The latest animated take a Dr. Seuss classic —The Grinch — makes a fair amount of changes from its source material, but the biggest change doesn’t have to do with the iconic song or the Grinch’s faithful dog. It’s all about the libido of this nasty greeny creature. Unlike the previous onscreen Grinches (Boris Karloff in 1966, Jim Carrey in 2000) Benedict Cumberbatch’s take on the Grinch is more sexed-up. This Grinch is clearly a Grinch who has more than a passing interest in how those floofloovers are actually blown. For anyone who has seen the movie, this fact is staring you right in the face. For those who haven’t, get ready to be shocked: the new Grinch fucks.
Obviously, we don’t actually see the new Grinch get it on, but his motivations, at least toward the very end of the film are less about becoming a good person, and more about winning over the affections of Cindy Lou Who’s mom. In this iteration of The Grinch, Cindy Lou Who has a single mom. She’s not really interested in getting a new boyfriend/father figure for Cindy Lou Who, but it happens anyway, in the form of the Grinch. We’re led to believe the Grinch is totally going to move in and become part of this household at some point. Wait: is the Grinch the same species as the Whos? Are their DNA even compatible? And if the Grinch isn’t the same species, is Cindy Lou’s mom super kinky?
These are not normal questions, and as such, they don’t have any good answers. But one thing is clear. The final scenes of the film depict the beginnings of the Grinch’s relationship with Cindy Lou’s mom. Meaning, just like in a million romantic comedies, a child is the catalyst for helping a single parent find love. What’s more striking here is that The Grinch has become a low-level rom-com, mostly because the element of the Grinch having any kind of romantic motivations is totally absent from all previous versions. Before he was just a monster who becomes less monstrous. Now, he’s a person who is very clearly attracted to another person. This would be like a new version of The Christmas Carol in which Scrooge stops hating Christmas because Bob Cracket’s mom is a hot widow. It’s weird, but not unrealistic.
To be totally clear, the voice of the new Grinch seems to support this idea. In an interview with Uproxx this week, Benedict Cumberbatch said: “If it were up to me it [The Grinch] would have just been X rated.” This is not a fake quote. Cumberbatch was obviously kidding, but where did the kernel of that joke come from? If you watch the movie, this kind of thing is clearly embedded in the narrative.
In fairness, all kids movies that end with a couple getting together (or even the hint of romance) would naturally lead certain minds to imagine what comes next. The reason why the Grinch’s sexual awakening is interesting is that he’s never been a sexual character before. And now, suddenly he is.
This is not a bad thing at all. If anything, it makes the Grinch way more likable. His grumpiness before was inexplicable and having his heart suddenly grow much bigger because he heard some music was unrealistic. Now, he’s got the hots for Cindy Lou’s mom, and we’re absolutely fine with that.
The Grinch is out now in wide release.