Thanksgiving (or, as some of you refer to it, Thursday) is over and it's time to think about Christmas shopping, right? Oh, Good Lord, now? Yes (apparently), now. But here's a little twist. Instead of talking about everything that everyone is clamoring to buy for Christmas, let's chat about some of the things that I'm hoping you'll avoid buying for Christmas. Now, you're going to have to pay attention because some are cleverly marketed to make you think either a) you really want this item or b) it's really cool and someone else will want this item. Neither of those things are true. Both are blatantly false. Lies. They're also known as lies. And the products below are also known as crap.
Here we have the first item to avoid buying this Christmas. Like Spider-Man? Like the beach? Well now you can have the best of both worlds with a beach going Spider-Man! Behold!
Oh, what the hell is that?! That, of course, is Spider-Man at the beach. See, he has his Spidey arms all exposed to maximize his tan (Watch out for melanoma, Spider-Man! Use sunblock, Spider-Man!), but they have left him with his Spidey gloves minus the fingers. That's a head scratcher even for me to come up with a reason as to why it is. But he also has his Spidey beach ball, his Spidey ball cap AND just in case someone is drowning and Pam Anderson or David Hasselhoff isn't around, he has one of those plastic orange things that we always saw them running with on Baywatch, but never actually saw them used. (NO one knows what the heck they do anyway. Do they work? Do they not? No one has ever tried them to find out!)
That little gem is brought to us by a company called Toy Biz which is apparently the toy division of Marvel Entertainment. It would appear, judging from Beach Spidey there, that in order to be an employee of Toy Biz, you must smoke incredible amount of marijuana each day at work, in or out of your cubicle. (I'm also guessing that they have a very lax policy on wearing pants as well, but that's an entirely different post.)
But wait! Beach Time Spidey not for you?! Prefer something a little more rugged? A little more adventurous? Something sans beach ball, perhaps? Well, the, maybe Safari Spider-Man is for you! Behold!
Good Lord, it keeps getting worse, doesn't it? It would appear that Safari Spidey has inadvertently bumped into some voodoo tribe deep within his jungle adventures and ended up with a shrunken head the size of a thimble! What happened Spider-Man?! What happened to your head?! Safari Spidey comes with a field camera, a safari hat for his teeny, tiny little noggin there, and "safari gear". I don't know what "safari gear" is, I only know that Spider-Man should not be having any of it!
And to round out the Stupid Spidey Trifecta, if you've got him at the beach and you've got him in the jungle, of course the next completely unnatural and absolutely hysterical outfit to have him in would be that of a firefighter! Behold!
OK, after seeing that I'm guessing they just give new hires at Toy Biz a big ol' joint to blaze down the first hour that they're on the job. Firefighter, Spidey? Are you kidding me? Shouldn't he be using his Spidey ability to scale the walls of that inferno and save some folks from a crispy, crispy doom instead of aiming his hose somewhere? The caption should be "Having been at the beach and thus missing all of the excitement on September 11, 2001, Spider-Man shows up on September 12, really jealous and ready for action!"
I have just realized during my search for all of the Spidey idiocy, that there is a whole line of ridiculous Spider-Man action figures. I cannot mock them all in this one post, as that would leave me no time to do justice to other hidden nuggets of glee such as this item:
That would be what is called Lightning Reaction Extreme. That's right. Not just your regular ol' Lightning Reaction! No, this one is extreme. Personally, I think the whole 'game' is a bit extreme. Here's the way it works: Everyone grabs one of those trigger looking things there and gets ready for loads of fun! It would seem that the game starts and music plays. While the music is playing, there is an illuminated red light in the center of the thing. When the music stops and the light turns to green, you're supposed to hit your trigger as fast as you can. Speed is important in this game as if you are not the fastest one and do not hit your trigger first, you receive an electrical shock via your controller! What the hell?!
