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Will McDonald's Adult Happy Meals Truly Bring Happiness?

bon Appétit logo bon Appétit 9/30/2022 Li Goldstein
© Illustration by Hazel Zavala

Try Guys mainstay Ned Fulmer, supposed champion of wives and all things marriage, was scrubbed from the collective consciousness this week, like an America’s Next Top Model contestant fading into the ether during end credits. Even the humblest of groups, whose notion is literally to just try things (food and otherwise), has fallen victim to the ills of fame and all the infidelity that comes with it.

Another protagonist of this week was the newest M&M, Purple. In the wake of M&M’s rebranding backlash, they evidently haven't learned that nobody wants to relate to their chocolate at the level of personality. The internet also had choice words for adultified Happy Meals and a man’s (alleged) first encounter with a sweet potato.

Adult Happy Meals

McDonald’s new Happy Meal collab is here just in time to usher in the apocalypse. The fast food giant has partnered with buzzy streetwear brand Cactus Plant Flea Market, known for its collabs with Nike and Stüssy, to release a combo deal targeting… adults. Each Big Mac or 10-piece Happy Meal will come with one of four plastic figurines designed by the fashion house: Grimace, Hamburglar, Birdie, or Cactus Buddy!, the brand’s little yellow mascot adorned with a crooked smile. Just what we climate-anxious adults need right now: plastic toys to play with while the earth burns. It’s also embarrassing that capitalist monster McDonald’s thinks it can pull off a merch drop like an indie fashion label. Grimace indeed. 4.3/5 distressing, but 1 delicious point for normalizing adults ordering nuggets. —Ali Francis, staff writer

Man Versus Sweet Potato

"They look like garbage," says the man who claims to have never encountered a sweet potato in his life. It isn't a nice thing to say about anyone, but especially about my favorite fall carb. He expresses shock at the orange hue and wonders where they came from. Is he lying? Who’s to say? And while his awakening is why this video has been shared several thousand times, I am stuck on: If you were going to introduce sweet potatoes to someone for the first time—an honor, honestly, and something I aspire toward—would steak fries be the way to do it? Why not steamed then slathered with tahini butter? Why not whooshed with blue cheese into a creamy dip? Why not cake? 3.1/5 distressing. —Emma Laperruque, senior cooking editor

Try Guys Try Infidelity

As millennial internet-users will remember, it was out of Buzzfeed’s 2014-era maelstrom of personality quizzes and listicles that the Try Guys triumphantly emerged. Ever eager to broadcast their food-related exploits (among other things), the Guys now host The Food Network’s No Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys. As someone chemically addicted to drama, it was a rush for me to see the news that Try Guy Ned Fulmer’s affair with his coworker Alex Herring had come to light. Surely, I thought, this was a stunt — ‘The Try Guys Try Public Infidelity’ or something of the like. Alas the affair appears to be real, and it looks like the Try Guys will never be the same. Still, as much as I love gossip, it seems the grinding machinations of the internet have left Ned jobless and publicly shamed, which is ultimately disturbing. 4.2/5 distressing — Sam Stone, staff writer

New Purple M&M

The most exclusive of cliques has welcomed a new member into its inner circle. For the first time in over a decade, our favorite posse of anthropomorphic M&Ms has expanded by one, adding Purple to its lineup. For reasons beyond me, M&M’s marketing rests on ascribing highly specific personality traits to its “spokescandies” (their word, not mine), and the brand has seemingly bent over backwards to make said spokescandies more inclusive, with “more nuanced personalities.” Green M&M shed her heeled boots (too sexy) in favor of more sensible sneakers, and Orange embraced his anxiety. Purple, for one, is “confident,” “authentic,” and “self-aware,” according to today’s press release. Thank god she’s self-aware, otherwise her confidence could be read as cockiness—the power of nuance! Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think anyone is looking to the M&M-verse as a mirror for the human condition; I do, however, want to be a fly on the wall in the M&M boardroom for the next pitch. 1.3/5 distressing. — Li Goldstein, digital production assistant


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