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Film Theory: How Christmas BROKE The Grinch! (Dr Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas)

Film Theory: How Christmas BROKE The Grinch! (Dr Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas)


I may be out of line asking logical questions about a Doctor Seuss story, but I gotta ask one that’s been bothering me since I was very, very young. What the heck is a Grinch? Biologically, I mean. He’s a furry green monster that lives alone in a snowy cave, there seems to be only one of him, he hates everyone and yet he still owns a dog… According to the poem, he can slither like a snake through the who houses and according to the lyrics of “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch”, at various times, he’s a “crooked jerky jockey”, a “nasty-wasty skunk” and a “greasy black banana”. I mean, Internet! Your guess is as good as mine Or I guess, my guess is as good as mine. ‘Cause I know at some point, I’m gonna have to be the one to answer my own question, aren’t I? *sigh* It’s lonely being a theorist sometimes! *Intro theme* Hello Internet! Welcome to Film Theory! The show that’ll warm the cockles of your heart and then inspire you to look up what cockles actually are. Fun fact! Apparently they’re small bivalve molluscs, and the reason we say “cockles of our hearts” is because somebody hundreds of years ago mixed up the Latin word for “Snails” with the Latin word for “ventricle” and we just never bothered to fix it. “Oh yeah!” Anyway, with ethically compromised holiday of Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time that we go straight into Christmas mode! ’tis the season for nostalgic remembrances of advent calendars, elementary school pageants, (all the cringe) and walking through the aisles of Toys “R” Us (rest in peace) all while being enchanted by things like dolls with stretchy arms, and uncomfortable pieces of plastic that will bruise the bejesus out of your ankles! But it’s important to consider that not everybody remembers those times so fondly,poop of course, I’m talking about the Grinch. One of the most plainly evil characters in all of the western canon. Sure, I can get behind some anti-heroes who make questionable ethical choices, but stealing the source of joy from all the Who children in all of Whoville is simply beyond the pale. Of course, The Grinch also has one of the most memorable turnarounds of any villain that I can think of, when he brings everything back to the Whos and more importantly has a very literal change of heart. To use the original source material, we should say that the Grinch’s heart “grew three sizes that day” Now, I’m not sure what old Doc Seuss meant by “three sizes”, hearts don’t come quite as standardized as khakis. But by the looks of that visual representation, the only Christmas miracle here is if the Grinch’s heart doesn’t crack a rib! But the question I have today is how much of this is a tall Christmas tale, and how much of it could actually happen? Could the Grinch survive his heart growing three sizes, or is the end of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” an awful lot like the middle of “Alien”? Was it really the Christmas spirit that made his heart swell, or is there something else to blame? Is the end of one of our all-time favorite Christmas stories a tragic disaster instead of a heartwarming tearjerker? All coming up on this episode of Grinch’s Anatomy where we’re gonna need 50 cc’s of theorizing stat! If we’re gonna consider the ramifications of the Grinch’s heart suddenly going where no heart has gone before, we have to first consider the state his heart is in. We’re told right off the bat, that the narrator believes that the reason the Grinch hates Christmas is that his heart is two sizes too small. “two sizes too small.” It might seem like that should be enough to kill the Grinch outright, But tiny hearts are indeed a thing among human beings, and since the Grinch talks, and stands upright, and owns a dog, We are for the sake of simplicity gonna compare him to a human being when it comes to whatever crazy heart condition he has. Small heart syndrome is a relatively uncommon (and uncreatively named) condition that results in low Oxygen levels in the blood, and a tendency towards extreme fatigue, even after normal levels of physical activity. Research also shows that having a small heart makes it vastly more likely that the individual will have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I know I’m starting to sound a bit like one of those minute long commercials that come on during “The Price Is Right”, but trust me that I’m going somewhere with all this. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS makes you feel constantly tired, puts you in a sort of mental fog, gives you sleep problems, poor circulation, and makes you more sensitive to external stimuli, like noise. We can see from his general Grinchy shape that the Grinch is definitely skipping leg day, and arm day, and ab day. So we definitely have evidence pointing to fatigue and lethargy, and all that stuff about poor circulation, which would cause cold hands and feet may explain why the Grinch bothers to wear shoes… …but neglect pants. The real clincher here though is that not only does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome factor into the Grinch’s small heart, it also perfectly explains why he hates Christmas in the first place. His rationale is mentioned casually at the beginning of the movie… “There’s one thing I hate…” “All the noise, noise, noise, noise! If the Grinch has trouble sleeping in the first place due to his Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which also then makes him particularly sensitive to noise, I