It says on the box that it is not suitable for persons under the age of 15. See, I had no idea that there was a cut-off for the appropriate age to be shocked by a game that you're playing! What about people with pacemakers?! How suitable is it for them? What about the elderly? Suitable? I think not! I'm thinking that a minimum age to play this thing should be the least of people's concerns. But as I was reeling over this game, I came to realize that there are a whole slew of games out there that will shock you if you do it too slow, too fast or too wrong. There's Shock Ball: The Shocking Hot Potato Game. Don't forget the Shocking Memory Game, which kind of looks like that Simon game from the 80s, but only if Simon were on crack and living in the ghetto. And what party parlor wouldn't be complete without an edition of Shocking Arm Wrestling? That's right. Put on the gloves, lay down the shock pads and have at it! According to the description over there at Amazon, this game "...will make sure your opponent knows he is the loser by giving an electrical shock." Have the rules for arm wrestling become so complicated that we no longer know when it is that we have lost? I was very well aware that when my arm hit the table, I had lost. I didn't need a jolt of electricity to run through by body in order to drive that point home. My arm on the table was sufficient, thanks.
But not all toys are as shocking as the ones above. (Yes, yes, pun intended, but I'm not proud of it.) If, for some reason that I cannot imagine, your child is interested in, but just too darn young to bone and prepare their own fish, here's a fish prep toy for just such an occasion!
I'm told that cooking toys are very popular these days. I'm looking at that fish there and I'm having a hard time believing either a) that that's true, or b) that that's really a toy. And say, what's with the little squid there? Is it so the little ones can be pretending to bone salmon steaks and make calamari at the same time? Seems a bit complex, but what do I know? I'm not the one with the fish prep toy!
If you're afraid that your little one is going to have dreams of success that are just too much for them, perhaps bringing them back down to earth with their very own little cleaning trolley. Behold!What the what? A cleaning trolley? Trolley? Is that the right word? Or are we just using that because "cart" is offensive to some jackass? I think 'trolley' and I think streetcars, San Francisco, Rice-A-Roni, etc. I don't think 'cleaning lady' when I hear 'trolley'. Aside from that, this toy seems to have everything you'd need to play janitor all the live long day. It has a broom, a mop, a disinfectant squirter, a slop bucket, all the amenities to provide your little one with hours upon hours of enjoyment by simulating backbreaking work that will barely pay minimum wage with no benefits. And judging from the back of the package, I'm guessing that you're not going to find a "Made in U.S.A." label on this item. The back reads, collectively (and I'm not correcting for spelling, punctuation, or capitalization either. What you're reading is verbatim.):
"completely new to come in to market! top!
the best toys for the children and have a good time and keep you so clever!
Let us cleaning!"
I'm thinking maybe not so much "Let us cleaning!" and maybe a little bit more of "Let us counting!" as the front of the box says 11 pieces and the back of the box says 20 pieces. Also, this toy boasts a label that says "Girls Only". I don't know if that's the brand/label of the toy company that makes this disaster or if it intended as some sort of a guide, but if I was the type of person who got offended (and I'm not) that would do it.
And it wouldn't be a Christmas shopping season if I didn't include at least one highly inappropriate item to steer clear of. From the category of "What were they thinking?" I give to you (and consider it a gift that you have to keep) the Rad Repeatin' Tarzan. Behold!
OK, that doesn't look so bad, but you haven't seen him in action yet. Keep in mind, however, that something with the word 'rad' in the title is not going to be good. Clearly, the folks who came up with this name were not thinking things through. Oh, but if it was only just the name that they hadn't thought through enough. The video below should be enough to get across why you'll want to avoid this like the plague this year.
Uh-huh. I see. Well...it seems like Tarzan doesn't need Jane anymore. Either that or it's how Tarzan passes the time since Jane left him (probably for Safari Spidey). Whatever the scenario over there in the jungle, don't buy Rad Repeatin' Tarzan for your youngsters. Or your oldsters. Or any -sters. (And that includes oysters! No reason they should have to put up with that! Good Lord....)