Roadfood's Misha Collins Finally Reveals The History Behind His Elusive McDonald's GISH Task - Exclusive

Long before Misha Collins joined the PBS series "Roadfood" as its charismatic host, the actor was busy concocting wild ways to incorporate food into his annual weeklong adventure, GISH (aka the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt). Described as "a Guinness World Record-setting virtual event designed to bring out the weird, creative, and adventurous sides of people while doing good," per the official website, food has been ever-present in GISH tasks since its 2011 inception. That has included everything from copious amounts of artistic kale creations to offering the homeless community a meal of their choice. 

While most food-related GISH tasks are pretty self-explanatory (like making shoes out of pumpkins), one 2021 project remains incomplete. Collins tasked GISHers with finding a copy of his 1998 McDonald's commercial — one that doesn't even show his face. Few groups are better at sleuthing than GISH participants, which begged the question: Was this commercial ever even released? Mashed spoke to Misha Collins during an exclusive interview where he dished on the origins of the McDonald's commercial task. He also revealed why kale went from being a hunted staple to a redacted ban. 

When it comes to hunting down his McDonald's commercial, Misha Collins is lovin' it

Misha Collins had to dig deep into his earliest days as an actor to explain how the McDonald's GISH item came about. "I did a McDonald's commercial. It was one of the ... I'm trying to think. It may have been the job, now that I mention it. This is the first time this is dawning on me. I think this McDonald's commercial was when I got my Screen Actor's Guild union membership," he explained. "It was the very, very ... One of the very first things I shot, and I was a very young actor living in Washington, D.C. I got this regional McDonald's commercial that was only to be aired in Maryland and maybe Northern Virginia."

So naturally GISH participants didn't have a lot to go on when it came to hunting down the elusive commercial. Collins added, "It only featured ... my socked feet. You couldn't see my face at all, and you couldn't hear my voice. Somehow, it's one of the few things that I ever filmed that I have never seen the footage of."

The great GISH kale ban is finally explained

However, Misha Collins was on a mission to find the TV spot. "I made it an item in my scavenger hunt to track down the McDonald's commercial, which a lot of people put a lot of effort into, and no one found it. Well, who knows, maybe it's not out there, but I think it's probably out there somewhere," Collins mused. "I'm stunned by the things, like [material] for the Navy and how-to videos that I recorded for the IRS and things like that, that people have found. The IRS videos where somebody found in a sale bin at a public library — they were selling this old VHS tape for 10 cents, and somebody picked it up and saw me on the front." Knowing the lengths fans have undergone to find these gems, maybe there's hope yet.

GISH participants who were around for its early years may have also noticed the demise of the scavenger hunt's once staple ingredient: kale. Collins never really gave GISHers an explanation for kale's sudden ban, but he has a solid reason. "Kale was featured prominently in the first few years. It was like, there's always that item with kale. Kale this, kale that. I happened to be a kale enthusiast." After a lengthy explanation on how Burning Man participants developed a collective aesthetic, Collins noted, "There's an actual bona fide reason that I stopped having kale be a part of GISH. I don't like it when subcultures start having their own self-referential themes." So, there you have it. Collins needed to shake things up to keep GISH from becoming predictable. 

Fans can check out new "Roadfood" episodes streaming Saturdays on PBS Passport and the PBS Living Channel on Prime Video. The series also airs on PBS, so make sure to check your local listings for air times.