gotta say that I kind of feel some sympathy for the poor guy. Not only is he a societal outcast who lives by himself in a snowy cave, but he’s got himself a chronic condition, and the only people he ever gets to see love to make a big hootenanny, and make his life even more miserable with their cheerful sounds. And it’s not like he’s trying to kill all the Whos, or burn down Whoville, or steal their stuff on a regular basis, One time on the one day of the year, he just wanted to not be made miserable, and have his health problems exasperated. And all of a sudden he’s this terrible person for life. Call me Grinch Pat, but I think that the Grinch’s actions are actually kinda defensible. I mean trust me, as the father of an infant son, I have a new found understanding of the desperation for a good quiet night asleep. Whatever that is, I can’t even remember anymore. and let’s not forget that the Grinch doesn’t even succeed at stealing Christmas, he feels guilty and gives it all back. Why do we hate this guy? I mean, they don’t make super villains out of people who are guilty of attempted murder, so why is this guy the worst, when his only crime was attempted holiday theft? Could it be that the Grinch is actually the hero of Christmas? No, clearly not, and even if he was that would be for a very different episode. “STAY FOCUSED!” So the TLDR is that the Grinch has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and a teensy ticker with the elevated heart rate and blood pressure that goes with it. So what does it mean for his prognosis when his heart suddenly plumps up like me after three rounds of Thanksgiving turkey? Well, it depends on what’s going on, but the most likely explanation is that the Grinch has had a heart attack, and a subsequent myocardial rupture. I know! Old cartoons are very scary, especially from a medical perspective. So what does all of that mean? Well when this happens, it means that one of the valves in his heart bursts open, letting all the blood that’s very carefully regulated in and out of your heart rush in until the pressure equalizes, and that might sound like an extreme leap for a green Christmas monster, but tons of details in the story line up with this sort of diagnosis. Let’s start with the fact that again, due to his Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the Grinch is indeed pretty out of shape. Even if that big Grinch wagon is doing just fine! And yet all Christmas night, he’s been running around from house to house, climbing up and down chimneys, javelining Christmas trees around, all while carrying the presents of the entire town with him. His muscles are going to be exhausted, and that includes the muscles in his heart. but then we get the clincher – the sequence when the Grinch’s sled almost runs over the top of Mount Crumpit, and he sees the error of his ways. He finds the Who resilience charming, and so he sprints up the rest of the mountain, a mountain we are expressly told is ten thousand feet high, “Ten thousand feet up.” “Up the side of Mount Crumpit.” “He rode with his load, to the tip-top to dump it.” Grabs the sled, loaded with about eight tons of presents, and then his heart grows three sizes, to the point that it looks like it should explode out of his ribcage! While this may all look like he’s just moved by the spirit of Christmas, in reality he’s just moved by a lot of neurotransmitters. Hmm, nothing to take that magical feeling out of the holiday season like explaining it away with biology I know how to have myself a good holiday! You see when the Grinch notices the sled starting to go over the top, he’s gonna have himself a moment of panic, you know, that sinking jumping feeling in your stomach, when you realize a big problem, or you have yourself a bad surprise. That feeling is adrenaline and noradrenaline coursing through your body. High levels of those hormones are the ones that are gonna give you that dizzy excited feeling, while also allowing you to run faster, or suddenly gain super strength in a moment of extreme need. Those are the stories that you hear about parents lifting cars off their children, people racing long distances to escape danger, or in our case, rescuing a town-full of Christmas presents from the edge of a cliff. In this moment, he has, to quote the movie: “Found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!” Unfortunately, the other thing that a large sudden spike of those hormones can create is a massive heart attack. In particular, the sudden stress may cause arterial plaque to dislodge and clog up the heart with a blood clot. This itself isn’t gonna cause the Grinch’s heart to explode, but it does give us a pretty good explanation for what we see in the cartoon. Myocardial ruptures which cause the heart to swell up, almost always occur in the aftermath of a heart attack. A Cardiologist from Johns Hopkins, named Dr David Cass, actually discussed what could have caused the Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes quickly, and one of his possible diagnoses was a ruptured valve. Though he ultimately rules it out by saying that the Grinch wouldn’t have felt so good when it was happening. “You’re not gonna be handing out lots of presents, and, you know, being cheerful,” “so, that part didn’t really fit so much.” But, let’s consider how the Jim Carrey version of The Grinch reacts when his heart is growing three sizes. Roll the tape! *Grinch screaming* “I’m…feeling!” I don’t know about you, but it looks like he’s having some sort of coronary episode to me, but even if you’re bothered by the fact that the Grinch in the animated version isn’t having any kind of visible trauma, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had a heart attack. Some studies indicate that as