Minions. Seven letters once functioned as a broad-spectrum term to describe all the world’s sycophants—or, albeit less notoriously, mini onions—has now become synonymous with those abominable yellow imbeciles from Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. By popular demand, capitalist greed, or generous donation from the National Association for the Advancement of the Color Yellow, an entire feature film devoted to the origin story of these dreadful Minions is coming to theaters July 10th. As someone who normally roots for the underdog, it isn’t without regret that I confess after trying to give them a chance and pretending to tolerate them for entirely too long, I’m ready to admit that Minions are without exception the most grating, insipid characters ever brought to life in a kid’s movie.

Before I continue, it’s worth mentioning that Despicable Me is not a Pixar movie. Perhaps you, like me, assumed all movies using 3D computer animation were either Pixar or Disney, but that is not the case. (Not yet.) It’s entirely possibly that the production company is responsible for the Minions’ lack of appeal: they haven’t been blessed with the magic of the mouse or the jumping lamp. Many of the comparisons I’m going to draw between the Minions and other similar kids’ movie cronies will reference Disney and Pixar films, though it is worth mentioning this is not truly and apples to apples comparison.

Let me begin with the appearance of Minions.

minions

Bright yellow in color with a body that looks like an antibiotic that’s sure to make you reconsider the importance of health, Minions are the first answer that comes to mind if one were to ask the question, “What does it look like when Homer Simpson takes a dump?” All Minions appear to be male, a detail that raises questions about how they reproduce while giving us a glimmer of hope that extinction may be a lot easier than we thought. Minions all wear the same work overalls, despite having no defined shoulders to properly hold them up, with goggles that seem to satisfy a need to appear quirky and unique rather than remedy any legitimate ocular safety concerns. As for their coiffure, Minions have varying wisps of hair on their head that are the same distressing consistency as the patch of hair you’ve been missing when you shave for the past seven years. The sounds they that comprise the Minion vernacular are a cross between the hiccups and the noise that comes from a Snapple bottle cap when you can’t resist pressing it.

Beyond the subjective matter of aesthetics, what is perhaps most offensive about the Minions is how disgracefully derivative they are from the aliens in the Toy Story movies. The aliens, much like Minions, are a populous, male-dominated race with limited linguistic abilities and a similarly unique appearance. In their heyday, the aliens matched the Minions in the amount of merchandise mass-produced using their likeness. But it is important to note that unlike the Minions, Toy Story’s aliens conjure more emotion in their incessant repetitions of “The claw!” than any trying-too-hard-to-be-adorable antics the Minions get into. This is because the aliens’ origin is one of oppression and a desire for freedom, unlike the Minions historical preoccupation with riding the coattails of the world’s most despicable villains.

aliens

It’s all too easy to get distracted by their shenanigans, but let’s not forget that Minions are first and foremost henchmen. As henchmen, their complete ineptitude for succeeding at the one effort that defines their existence is very near Sisyphean. No doubt the irony of their servitude is how unlikely it is that such wannabe lovable creatures would align themselves with the world’s evildoers, but it would be remiss to ignore the fact that they are ineffectual henchmen. Movie henchmen have a tendency to blunder their assignments, but the Minions’ struggles make it impossible to take them seriously, especially when we’re to believe that serving a wicked master is the chief motivating factor for their existence. Their carelessness seems almost nihilistic. In no particular order, here is a list of kids’ movie henchmen who are more memorable, intriguing, competent, and deserving of their own movie than the Minions:

  • Flotsam and Jetsam from The Little Mermaid
  • Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp
  • LeFou from Beauty and the Beast
  • Jasper and Horace from 101 Dalmatians
  • Big Baby from Toy Story 3
  • Iago from Aladdin
  • Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, the hyenas from The Lion King
  • Magic Mirror from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  • Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • The Grasshoppers from A Bug’s Life
  • Roscoe and DeSoto from Oliver and Company
  • Diablo, the raven from Sleeping Beauty
  • Alpha, Beta, and Gamma from Up
  • Dr. Facilier’s shadow from The Princess and the Frog

Even at their most tolerable, no Minion holds a candle to any of these complex, captivating henchmen.

In an attempt to understand Minion fever, I visited an Ask Reddit page that attempts to get to the bottom of why people like Minions so much. Some of the responses were shocking:

They’re a lot like the Sims. Simplified, dumbed down versions of people. Watching them goof off is just adorable, like watching puppies play before they’ve quite figured out how. Also, I like the way they mime to communicate, it’s impressive how expressive they get for animated characters who don’t actually speak.

