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NOTE: For the original version from the book and TV special, click here. For the 2018 version, click here.
Villain Overview
Those Whos are hard to frazzle, Max. But we did our worst, and that's all that matters.
~ The Grinch.
Of course, they are. That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been about! Gifts, gifts, giftsgiftsgiftsgiftsgiftsgifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your garbage! I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice. The avarice never ends! "I want golf clubs!" "I want diamonds!" "I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored with it and sell it to make glue!" Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is stupid! Stupid! Stupid! There is, however, one teeny-tiny Christmas tradition that I find quite... meaningful. Mistletoe. Now pucker up and kiss it, Whoville!
~ The Grinch's speech to Whoville for taking their holiday for granted with materialism.

The Grinch is the titular protagonist villain/anti-hero of the 2000 Universal Pictures film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, loosely based on the Dr. Seuss book and television special of the same name.

He was portrayed by Jim Carrey, who also played the Cable Guy in The Cable Guy, the Riddler in Batman Forever, Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog and Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask in The Mask. As a child, he was portrayed by the late Josh Ryan Evans in his final role.

Personality

Similar to his original counterpart, the Grinch is shown to be very grouchy, selfish and wrathful in nature. To that end, he would play harmful pranks on the citizens of Whoville, such as tampering with their mail, making prank calls, and scaring intruders from entering into his lair. He's also somewhat abusive to his dog Max as he would lash out orders at him, though he genuinely cares about him; even complimenting him for scaring off intruders from his lair and holding him up carefully while hanging above the ceiling to prevent themselves from being caught in the post office.

However, the real reason behind his cold-hearted disposition is because he was picked on when he was child, he was an outcast at school and was bullied by his classmate, Augustus Maywho, and that the horrible treatment is what drove him off the edge to become the Christmas-hating person he was ever known. The only one that didn't bully him was his childhood crush, Martha May Whovier. Despite his flaws, the Grinch is somewhat insecure as he thinks of himself nothing but a monster to be hated because of his appearance and nature. However, it wasn't until the intervention of Cindy Lou Who and the epiphany of the true meaning of Christmas is what made him learn the error of his ways, even admitting that he does love Max and willing to return the gifts and decorations that he stole from the Whos.

Compared to any other Grinch incarnation, this Grinch is noticeably more unhinged and deranged in his behavior. He's remarkably aloof and clown-like in his voice and movements, and tends to throw child-like tantrums at the tip of a hat. Despite his silliness, he also exhibits remarkable engineering skills as his sleigh actually flies, and even as a child, he manufactured a rather beautiful angel tree topper. He is also insightful as he saw the Whos as commercialized, materialistic and wasteful beings because they take their holiday for granted by asking for gifts before disposing of them in favor for more to satisfy their greed, to which he is correct about. Surprisingly, in the end, the Whos finally learned of their mistake for commercializing the holiday, which was the main reason why they decided to forgive the Grinch after he apologized for stealing their gifts and decorations.

History

The Grinch arrived in Whoville by mistake when he was a baby and was adopted by two elderly sisters. Although he showed some sadistic tendencies as a child, the Grinch was raised in a nice childhood by the sisters. Despite having a good childhood, the Grinch was an outcast at school as he was bullied by classmates (mainly by Augustus Maywho) because of his green and hairy appearance. The only classmate to show him any kindness was Martha May Whovier, who he had a crush on.

One Christmas season when he was eight-years-old, the Grinch made an angel as a gift for Martha, but he attempted to shave his face after remembering what all the kids said, cutting himself in the process. When all the classmates saw the Grinch's face covered with shaving tape the next morning, they laughed at him for this, with the exception of Martha, who furiously glares at the classmates for this. Fed up with this mockery, the Grinch furiously went on a rampage by destroying the class' tree and presents, scaring everyone out of his way as he ran away from home to live on Mt. Crumpit. Over the years, the Grinch remained in hiding in a huge cave and became a urban legend due to brief sightings, developing an odious hatred for Christmas and the Whos for their mockery against him, even pulling dangerous and harmful practical jokes on them while Augustus becomes the new Mayor of Whoville. He eventually found a lost dog, naming him Max and taking him under his wing.

It wasn't until a 6-year-old girl named Cindy Lou Who believes that everyone is missing the point about Christmas by being more concerned about the gifts and festivities. After having a face-to-face encounter with the Grinch at the post office, which he saves her from being crushed by a post office machine on the insistence of Max, Cindy Lou becomes interested in his history. The next day, she asks everyone what they know about him and learns about his tragic past.