many as 45% of people who have had heart attacks don’t realize that they’ve actually had one. Even the Grinch’s sudden warming towards the Whos may be evidence of this heart attack. The lack of blood to the brain during the heart attack sometimes causes feelings of euphoria for the sufferer. So while there is no Grinch doctor on the scene to confirm in the moment, the fact is that there’s a high likelihood that the Grinch’s heart wasn’t receiving jolts of holiday joy and cheer, it was receiving jolts of adrenaline that overloaded his systems and literally caused his heart to short-circuit! *lightning* So then what happens? Well, now the Grinch’s heart is blowing up like a balloon, But he’ll probably be fine, right? Christmas…spirit and all that? Well, it depends on how severe the situation is, but it ain’t looking too great. Up to 82%of people who experienced some form of cardiac rupture, Will die within two weeks if it isn’t noticed and treated immediately. If the rupture is severe enough that it breaks through the wall of the left ventricle, (and judging by the visuals,that heart is breaking through every wall that’s remotely near it) The mortality rate jumps up to 100.0% Thanks, by the way, researchers, for including that “.0” in there for emphasis. Anyway you shake it, The Grinch is almost certainly dead within hours or days of the movies ending. Even if you refer back to the book, you see him carving the roast beast at the end, But he’s just as dead as the Beast on his plate, because there is no chance that he sees another holiday season. So what have we learned here today, friends? Quite simply, that Christmas cheer is a deadly thing, and MatPat is the biggest Scrooge of them all! But you don’t have to take my word for it, The answer has been hidden since the very beginning. Just look at the lyrics to “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch” “Your heart’s a dead tomato, splotched with mouldy purple spots.” Dead tomato, with purple spots… Hmmmm… Oh yeah, it was there the entire time. You’re a mean one, Mr Seuss! But hey, that’s just a theory, a Film Theory! aaand… did you notice the subtle nod to my new headphones in this theory? I wasn’t just jamming out to some radical holiday tunes while I wrote this episode, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, take me away! These are actually my new go-to headphones from Dolby. Not that particular about all my technology, but as a guy who spends all day listening to YouTube videos, and does a show that’s entirely voiceover, and has to watch a lot of movies for his job, audio is *the* thing that makes a huge difference for me. For this episode, Dolby offered to sponsor us and asked if I wanted to try out their new never-before-tried Dolby Dimension headphones CHRISTMAS PRESENT ALERT! They literally hand-delivered these things to me, because they weren’t released to the public yet. I wasn’t even allowed to let other people in the office see these things, but let me tell you, they are incredible. now that they’ve officially been announced, and I can actually show them to people in the public, I wear them every day. I take them on road trips, plane rides, basically I just live in these things now. And the difference between me being so excited about these headphones, and less so about headphones I’ve worn in the past, is a feature that you would never expect. It’s actually one that allows you to choose how much ambient noise you hear in the headset. It’s called “Dolby Lifemix”. If I’m working with other people on a theory, or, I need to be able to hear a video and also hear someone talking at the same time, I can just adjust the headphones that I can hear both completely clearly It’s insane, the headphones take voices from the outside and amplify them based on my preferences directly into my ear, so I can hear exactly what’s being said. While I’m still immersed in what I’m watching or listening to. Then, if I want total noise cancellation, like on a plane, where if Jason’s talking to me, (because lord knows I don’t want to hear Jason talk) I can just double tap the ear, and poof! All that noise is gone! No more one headphone on, one headphone off, which has literally been how I’ve listened to headphones for years, and it kind of goes without saying but the sound in these things is incredible. I mean, it’s Dolby, they are THE company who’s been doing movie theater sound systems for years. And they designed these things so you feel cinematic sound in the headphones. So whether you’re watching “The Grinch”, “Nailed It!” holiday episodes on Netflix, or avoiding your family with lots of single-player video games, you’re binging smarter. You’re getting the best sound quality in the world, with headphones that feel great around your ears, all while not hearing anything else around you in the process, unless you want it to. So a huge thankyou to Dolby for my early Christmas present of these amazing headphones, and for sponsoring this video, supporting the show and allowing us to buy one more lump of coal for Jason. If you’re interested in learning more about these amazing headphones, which are wireless and actually make your life easier, and actually help you retain friendships longer, because people aren’t shouting at you trying to get your attention, check out the link in the description to see them in action on their website, or heck, if you happen to see a pair in the stores, try it out. There is nothing quite like trying these things out in person. It is a surreal experience, I love these things. I know you’ll get a kick out of them, especially if you care about high quality audio for your entertainment. Alright now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish tabulating Disney deaths. See you next time!

