Thursday, March 29, 2012

Moron Madness Part 2! The Foolish Four

First posted on March 28th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link
 Coverage has been intense for this years Moron Madness and I’m sure all the idiots in the contest would like to thank each and every one of you for cheering on your favorite dolt. While not everyone can be a champion all of our competitors are shamefully stupid in their own unique and wonderful ways. Now without any further pomp and circumstance I present part two of Claymation Werewolf’s Moron Madness Tournament!

Balki vs. Joey

There has been a lot of trash talk between these two highly trained competitors throughout this entire tournament and tonight, the rivalry was settled once and for all.

Joey’s opening volley of stupidity and confusion was truly breathtaking. Balki countered with idiocy of his own, paired with an astounding misunderstanding about how the world worked. Hurling insults that didn’t even make sense in his home country, Balki began to show the crowd why this simple, hometown boy from Mypos, was in the foolish four.

Midway through the game, Joey became distracted by his adoring female fans and the reporters from Tiger Beat and Seventeen Magazine. The young athlete began smiling and mugging for the crowd. Striking poses and trying to be cool he completely lost track of his idiot roots pulling what they refer to in the sport as an “Eddie Winslow.”

By the end of the third quarter he was desperately behind in points and started erratically throwing out “Whoa!” and “Whoa!” but it was no use Balki Bartokomous walks over Joey Russo like a sheep herder over a pile of mud.

 124-73 Balki advances to the “Chump”ionship

Dauber vs. Rose

The battle that everyone in the Midwest has been eagerly anticipating; the famed “War of Minnesota!” Both contestants came out strong Rose misunderstanding the referee’s opening instructions which resulted in hilarious wacky hijinks. Dauber countered with his trademark vacant stare and battle cry of “Uhhhh”

Rose began to work the finesse, tying in pointless stories with confused dumb blonde moments and self deprecating humor but Dauber was ready. Using his 9 years as a college athlete paired with his year as a coaches assistant; he quickly put together an amazing competitive strategy sure to completely turn the tides of the match!

Upon doing this he was immediately disqualified for excessive forethought and logic and Rose Walks away with the victory.

 88-68 Rose Nylund advances to the “Chump”ionship

Balki vs. Rose

Long-time followers of sitcom showdowns knew very well that this tournament was never going to end any other way than a showdown between Rose Nylund and Balki Bartokomous. These two masters of imbecilic endeavors steamrolled over everyone they faced and today, it all comes down to this. Their careers seem to rival each other as though it were scripted; both are fishes out of water, both have wacky and unbelievable tales of a strange, far away land. And both drive their roommates up the wall! Sadly, only one can walk away as the National Moron Madness “Chump”ion.

The game got off to an exciting start with both dimwits playing their hearts out. They met each other at every turn. Rose became confused by something, Balki Became more confused… Baki told a nonsense story about herding goats in Mypos…Rose told a nonsense story about owning a cow farm in St Olaf. Balki performed a classic misunderstanding of our American Culture and Rose was right there with a horrifying Viking Fish meal with an unpronounceable name! with 2 minutes left on the clock and Rose Nylund ahead by five points, a hush fell over the crowd. Balki put on a ridiculous looking outfit and Rose called a time out.

Upon returning to the court, with Balki behind by one point, the unthinkable happened. Out of nowhere, Rose began to soberly and with uncharacteristically intelligence deal with a serious social issue of the 80’s. As a result of this horrible slip-up, Balki was able to steal the momentum and drive down the court performing the greatest three point, “Don’t be ridiculous” of his career. The final buzzer blasts and Balki Bartokomous becomes the first Moron Madness “Chumpion!”

