Minions are everywhere. Surely, you’ve seen them. The adorable gibberish speaking monsters? creatures? aliens? things? from the Despicable Me movies. They’ve taken over movie theaters, McDonalds… and our HEARTS? To say that the public is obsessed about these little things is a huge understatement. But I must be honest. A couple weeks ago, I had no idea what they were. It wasn’t on my radar.
Then I started seeing things like this on Facebook:
What the what? I was confused. I knew they were from a movie but not much else. I investigated and asked friends about it. “They’re so cute!” “They’re hilarious.” “They’re the best!” “What do you mean you’ve never watched the movies?!” Some weekend media binging later, my husband and I were caught up. We even went and watched the new movie. They are cute and hilarious.
But… how did they become the voice of the internet?
I mean, I understand how they came to meme status. (Quick explaination of memes: when the internet makes something like an inside joke, often using pictures and text, it’s called a meme.) Minions share a lot with the fabled LOLcats of years ago. They’re cute and loveable in the eyes of most people. They have no color or creed or affiliation. They don’t speak any specific language, so you can project whatever you want on them. They are anything to everyone.
Except for some crucial differences… Minions are a symbol of friendship. They are friendly creatures. Cats are aloof loners who would gladly stab you to pieces and burn down your house, if they had the thumbs to do it. They “cannot haz friends”. Minions do, which is why the memes above all have a friendly tone. (Except that one that one caters to the mischievous crowd. But you know the comments on that one were all, “OH TAG CHERYL! THIS IS SO YOU”.) Minions are also LIKE people. Being humanesque makes it easy to project ourselves onto them.
And finally: they’re well known and (because of how popular children’s characters work) they’ll probably be around forever. Before, when Grandma would see something on Facebook like a LOLcat, she’d be confused. “Why is that cat talking in broken English about a hamburger?” But as soon as someone posted this to her Facebook wall:
All of a sudden, Nan is like, “aww Abigail was just showing me this on the TV!!!!!! IT IS WONDERFUL THANKS FOR SHARING KISSES XOXOXO NAN PS SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS I CAN’T TURN THEM OFF”
So the Minions are your mom’s LOLcats.
I will say, though, that I’ve seen some odd spinoffs of this meme. Like, for example, the art featured above is someone’s handcrafted derivative of a minion because they needed ones that looked like grandparents. Okay. And then there’s this:
I have so many questions. I know why this is a sentiment that resonates with people, but:
- why does it exist? like who was like, “I’m going to type this up, it’s IMPORTANT”
- why slap a picture of a minion on it? the subject matter has so little to do with it
- is the minion thinking about strong, beautiful women?
- why not put a picture of a STRONG, BEAUTIFUL WOMAN on it?
- what’s with the wonky justification on the font? (now I’m just being nitpicky)
I know, I know. The answer is “because internet”. That’s how these things work. You get something influenced by something influenced by something else and then we’re down the rabbit hole looking at something like this:
I’ve seen a lot of things come and go the internet. Especially little image based fads. Is this one a keeper? Maybe for a certain demographic. I certainly don’t see it going stale anytime soon.
But it is still pretty weird.