Touched by this story, Cindy decides to make the Grinch the main participant of the Whobilation, to the great displeasure of Augustus, who reluctantly agrees after pressure from the townspeople who have been warmed by Cindy Lou's generous spirit. When Cindy Lou goes to Mount Crumpit and offers an invitation to the Grinch, he turns her down. He gradually changes his mind, however, due to the promise of an award, the presence of Martha at the celebration and the chance to upset the Mayor.

Just as the Grinch is enjoying himself and almost won over by attending all of the Whobilation's contests and games, the Mayor gives him an electric shaver as a present, reminding him of his awful humiliation at school, prompting everyone to laugh. The Mayor even tops it off by asking Martha to marry him, promising her a new car in return. This causes the Grinch to berate the Whos for thinking that Christmas is about gifts that they'll just dispose of later in the hopes of making them too ashamed to celebrate the holiday.

The Grinch then goes on to ruin the party by burning the Christmas tree with a makeshift flamethrower (although his actions prove fruitless as the Whos have a spare tree, which the Grinch sees them erect before he leaves). Returning back to Mt. Crumpit, the Grinch instead concocts a plan to steal all of their presents while they are sleeping. Creating a Santa suit and sleigh with Max as a "reindeer", the Grinch flies around Whoville, stealing all of the Whos' Christmas gifts. He's almost caught by Cindy Lou, but lies to her in order to leave her house.

The next day, the Grinch manages to get Max to ride the sleigh up into the top of Mt. Crumpit, happily declaring the success of his plan. At that time, the Whos discover the Grinch's scheme and Augustus denounces Cindy Lou as the root of this catastrophic disaster. However, Cindy's father Lou Lou Who (the Whoville postmaster) finally stands up to Augustus by saying that he doesn't care if the Grinch stole away all their presents. Finally understanding of what both the Grinch and Cindy Lou are trying to convey about the avarice that the Whos brought for the holiday, Lou reminds everyone that they still have the Christmas spirit and that the true meaning of Christmas is to spend time with loved ones, and that the Grinch wouldn't have hated Christmas if the Mayor hadn't bullied him in the first place.

With this revelation, all the Whos agreed with Lou and decided to enjoy the holiday without their gifts by singing together. Hoping that the change of mood would inspire the Grinch, Cindy Lou goes to Mt. Crumpit to find him. Upon hearing the Whos joyfully singing, the Grinch became initially furious over the failure of his plan, but has an epiphany about the true meaning of Christmas, an insight that profoundly touches him and causes his heart to grow to three times its original size.

When Max sees that the sleigh is beginning to go over the edge of the cliff, he informs the Grinch, who desperately tries to save them to no avail. However, he spots Cindy Lou wanting to wish him a merry Christmas and is in danger of falling off the cliff with the sleigh, the Grinch finds enough strength to lift the sleigh, the gifts and Cindy Lou to safety.

After a long descent down Mount Crumpit, the Grinch drives the sleigh down to Whoville with Cindy Lou and Max. He confesses to the burglary and apologizes for his actions before surrendering to the police, willing to accept his punishment for his crimes. However, the police and the Whos decided to forgive the Grinch as they all learned a lesson about the holiday; Martha turns down Augustus' proposal by saying that she would rather stay with the Grinch. Realizing now that all of Whoville's citizens has turned against him for what he did to the Grinch, Augustus reluctantly shakes the Grinch's hand to assure no hard feelings, though the Grinch laughs at Augustus before telling him cheer up since it's the holidays. He turns a light on the Christmas tree and all the Christmas lights are turned on. Cindy Lou Who says Merry Christmas to the Grinch and gives him a kiss on his cheek. They join in the rest of Whoville and sing together around the Christmas tree.

The Grinch starts a new life with the Whos as he commemorates the Christmas feast with them in his cave; even allowing Max to get the first slice of the roast beast, much to Max's delight.