 89-87 Balki wins. (Final)

Despite the years I’ve spent as a famous sitcom athletic announcer, I never quite know how to sum up these moments of greatness. These great moments that bring joy to the hearts of a nation and inspire future generations of stupid sitcom stars. While I may not have the words to express the joy that we all feel in these moments, maybe…just maybe there are no need for words. I think it’s best to let our “Chump”ion celebrate in his own way…

The Dance of Joy!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Moron Madness Part 1! The Simpleton Sixteen

First posted on March 25th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

          Every since James Laughtrack founded the National Sitcom League in 1953, teams everywhere have tried to out-do each other. Bigger laughs, better plots, more impressive shark jumping! But above all else every sitcom has tried to be the best at one thing; the time honored tradition of “the dumb character”. They come from all walks of life, some are physical comedy experts, some have great catch phrases but they all want the same thing; to be recognized as the greatest dumb character in TV history.

          It’s been a long time coming but today we have gathered together the best ditzes, dimwits, morons and buffoons of TV for the ultimate showdown. Today I bring you, The Simpleton Sixteen!

The Simpleton Sixteen

Rose (Golden Girls) vs. Sinclair (Living Single)

From beginning to end, this match-up was by far the most consistently close of any that we’ve seen tonight. And it’s no wonder; these two characters are so similar it’s almost eerie. Both come from an amazingly supportive group of girlfriends. Both are ditzy but extremely likeable and both could have gone all the way to the championship. In fact, under different circumstances this could have very well been the championship match. It was simply bad luck that Rose and Sinclair faced each other in the first round.

In the final seconds, Sinclair’s goofyness was unable to withstand the assault of Rose’s St. Olaf stories and Rose came out on top.

 88-87 Rose Nylund advances.

Kelly (Married… With Children) vs. Vinton (Mama’s Family)

Children disappoint their parents. I know that I do! But it takes a real dim bulb to reach the levels of disappointment that get you to the simpleton sixteen! Vinton came with his A game… marrying the floozy neighbor dumbing the raising of his own children on his elderly mother (who still makes his lunches and washes his tightie-whiteys), he goes after one hair-brained money making scheme after another and even pawns his own mama’s antique silver to bail his idiot buddy outta the slammer. A true disappointment and a true moron.

Unfortunately, as much of an idiot Vinton is… he is a genius compared to the moronic might of Kelly Bundy! Kelly can’t even spell Simpleton Sixteen and has probably forgotten that she even entered this competition. Throw in a personality that inspired every dumb blonde joke ever written and a sexual resume that includes 85% of the men in the tri-state area and you’ve got the kind of disappointment that can only befall Al Bundy.

In the end this contest was never in doubt.

117-83 Kelly Bundy advances.

Bull (Night Court) vs. Woody (Cheers)

The hard fought, highly contested workplace dolt division has given us four great competitors this season. As far as office imbeciles go, there have been few as well versed in the field as Woody the bartender on Cheers. The competent replacement for the legendary “Coach” everyone knew that Woody would go all the way.

Unfortunately for Woody, no one told Bull. The perfect storm of stupidity, weirdness and charm; Bull not only pulled the surprise upset in this match, he dominated.

 75-53 Bull advances.

Dauber (Coach) vs. Lowell (Wings)

In our second dumb co-worker match-up, we witnessed a heated battle between two long standing champs. With a nearly endless array of pointless anecdotes, Lowell can steer nearly any sensible conversation into pure confusion. This good natured grease monkey constantly helps to add a healthy dose of dumb to Sandpiper Airlines and still manages to get the planes fixed on time!

One of the few Dumb Blondes and the only official Dumb Jock in the tournament Dauber was recruited early on as a high prospect. Even pulling freelance work to serve as an idiot on other teams, Michael “Dauber” Dybinski is one of the greatest imbeciles that ever lived. As a right-hand man, he might do more harm than good, but it’s always good for a good time. The match came down to the final second but in the end Dauber was just the best coached.

 49-47 Dauber advances.

Cockroach (The Cosby Show) vs. Kimmy (Full House)

One of the classic examples of dumb character, the “annoying friend” division is a highly respected one. Our two highly ranked competitors came ready for battle and a battle is exactly what we got. Cockroach started strong with a reprise of his famous Shakespeare rap and a healthy dose of social ineptitude, he hit on the cheerleaders for both teams and irritated everyone in the stands.

