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McDonald’s Mascot Grimace Is a What Now?!?

Truly did not need this information in my life.

grimace in McDonald's commercial

I think we can all agree that we are currently living though a news cycle powered by our worst nightmares. And I wish that this article didn’t join the countless others you are currently doom-scrolling through on your phone. Unfortunately, the world continues to kick us in the collective nards with new revelations and horrors. And here’s one more!

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Brian Bates, the manager of a McDonald’s franchise in Windsor, Canada, was recently named Outstanding Manager of the Year. In an interview, Bates dropped his tips for good management and working through a pandemic. But it was one off-the-cuff tidbit that captured the world’s attention. Bates was asked what exactly Grimace is. Of course, we all know Grimace as the sentient purple blob mascot of the fast food franchise, who appears alongside clown Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese, and the Hamburglar.

The cast of McDonaldland characters in 1986.

image: The cast of McDonaldland characters in 1986.

And while Grimace began as “Evil Grimace,” a four-armed monster that steals shakes and snacks, he was rebranded in 1974 as a goofy good-natured blob. But what exactly IS Grimace? According to Bates, “He is an enormous taste bud, but a taste bud nonetheless.”

So … Grimace is a taste bud? I’m sorry, but what the actual hell are you talking about? Bates’ assertion was backed up by an old tweet from the McDonald’s corporate Twitter account, which tweeted, “#Grimace lore says he is the embodiment of a milkshake or a taste bud. What do you think?”

What I think is that this seems like a stretch AT BEST. Does Grimace’s shape and color resemble taste buds and papillae? Okay, sure. But just because NHL icon Gritty resembles villi does not mean he’s a stand-in for intestinal lining!

Many took to social media to express their confusion and disbelief over Grimace’s origins:

Look, is the idea of Grimace as a sentient taste bud inherently terrifying? Yes. But I’m much more concerned with his political history with former president and insurrectionist Donald Trump. Here’s a video of them making a pact behind the scenes.

I think the evidence speaks for itself: Grimace is nothing but a fluffy outer shell that, when shaved down, is actually Steve Bannon. I mean, the resemblance is STRIKING.

Grimace and Steve Bannon

(via CBC, image: screencap)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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