A teeny tiny shell is a star thanks to a YouTube video that launched a full- fledged brand for a shell with a story to tell. The story just so happened to send thousands into a fit of giggles and landed the shell a book deal.
Marcel the Shell, a shell with a single craft store googly eye and a pair of pink and white plastic shoes is the creation of former "Saturday Night Live" actress and comedian Jenny Slate and her fiancé Dean Fleischer-Camp.
Making her debut in Aug. 2010, the little shell has been watched by more than 12 million YouTube viewers. Slate and Camp received lots of offers after the first video, but it was a children's book proposition that sealed the deal.
Slate told Time magazine, "When we realized kids liked Marcel too, the only thing keeping it fresh for us was to take on this challenge of making a good children's book that wasn't too saccharine."
The book, titled Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me is full of drawings of Marcel around his home, visiting an aquarium that is really a fish tank and climbing Mount Everest which is really just a sandal.
In a squeaky little baby voice narrated by Slate, Marcel discusses the reality of life as a shell in the YouTube clip. She amuses users by wearing hats made from lentils, explaining the dangers of holding balloons and even using a raisin as a beanbag chair.
"Marcel has an unnamed nostalgia and a bit of meanness to him, and we realized quickly that he could be a classic character," said Slate in Time.
The video even delves into how scary life as a shell can be. In the video, Marcel said her biggest fear is drinking soda because she is afraid the bubbles will make her float up onto the ceiling. And then there is the tough regrets you have to deal with. The shell's biggest regret is not having a dog. Marcel also likes to read receipts "to get a feel for daily life."
"Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me," could be a television show in the busy little shell's future. Slate told Time, "Our hope is that it will be like The Muppet Show, a place where our comedian friends can come and play around in a world full of shells."