Kimmy Gibbler came on strong in the second half turning up her signature annoying personality to a level never before seen in the history of television. By the end of the match, Kimmy bothered everyone so much that there was nobody left in the audience or even the announcers booth. Ultimately it even proved to be too much for Cockroach and he left before the final Buzzer.

 88-52 Kimmy advances.

Joey (Blossom) vs. Hilary (The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air)

Hilary Banks has a deep game. In addition to a numbskull resume that many women would die for, she has some other great qualities; beauty, wealth and a great taste for the finer things in life.

Unfortunately, it is those very skills that hamper what could be a great force in foolishness. Despite her best ignorant efforts, and her inability to “get” a single joke the rest of the cast makes about her…she never stood any real chance of standing up to the low IQ’d charm of Joey “Whoa!” Russo.

 95-35 Joey Russo advances.

Balki (Perfect Strangers) vs. Cody (Step By Step)

The often overlooked but highly competitive “kooky cousin” division has gained a lot of attention from bracket analysts lately but this first round match-up proved to be a major disappointment.

Cousin Cody showed up in top form, with his “pseudo surfer dude/philosopher/well meaning goofball with a heart of gold” personality, much to the delight of his legions of screaming (mostly teenage girl) fans.

What cool Cody wasn’t prepared for was the relentless onslaught of sheer endearing stupidity from the one and only Balki Bartokomous. Without breaking a sweat, or even uttering a single “don’t be ridiculous” he blew Cody away and managed to ruin Cousin Larry’s day at the same time.

 86-13 Balki Advances.

Nick (Family Ties) vs. Waldo (Family Matters)

A special category of stupid, Nick and Waldo Geraldo Faldo were both drafted mid-season as pinch-morons for their respective teams. Though the effects on their respective shows were viewed differently by their fans, no one can doubt that they both had a huge impact. What Nick brings in real-world stupidity, edginess and rugged sex-appeal; Waldo answers in pure, unadulterated stupidity!

Though seen by some commentators as a bit of a one trick pony when compared to the leather jacket and earring wearing, motorcycle riding, idiotic depth of Nick; few people do dumb as well as Waldo.

 35-29 Waldo Geraldo Faldo advances.

The Eedjit Eight:

Rose Nylund vs. Kelly Bundy

Both coming off of intense first round matches, Kelly Bundy turned out to be simply unmatched in this Eedjit Eight battle. The young dumb blonde was outgunned at every turn by the old dumb blonde and Rose had faced down floozies before. Over before it began, Kelly was predictably sent packing.

 90-19 Rose Nylund advances to the Foolish Four.

Bull vs. Dauber

The symbolic championship of the workplace imbecile division, people have been highly anticipating this match.

The crowd was going crazy throughout this entire showdown between these two big men. And they didn’t disappoint. One of the most physical battles yet, this one came right down to the wire. The deciding factor proved to be the basics. Bull spent the entire off season working on a well rounded, kooky, goofball game but failed to take care of the basics. And in the area of pure uncorrupted stupidity it would be next to impossible to defeat Dauber.

That proved, in the end, to be the truth of this match as the great Bull is taken down by Dauber in a game between such nice guys that they went out for beers afterwards.

 57-53 Dauber advances to the Foolish Four

Kimmy Gibbler vs. Joey Russo

Another mismatched second round contest, we see Kimmy Gibbler in a brutal face-off with Heartthrob Joey Russo. Kimmy Gibbler turned her famous, nerve-grating personality up to eleven but it was no use. The brain dead, clueless Joey was too stupid to even notice how annoying Kimmy was, and without any real stupidity to back it up, in a surprising twist Kimmy Gibbler proved to be too smart for the competition. Joey easily won the match and the hearts of teeny boppers everywhere.

 108-13 Joey Russo advanced to the Foolish Four.

