(NEXSTAR) — A “grim” — but light-hearted — new trend has hit TikTok. The premise is simple: Users post videos of themselves tasting McDonald’s new Grimace Shake (named after the restaurant’s iconic purple character) and then “dying” or pretending to befall some other horrific fate.
McDonald’s debuted the berry-vanilla (and very purple) shake earlier this month as part of its “Grimace Birthday Meal.” But in the weeks since, the shake has gone viral for reasons that McDonald’s likely couldn’t have imagined.
As of Wednesday afternoon, videos tagged under the trend — sometimes called “The Grimace Shake Incident” — had millions of views, with users becoming increasingly more creative with faux-gruesome deaths while covered in the signature purple concoction. As NBC News noted, sometimes the purple liquid is seen flowing from their mouth or noses.
Some users have even posted follow-ups to their “death” videos, posting new TikToks featuring an explanation that they were “just joking” as the video takes a turn and they “die” again.
Next, you may be asking yourself — why?
Well, that’s kind of the point. As many online resources for Gen Z parents explain, Gen Z humor is often rooted in absurdism and lack of seriousness toward serious subject matter. While teen millennial humor tended to lean on sincerity and ecstatic emotions — think “epic bacon” — Gen Z humor is more removed and surreal.
To Gen Xers and older (and even to some millennials), the idea of teens posting videos of themselves pretending to die after tasting a Grimace Shake might lead you to think TikTokers are saying the drink is bad. And while some of them might feel that way, in general, the Grimace Shake Incident trend is actually a huge compliment to the product.
Think back to the many other random things Gen Zers you might know have latched onto and loved for absolutely no reason, other than for the simple thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we were obsessed with [x]?” (Think “Bee Movie” and “Shrek.”)
Nexstar reached out to McDonald’s for comment, but hasn’t yet heard back yet. While the company has not yet released a statement on the trend, “Grimace” himself posted from McDonald’s social media accounts with a caption reading: “Mee pretending I don’t see the Grimace shake trendd.”
Stay safe filming, kids!