|“||Did someone just say... Grinch?||„|
|~ Augustus Maywho's first line.|
|“||Martha, have you ever kissed a man who lost his tonsils twice?||„|
|~ Augustus dreaming of kissing Martha May Whovier while sleeping.|
Mayor Augustus Maywho, also simply known as Augustus Maywho, is the main antagonist of the 2000 live action adaptation of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
He is the greedy, selfish and pompous mayor of Whoville and the archenemy of the Grinch. His main goal is to marry Martha May Whovier and to keep himself popular. Though initially shown as a minor neutral character, he is later revealed to have bullied the Grinch since childhood, making him essentially responsible for the Grinch's hatred to Christmas and the film's plot.
He was portrayed by Jeffrey Tambor, who had previously played K. Edgar Singer in Muppets from Space, and also voiced Crazy Quilt in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Dr. Zin in Jonny Quest; while Ben Bookbinder portrayed an eight-year-old Augustus May Who.
|“||You don't have a chance with her! You're eight years old and you have a beard!||„|
|~ Augustus teasing the Grinch for his crush towards Martha when they were kids.|
As the mayor of Whoville, Augustus was thought to be a well-meaning leader seemingly concerned over the panic of several Who citizens about the Grinch's presence during Christmas. However, this is all a facade to hide his true nature: that of an arrogant and egotistical businessman who is willing to exploit holidays for his own benefit. Even as a child, he bullies the young Grinch for his appearance during Christmas, which drove the Grinch into becoming the Christmas-hating and misanthropic hermit that he was ever known. Even when the Grinch briefly became the Holiday Cheermeister, Augustus presents him with a razor to remind him of the horrible incident before getting others to laugh at this (some who possibly don't know about the razor's meaning and just think that it's a good-natured joke from the Mayor), much to the Grinch's humiliation and anger. Augustus is also quite corrupt as he callously allowed massive littering of garbage (including hazardous waste) into Mount Crumpit; even during the Christmas light contest when the judges declared Betty Lou Who as the winner, Augustus decided to announce Martha May Whovier as the winner by claiming it as a "split decision" in hopes of proposing to her.
Augustus is also lustful towards Martha ever since they were kids, having the gall to say to Cindy Lou Who that Martha was his girlfriend by that time when she wasn't; even topping it off by proposing a marriage vow and a new car to her after humiliating the Grinch during the Cheermeister festivities. He is also revealed to be very greedy and materialistic in nature as he believes that Christmas is all about presents, decorations and lights and that he himself is making a profit out of commercializing the holiday for his own benefit; this was evident of when he threw a nasty tantrum after the Grinch stole all of Whoville's gifts, food and decorations. Even when the Grinch developed a change of heart by returning all of stolen gifts, food and decorations before apologizing and surrendering himself to the police for his actions, Augustus orders the police to blind the Grinch's eyes with pepper spray while arresting him.
However, Augustus' greedy and materialistic nature proved to be his downfall as the citizens (including the police) have learned their lesson about the avarice and commercialism they brought on Christmas and that they are willing to accept the Grinch's apology and forgive him; even Martha turned down Augustus' proposal by saying that her heart belongs to a misunderstood yet insightful hermit rather than a corrupt mayor.
Augustus first appeared after hearing that Whoville's postman Lou Lou Who's teenage sons (along with their girlfriends) have trespassed in the perimeter of the Grinch's lair in Mount Crumpit. Lou assured to Augustus that the teenagers weren't doing anything to provoke the Grinch before explaining to his daughter Cindy Lou about the Grinch's existence. Needless to say, Cindy Lou took an interest in the Grinch after he reluctantly saved her life from being killed by the post office's sorting machine.
Using her dad's recorder for several interviews, Cindy learned that the Grinch used to live in Whoville as a mischievous yet kind child, but was ridiculed by a young Augustus and his friends for his appearance while Martha May Whovier took an interest with him. When Cindy Lou interview Augustus about the story, he blatantly lies by saying that he tried to offer the Grinch his friendship.
In reality, back when he was eight years old, Augustus was appalled by Martha liking the Grinch that he continued to ridicule him out of jealousy. Due to Martha's act of kindness, the Grinch made a makeshift angel as a present for her, but starts to feel insecure about his appearance due to Augustus' teasing. The Grinch tried to use a razor but was forced to cover his razor marks with shaving paper. When Augustus soon learns about this, he took the opportunity to mock the Grinch by calling him a 'hack job', causing the other kids to laugh at him, except for Martha. Fed up with this mockery, the Grinch loses his temper by destroying the class' tree and presents (including the makeshift angel), scaring Augustus and the other kids away.
The Grinch then ran off to live in Mount Crumpit, developing a hatred of Christmas and the people of Whoville for their mockery against him for several years while Augustus became the new mayor; even arranging a new system of trash chutes (known as Dumpit to Crumpit) that would dump all of Whoville's garbage into Mount Crumpit. Augustus would also try to make Martha his wife as she was now a beautiful woman, but she still longed for the Grinch to return.
Touched by this sad story and having her own doubts of the holiday, Cindy Lou decides to invite the Grinch to the Wholibation festivities by nominating him as Cheermeister, much to the others' surprise. Though Augustus tried to explain to Cindy that the Grinch won't join the festivities due to his hatred of Christmas, he reluctantly allows this due to Cindy Lou explaining her reasons to the other citizens. Needless to say, Augustus is astounded to see that the Grinch has indeed arrived for the celebration due to the promise of an award.