Balki vs. Waldo

Its never been any question that Balki Bartokomous was the best in his division. Possessing childlike wonder and intelligence to match; Balki continues to perform and National Championship levels. To his credit Waldo Geraldo Faldo played one of the greatest game of his career and put up as much of a competition against the unstoppable Balki as he could’ve been expected to and kept himself from being shut-out. But did Waldo win? Don’t be ridiculous.

 88-67 Balki advances to the Foolish Four.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Howling on your airwaves

Let the The Coo-Coo Cola Cult members rejoice!

The Claymation Werewolf is howling down your airwaves... or internet airwaves... whatever.... for the FIRST TIME!

Rhett Kahn, a.k.a. The Claymation Werewolf has made his podcast guest debut on The Cold Slither Podcast, an episode dedicated to their choices for their "Sweet Sixteen".

Here are the details, kiddies!

Check it out and follow this awesome guys! You Will Be Joining Them Soon!

Episode 24: My Slither Sweet 16 (CSP-S2Ep12) - March 23, 2012


Monday, March 19, 2012

Time Machines, Open Box Reviews

First posted on March 18th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

          Everybody wants to time travel. And who wouldn’t? I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t want to witness famous landmarks in our worlds history. They could see the actual set where the fake moon landing was filmed. They could hold a first edition of the first issue of Mad magazine, hot off the presses. They could even see the inaugural address by the first US president that was actually a Reptilian wearing a human suit! (Coolidge) Or, for that matter, inaugural speeches from every other president that was secretly a Reptilian (every single president since Coolidge.)

          And why don’t we have waves of people heading off to witness the auditions for the Beatles replacement for Paul McCartney after he was secretly killed? It’s simple. No one can find solid, reliable advice on what time machine to buy. You see, I’ve been told by my advisors that to people who aren’t obscenely wealthy like I am, the 4 billion or more price of a time machine can represent a significant expense; and not one that many go into lightly. Its difficult to believe that in this day and age people can turn on their electronical computer machines and call up side by side comparisons for cars, smart-phones, tablet computers and even video game systems (all products that no one even wants!) and yet there is no detailed product reviews for time machines. Well friends, this information drought ends today.

          I hereby present the Claymation Werewolf’s Time Machine Test Drives!

The Bill and Ted Phone booth (Wyld Stallyn Telecom.)

          When I first opened the Bill And Ted Phone booth I thought that someone had played a most heinous trick upon me. A bogus antennae on top was the only real sign that it had any real tech in it at all. And a phone both? The design of this was straight out of the highly uncool 1980’s convenience store parking lot collection! But then my trusted associate Phishbo3s and I stepped inside and it was a whole new story. This thing had more power than a mustang and a totally excellent series of features. Aside from it’s righteous ability to travel forward, backward and the five other directions in time; this gnarly looking machine boasts a most impressive amount of memory! In fact, we were able to fit Don Knots, Phyllis Diller, Vincent Price and half of the Harlem Globetrotters and that was just in my Scooby Doo trip!

          Bottom Line: if you dudes and dudetes want to score a Tardis style time machine at a price that wont cost too much denero, look no further than the Bill and Ted Phone booth, by Wyld Stallyn Telecom!

The Time Turner (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Home Electronics.)

          The time turner is by far the most basic of all of the “time machines” In fact, rather than being an actual “machine” it is a piece of simple yet stylish jewelry. Running the old school Magic24 Operating system it is only capable of traveling an hour at a time rather than moving forward or backward into years and dramatically changing important historical events. With that being said, you may not be very effective in preventing political assassinations, communist revolutions or the Masters of the Universe live action movie but if you are in serious danger of missing your blog deadline, it is just the thing. While not the most physically impressive, the most powerful or even the most memorable…it is by far the most British.

          So if your regretting today’s outfit, this mornings breakfast burrito or your choices for the Cold Slither, Slither Madness Brackets, The Hogwarts Time Turner might just be the time traveling necklace for you.

