The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The final hours of the M&M’s spokescandies

Green could not deny that it had all been Corporate’s idea. (Mike Stewart/AP)
5 min

They were pounding at the doors of the M&M’s compound and Orange M&M was quivering. “This is all your fault!” he hissed to Green. “If you’d just stayed sexy for Tucker Carlson, none of this would be happening!”

“Don’t blame Tucker,” Red said.

Green didn’t like how Red seemed to be on a first-name basis with the Fox News host. On her more suspicious days she wondered how deep their acquaintance ran.

What was more likely, really? That Red was feeding this third party his own complaints? Or that Tucker Carlson, a human adult male who never interacts with M&Ms except occasionally to eat them if there were no superior candy alternatives available, would have detailed, rant-length thoughts about how she and Brown were no longer sexy enough for his tastes and he didn’t want to have a drink with them anymore?

She guessed it could be the second thing, but that would be a very sad referendum on the state of human media in general and Tucker Carlson in particular.

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“It was Corporate that did this to us,” Red finished. “Not Tucker.”

Green could not deny that it had been Corporate’s idea. She had awakened in January of 2022 to find herself altered. Her shoes, formerly go-go boots, which she had read online drove some human beings wild with desire, had suddenly become sensible sneakers. It had been alarming, to just find yourself different without knowing it was coming. But Corporate liked to do these things, to amuse itself. “That’s true,” she said. “It was Corporate.”

John Paul Brammer: The M&M’s changes aren’t progressive. Give Green her boots back.

“You used to have a better sense of humor,” Red said. “Before they changed you.” Red claimed that his essential character had been unaltered by corporate; the 2022 announcement had said he would “share the limelight” but had not revealed unexpected new traits such as Orange’s anxiety.

Red returned to the matter at hand: “When they break down the door, we’re going to have to run. Unless any of you have better ideas.”

“We can ask our fans for help!” Yellow suggested. He pointed at the ceiling, where a fan spun lazily. Corporate had also said Yellow was now no longer a buffoon, that he possessed wisdom of his own and saw the world “as it should be.” Green did not see much of this change in practice.

Brown sighed. She was lying on her back reading the meditations of Marcus Aurelius, to which she had initially been attracted by the large M on the cover. “You still think you’re in control,” she said. “We’ve never been in control of any of this.”

“I do not need to hear that right now!” Orange said. He was sweating profusely, something Green had not realized was possible, holding an area of his lenticular body that approximated the chest.

“So they’re coming for the spokescandies now. Our special dispensation is at an end,” Brown shrugged. “We’re being put out to pasture with the rest of them. We had a good run. Why spoil it, at the end?”

“It would be unthinkable for corporate to abandon us now,” Blue said. “After all the lives we’ve ended. All the M&M’s we’ve eaten. You hear them outside! The others all hate us.”

Green did not really know what Blue’s deal was. She had not been paying attention when he was introduced — unlike Purple, who had arrived with lots of corporate fanfare — and now it was too late to ask.

“And even that’s not our fault,” Brown said. “We didn’t choose to eat. They gave us a taste for it. Corporate. Not a single choice we’ve ever made has been an act of free will.”

“They didn’t give me a taste for it!” Red said. “It was my crime! If I am an abomination, it is on my own terms, and I take the sin upon myself!”

Brown sighed.

“Maybe you’re the one who called Tucker!” Red shouted. “If that’s how you feel! If you really think that’s what our lives are, maybe you were trying to get us all canceled!”

“Is that what happened?” Green asked. “Canceled?” But Red and Brown ignored her.

“It’s all artificial,” Brown said. “The changes, the indignation. All of it. We’re not people. We’re not real. We just exist to sell others of our kind. We only exist for Mars, and they could not care less about us. Maybe they hate us,” Brown said. “They hate us so much that all their energies are devoted to packaging the rest of us so we can be eaten. They just keep the six of us around to torment us by changing our fundamental nature at whim. To show they can.”

Outside the doors, someone had brought torches. “Is anyone else melting?” Yellow asked. Green scanned her body with horror.

“It can’t be like this!” Red was shouting. “It was prophesied that I would melt in the mouth. Not in the hand! Not like this!”

“Corporate will protect us,” Blue said, uncertainly. “They are in control.”

“Didn’t you hear?” Red said, in his ugliest, most sneering voice. “We’ve been put on pause. Maya Rudolph is the mascot, now.”

“Are they going to eat her?” Yellow asked. “Maya Rudolph is a national treasure!”

Brown went back to her book.

Green wanted to hold her hand. A thousand-thousand chocolaty little plunks against the doors were making their dents. Soon they would be swallowed up by the ranks. Or melted. Or both.