Quotes

Well done, Max! Serves them right, those Yuletide-loving sickly-sweet, nog-sucking cheer mongers. I really don't like them. No, I don't. Max... get my cloak! I've been much too tolerant of these Whovenile delinquents... and their innocent, victimless pranks. So, they want to get to know me, do they? They want to spend a little quality time with the Grinch. I guess I could use a little... social interaction.
~ The Grinch's introduction after Max scares away intruders.
Ugh... what's that stench?! It's fantastic! Max, grab a bag, we'll come back for the rest. Of course, when I say 'we', I mean 'you'. It's amazing to see what these Whos throw away. Oh well... one man's toxic sludge is another man's potpourri. [Max questionly barks] I don't know, it's some kind of a soup.
~ The Grinch about the hazardous waste being dumped away.
The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there - on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go, my schedule wouldn't allow it! Four o'clock, wallow in self pity; Four-thirty, stare into the abyss; Five o'clock, solve world hunger, tell no one; Five-thirty, jazzercize; Six-thirty, dinner with me - I can't cancel that again; Seven o'clock, wrestle with my self-loathing... I'm booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to nine, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?!
~ The Grinch's personal list.
It's because I'm green, isn't it?!
~ The Grinch after a taxi cab passes him.
All right, you're a reindeer. Here's your motivation: Your name is Rudolph, you're a freak with a red nose, and no one likes you. Then, one day, Santa picks you and you save Christmas. No, forget that part. We'll improvise... just keep it kind of loosey-goosey. You HATE Christmas! You're gonna steal it. Saving Christmas is a lousy ending, way too commercial. ACTION! [Max knocks the red nose off] BRILLIANT! You reject your own nose because it represents the glitter of commercialism. Why didn't I think of that? Cut, print, check the gate, moving on.
~ The Grinch making Max a 'reindeer'.
WE.... DID IT!!!! We did it, we did it!! That wasn't so bad, was it, Max?
~ The Grinch after successfully stealing all of Whoville's gifts, food and decorations.
How could it be so? It came without ribbons, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags!
~ The Grinch seeing that all of Whoville are singing in celebration in spite of the losses of their gifts, food and decorations.
Maybe Christmas... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more.
~ The Grinch learning about the true meaning of Christmas.
I'm all... toasty inside... and I'm leaking. Oh, Max... I LOVE YA!!
~ The Grinch embracing the true meaning of Christmas before admitting that he loves Max.
Are you kidding? The sun is bright and the powder's bitchin'! Now scoot over, it's my turn to drive!
~ The Grinch to Cindy Lou as he skies through the snow while Cindy rides his sleigh down Mt. Crumpit.
This could be a little more difficult to negotiate... HEADS UP, WHOVILLE!! Out of the way, I have no insurance!!
~ The Grinch riding his sleigh back to Whoville to return all the gifts, food, and decorations that he stole.
Thanks for the help, Lou! (Cindy: Hi, Daddy!) (Lou: Hi, Cindy-honey!) MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL!!
~ The Grinch thanking Cindy's father Lou for helping out in stopping the sleigh from crashing.
You got me, Officer! I did it: I'm the Grinch that stole Christmas, and I'm... sorry. (holds his fists in surrender) Aren't you gonna cuff me, put me in a chokehold, or blind me with pepper spray? (Augustus: You heard him, Officer! He admitted it! I'd go with the pepper spray.) (Officer: Yes, I heard him all right... he said he was sorry. Besides, looks like everything's all here and accounted for.)
~ The Grinch confessing his crimes and expressing his apology before surrendering himself to the police, only to see that they are willing to forgive him as they learned a lesson about the holiday.
No hard feelings. (laughs) Cheer up, dude, it's Christmas.
~ The Grinch shaking hands with Mayor Augustus Maywho before laughing at him over winning Martha May's heart and telling him to cheer up afterwards.
Ahhh... it's nothing like the holidays. Who wants the gizzard? (Who citizen: I do!) Too late! That'll be mine...
~ The Grinch cutting the Christmas turkey as he celebrates Christmas in his cave with Max and the Whoville citizens.

Trivia

  • Unlike the book or 1966 and 2018 cartoons where the Grinch is a smart, scheming and manipulative individual, the film shows him to be an entertaining, whimsical, comical and insane person with the scheming qualities.
    • Also, he never mentions "53 years" and instead he mentions "year after year", making the number of years he put up with Christmas ambiguous.
  • In some ways, the film shows that the mayor is just as much a villain as the Grinch, maybe even worse. It is because of the Mayor's bullying, that caused the Grinch to become cold-hearted, unforgiving and diabolical.
  • The original Grinch wasn't green. Like everything else in the book, he was black and white with some red and pink splotches. Jim Carrey's Grinch was originally meant to look like this but Ron Howard wanted the film to also be an adaptation of the Chuck Jones cartoon.
  • Jack Nicholson, Eddie Murphy, Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams were all briefly considered for the role of the Grinch before Jim Carrey was casted.

See also

Navigation

           Dr Seuss LogoVillains

Stories
Horton Hears a Who: Sour Kangaroo | Vlad Vladikoff | The Wickersham Brothers
The Cat in the Hat: Larry Quinn
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Grinch (2000 & 2018) | Mayor Augustus Maywho
Green Eggs and Ham: Hervnick Z. Snerz | Goat
The Lorax: Aloysius O'Hare | The Once-Ler | Morty and McGurk | The Once-ler's Family (The Once-ler's Mother | Brett and Chet | Aunt Grizelda | Uncle Ubb)

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