The line between hero and villain is paper thin – something Grimace (and McDonald’s) learns first hand. On June 12, McDonald’s released the berry-flavored Grimace shake as part of its extensive marketing campaign to celebrate the mascot’s birthday. The energetic response from fans turned the campaign into a celebration of Grimase as a queer icon, with people dressing up in fuzzy cosplay for social media posts about the birthday, and creating fan art of him and the Hamburglar at Pride. However, just two weeks later, a search for Grimase on TikTok doesn̵[ads1]7;t show people honoring “mother Grimase.” Instead, it brings up videos where Grimace’s shake is not a purple treat, but rather a deadly concoction that kills or maims anyone who dares drink it.
Is the Grimace shake dangerous?
No, of course not. TikTok humor just operates on a whole other level of absurdity. It’s all part of the genuinely funny – and sometimes brutally visceral – Grimace shake trend.
What is the Grimace shake trend?
The grimace shake trend, also known as the Grimace shake incident, has taken off on TikTok, with #grimaceshake generating 689 million views upon publication.
A typical video starts with someone excitedly declaring that they’re going to try the Grimace shake, and wishing the living taste buds a happy birthday. But as soon as the person takes a sip, the camera pans to the gruesome aftermath, with the person pretending to be passed out, dead or dying – sometimes in an odd place, like inside a rubbish bin, or draped over the hood of a car – as a result of drinking the shake. And no Grimace shake tableau is complete without the contents of the shake dripping out of the victim’s mouth as vomit, or spilling onto the ground as purple blood.
There is no limit to the creativity of the creators or their commitment to this bit, which is why the joke continues to gain traction instead of becoming stale. Fans develop the Grimace shake trend by creating elaborate narratives, horror films and fake documentaries.
Some of the videos make Grimace an active culprit in the deaths, showing the mascot choking or stalking those naive enough to have tried the cursed shake.
So is Grimace’s mother? Or is Grimace a killer? It is up to you to decide. But what is undeniable is that grimace is the moment.