Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Mysterious Purple Blob

Over the past few months, I've been saving up post ideas for this long-neglected site and have a bunch of fun topics that I plan to write about now that Lost has ended its fifth season. But I realized last night that -- as things are still really busy for me over the next few weeks -- I shouldn't kill myself by trying to publish any of the longer pieces in the near term. So I'm going to ease back into my daily "According to e" schedule with short, but hopefully still interesting, commentary about really random stuff.

Which brings me to one of the many road trips to Michigan that my husband and I took earlier this year. We usually stop at Arby's if we have to choose between any of the fast-food options (mmm, curly fries), but for whatever reason, on this particular journey we pulled into a McDonald's drive-through for the first time in a long time. With our order we were each given a tiny bag of McDonaldland cookies.

I have not had McDonaldland cookies in forever. In fact, I wasn't even aware that they were still on the Golden Arches' menu -- and maybe they're not. Maybe the bonus bags they doled out for free were made of all of the leftover cookies once the product was discontinued or something. Who knows... but what struck me as I ate the little shortbread treats was that I had no idea what Grimace -- the bloblike creature featured on one of the cookies -- was. I guess when I was younger I thought that he was supposed to represent a milkshake or something -- those drinks were kind of purplish and certainly would be kind of blobby if you poured one out of its container.

So I decided to do some quick research and found out that not only is Grimace simply an "anthropomorphic purple being" rather than a milkshake, but he was also once a bad guy in McDonald's commercials way back in the day. He also used to rock four arms!?! Here's proof:

As time went on, I guess somebody realized that the shapeless character would work better as one of Ronald's goofy friends. Here's how I remember Grimace:

Wow, I totally forgot about the pirate Captain Crook who would steal Filet-o-fish sandwiches! (He's shown at the very end of the commercial, sitting at the table on the left.) And I definitely have no memory of that crazy professor dude. Watching these commercials as an adult, I'm now pretty sure that everyone involved in creating the McDonaldland characters was taking some serious drugs.

Finally, I learned that Grimace has a crazy Irish uncle who tended to pop up whenever it was Shamrock Shake promotion time. His name is Uncle O'Grimacey... no lie.

I'm happy to have learned that Grimace is nothing more than a big purple globule who happens to like milkshakes... but now I want some answers about Ronald McDonald himself. Who ever thought that a scary-looking clown would make a good mascot for a kid-friendly hamburger chain? I've never seen a not-horrifying version of Ronald. I think Evil Grimace needs to resurface, kidnap Ronald and hide him away in a cave. Down with clowns!


Jon Williams said...

I loved those old McDonald's commercials. I think Grimace fell in love with a strawberry shake creature at one point. Fun post.

Ms. SP said...

At least Ronald is better than that Burger "king." Talk about creepy and annoying.

BigBen said...

I think I was somehow traumatized as a child by all of these characters. It would explain my adult-age fear of costumes and mascots.

Maybe if they had started out with a friendlier Grimace, I might have turned out different. The Burglar was a pretty scary dude too!

Unknown said...

Yay e! Nice to see a new post!

I miss the fry guys and hamburgler! I agree with Ms SP, the Burger King is the freakiest thing on TV right now! It would also weird me out when I was little when Ronald would make a personal appearance at the local McDonalds and he would look nothing like the guy on TV. I guess it was like the mall Santa not looking like the 'real' Santa. LOL!

If you want a good laugh check out the article from the Onion about the discontinued character the Ham-murderer, so funny!

Erika (aka "e") said...

Jon - It's nice to know that Grimace got some lovin' at one point! Poor guy.

Ms. SP - I agree that the Burger King guy is totally freaky. Although the latest commercials where he wakes people up in the middle of the night are kind of funny.

BigBen - I am sorry to have reminded you of your bad childhood memories. But maybe this "True Hollywood Story" spoof about The Hamburglar will help because it's so ridiculous... you couldn't be scared of him after seeing it:


Kristin - Thanks for that Onion link, I hadn't seen that. How do they come up with this stuff?

- e

Anonymous said...

Grimace is a purple mountain, like the purple mountains majesty from the national anthem. I thought everyone knew that. ;-)

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