The Minions are cute. They’re adorable. They’re evil. Well, maybe not exactly evil, but through their stupidity and drive to serve the world’s most powerful master, they usually end up not working for someone you’d invite to Thanksgiving (except the first guy on the list). As seen in the Minions movie last summer, they have been around forever. They first sought to serve a gigantic T-Rex, the world’s biggest and baddest dinosaur since no humans were around. They ended up accidentally killing him by pushing him into a volcano. Then came Count Dracula, who by all accounts, they served well. Unfortunately, when it came time to celebrating the Count’s 357th birthday, they killed him too by allowing sunlight into his castle. Lastly, they ended up in Napoleon’s Army during his ill-fated invasion of Russia. Napoleon’s fate was left up in the air, but it didn’t look good: totally by accident they kind of blew up the general with a cannon.
The Minions then wandered throughout history searching for their next “Big Boss”. After struggling, next thing you know, they end up in the 1960’s. First in New York, then in England. But what happened in the meantime? What mischief, destruction, and evil-doing were the Minions up to between the Napoleonic Wars and the 1960’s? They’re not exactly the best workers because their stupidity and absent-mindedness almost always leads to the death of their boss or some kind of massive catastrophe for whoever they are serving (and no, I checked; they never worked for the US Government). After doing some serious research and digging, I have uncovered four other instances of them popping up throughout history. So, peel back a banana, relax, and enjoy.
1. Confederate Army, Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg (1863)
With an army full of eager Minions, Gen. Robert E. Lee was debating what to do on the third day of fighting. His army had fought valiantly, and he was one small push away from winning the battle and possibly the entire war. He had the idea of a frontal assault on Union lines, which would become known as Pickett’s Charge. However, upon announcing his plan, a more sensible Gen. James Longstreet warned Lee that such an attack would never succeed due to the amount of open ground they had to march over while under fire. Perhaps Lee was finally beginning to see the light, but with thousands of Minions chanting “Big boss! Big boss!” it was hard to turn them down. So, he launched them into battle and the rest, as they say, is history. Lee was lucky though. Unlike previous masters Dracula and Napoleon, he survived. Unfortunately, generals Lewis Armistead and Richard Garnett did not, and thousands of other soldiers were killed and wounded. (Maybe we should further suspend our belief because Minions are immortal and had they actually been at Lee’s disposal, he might have won Gettysburg.) Nevertheless, they were disgraced and dismissed for their unabashed enthusiasm and stupidity. And thus they went on to serve their new master, which ironically occurred after they served Gen. Grant at the battle of Cold Harbor a year later in 1864…
In-Between Part-Time Jobs and Gigs
1865: Dave and Kevin are appointed head reconstruction advisers to Andrew Johnson.
2. Clement Vallandigham Accidentally Killing Himself (1871)
Here’s a guy who never quite made it to Ken Burns’ 95 hour mini-series on the Civil War. Clement V. (just so I don’t have to keep spelling his last name) was a fervent Copperhead during the Civil War. For those of you who haven’t yet read Shelby Foote’s 83 million page saga on the War Between the States, that basically means he was an anti-war northerner. He also happened to be a defense attorney who probably should have chosen another line of work. After selecting Minions Kevin, Bob, and Stuart as his assistant counsel and trusting them to handle the evidence in an upcoming murder trial, Clement V. got so excited about his defense that he decided to act it out. His defendant was accused of shooting and killing someone during a barroom brawl. Mr. V. argued the death was accidental and the gun going off was the result of the victim’s own carelessness and wardrobe malfunction. “Guns don’t kill people, only drunks with really poorly made holsters do.” Bob announced to the jury in Minionese during opening arguments which nobody understood. Anyway, back at a hotel another day, Clement V. acted out the scene to prepare himself by holding a gun in such a way that it would get caught on his clothing and go off. And it did. There was only one problem: the gun was loaded and he didn’t know it. The Minions forgot to empty the chambers! Clement V. therefore shot himself in relatively the same way as the victim, and also went a step further to prove his point: he died too. The defendant was later found not guilty as a result, but not before the Minions were disbarred for their recklessness. And thus they went on to serve their new master.
In-Between Part-Time Jobs and Gigs
1901: The Minions work for the Secret Service in William McKinley’s security detail.
1912: Stuart lands a low-paying gig as crow’s nest lookout for the Titanic.
3. The Stock Market Crash (1929)
After a long hiatus and not being able to find steady full-time employment, the Minions eventually made their way to Wall Street where they were amazed that so many crooks, scoundrels, thieves, and scumbags could all exist in one small area. They were beyond excited! They had it made. Though they needed no weapons this time, they were called on to provide financial advice. Surely these tiny, yellow creatures had the inside scoop on something big. The “Big Bosses” at Wall Street craved the next big investment: bananas! Yes, bananas. That’s because every time they asked a Minion what to invest in, they were told “Banana!” (always singular, never plural). Lo and behold, different firms began sending all their money to banana farms until the market ultimately became so flooded that the entire financial system of the United States broke down. They did have one small stint with Enron and Lehman Brothers later on (before it became the “Bank of Evil”), but for these little guys, their money days were over. And thus they went on to serve their new master.
In-Between Part-Time Jobs and Gigs
1931: Kevin serves as chief cartographer for Amelia Earhart.
1937: Records are fuzzy, but Bob definitely helped build the Hindenburg.
4. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis (1939-1945)
No, we’re not going to have fun with the Nazis here. Only an 80 year old college professor with tenure strong enough to withstand a nuclear blast would dare make a Hitler joke. But, since Minions usually aim to serve the most evil person on the planet, it would make sense that by about 1939, they would have made their way to Hitler. (Notice I said usually, just so I don’t offend some Confederate Civil War reenactors out there who think I just lumped their demigod Robert E. Lee in as evil.) Yes, it may be hard to imagine these cute yellow bundles of joy as racist, fascist, goosestepping little Nazi’s, but until they found their way serving Gru and becoming beacons of hope and smiles to millions of little children, they had to bring about the destruction of Berlin and the end of the Third Reich through their own carelessness (which somehow happened as a result of one too many fat jokes aimed at Hermann Goring). One thing Hitler and Minions had in common? They’re both vegetarians. So there you go. Eat more bacon.