In today’s post I’m going to be talking about the M&M characters. But initially, I was going to write a blog post about the crazy cultural landmark that is M&M World. You know, that enormous cathedral of confectionery that dominates Leicester Square opposite The Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, the best piece of writing that could be written about this already exists, in Tom Whyman’s The M&Ms Store and the M&Mification of the World: Understanding the New Reification. Vice have also done some decent photojournalism of the place.
So we’re all in agreement, M&Ms World is a strange place. But still, I had questions. Like, who exactly is spending £37 on a 300g ‘tenderness tube?’
So I spent a while going through the official M&M website. And on there, they have OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHIES of the M&M characters. So I’m going to talk about those instead.
Who are the M&M characters?
In the UK, we’re only really exposed to two of the M&Ms: Red and Yellow. My main association with them is a pre-film show they presented at UK cinemas called From the Red Carpet. They would usually intro a celebrity interview from a new film premiere. It was quite strange.
Obviously, M&Ms have zero authority whatsoever to be talking about movies. But I guess M&M World is in Leicester Square and they do a lot of movie premiers there. So, um, a few unspecified leaps of logic later and you get this. Ok!
Oh, and there was also this bizarre advert that I’m sure we’d all do better to forget.
I won’t even dignify that with any commentary. It’s weird and shouldn’t exist – end of.
But did you know that there are a further four M&M characters? Apparently, there are! Let’s meet them all.
Ok first up let’s discuss how weird it is that these things have ages and genders. I guess it’s natural to project gender-roles onto any anthropomorphised figure. Still, you don’t actually need to spell it out here. I also DO NOT LIKE this M&M being 30 years old. He should be ageless.
Also not going to even comment on the M&Ms having “turn-ons”.
Anyway, the red M&M is a walking contradiction. He apparently has a “genius IQ” but also “thinks he knows more than he does”. So he’s hyper-intelligent but also arrogant regarding his intelligence. And he’s able to “turn simple chores into complicated tasks”. What’s his deal?
Red’s quote: Everything’s under control. The way this is worded gives me the absolute creeps. So sterile, so clinical. Like a serial killer who knows your every move in advance even as you think you’ve escaped.
Another male. Ok. He’s best friends with Red but apparently a bit of a dope.
His age is… UNKNOWN?! Why is it unknown? Why introduce this element of mystery. What kind of mysterious savant space baby are we dealing with here?
Yellow’s quote: Inside everyone there’s a little nut. I guess this makes sense if he’s a peanut M&M. But it’s also demonstrably untrue. Weird thing to see, in my opinion.
Orange is by far the most haunted M&M character. He comes across as a nervous wreck, seemingly addled with existential dread.
He’s apparently stressed as hell. And his expression just screams out “I”m aware that I am a piece of confectionery who exists only for human consumption”. Yet he dreams of being “on the endangered species list” – as if he welcomes death? And he’s constantly anxious, being “always aware of his surroundings” and believing that “everyone is after him”.
Why did they give Orange this personality? He could have been happy-go-lucky instead. There’s nothing inherent to orange chocolate that lends itself to this temperament. Orange’s very existence feels like some sick joke.
Orange’s quote: I’m a dead man. Jesus Christ, this is bleak. Not even an exclamation mark to make it somewhat jovial. Just a frank awareness of his own mortality. Bone-chilling.
Green is our female M&M so, of course, she’s immediately sexualised. But hey, at least she’s somewhat confident and not moping about her own death constantly.
There’s really not much else to say about her though, unfortunately. Like the writers couldn’t even be bothered to think of a “best attribute” or “appearance” description for her.
Green’s quote: I melt for no-one. This one is actually ok! It harks back to the old M&M slogan ‘melts in your mouth, not in your hands”. And it’s a brilliant bit of wordplay on the word ‘melt’ at least.
Brown wears glasses, implying that M&Ms can suffer from distance-related sight issues or forms of astigmatism. And because she’s female, they’ve also made her “sexy sophisticated”. COME ON YOU CAN JUST BE SOPHISTICATED.
Brown’s quote: The fact is, it doesn’t get any better than the original(TM). Lol that she would use an actual trademark in her quote. Brown is the ultimate corporate shill. Or should that be… SHELL?!
So what’s Blue’s deal then? I’m unclear on what archetype he’s mean to fit. He’s old and sophisticated, but also wily and confident. Is he like a con-man? Or a mafia-type? he likes moonlit nights, jazz and talks like some kinda 1920s speakeasy owner, so he’s some kinda Frank Sinatra guy? It feels like the writers were given the brief of “wise guy” and interpreted it in like five different ways.
Blue’s quote: Never let ’em see you melt. Absolutely no read on this. Blue is a bit of an enigma.
So there you have it. The M&Ms characters. They didn’t need to exist, and Orange in particular seems to be really upset that they do. I don’t know if having these characters helps to sell more M&Ms – they don’t even use most of them in their advertising.
So I leave you with a question: why M&M character are you? I think I identify most strongly with Orange, crippled as he is by his own anxiety. He’s flawed, but at least he’s honest. But maybe you’re more of a Red, or perhaps a Yellow. When we look within ourselves we have to face the facts: deep-down, we’re all an M&M.