2012 Summer Olympic Mascots: London's Wenlock & Mandeville Bizarre as Ever

Ryan KlockeFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Wenlock, the Olympic mascot and Mandeville (Blue), the Paralympic mascot pose for photos after being unveiled at St Pauls Whitechapel C of E Primary School, Tower Hamlets on May 19, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ah, mascots: the furry, funny, extremely hug-able symbols of sports that always have a knack for making us smile. We love mascots over here at Bleacher Report, even when they fail or fight or are straight-up ridiculous—like the cyclops twins we'll see all over London the next couple weeks.  

Meet Wenlock and Mandeville, the 2012 games' one-eyed monsters tasked with spreading goodwill and cuteness all over the fair city for which their design was based. They've got "friendship bands" to symbolize the Olympic rings, a taxi light on top of their head (seriously) because London has those famous black taxis, and—get ready for this—a built in camera to record their interactions with people. Because that's not creepy, not creepy at all. 

As such, this duo—Wenlock is for the Olympic Games; Mandeville is representing the Paralympics—has brought on a deluge of media scrutiny, both here and across the pond for the, ahem, progressive design. 

From AP: 

LONDON -- Sinister. Disturbing. Creepy. Frightening.

Yeah, that's always a good start. And this from a non-opinion news story 

From Slate:

As for smiley-ness: These creatures have no mouths! Sweet lord, what happened to their mouths?? Instead, in the area where their faces should be, Wenlock and Mandeville each present us with a cold, steel panel punctuated only by an assessing, Cyclopean eye. 

Did you even notice they have no mouths? The One-Eyed Gigantic Camera Face kind of makes you forget about that part. Two eyes, and a mouth is pretty solid combination, considering almost every living being on this planet uses that combination. 

We could go on and on here, but you get the point. People don't like these cats, rallying against them for reasons varying from their camera-enabled faces being emblematic of London's extreme number of CCTV recorders around the city to just being ugly. 

But really, though, it doesn't even matter. People hate the Olympic mascots every two years. People hate change in general, especially from a design standpoint. We went nuts when GAP redesigned its logo, and most of us don't even shop there. Of course we're going to find issue with a non-traditional looking mascot that has to appease Olympic tradition and local customs while being quirky enough that it can sell 10 bajillion dollars worth of merchandise.

In summation, every Olympic mascot is out there is odd and kind of jarring. But so is the Phillie Phanatic. Just roll with it.