The Quantum Accelorator (Project Quantum Leap LLC)

          Out of the box the quantum accelerator is by far the most visibly impressive of all of the time machines in this class. Sleek, pristine and very “now” Despite the fact that I had to spend three days shopping for a 3XL bright white spandex body stocking I was blown away with the Quantum Accelerator setup. Awesome wind effects, a smoke machine and some amazing 80’s music video lighting.
          The only drawback to the Quantum Accelerator is it’s actual operation. I was horrified to learn that you could only travel within your own lifetime…I was born in 1980, what was I supposed to do travel around the world touring with Devo? And not only that, each time I would “Leap” I would assume the identity of a complete stranger. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I woke up wearing women’s clothing! Not that I have anything against wearing women’s clothing on a regular basis, but some of those outfits were ridiculous. I mean, mixing plaids with florals? Oh Boy!

          Despite all of this and the fact that I spent 23 years uncontrollably leaping before I finally leaped home, I still recommend the Quantum Accelerator by project Quantum Leap LLC for anyone looking for flashy, high adventure time travel.

The Delorean (Emmet Brown Industries)

          I’m not going to put on a show and leave you fine folks in suspense. You know as well as I do that the Delorean is the absolute finest in time travel equipment that money can buy. An 8million horsepower, flux capacitor driven engine is rivaled in power, only by it’s killer stereo system. And with Huey Lewis and the news blasting through those speakers you’ll leave any Biff, stupid enough to call you chicken, staring down the twin flaming tire tracks you left behind. Yes it’s true Doc Brown has made a time machine, out of a Delorean, and you don’t have to think 4th dimensionally to see what a true bargain this is.

          Plus, it’s got those sweet-ass doors that go up instead of opening to the side. Who wouldn’t want one.

          So there you have it, my trustworthy and highly informed reviews of the best Time Machines on the market today. I thank you for the opportunity to use my vast and very impressive knowledge to the benefit of all of you loyal Cold Slither readers! You can now shop with pride for your families next Time Utility Vehicle. I’ll see you next week and thank you for your…ahem…time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why Cyndi Lauper dominates her division

First posted on March 11th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

          Friends…foes…I’m gonna be totally honest with you. It’s been no secret that I have been, painfully, excluded from the Cold Slither Podcast Slither Madness Brackets. My bracket choices were considered “unorthodox” by the CSP crew and after some pretty hostile e-mails it was decided that I would be removed from Slither Madness negotiations and probably fired. Luckily for me I still have access to the site and will use it to decide for myself the answers to some of the greatest pop culture rivalries I can think of. These will not be put up for vote because at this point it’s my bracket and my rules and to hell with the consequences.

          With my first choice I have decided to choose one of the most controversial subjects I can think of. A musical rivalry, the likes of which has no equal It isn’t N’Sync vs. Backstreet Boys…Not Debbie Gibson vs. Tiffany…not even New Kids on the Block vs. well, okay no one has or will ever rival the sheer musical power of NKOTB so it isn’t even worth bringing up. . No dear readers the pop culture battle I’m talking about today is Madonna Vs Cyndi Lauper. On the surface the less musically schooled among us might say “But CW! Madonna is way more famous! She constantly reinvents herself and is still big! In fact she’s so big she just played the Super Bowl.” To that line of thinking I respectfully say, sit down and shut up. I’m the one writing this post.

Now I’m sure most of you might be expecting one of those wishy-washy, present both sides of the argument, fair and balanced, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, kinds of posts. Well, if that’s the case, you’re all going to be a bit disappointed. As longtime readers of my articles can tell you, I don’t deal in opinion…I deal in fact. The fact is Cyndi Lauper’s career crushes the feeble poor excuse for the single named, pointy breasted, Marilyn Monroe wannabe “musical act” known as Madonna. For any of you who might disagree; please allow me to get your heads right on this subject.

