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TikTok’s Grimace shake trend turns the McDonald’s mascot into a murderer

And no, the milkshake is not actually dangerous

Three side-by-side images featuring the same man show the progression of him drinking the McDonald’s Grimace shake, looking startled afterwards, and laying unconscious on the sidewalk with the shake spilling out of his mouth. Graphic: Will Joel/Polygon | Source images: @pxpi_noxh via TikTok
Sadie Gennis is the managing editor of Polygon. She’s been covering TV and entertainment for nearly 15 years, with her work appearing in TV Guide, Variety, and Vulture.

The line between hero and villain is paper-thin — something Grimace (and McDonald’s) is learning first-hand. On June 12, McDonald’s released the berry-flavored Grimace shake as part of the extensive marketing campaign to celebrate the mascot’s birthday. The energetic response from fans turned the promotion into a celebration of Grimace as a queer icon, with people dressing in blursed cosplay for social-media posts about the birthday, and creating fan art of him and the Hamburglar attending Pride. However, only two weeks later, a search for Grimace on TikTok doesn’t surface people honoring “mother Grimace.” Instead, it brings up videos where Grimace’s shake isn’t a purple treat, but rather a deadly concoction that kills or incapacitates all who dare drink it.

Is the Grimace shake dangerous?

No, of course not. TikTok humor just operates on a whole other level of absurdity. It’s all part of the genuinely funny — and sometimes brutally visceral — Grimace shake trend.

What is the Grimace shake trend?

The Grimace shake trend, also known as the Grimace shake incident, has skyrocketed on TikTok, with #grimaceshake generating 689 million views as of publication.

A typical video starts with someone excitedly declaring that they’re going to try the Grimace shake, and wishing the living taste bud a happy birthday. But as soon as the person takes a sip, the camera cuts to the horrifying aftermath, with the person pretending to be passed out, dead, or dying — sometimes in a strange location, like inside a trash can, or draped over the hood of a car — as a result of drinking the shake. And no Grimace shake tableau is complete without the contents of the shake dribbling out of the victim’s mouth like vomit, or spilled on the ground like purple blood.


Happy Birthday Grimace!!!! #grimaceshake #happybirthdaygrimace

♬ Creepy and simple horror background music(1070744) - howlingindicator

The new Grimace drink is so yummy . . . #grimace #grimaceshake #mcdonalds

♬ original sound - Jaci

She thought she was safe from grimace #fyp #fypシ #grimace #happybirthdaygrimace #mcdonalds

♬ Hereditary Sound - Taylor

It’s literally so go0o0 #grimace #grimaceshake #fyp

♬ original sound - pxpi_noxh

There are no bounds to the creativity of creators or their commitment to this bit, which is why the joke continues to gain traction instead of growing stale. Fans are evolving the Grimace shake trend by creating elaborate narratives, horror films, and faux documentaries.


He will be grim-missed #grimaceshake #mcdonalds #trending

♬ Grimacing Sounds - Jon & Eli

Just got the #grimaceshake

♬ Libets Delay by The Caretaker - Alt Tik Tok Sounds

Happy birthday!!! #grimace #grimaceshake #fyp #tellemtobringoutthewholeocean #djkhaled

♬ original sound - Lucas

Happy birthday Grimace! #fyp #grimace #xyzbca #foryou

♬ Dream Sweet in Sea Major - Gem‼

Some of the videos make Grimace an active culprit in the deaths, showing the mascot strangling or stalking those naive enough to have tried the cursed shake.


Happy Birthday Grimace! #Grimace #grimaceshake #grimacesbirthday #mcdonalds

♬ The Attic - Colin Stetson

happy birthday grimace #grimace #grimaceshake #grimacesbirthday #mcdonalds #fyp

♬ original sound - Dylan Tate

So is Grimace mother? Or is Grimace a murderer? That’s up for you to decide. But what is undeniable is that Grimace is the moment.