by Branson Reese
Ladies and gentlemen, my notes on the popular M&Ms characters are as follows:
RED: You’ve hitched your wagon to his hateful star, and in doing so tarnished your good name. A poor leader, but a worse friend. Red lashes out at Yellow, but his anger is clearly directed inwards. What does he see when he looks at Yellow? Himself? This would explain the regularity and specificity of his verbal lashings of Yellow. How can you love another if you do not first love yourself? He is prey, operating under the flawed premise that he is the apex predator; a sheep in wolf’s clothing. No incident highlights this more clearly than the Santa Encounter. His hubris, his unmitigated gall fells the immortal spirit of Christmas himself. But why stay up in the first place? To discover? A flimsy sham of an excuse. No, dear reader. His intent was to kill, whether he knew it or not. Red’s God is an old God, a God of vengeance. He proves this time and time again by showing himself to be the kind of angry man who prays for harm to befall others. But he only harms himself. And we, the viewers, stand complicit.
YELLOW: Where do I even start? This man is too dumb to live. A slovenly husk. If Red is Wrath, then we need look no further than Yellow for Sloth. It remains a wonder that he hasn’t yet died from sleeping improperly. He’s a remora clinging to Red’s undercarriage. I don’t buy that he brushes his own teeth. He’s a goon, a walking trombone noise. The flame of recognition never sparks in his large, docile eyes. In many ways he is a cow, gentle and dumb. We must wonder if, like a cow, he was bred to live like this. It almost seems a mercy to eat him. He is trusting, simple, blameless. Or is he? We’re tempted to blame his arrested development on Red’s belligerent coddling, but Yellow takes sick agency by refusing to grow, to learn. The door to salvation is open to him, but he prefers to wallow in his own filth. Revolting.
GREEN: Stop trying to sexualize candy. You alienate all but the darkest corners of humanity in doing so. I once thought -naively!- that no person could sink to the vile depths which Green dares us to plunge. Not so. In the darkest corners of the most forbidden reaches of the internet, her siren song is answered. I warn you: Do not explore those avenues! There are some doors, once opened, which can never be closed again.
BLUE: Ah yes! Just what the children clamor for! An unclear Bill Clinton pastiche who rarely speaks! If you remove the man’s sunglasses and saxophone who remains? I have no answers and would venture that neither does he. He is a cypher, a shell. A mannequin to be dressed up in the latest fashions of the day. Why, then, does he remain cloaked in the sheep’s clothing which swept the ’92 presidential election? Because Blue lives in fear. Fear of change. Fear of being discovered. Fear of being discussed. He’s a coward. An agnostic. A fraud.
ORANGE: Orange is the only M&M who makes any sense. He understands that his existence is fraught. A life of violence and danger. While his luckless refusal to resist and beat back the cruel hand of fate is hard to admire, at least he understands the stakes of his wretched tenure on this earth. He alone remembers birth -the factory!- and so he alone shoulders the burden of death. He campaigns frantically, grabbing his siblings by the shoulders and heeding them take warning, all in vain. He tries to reason with his predators, those who he is cursed to comprehend, but to no avail. What must his life be? The loneliest man ever to draw breath. He lives at a manic clip, always one half-step ahead of the chomping maw. One misstep, and he would go to join Tan, The Fallen Brother. He must cry out, but only because the silence is too painful for him. At first glance one could be forgiven to mistake him for a religious fanatic, although he knows no god. He presents a marketing issue, as he bids us eat anything other than M&M’s, lest we take the life from a fellow sentient being. Or perhaps he allows us the chance to play predator, a role denied of us since the Industrial Revolution which led to his very birth. One last chance. He reminds us where we’re from, and warns us where we’re heading. He is a damned man and he is a triumph.
BROWN: Seems like an okay guy. No notes.