          To begin with Cyndi is a style icon. She took the fabulous female fashions made famous by Boy George and ran with them! Wild makeup, crazy multi-colored hair and clothes like an artist, hobo or possibly both. Cyndi Lauper’s look was about as eighties as you could get (that’s a good thing.) She wasn’t all just “amazing fashion sense” though. Underneath that glamorous surface was an artist with amazing raw talent. She could dance! (I’m fairly sure) and more importantly she could sing…and I mean actually sing not process her voice through some goofy singing robot machine like that OTHER eighties songstress.

          Cyndi used those pipes to sing some of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard: True Colors, Time After Time (a personal favorite) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and of course She Bop…yes She Bop! Only Cyndi Lauper could create a hit song (and video) in the eighties that was all about female masturbation…a subject of which I have always been an avid supporter…you know, for artistic reasons. I can still picture Cyndi steaming up the windows of her classic car, rolling around and virtually reinventing the “bop” what a great video!

          But then…what Cyndi Lauper video wasn’t great each one was like a mini movie full of humor, drama and some of the best terrible acting ever put to song! Madonna had videos that supposedly pushed the envelope…but in the long run WHO CARES! Cyndi’s videos had that certain something that Madonna’s videos could never have that X-Factor could be summed up in just three words. Captain Lou Albano. Albano and Lauper were the dynamic duo in the 1980’s. She appeared on the WWF, he appeared in what seemed like every video she made. The two were inseparable and America wanted it that way. I was always a huge fan of Captain Lou and he died way to young, on my 29th birthday. I still miss the big guy.

          I’ve already said everything I need to say to prove that Cyndi Lauper is one of the greatest talents of our times but let me drop a few other facts into your lap and, as they say, seal the deal.

          1. Cyndi Lauper appeared in animated form on the Simpsons. Granted it was in the tenth season when the show had already been past it’s prime but she did her best to save it and that’s something to respect.

          2. Cyndi was on the WWF! I know I mentioned it already but come on a female pop star on the WWF can you picture your precious Madonna doing that? No. You can’t.

          3. Cyndi did the theme song and the amazing music video for the iconic, childhood cult film The Goonies! Nostalgic Gold, and Cyndi Lauper, Helped make it happen.

          4. Cyndi co-starred in “Life With Mikey” with none other than Marty McFLy and The Teen Wolf and, my personal hero, Alex P Keaton himself, Michael J Fox!

          5. Cyndi guest starred on The Super Mario Brothers Super Show! They didn’t just take any nobody off of the street as a guest star. You had to be a celebrity of the caliber of Elvira or Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years to get on that show and Cyndi Lauper was that caliber star. And it wasn’t just any old episode it was “Captain Lou Is Missing“ Where Lou Albano actually guest starred as himself on a show starring himself a la Redd Foxx guest starring on Sanford And Son (also a great episode)

Man…I love Super Mario Brothers Super Show!

          6. She isn’t desperately trying to cling to mainstream popularity by constantly “reinventing herself” she just naturally evolves. And like wine, music and 80’s cartoons…she just gets better with age.

          They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and so far I’ve written just about 950. So instead of continuing to further this trivial debate as to whether Madonna could even hold a candle to my hero Cyndi Lauper, let me leave you with a picture that will put the issue to rest once and for all.
You’re welcome in advance.

          The Claymation Werewolf.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Girl Version

First posted on March 4th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

          The 80’s were an amazing time to be alive and a kid. Every show was a cartoon whether it was animated or not. Each home came with hot and cold (mostly cold) running Slurpees. Sticker technology was reaching new peaks at what seemed like a weekly rate and then there were…the toys. Toys were AMAZING in the 1980’s! They glowed in the dark, they transformed into other toys, they smelled like stuff. They could do anything! Whether a boy wanted to be a police officer, a soldier, or a prince/barbarian warrior; there was a toy for that and each one was great. If there was any property in existence it had a cartoon and that cartoon had a toy. Even toys like Monchichis had cartoons and that didn’t even make any sense!

          The 80’s were also a time of another kind of change. See, up until then toys with any real level of coolness at all were boys toys where as girls toys were largely training devices created to equip the women of tomorrow with the necessary skills of cooking, house cleaning and caring for children. For some reason that is totally beyond me, people in power decided that was wrong and in 1981 The Congress of the United States passed the Childhood Recreation Hippiefication Act; demanding “awesomeness equality” across all toy gender borders.