I think minions are cute and adorable.

They’re cute little idiots. Not much thought is needed on this one. People enjoy small things that are stupid. Hence the obsession with puppies.

Forgive me for not trusting anyone who thinks puppies fall in with Minions in the “small things that are stupid” category. It was a relief to discover that there plenty of people out there who echo my sentiments that Minions are awful:

If you enjoy yellow rascals that try too hard to be silly and whose only redeeming quality is their loyalty, I highly recommend Minions. I can also direct you to some high-quality Minions merch that will no doubt stand the test of time:

IMG_7577

But if you like like your kids’ movie henchmen to be more nuanced and problematic, or simply less yellow, the Minions likely inspire the same ire and ennui in you as they do for me. Fellow Minion haters, the Minionites may call you mean-spirited or worse, a party pooper, but never compromise your standards to satisfy people who have strong feelings about goggled creatures.

Images: Giphy, Author’s Own

32 thoughts on “I Can’t Pretend Anymore: Minions Are The Absolute Worst

  1. Hah! It keeps amazing me how much I am able to shield myself from all this kind of stuff. To this day, I can’t think of a single Kanye West song, and I only know Taylor Swift exists because she has so many Twitter followers for some reason. Likewise, I only know minions exist through people complaining about them 🙂

    1. You’re a strong woman. I can see why kids would like them. They’re innocent and generally avoid criticism except when it comes to vegetables or chores, but adults?????? What are adults getting out of these things?

      1. And my daughter just got a Minion toy from McD’s that giggles whenever you touch it. I wonder if he’ll giggle much when I accidentally flush it down the toilet.

      2. the movie we saw today was Despicable Me 2 they were showing for free. So I still have to sit through the other Minion movie probably this weekend. Kill. Me. Now.

    2. OH NO! I thought you were like, a Minions VIP or something, and I didn’t want to touch that so I just remained ignorant despite being pretty sure that movie wasn’t out yet.

  2. THANK YOU! I also hate these “adorable” creatures. Unfortunately most of my friends thing otherwise. Nice to find an intelligent, like-minded individual. 🙂

  3. I love them, but i don’t buy merchandise, but have made 3 tiny minion amigurumi so far…. 😉 i have a4 year old and 8 year old. Minions is so much better than some of the other animated movies out there….

    1. What is amigurumi?? Is that some kind of origami? (I apparently associate all words ending with -mi with origami.) I will admit Minions *might* be better than the ridiculous Lava digital short I endured when I saw Inside Out recently.

  4. I am obsessed with the aliens from Toy Story. Very. Minions remind me of them so much and I’ve never seen the movie. The past few days I have seriously considered renting it to watch this week. This is making me want to see it even more. Probably not the effect you were hoping for…

    1. I think you’ll be disappointed by the minions if you like the aliens! I think it goes without saying that Toy Story will always be far and away a much better movie than Despicable Me or any spin-off movie spawned from it.

    1. I thought maybe I was noticing the merchandise and stuff more because I’m anti-minion, but I don’t even remember Frozen having all this loot.

  5. What… they’re just supposed to be funny yes? Wouldn’t mind their incompetence in being henchmen in their fictional world. Yes, they do lack character and personality (compared to Iago LOL) but… they’re funny. 🙂

    1. I just… Don’t think they’re funny at all. They’re like annoying infants that aren’t ever going to grow up and become tolerable as individuals. Maybe something is broken inside me.

    1. Yes! And yet the movie had a huge opening weekend. I hate to be that person who fears for the younger generations, but what’s going to happen to all the kids who think it’s funny to serve a sinister leader if you’re silly and cute???? I oppose henchmen that aren’t remotely sinister.

      1. I know. Little freaks of nature are being tortured and serving for malevolent leaders that vow to do as much evil as they could accomplish, and all the little kids in the world are laughing and smiling at it. Funny how things work.

  6. Aw, I like them. I think they’re hilarious. I never know anyone hated them. I don’t know, maybe I like them because secretly I kinda feel like I’m them.. always messing things up but finding humor in the dumbest things…

  7. Minions are GREAT! Anytime I want to annoy my wife I just look down at my kids and whisper “beedo beedo beedo” and it sets off a firestorm of bad impersonations and a lot of “bottoms” jokes.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with the post! Most of my friends think these guys are the cutest aliens ever. I, however, would rather shoot myself in the foot before ever seeing the movie.

  9. Love the new perspective you had on minions 🙂 Not to mention the movie Minions wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Plus, Kronk is almost indefinitely the best henchman ever.

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