The giant purple monster appears to have little to do with burgers, chicken, fries, or soda--so we think. A McDonald's manager from Canada, however, ended our long and blissful wondering period but revealing Grimace's true nature, and it's not something we ever would have been able to guess.
Grimace is a taste bud.
Brian Bates, the manager, dropped the truth about Grimace in an interview with CBCabout working for McDonald's during the pandemic.
The close-up of papillae and taste buds under a microscope do, in fact, resemble large oblong purple shapes--which Grimace is.
Grimace's form has changed since he first showed up in ads. Originally, Grimace was a villain named the "Evil Grimace" who would abscond with milkshakes under his extra arms.
After this unsuccessful portrayal of the giant lingual sensor, Grimace was reimagined with less arms and a nicer expression on his face, eventually joining the good guys.
Ronald McDonald and Grimace would often work together, with Grimace being shown as the foil simpleton to hero Ronald McDonald.
People were predictably horrified at the idea that lovable Grimace was a walking, talking taste-bud who is somehow supposed to denote McDonald's food tastes good.
At least folks can be fairly confident the Hamburglar is a human burglar who steals hamburgers and not a representation of the amygdala or something, meant to show how McDonald's food hits the pleasure center of the brain.
Or is he?