          Totally blindsided by the bill, toy companies had to act fast and soon America was treated to a whole new world. The world of girl toys. Not given time to begin developing original girl toy concepts, the first girl toys were basically the “girl version” of popular boy toys. The most famous of these toys was Barbie, developed in 1983 as a girl toy answer to the popular large “action figures” know as GI Joe Action Force. The dolls proved almost immediately to be nearly as popular as the GI Joes themselves and have actually gained popularity as the years have gone by… What’s that you say? Barbie actually came out BEFORE GI Joe and was MORE poplar? And they actually came out in 1959 and 1964 respectively, not in 82 and 83? And the GI Joes of the 1980’s weren’t of the giant Action Force variety, they were the 3 ¾” Real American Hero Toys? ….Sshhhhh. I’m trying to write a blog.

          GI Joes and Barbies aside, the concept of the “Girl Version” toys were rampant throughout the 80’s. Sadly, some of these have been overlooked or even forgotten over the years, and these are the toys I would like to showcase today. Submitted for your approval, The Top (random) Five Girl Versions of boy toys in the 1980’s!

#1 She-Ra, Princess of Power

          In the 80’s He-Man had the power and boys everywhere became obsessed with not only the cartoons, showcasing his adventures but the huge line of toys that allowed them to create adventures of their own. But something was missing. The young girls of America cried out for a fierce warrior they could call their own! And in 1985 the characters of Masters of the Universe suddenly remembered that Adam used to have a twin sister named Adora who got kidnapped as an infant by Hordak and swept away to some other planet. And through the amazing powers of RetCon, She-Ra was born. Girls everywhere started following the weekly adventures of She-Ra as her and the rebel forces of Whispering Woods fought to free Etheria from Hordak and a bunch of scary looking, bumbling minions. Even boys loved watching the She-Ra animated series (I wasn’t the only one…right?) but that equality, for the most part, did not extend to the toy line. The toys, while technically action figures, were very much still dolls. They had “real” hair, they were pink and purple, glittery and shimmery. Even Swiftwind, who was never that tough looking to begin with, was for some reason purple and see-through. Looking back I can see what Hasbro was going for, the perfect mesh of doll and action figure, something that would appeal to girls of all stripes and for the most part I think it worked…Now MOTU collectors (even the dudes) are sure to make Princess of Power toys a valuable part of their Hasbroian Army.


#2 Kid Sister

          Back in the 80’s if there was one single thing kids everywhere wanted, it was for a smaller kid to constantly follow them around and do everything that they did. While those of us that actually had younger siblings questioned the wisdom of this, it was still a fact and one brave toy company called Hasbro took notice. In 1985 they introduced a new toy called My Buddy to the delight of those kids who wanted their small companion to be a lifeless, smiling doll that was so creepy that it ended up inspiring a horror movie (I don’t care what the creators say, Chucky was based on My Buddy…not Cabbage Patch Kids.)

          Girls it seemed also wanted a little brat that wouldn’t leave them alone and copied everything they did…everything! And wanted all the same toys and stuff too! I mean come on! You didn’t even like ninjas, why did you want a ninja costume like mine? But nooooo, you just had to whine until Mom and Dad bought you one too…ahem… sorry about that. Anyway after the release of Kid Sister, both boys and girls could drag a giant doll around while they climbed trees, pulled wagons and rode their Big Wheels. My parents actually fought the giant crowds to buy me a my buddy for Christmas the year of My Buddy Mania! In the long run it ended up scaring my actual little brother so badly that he had constant nightmares and it had to be packed away. I guess they weren’t ALL bad after all!

