The Minions began innocently enough: as slapstick sidekick henchmen in the children’s cartoon Despicable Me.
They were well enough received to catch the eye of marketers. One thing led to another, and now they’re everywhere: plush toys, costumes, and even their own film.
But for many in the Starts at 60s community, they’ve taken on a completely different life: as the faces of memes shared all over Facebook. Why have the Minions struck such a chord with Baby Boomers?
If you aren’t posting images like this, chances are you know somebody else who is:
Very few of us have seen a Despicable Me or Minions film. We are not the audience. We don’t know the Minions as film characters. So why do so many Boomers seem to love these little yellow bundles?
Minions sceptic Brian Feldman from The Awl tried to get to the bottom of the craze among our generation. He came up with a solid explanation: they can be whatever we want them to be.
“Minions are not tied to any central emotion”, he says. “They occupy an odd middle ground as a specific piece of intellectual property unbound from a specific feeling or worldview.”
“Minions are sarcastic, honest, smarmy, snarky, playful, mean, and downright sour depending on the need.”
“If we view Minions as a template onto which we project ourselves,” says Feldman, “then sharing a picture of something Minionized is not only saying ‘I like this’, it’s like saying ‘This is an extension of who I am’”.
In short, they’re smileys brought to life: expressive faces that can add extra personality or humanity to a written message. Just as a 🙂 can add a personal touch to your words, a minion can add a small lively touch to a quote, ensuring it’s taken in a spirit of fun.
It seems we have claimed the Minions as our own. Love them or hate them, they won’t be leaving your Facebook feed anytime soon.
Are you a Minions fan, or are you sick of them? What do you love (or hate) about them?