Mertle Edmonds is Lilo's rival and a recurring antagonist in the Lilo & Stitch franchise. She is the leader of three other girls, Elena, Teresa, and Yuki, as well as the spokesperson of them. She is usually seen hanging around and playing with her three friends, or often on her own, and takes pleasure in making Lilo feel bad about herself.
Mertle is an incredibly spoiled and sadistic little girl and the most unlikable character in the franchise. She is the leader of a clique of girls who follow her every command. She strongly dislikes Lilo and calls her mean nicknames, such as "Weirdlo" and "Freaklo", as well as always getting her in trouble for what she did. She is shown to be unforgiving and holds grudges against people, even when they apologize, as shown when Lilo apologizes for tackling and biting her earlier, she does not forgive her and only says rudely, "Apology not accepted."
It is shown in the TV series that her "friends" aren't too fond of Mertle's mean and bossy attitude, implying that, despite the fact that they hang out with her, they don't actually like her, in fact, they sometimes leave her (but then, come back eventually, for continuity's sake). Mertle takes great pleasure in putting down, insulting, bullying and making fun of Lilo. Mertle also tends not to take responsibility for her actions; she blamed Lilo for beating her up in hula class, even though she was being cruel to Lilo, which provoked her into beating her up. Mertle is even cold enough to tease Lilo about being an orphan, which is Lilo's weak spot. She also blames Lilo for things that were her own fault, such as the time Mertle got an experiment pod on her charm bracelet and the experiment was a black hole and Mertle didn't listen to Lilo's warnings. When Holio's pod was activated, Mertle blamed Lilo for everything when she did not take Lilo seriously. Just like the other humans, she is too ignorant to tell Stitch, Reuben, and the other experiments are aliens and usually mistakes them for disfigured and ugly Earth animals.
In addition to being ignorant, Mertle also seems to have a bad memory, as she doesn't recognize Reuben, whom she had met in a few episodes, but then forgotten about. This is made worse by the fact that she can't read either, as shown during "Spike" when Mertle had Teresa to cheat for her during the Ohana-Rama. Then after Spike caused Teresa to lose her intelligence, Mertle couldn't answer a single question.
She also has something of a gluttonous side to her, as shown by how she eats seventeen helpings of shave ice at the end of "Slick". But she isn't able to keep all that food down, and a gurgle from her bloated tummy sends her running off to throw up shortly afterwards.
In the TV series, it has been shown that Mertle's reason for mocking Lilo comes from her bigoted view of normality that causes her to disregard anyone different from her or anyone who disagrees with her. In Leroy & Stitch, it is hinted that Mertle's unseen father who she holds a great deal of respect for is the main influence of this view. Mertle has also been shown to be extremely dishonest as she had no qualms about cheating in contests and framing people for her wrong doings. However, it is shown that Mertle isn't totally heartless and dishonest, in the episode "Yapper", she cheated to win the dog show, but then gave Lilo and Stitch the trophy because they played fair and saved her dog Gigi (who turned out to be an experiment) from Gantu. She also loves Gigi. It has also been hinted how she might have had some respect or admiration for Lilo's mother as she told her she'll never be a great dancer like her.
While it is never outright addressed in the shows or movies, it is likely that Mertle's mother and father are separated or divorced. This is hinted at in Leroy & Stitch where when Mertle cruelly states to Lilo that Stitch "ran away and is never coming back," to which Yuki says "just like Mertle's dad, to which she snaps angrily for her to be quiet. This separation could be one of the reasons why she is a bully and has a poor attitude. Mertle could possibly hold respect for her father in order to bond with him and she adopted his views so she could see him more. The once-common (not anymore) view that divorce is not "normal" could be why Mertle is so mean to people who don't have traditional families, like Lilo. This would make her a hypocrite because she herself does not have the "traditional" nuclear family and likely tries to hide it from everyone, even her friends. This is again implied when Mertle mentions her father in Leroy & Stitch and Yuki is surprised that she has one. This would also make her similar to Lilo in the sense that the both have only a mother figure in their lives and have "broken" families.
Her poor attitude and bullying behavior could possibly and partially be attributed to her reaction to her parents' separation and her inability to see her father all the time. Her spoiled personality could also be from her mother spoiling her daughter to keep her happy and mask the struggles they endure as a family. Another likely reason that she is so mean to Lilo is that she is jealous of the love and happiness her rival has with her family, something she cannot get with her father away.
If she isn't dressed in her hula dance outfit when performing or practicing hula dancing, then she can be seen wearing a pair of light big blue, round glasses and a light green, short-sleeved shirt. She also has a pair of blue shorts, light green flip-flop sandals, and long, puffy red hair. She also has a somewhat pudgy belly, which her shirt doesn't quite cover all the way.
Family and Relatives
Mertle's mother, Mrs. Edmonds, and her Aunt Stacy are the only two relatives that have been introduced into the show. In Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, we hear about Mertle's father, Karl Edmonds, who owns a gift shop that sells cheap Hawaiian collectibles. Mertle and her mom both live in a yellow-colored stucco ranch house, and her mom has appeared in about six episodes, while her aunt has only been in two episodes.
- Mertle's given name is a unique variant spelling of the female given name Myrtle, which is derived from the name of the plant Myrtus.
- Lilo often mentions Mertle by her full name. It is unknown why Lilo does this, considering that she doesn't seem to know anyone else named Mertle/Myrtle.
- In the Disney Adventures comic called Lilo's Luau, Mertle is called "Jenny".
- Mertle once "adopted" Hämsterviel, mistaking him for a talking gerbil.
- It is revealed in "Spike" that Mertle is illiterate and possibly has dyslexia.
- While it is never outright addressed, it is possible that Mertle's mother and father are separated or divorced. This is hinted at in Leroy & Stitch where when Mertle cruelly states to Lilo that Stitch "ran away and is never coming back," to which Yuki says, "Just like Mertle's dad," to which she snaps angrily for her to be quiet. This separation could be one of the reasons why she is a bully and has a poor attitude.
- Despite how mean and cruel Mertle is, Lilo still considers her a "friend" and will help when it is needed.