Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My continuing hatred of minions


Last week I posted the following on Facebook:

"Message seen on bus: 'Honk if you love minions.' Question: Is there such a thing as un-honking?"

Yes, I really, really hate the minions of the Despicable Me franchise. And naming them doesn't help anything. In fact, it makes things worse. 

In fact, I'm going to take things one step further:

The minions of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 (which hits theaters today) are symbolic of everything that's wrong with children's movies.

Whoa whoa, Vance. They're harmless yellow jelly beans with arms and legs. They're cute.

That's your opinion, and I disagree with it. Okay, I can't technically disagree with the fact that they are "cute" on some objective level that does not at all tug at my heart strings the way things that are cute are supposed to tug at my heart strings. But they are ten times more annoying than they are cute, and they are pernicious in a way that seems completely out of sync with their overt appearance.

Pernicious, as in, detrimental to children?

No, as in detrimental to movie fans.

One of the reasons I have stopped being as interested in movies aimed at children is that these days, all such movies have to have minions. If you don't have minions, you aren't viable with really young children.

Take the movie Epic, for example. I was really looking forward to Epic. It seemed "mature" in the way that movies aimed at children often are not. Of course, I didn't expect to see anything on screen that would offend the sensibilities of young children or the parents who brought them to the theater. But I didn't expect them to be pandered to in the form of minions, either, or this movie's equivalent of minions.

Then I saw this poster for Epic, and felt deflated by it:



Damn, those things are such minions it's not even funny. 

Of course, the minions themselves did not create "minions," they are only a response to the need for "minions." But here's why they seem so pernicious to me: They have risen so prominently on the list of "reasons we are making a sequel to Despicable Me" that they have basically become the sum total of the advertising for this film. I have to believe that Steve Carell is returning as the supervillain Gru, but I wouldn't know it from the posters, which focus only on Carl and Stuart and Kevin and Tim and

I know that after Despicable Me 2, the minions are spinning off into their own 2014 film that will presumably do what this movie wanted to do and just excise Carell and any other human characters entirely. If you can't imagine a movie consisting entirely of minions speaking to each other in objectively cute bleeps and blurps, welcome to today's America.

To answer the other question you are probably sort of asking, I became such a grumpy Gru about the minions by watching and not liking Despicable Me two years ago. The minions were actually one of the things that bothered me least about that movie. Gru himself and his archnemesis, Vector, were far more annoying to me. 

But the minions are the ongoing face of all things Despicable Me, and it indeed looks like they will be ongoing for quite some time now. And they are despicable alright.

Now I've annoyed myself. I should have just written a post about The Lone Ranger.

25 comments:

Travis McClain said...

I finally saw Despicable Me two nights ago. The Minions are essentially an amalgamation of The Smurfs and The Three Stooges. I get why you've fixated on the Minions as the personification of something you dislike but I think you've overlooked their predecessors in film and TV (and very likely gaming, too). We've seen these kinds of sidekicks in kid's movies, dramas, comedies, sci-fi flicks, war films, Westerns, slashers...there's nothing about the Minions themselves that stood out to me as unique enough to justify your wrath.

I think instead it's just that you're at a point in your life where your age has converged with raising a young child to make you sensitive to them primarily in the concern that you're going to have to slog through them over the next seven years or so. The truth is, you've slogged through them all along.

Vancetastic said...

Travis, it's undoubtedly true that there have always been minions. Actually, though, I can date this hatred back to before I had a child. Back on July 9, 2010 -- six weeks before my son was born -- I wrote a post on the day of DM's release called "Cute, or despicable?" So they have irritated me from the start.

You and another friend of mine have a good point that wrath is an overreaction. However, I would counter: What's the point of a blog if not to comically overreact to things??

Travis McClain said...

I dunno. I use my blog to share my experiences with severe depression and talk about Batgirl, so what do I know? :P

Tina said...

Don't worry, you are not alone. More then the movie andthe characters themselves, I hate the outrageous generating of quote pictures with minions. It really reveals many things about the people's IQ :/

Vancetastic said...

Tina,

I will have to seek out these quote pictures you speak of ... or maybe I'll just do myself a favor and not.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

This post is old but I completely agree And I was looking to see if some people agreed. I feel a little sad that apparently there is the belief (true or not) that you cannot tell a story to kids without these characters that their only purpose is to be cute, comedic relief. I am a teacher, and I believe these characters are part f the reason that makes it hard for my students to appreciate literature.

Derek Armstrong said...

Thanks for reading, Anon. Yeah, the Minions movie is now coming out this year ... get ready for another round. :-(

Anonymous said...

Ugh the minion quote pictures (aka minion memes) are almost unavoidable on social media. Especially Pinterest. The quotes are the super lame, eyerolling "middle aged aunt" type humor(or not even humor sometimes, just b!tching about something), and the quotes are all unoriginal, just old jokes jacked from somewhere else with a picture of a laughing minion slapped on it. They're truly disgusting, the antithesis of humor, and they must be eradicated from the Internet.

hiccup hiccup said...

I punched in randomly to the web about how much I am sick to death of seeing those damn ugly minions with quotes stu k next to them on social media and it seems I am not alone !!! True, they should be eradicated!!

hiccup hiccup said...

I like this, it's so true and funny

Anonymous said...

I THINK THAT YOU ARE STUPID AND SHOULD GO DIE IN A HOLE FILLED WITH EVIL MINIONS WHO WILL GOUGE YOUR EYES OUT AND EAT YOR PENIS

Derek Armstrong said...

How very creative!

psychedeligoat said...

the most mind twisting children's PROGRAMMING ever.

To think slaves and genetically modified things are cute and
something to wear on a t-shirt shows that MOST OF HUMANITY are MINIONS.

