Nermal is a character/antagonist in the Garfield comic strip by Jim Davis. He first appeared in the strip on September 3, 1979 and his latest appearance was on June 20, 2012. He is also a recurring antagonist in the television series Garfield and Friends and the general main, later secondary antagonist (the main antagonist is truly Jon Arbuckle) in The Garfield Show. He also appeared in the straight-to-DVD movies, Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Fun Fest as the sole antagonist, and Garfield's Pet Force. A cat named Nermal appeared in Garfield: The Movie, although he looked completely different from the kitten in the comic strip.
Fans have often mistaken him for a girl because of his eyelashes, his seemingly effeminate personality, and the tone of his voice on his television appearances much like Checkers from Pound Puppies. Viewers of the television series will know that Nermal's voice was provided by a woman, though in The Garfield Show, Nermal is voiced by Jason Marsden, who plays Max In Disney's A Goofy Movie, An Extremely Goofy Movie and Peter Pan in the Fox TV Series Peter Pan And The Pirates. In Latin American voice dubbing of the 80s show, Garfield's voice was dubbed at spanish by Sandro Larenas, making fans blame the little success of the movie to the fact was dubbed for the movie by another actor. This is similar to Nancy Cartwright voicing Bart Simpson.
Also, for Mexico and Latin America, Nermal is known as Telma, a female kitty, and not as a male as some movies portrait.
Nermal's first appearance in the Garfield comic strip was on September 3, 1979, which makes him almost 33 years old.
In the Comic Strip
Nermal is a cute kitten. He enjoys flaunting his cuteness ("The cutest kitten in the world!", he says), which annoys Garfield immensely. The fact that Nermal has remained a kitten and never grown up has been commented on in the strip. It appears that he is a midget or is a breed of very small cat (such as a skookum) and, therefore, will retain a kitten-like appearance forever. Nermal also mentions that he drinks a lot of coffee, and smokes cigarettes, which stunt his growth (it will also explain how Garfield has become relatively smaller than his early self in 1978). He also is shown wearing a face mask at one comic strip also explaining his beauty. Nermal in his first appearances did not speak much and was much smaller. But as the comic strip grew, he was taller as in his first appearance he can fit in Jon hands but in modern appearance he is more than half of Garfields size and Jon needs two hands to carry him (though still kitten like).
Nermal annoys Garfield, which usually results in Garfield trying to ship him to Abu Dhabi. Nermal often comes in unannounced (and recently on his birthday), much to Garfield's chagrin.
When he first appeared, it was stated that he was owned by Jon's parents.but that was never mentioned again. When we see him, it is usually because Jon has to babysit him. He is not seen on Jon's parents' farm.
However, in recent portrayes, Nermal has intentionally acted antagonistic towards Garfield, in one strip, bragging that he's young and cute while Garfield is not (Despite the fact that Nermal is actually Older than Garfield), getting his windpipe pinched in retaliation. In Garfield's Fun Fest, Nermal disguised himself as a suaze and handsome cat to take over the fun fest, which was supposed to be hosted by Garfield. Other times, he irritably reminds Garfield that it's monday, the day Garfield hates, he often makes fun of Garfield's age, rubbing it in Garfield's face, and in "The Garfield Show", he faked getting injured to get Jon's attention and protection, and one time betted Garfield couldn't go an hour without eating a thing and trying to get Garfield to eat by temptation.
In Garfield & Friends
Nermal, voiced by Desirée Goyette first appeared in the Garfield and Friends episode "School Daze", the sixth Garfield and Friends short. Nermal was almost sent to Abu Dhabi, which made Jon send Garfield to obedience school for punishment, but at the end, Garfield sends Odie to the Yukon.
Nermal also had a main role in the episode "A Tall Tail", where the TV Network would like Nermal to tell a story, and if Garfield refuses to let him, the show will be canceled and replaced by a house-furniture channel. Nermal tells the story of Paul Bunyan (played by Jon), who has to feed his giant blue cat (played by Garfield). Workers have to dig up the entire california coastline for his sandbox and use glaciers for his soda (then hide from his big burp). The Network say his story is too embarrassing to air on television, so then, Garfield gives Nermal another television job, appearing in a show called Attack of the Mutant Dinosaurs, where a dinosaur that resembles a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Stegosaurus is about to eat him. Nermal yells that the dinosaur is fifty feet tall, but Garfield corrects him by saying the dinosaur is only forty feet tall.
Nermal is also mentioned in the episodes "Cabin Fever", and "One Good Fern Deserves Another".
Nermal often confused children audiences of being a female. He is male, but because he had a female voice, children got confused whether he was male or female, much like Tweety from Looney Tunes.
Usually when Garfield mentions all he'll miss, he often cites Nermal as an example of someone he won't, but in "Invasion of the Big Robots", a Transformers spoof, Garfield wants to get back to his cartoon and in an instance where he's in grave peril rather than the peril he's familiar with in Garfield and Friends where he gets out okay, he mentions that he'll even miss Nermal, which indicates that Garfield is jealous of him.
In the Garfield films
In the 2004 film Garfield: The Movie, Nermal appears as an adult Siamese cat rather than a gray tabby kitten. Unlike in the comic strip and TV series, which portray Nermal as Garfield's arch-nemesis, the two appear to be friends in the film. Nermal did not appear in the sequel, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.
In the 2007 straight-to-DVD film Garfield Gets Real, Nermal has a minor role. It was the first time that he appeared in a movie in the form of the gray kitten from the comic strip and TV series. When Garfield is sucked into the Real World, Nermal is not surprised because he wanted to replace Garfield's strip with one called Nermal, which would feature Arlene as his dim-witted sidekick maid.Nermal has also appeared in Garfield's Fun Fest and Garfield's Pet Force. In all of the straight-to-DVD movies, Nermal had a voice like a male teenager, provided by Jason Marsden. In order to win the Fun Fest in Garfield's Fun Fest, he disguised himself and built a robot as a disguise named "Ramon," which makes Nermal the main antagonist of Garfield's Fun Fest.
In The Garfield Show
Although sometimes both anti-hero and anti-villain throughout the series franchise, Nermal is the general main antagonist in The Garfield Show. He usually tries to take over Garfield's house or flaunt his cuteness in front of Garfield. His more villainous appearances are in "Nice To Nermal", where he blackmails Garfield into being his servant, "King Nermal" ,where he feigns a foot injury to make Garfield, Odie and Jon wait on him hand and foot, and his most villainous appearance in "Garfield Astray", where he profits of Garfield's amnesia to send him away from the house and turn it into a temple dedicated to himself.