McDonald’s new Grimace milkshake has sparked an entire movement around treating the beverage like the murder weapon from a Japanese horror game. Zoomers and other TikTok users were pretending to die after slurping up the purple goop and now they’re pretending the Grimace Shake is what also killed their favorite anime and gaming characters.
It’s tough to figure out exactly why a particular moment in our absurd, profit-driven culture becomes a lightning rod of memes and posting, but here we are with McDonald’s commemoration of Grimace’s birthday. For anyone who doesn’t know, the big purple guy is literally just a humanoid taste bud, not a post-apocalyptic mutant formed from the irradiated detritus of old Big Macs. And now his milkshake is taking over even the nerdier corners of the internet.
If there’s an infamous death in gaming, anime, or beyond, you can bet it’s now been made even better, and/or defiled, depending on your point of view, by the Grimace Shake meme. They’re a perfect collision of specialized fan lore and complete context collapse:
I’m sure the Golden Arches couldn’t be more pleased. Is all this meming making you thirsty for what a company spokesperson confirmed was just a mixture of sugar, water, corn syrup, and a mysterious unnamed “natural flavor” that’s vaguely berry-ish in nature? A review over at Cleveland.com describes the Grimace milkshake as “not thrilling but nice” and like “if someone dropped a Wild Berry Pop Tart into a fairly standard vanilla milkshake and then hit the pulverize button on the blender.”
Coincidentally, that’s how I would describe most video games. Grimace, on the other hand, needs to fall back down the online memory well and take his foul concoctions with him.
Update 6/30/2023 10:42 a.m. ET: Added more Grimace memes because this is what the giant purple squishmallow demands.