#3 Polly Pocket

          When I was a kid, everyone was pretty worried about over population…high rise apartments became more popular than ever and everything started to get smaller. Home electronics began to back away from giant furniture sized versions, to portable units, cars began to be more compact and toys got smaller. In fact toys got Waaaaayyy smaller. Working under the assumption that children would soon have to contain their entire play area within an area the size of a small lunch box, a huge chain of miniature toys started appearing on miniature toy shelves everywhere. There were the terrifyingly tiny Monster In My Pockets! The Pint Sized Powerhouses known as Muscle Men and diminutive drivers everywhere fell in love with Micro Machines. The two toy lines who really knew how to do small were Polly Pocket and Mighty Max. They were whole tiny worlds; Mighty Max had miniature dungeons…enemies, …allies…everything! Polly Pocket had teeny-tiny characters as well but that wasn’t all. The little characters had little pets and little clothes, little furniture etc… it was the best! And the most amazing part of all was that her whole house came in a small closeable package that could fit right in your backpack. If, for instance, you were a boy that wanted to play with Polly Pocket but wanted to keep it hidden because the other kids couldn’t accept the fact that you liked the toys because you had a serious interest in domestic engineering and fashion, not because I… um… I mean whichever kid was a sissy! Anyway Polly Pocket and her male counterpart Mighty Max were HUGE in the 80’s. In the smallest possible way of course.

#4 Easy Bake Oven

         One of the strangest examples of a Girl Version toy would have had to be the Easy Bake Oven. In 1984 Mattel decided that male kids should learn some household skills after all but at the same time they knew that boys hated cooking…they hated ovens, hell, they even hated food. What boys like were gross things; bugs, slimy things, creatures. Kids wanted slimy critters and please, for all that is good in the world don’t make them edible! So low and behold boys everywhere started mixing ingredients and putting them in an oven to cook. Of course they had to use terms like Plasticgoop and Thingmaker but dammit, those kids were cooking. At this point, toy companies were blindly copying boy toys to make equivalents for girls and what resulted was one of the biggest blunders of the “girl version” era. The easy bake oven was designed to be a Creepy Crawler Thingmaker that would appeal to girls. Well, as science has proven, while boys like snails, worms and frogs; girls are into sugar and spice and everything nice. And that is what they used in the girl creature making devices. The resulting creatures actually ended up being delicious pastries and Mattel had gone full circle creating a toy that taught girls how to be good housewives. The federal government leveled huge fines against the company but it was too late. Those delicious light bulb cooked confections had made their way into society. Mmmm, brownies.

#5 Sweet Secrets

         Transforming Toys were all the rage in the 80’s. I’m sure everyone reading this knows all about the Go Bots and their inferior and less respected cousins the Transformers. They changed from robots to vehicles or a gun…or a cassette player etc. But they were far from being the only transforming toys out there. I still have strange eggs that transform (after a lot of work) into animals…a red cheetah, a gorilla and another animal that I can’t think of right now. There were knock-off transformers, transforming non-robot vehicles; even He-Man had a couple transforming dudes that changed from boulders to boulder-men hybrids but one line of transforming toys was more mysterious…more nefarious and more secretive than any others and that toy was Sweet Secrets. Sweet Secrets actually encouraged girls to deceive everyone around them. To never, under any circumstances let any of your loved one see that your compact, lipstick, hand mirror etc were actually toys. Apparently girls were starting to collapse under the constant pressure to be a glamorous, high fashion member of society wearing enormous hard plastic jewelry. They were desperate to hide the terrible secret that they occasionally liked to play with tiny bejeweled dolls and animals. It was a hard life and I guess Sweet Secret helped take some of the enormous burden off of the shoulders of girls in the 80’s.

          At the end of the day I think the Girl Version phenomenon was a success. It helped proved that anyone could relax and enjoy themselves, even girls. In fact I sometimes wish that the trend had spread into every facet of toy design. Imagine a girl version of MadBalls or M.A.S.K. or Sky Commanders? When you start to think about what might have been, it can be mind blowing. Now, if you don’t mind I better help Polly Pocket get back to her housework. After all, this tiny little house isn’t going to vacuum itself, is it?