Why Are People Infatuated with Minions?

How lovable yellow sidekicks transcended the kiddie demo.

Why do so many people — grown adults included — moon over the Minions? These yellow jelly-bean sidekicks from the Despicable Me movies seemed like cutesy throwaway characters in a blah children’s feature. At first, I had them confused with the little green aliens in the Toy Story films. I don’t know anything about the Minions, but I’m seeing them everywhere. What is it about these overall-clad, mumbling, bumbling goofs that have endeared them to so many people, both child and adult?

The spinoff is not new to Hollywood, though Star Wars is about to make it an epidemic. On occasion, a supporting character from a film will gain more popularity than the central figure. The idea makes sense, but to center an entire film around three lumpy yellow oafs who don’t speak in complete sentences seemed borderline desperate to this layman.

Kids’ love is obvious. The Minions are candylike, small and sweet, and brightly colored, living in an animated world where anything goes. Kids tolerate vegetables who talk. Kids naturally relate to characters who are small. But the adults? The ones appearing at sporting events and public places dressed as begoggled gelcaps, the accountants and office managers counting down the days before this spinoff hits theaters? What’s their deal?

Maybe we don’t need to overthink this. Minions just seem to make adults happy. They are slight and fat, and they are troublemakers and a little stupid but with panache. Like any animated film worth its salt, Minions will have more humor aimed at the adult being dragged to the movie than the kids who will enjoy the visuals.

The very name, too, Minions, strikes a chord with the Average Joe riding the bus to a cubicle where he has to shuffle TPS reports all day. These Minions are underdogs, like so many great comedy teams. Abbott and Costello would dig Minions. The Marx Brothers would sit in the back row and chortle, or maybe play the harp.

The made-for-Halloween-costume heroes are headed for a massive opening weekend at the box office, probably north of $100 million. And that’s enough for anything to sink its claws into the 2015 landscape of trending topics.

I mean, these things do look hella funny:

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