I try to explain this to all the single mothers out there with 4 kids from 3 daddies
that the Minion is not good for their children's health but they continue to suck
on the demon cock from hell.

I ask them 'where is it they go when they are on vacation'? How do they have the ability to come and go into an alternate dimension? Why does the crazy scientist have obscure occult symbols all over his house?

Dangerous but it's too late.

Chuck said...

So random but I actually have such a passion for my dislike of the minions that I had to Google to see if anyone else shared this very unpopular opinion.
Now they are making a movie solely about the minions, a concept which is beyond ridiculous to me. It is so obvious how they write them to be "lovable", but they lose me because it doesn't seem genuine. It just makes me cringe how hard they are trying. Maybe that makes me dead inside, but I still find kittens cute, so go figure. I just find them insulting to our intelligence, pandering to audiences and a society that has lost the appreciation for subtlety...and that just saddens me.

Anonymous said...

Haha Chuck, I Googled for the same reason. Yesterday I was at the store and saw new cereals based on these dumb characters and Despicable Me is on right now and I got so angry that I had to find other people who shared my hatred. I don't know what it is, but the characters strike a particularly upsetting nerve! I don't even know why I hate them so much but I don't find them cute or interesting enough to justify an entire movie of their own!

Anonymous said...

My friends and I have been keeping an eye out for how many bloody advertisements, clothes, accessories etc there are with minions printed all over them. (After a recent conversation with one I decided to search "minions are taking over the world" for a joke, and surprisingly came here.) When the first film came out, sure, I thought, cute and everything for little kids, whatever. But up till now they've been over-endorsed to the point of them becoming incredibly annoying. It's like a good song that's been played over and over and over again, thus, killed, by radio. But I guess all I'm doing now is looking for the next kid's character that will go down the "minion road". And until the mass population of human intelligence have started to get a little tired and annoyed with minions, they're here to stay.

G Michael Leonard said...

That this is the best that modern society can come up with shows what a piece of shit modern society is.

Anonymous said...

One of the only things I hate more than 'minions' is people who say 'random' when they're not referring to anything random at all. Two of the commenters here have used the word 'random' in that way, so I felt compelled to comment. If you deliberately enter a term into a search engine, you're not doing something 'random'. The results generated by the search engine are anything BUT random. Furthermore, do you take language cues from 12-year-old girls? Because that's who started the whole "oh, like, its so random!" thing.

now back to minions. I didn't even know what the things were when I first saw them, in a cardboard display for tic-tacs at the drugstore that promoted Minions. I thought they had made a movie out of anthropomorphic tic-tacs, which I thought was the dumbest idea for a movie ever conceived. When I found out what minions actually were and their back-story, I re-evaluated the anthropomorphic tic-tac plot and concluded that it actually would have had some merit compared to the minions... The teacher who posted anonymously is right, these kinds of characters have ruined stories told to children. Yes, they've always been around but never before have they been so obtrusive and shoe-horned into plots like they are these days. The Lion King is currently touring as a brilliant and stunning stage production, which gets completely derailed and debased by the inclusion of idiotic 'slap-stick' fart gags...

Chuck said...

Hey Anonymous, agree about your comments on the minions (obviously, since I am on this thread). You are right about my use of the word "random", I generally hate it too. In a way, nothing is random, is it? Clearly I saw something that triggered my brain to make the connections that led me to this website, so it wasn't really random at all. I suppose I used it in a hyperbolic sense, as in this whole subject is a little out of the ordinary (or so most people would consider) and for that I apologize!

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why people enjoy watching something like this. It's like for every single kids movie, you have to have minion characters, no matter what the movie is about. And it's like playing Let it Go a million times. I don't have anything against it. I just get tired of hearing or watching the same thing over and over again for no reason, just for the sake of it being popular.

Anonymous said...

OMG yes I agree! I went to Walmart yesterday and everywhere I looked it was minions I felt like my head was gonna explode so I got on the internet and looked up "minions are stupid" and I found this wonderful blog with wonderful non-brainwashed people like you :P the minions are a try hard move.

Anonymous said...

So true!

Anonymous said...

For me it's the pervasiveness of them. They are literally everywhere. I guess I can concede points on them being "cute" and funny in the way bodily functions are funny, but that does not explain why they are EVERYWHERE! Seriously. An app on my phone for wallpapers is literally at least 40% minions with stupid quotes or minions mashed with other, less annoying things. When did they explode into such an enormous thing? It's like having an inspirational quote next to a picture of a guy with a perfectly formed poop on his head.

Anonymous said...

If you thought Minion imagery was bad enough, my siblings have a soap dispenser which makes Minion noises when used. And the audio goes on forever (11 seconds). And don't get me started on shops. I actually did a search to find as many Minion-themed clothing types there were (not including each individual t-shirt etc). I found 41 different Minion-themed things. And that was only the ground floor.
I'm starting to think Minions are a form of Nazis which control the media. Or an infection.

And I'm worried BB-8 will become the next Minion infection. I've already seen BB-8 cookies in a bakery.

Chuck said...

It's been a lot of fun getting enraged with you all. I agree RE: BB-8. I work in marketing and advertising and the instant I saw that character I knew he/it was manufactured to sell products, not be just a plot device. The number of Star Wars brand partnerships leading up to the release of the movie was enough to show just how much dough there is up for grabs just by simply putting an image on a regular old bag of Doritos. But hey, the sheeple are into that. BB-8 was designed so aesthetically that it's sure to sell everything from pillows to pepper grinders. Alas, the first comment I heard about him was a coworker remarking "Aww, I want one of those things for my desk!" However, BB-8 can't be worse than Minions, who are obnoxious and not to mention hideous, taking over the world one terrible misquoted meme at a time. DESTROY THEM WITH FIRE! :)