Where Was Cindy Lou’s Father In The Grinch?

The inclusion of a single-parent, biracial family raises unanswered questions.

C.D. Reimer
3 min readDec 25, 2020
Cindy Lou’s Fatherless Family in The Grinch (2018)

When we first meet Cindy Lou in The Grinch (2018), the little girl was on a mission to deliver a letter to Santa Claus. After a wild bobsled ride across the snow-covered rooftops of Whoville, she collides with Mr. Grinch and fails to reach the mail carrier in time.

She then decides to speak to Santa Claus in person. After being informed by her mother, Donna Lou Who, that Christmas would be over if she walked to the North Pole, she decides to trap Santa Claus when he delivers Christmas presents to her house.

Why does Cindy Lou need to speak to Santa Claus so badly?

Cindy Lou’s mother is a single parent raising a young daughter and infant twin boys during the day and working a night job at the hospital. As she would later tell Santa (Mr. Grinch), her mother’s life was unfair and needed Santa’s help. Mr. Grinch, in a roundabout way, does end up helping Donna Lou on Christmas Day.

The movie makes no mention of Cindy Lou’s father.

When “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!” came out n 1957, nuclear families were the norm, broken homes were frowned upon, and nothing was worse than being an orphan without a family.

Mr. Grinch, an unwelcomed orphan all alone at the cold and dark orphanage, becomes embittered with the Whovians for having something that he didn’t have: a family to celebrate Christmas with.

Whoville has always been portrayed as every Who being related to every other Who in one big happy family. A fatherless household should stick out like Mr. Grinch — a What, not a Who — in a tightknit community.

Where were all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and other families to help raise Betty Lou and her twin brothers so Donna Lou didn’t have to take a night job?

This wasn’t the first time that Hollywood updated the classic family tale for modern times.

Ron Howard’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) fleshed out everyone in Whoville and saved the Christmas thievery for the end of the movie. Betty Lou’s mission in that movie was against consumerism. A bit ironic considering that Christmas is the most commercialized holiday celebrated worldwide.

The Grinch became more inclusive by adding a single-parent household and Cindy Lou wanting to help her mother in some way.

That Cindy Lou’s father was left unmentioned was obvious for those who took notice. But take a closer look at the family: Cindy Lou looks like her mother in every way possible, her twin brothers have darker skin and different hair. Perhaps there are two fathers missing from this story.

Did Donna Lou get pregnant with Betty Lou and her high school sweetheart skipped town for some reason?

Was the father for the twin boys shot to death by the Whoville Police Department for being armed with a wallet in hand?

The reason why Donna Lou doesn’t have any immediate family to help take care of her kids is that she’s being ostracized for having a teen pregnancy and biracial children. That would have been consistent with family values of the 1950s. Something that polite company — and scriptwriters — would have left unmentioned.



C.D. Reimer

C.D. Reimer makes topical videos about comic cons, pop culture, Silicon Valley and technology on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/cdreimer