The Ballad of Uncle O’Grimacey

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Not every cartoon character can be a Snoopy, Garfield or even a Hamburglar, spinning off millions of dollars of merchandise and joy to children everywhere, some are created simply as supporting faces in some baffling marketing campaign or as an attempt to zhush up some failing franchise. Some are just downright bizarre, and even more that that, when their histories are recounted as fact they almost sound like complex and textured literary characters.

One of my favourites is Waluigi, a spin-off of Wario, himself a spin-off of Mario by those fantastic yet loopy dudes down at Nintendo. Read Waluigi’s way too seriously written biog here. My favourite detail is that “Waluigi has a very crude and arrogant attitude, usually showing poor sportsmanship and is thought to cheat often in sports.” Well, der.

Another favourite of mine is Uncle O’Grimacey, Ronald McDonald’s “special friend” Grimace’s Irish uncle, created purely to sell St. Patrick’s Day milkshakes at McDonalds during the 80s. What a raison d’etre that is. Apparently “O’Grimacey resides in his home country of Tunisia for eleven months of the year and visits his nephew Grimace in March when his visa is renewed, bringing with him his creamy oh so thick and milky shake.” What’s a supposedly Irish uncle doing hiding out in Tunisia? I smell the real IRA.

You can catch up with the rest of this needlessly filled out backstory here. What other overlooked mascots and miscellaneous characters demand your pity? Give it to me with both barrels. I’m already thinking of Speedy Gonzales’ gaunt and seemingly drunk mouse friend.

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