100 thoughts on “Film Theory: How Christmas BROKE The Grinch! (Dr Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas)”

  1. Mat, You put joy in my life. At the end of an hard day, having a new theory , whether game or film , is like a mini Christmas 🎄. It really soothes my soul. My father passed 2 weeks ago and I couldn’t tell you enough how these small moments of joy have made a difference. Thank you Mat.

  2. Aaaand this is the first theory that has ruined my childhood sorta, game and film theories included. Oh well!

  3. … just one question mat pat, who hurt you?…. that you love to break people hopes and dreams T-T you overthinker mosnter T-T…

  4. I had a kitten that died because her heart was 3 sizes too big and it covered her lungs so Grinch…. Be careful. See a doctor.

  5. I'm normally okay after one of ur theories but I LOVE the Grinch. U have official scared my child and adulthood with this one.

  6. Matpat
    I love your theories and agree with most of them but I just need to say.. when in the movies it says "his heat grew three times that day"I think the mean it in a metaphorical way I don't mean to sound like a critic but it's just been bothering me for a while

  7. I think the grinch is either another race of who or he is a who with some sort of mutation. He is different from the other who’s and maybe he left his home and found a new home in whoville but because he is so different to the isolated who’s he felt like he couldn’t fit in and began to resent them. He then moved to the mountains making him even more bitter in his loneliness.

  8. I realized that my brother took my phone and went on this video to ask for subscribers but this vid is still good

  9. gonna be honest, not exactly the best theory, because before everybody starts hating on me for not liking his theories, you should see my recommended list(film and game theory) soo yeah, but this well Grinch was too lovable, just had to not like it, but that is ONE out of hundreds of theories he has OKAY, so please don't hate me, and to the person who randomly sees this comment while scrolling, hi have a great day/night

  10. Tis the season to be jolly

    Well that was before is saw this

    Tis the to hate Christmas because of film theorist la la la la

    Great you've turned me into the grinch

  11. Thoes headphones look amazing, but they are so cool I’m scared to go to the site because they are probably gonna be hella expensive

  12. Actually, if you watch Teen Titans Go, you’ll know that Santa is one of the villains that tries to steal holidays. He almost never succeeds, although he’s still labeled as a villain.

  13. What about the newer
    "The Grinch that stole Christmas"
    It seemed off
    What did he take to travel to the north pole?
    How did the reindeer not break the bed?
    And could this Grinch be a robot because the narrator's said
    "Or because his head wasn't screwed on just right?"
    What type of choir just follows you around everywhere?
    And I think there's a love connection between Sindy Lou's mom and the Grinch I mean where is Sindy Lou's dad?
    Well that's all my questions
    well for now

  14. after watching this vid i think i might have CFS. Im tired all the damn time, im pretty sensitive to noise, i cant be active for long because i get tired easily…. yo matpat, your kinda freaking me out here dude. i learn more from you than i do anywhere else.

  15. I think the Grinch's heart was really, really small and then grew to a bit over a normal sized human heart.

  16. In the new movie, the grinch buys green hair dye. That leads me to think, along with general body composition in later movies, that the grinch is just a who that hates everything. This, of course, is most likely not correct, because im not a scientist.

  17. 0:16 Okay. Here we go.

    – Furry Green Monster
    – Lives Alone
    – Has Pet
    – Hates People

    These are things we know about the Grinch. How did he get to his house in the live action one? Wasn't it a trash chute? It was, right? Okay. Let's add "Lives in trash," to the list. I can only think of one possible thing that the Grinch could be.

    A Grouch.

    Oscar the Grouch is a furry, green monster. He lives alone in his trash can, aside from his pet worm, Slimy. Staying true to his name, he's a grouch, and is not only rude, but also seems to hate everyone, but in Elmo in Grouchland, he showed that he really does care about his friends, similar to how in the newest version of the Grinch, he cares about Max. Not really a theory, but a potential answer.

  18. Is that.. is that Blue Scaramucci? Did he just put Blue Scaramucci on the screen when talking about antiheroes?

  19. Maybe the Grinch is bacteria because maybe one day we might respond like a oversight machine and and spawned maybe it's the Grinch there's a mystery we have to make more Grinch bills we have to head deeper way to like this1000000000 the Sonoran don't know if the Grinch is 1 million deeper but maybe some people know it will be one time deeper

  20. With having a small heart, he means that the geich has cold feelings, an with his heart growing,
    The author means taht the grinch now understands the spirit of christmas, my god.
    Thanks for understandin absolutely…
    NOTHING.

  21. I have a theory that in the who world there is 2 towns one with the who's and then with the Grinch's species. And some this got messed up and he was not supposed to be there. Mainly based on the live action one but but still interesting

  22. I think you're overthinking it. The Grinch's heart being two sizes too small and then three sizes bigger is a metaphor for his affection towards Christmas and/or anything in general. Small heart = not so caring. Big heart = very caring.

  23. Or maybe he just hates Christmas. I mean the Grinch isn’t really a human. So maybe he doesn’t even have that kind of stuff… Soooooo

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