things cartoons have to offer is showing a particularly brand of demented violence or just disturbing or basic gross-out humor that would scare people away when done in a life action environment, but when done in cartoons is just hilarious. Not smart, mind you, but that’s not the point. Not that TGAoB&M is all that violent, demented or disturbing, but compared to most cartoons these days it has enough of it to scratch that certain itch.
TGAoB&M is a show with a pretty simple hook (stupid boy & scary girl capture death and make him do their bidding), that initially seemed never to really fulfill it’s awesome premise but then started to grow on me. It may not have been what I was expecting (too restrained at times in the violence department), but compared to other present kiddy cartoons it was downright demented.
Funnily enough, the most mundane character after all was Death, who is just your everyday working salaryman, but who from time to time enjoyed bringing the hurt onto Billy (rarely Mandy at all, too smart for that). Billy started out as the stupid boy and got flanderized with each successive season to the point that his stupidity defined the absolute bottom. Mandy on the other hand started out as a walking cliche (scary girl who wants to control the world or just death to all) and became slightly more nuanced over time (later on she was more the cynical & annoyed observer of Billy’s stupidity).
With seven season there was room enough to explore nearly every variation of the basic TGAoB&M-template (Billy does something stupid, various consequences ensue) and various other themes as well, but honestly, I never got bored and IMHO the show could have gone on ad infinitum. Sadly it didn’t.