LOS ANGELES - Explaining TikTok trends to baby boomers just got a little bit more complicated with the latest uptick in videos surrounding a new McDonald’s shake that’s apparently to die for.
Earlier this month, McDonald’s unveiled a limited-edition purple milkshake celebrating one of its beloved franchise characters, Grimace.
About 30 years ago, McDonald's launched "McDonaldland," a fantasy world used in commercials to appeal to kids, featuring the characters Ronald McDonald, Grimace, Hamburglar, Sundae, Birdy the Early Bird, Mayor McCheese, Officer Big Mac, Captain Crook and the Professor.
Grimace is a purple character who debuted in commercials as "Evil Grimace," a bad guy who tried to steal McDonald’s shakes but was later rebranded as a good guy by the company, according to the Daily Meal.
Social media immediately reacted to the purple libation with exactly what you would expect. It became a meme. A dark one at that.
Of course, McDonald’s tried to join the meme bandwagon, but it came nowhere close to the depths of dark humor that soon arose at the expense of the purple, a seemingly lovable, fictional character many have grown up with.
Since the unveiling of the beverage, thousands of users on social media have posted videos of them enacting spine-chilling deaths and demonic possession caused by drinking the shake.
All you have to do is search for "The Grimace Shake Incident," and you’ll find hundreds of videos, many of which have millions of views, showing users filming themselves trying the drink in what seems to be an innocent taste test video.
But the videos quickly take a dark turn in which some people have gone so far as to show purple liquid oozing out of their noses before convulsing on the ground.
Some have posted found-footage style posts in which a harmless review of the Grimace shake quickly turns into a horror film in which murder and mayhem envelops the actors.
In one video, a user can be seen with the shake speaking into the camera, excitedly saying, "I just got the new grimace shake!"
The video promptly cuts to what appears to be the same man face down drowning in a river.
If you’re a parent reading this, you might be worried or confused, or both. What’s the point of getting laughs over such a macabre subject.
Why was phone booth stuffing a thing? Remember the craze that swept colleges in the 1950s when dozens of people would cram themselves into a single phone booth?
There is no simple answer and most people shouldn’t waste time over-thinking it. The psychological origins of most fads are always unclear.
Just know, the shake doesn’t actually kill you and it most likely tastes delicious.
Speaking with the New York Times in 2022, Professor Conrod said D. Andrew Price, the head of content at Memes.com, said memes like the Grimace shake is something that is just an idea that rips through the public consciousness."