At first, the Grinch finds himself uncomfortable during the contests, but slowly finds himself accepted after getting his reward, much to Augustus' dismay. Though it would've seemed that the Grinch has finally enjoyed himself and is about to be won over, Augustus (in an act of jealousy) gave him a present: an electric razor to remind him of his traumatic school memory before getting the other citizens to laugh at him for it. Augustus even tops this off by proposing to Martha with a diamond ring and a new car, which finally drove an angry Grinch to wreck havoc by scratching and wrecking the new car so hard with his finger, scaring the citizens, paying the Mayor back by shaving his head violently right down the middle with the razor, and destroying the large Christmas tree with a makeshift flamethrower before escaping back to Mount Crumpit. Though it was fruitless when Augustus brought in a spare tree to replace it.
Deciding that it was time to stop Christmas from coming, the Grinch made a Santa Claus disguise and a flying sleigh (with his dog Max as a reindeer) to steal all of Whoville's gifts, decorations and food. During his burglary that night, the Grinch comes across a sleeping Augustus dreaming about kissing Martha. Seeking his revenge, the Grinch makes Augustus kiss Max's butt, much to Max's embarrassment. The Grinch also ties up a rope between Augustus' bed and a police car.
After the Grinch finishes his burglary by riding his sleigh up into Mount Crumpit, the people of Whoville soon learned about the Grinch's scheme just as Augustus wakes up after his bed ends up being pulled by the police car due to the panic. Realizing what happened, Augustus angrily lets out a tantrum and blames Cindy Lou for the incident, but Lou (finally realizing what Cindy Lou is trying to say and now sees the mayor's true nature) stands up by reminding everyone that the true meaning of Christmas is to be with friends and family instead of getting gifts or doing contests; even berating Augustus for his treatment towards Cindy Lou and the Grinch.
Realizing that Lou is right, all of the citizens of Whoville agreed to celebrate the holiday without their gifts and started singing in cheer, much to Augustus' frustration. Cindy then takes the opportunity to head up to Mount Crumpit in hopes of inspiring the Grinch with everyone singing. Upon hearing everyone singing in cheer, the Grinch initially got frustrated that his plan failed, but soon realizes the true meaning of Christmas before developing a change of heart.
With the help from Max and Cindy Lou, the Grinch rides his sleigh back to Whoville to return all of the gifts, decorations and food to the citizens. The Grinch then confesses and apologizes for his crimes before surrendering himself to the police as he is willing to accept his punishment. Wanting the opportunity to get back at the Grinch, Augustus orders the police to arrest the Grinch and blind him with pepper spray, but the police and the citizens decided to forgive the Grinch, as they have all learned a lesson about the true meaning of the holiday. Even Martha, who was also mad at Augustus for his treatment of the Grinch, turned down Augustus' proposal by giving him back the ring, saying that her heart belongs to the Grinch.
Realizing now that all of Whoville's citizens have turned against him for what he did to the Grinch, Augustus reluctantly shakes the Grinch's hand to assure no hard feelings, though the latter laughs at him before telling him to cheer up since it's the holidays. Augustus was finally seen again after all the items are returned to the Who citizens before joining the Grinch at the feast in his cave home on Mount Crumpit, so he cheers with the crowd afterwards. Regardless, it's strongly implied that Augustus no longer harassed the Grinch anymore.
Video Game Appearance
Mayor Maywho appears as an antagonist in The Grinch and Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the two video game adaptions of the popular 2000 feature film.
- Mayor Augustus Maywho is an original character created solely for the live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He didn't appear in the original book written by Dr. Seuss nor in the 1966 animated TV special. This is because the film expanded the plot for runtime reasons as the book was shorter, allowing them to create more backstory for the characters, specifically The Grinch.
- In some ways, Augustus was created to give a reason to why The Grinch hated Christmas in the first place. In the original story, why The Grinch hated Christmas is never specified, with the narrator speculating whether it most likely was because his heart was two sizes too small.
- Likewise, Augustus serving as a foil to Cindy Lou, which leads the latter to make the Whos realize what really means Christmas, wasn't present in the original book (where Cindy Lou was a minor character and was possibly two years old). In the original book, the Whos weren't depicted as materialistic and thus they simply celebrated together Christmas after the Grinch stole the presents.
- Despite that Augustus only appeared in the 2000 live-action adaptation, however, the 2018 animated adaptation of The Grinch features another mayor in charge of Whoville, known as Mayor McGerkle. Unlike Augustus, however, Mayor McGerkle is nicer, unselfish and doesn't have any kind of grudge against The Grinch.
- Augustus Maywho's beliefs on Christmas are essentially a criticism of Christmas nowadays. To this day, Christmas has become a materialistic holiday in which people need material presents to celebrate it. This, of course, is what leads Cindy Lou to help the Whos eventually realize that the true meaning of Christmas is spending it with the family, something which Augustus, being the materialistic person that he is, fails to understand.
- Peter Greene, Alec Baldwin, the late Dennis Hopper, Willem Dafoe, the late Bob Hoskins, Danny DeVito, Tommy Lee Jones and Joe Pesci were all briefly considered for the role of Augustus Maywho before Jeffrey Tambor was cast, although Alec Baldwin would later play Larry Quinn in the 2003 live-action adaptation of The Cat in the Hat.
- Augustus Maywho being forgiven by the Grinch is likely related to the theme of the movie being the joy of Christmas rather than revenge.
- Augustus Maywho had his tonsils removed twice, and claims it is “an interesting story”. He later brings this up when talking in his sleep, where he audibly fantasizes about Martha, saying “have you ever kissed a man who lost his tonsils twice?”