What's in the Cup? [Booze, Probably]

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Cuphead. It’s a game people were excited about for a long time, and I hear it’s great. But there’s something that’s been bothering me about the titular protagonist and his co-op buddy Mugman: what’s inside their tiny cartoon heads?

We as humans are separated from most life on Earth through our ability to make tools, and for those tools to have specific uses. A cup holds liquids. A mug does the same. To the best of my knowledge, the contents of Cuphead’s heroes’ ceramic skulls is not addressed.

This has no bearing on the plot, the gameplay, or my enjoyment of either, you say. And I’d agree, if only the possibility that something is sloshing around in the main characters’ heads isn’t directly referenced in the game itself. Take a look at this pre-boss animation from the co-op campaign:


While Cuphead is psyching himself up with a wedgie of some sort, MUGMAN IS DRINKING FROM HIS OWN FUCKING HEAD!!!

Pause on the correct frame and we can see a white splash of whatever liquid he’s gulping on. So no, we’re not going to address how Cuphead makes a concerted effort to avoid the fact that mugs and cups are differently shaped. Because the more pressing issue is that the main character’s best bud might be gulping down his own brain matter or blood.


A less gruesome explanation is that the poculum caputus evolved a bowl shaped head to collect rainwater or something, but then why the fuck is it white? How is the straw stretching and where inside his body does it normally live? Is it made of organic matter? Why does Mugman seems to be so thoroughly enjoying himself? Am I thinking about this entirely too hard?

Almost certainly. So I went to the experts: Studio MDHR, who created Cuphead. Above all, what generated boundless hype for Cuphead was it’s meticulous attention to visual detail. I find it hard to believe a core character drinking from his own head was added thoughtlessly. MDHR’s Director of Experience Ryan Moldenhauer told Gizmodo in an email “Good question! But, the problem is we aren’t quite sure ourselves! ;).”


Maybe we can’t handle the truth.

Update 2:29pm ET: While I struggle to recall the events of last week, one of our particular observant commenters—tristenkw5—recalled that a trailer from back in 2015 briefly showed the game’s heroes pouring a cartoonish vessel of moonshine into their open-topped skulls.


Now that’s efficient drinking! But this revelation asks as many questions as it answers: specifically, if these weirdos drink through their heads, what do their mouthes do? Is the cup portion a dedicated booze hole?


Dear reader, the mystery lives on.