Reviews of Cabbage-Patch Kids, Strawberry Shortcake, Easy-Bake Ovens, Trivial Pursuit, and More…
Hiya, and welcome to “Nonsense Reviews,” the column where we review things (I guess). Yes, yes, yes, this is the long-awaited column that will review every goddamn thing that you can think of, from Toys to Breakfast Cereals to Muppets to Sexual Positions. (So, in other words, we’ll be reviewing everything that’s important.) And even better, we’ll be assigning all of these important things (from Apples to, say, Threesomes) with a letter grade, from A-plus to F-minus. Why? Because that’s the way I look at the world, that’s why. And hopefully, that’s the way you look at the world too.
So sit back, relax, and let the reviewy-ness wash over you. And by the way, the reviews in this column will hopefully be published in book form, sometime within the next year or so. So if you find these reviews to be unfunny the first time around, you’ll get a second chance to be annoyed all over again, when they’re bound and presented for sale at, say, that irritating book table in “Urban Outfitters” where they sell really bad books like “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.” So, there’s that…
And now, let’s begin. We’ll start with a review of a topic that is very near and dear to my heart…
TOYS AND GAMES (Part One)
Cabbage-Patch Kids: My god, these fuckers were creepy, eh? It’s the way that they stare at you — that unblinking, never-changing stare of a ten-year Vietnam Vet. Plus, one woman actually died during the Christmas rampages that occurred in the 1980s when insane mothers tried to pull the very last Cabbage-Patch Kid off the shelf. Jesus! Do you think that her family still celebrated Christmas after that, or did they switch over to Hanukkah or what?
“…Well, I hope you enjoy your Cabbage-Patch Kid very very much, Jennifer. Because as you know, your mother died getting it for you. And now Daddy’s going to open his nice Christmas grain-alcohol and take a long refreshing swig. …Ahhh, bracing! Oh, look! Santa left another present under the tree for you. It’s a book. ‘Coping with Crippling Depression, Guilt, and Loss.’ Ah, yes… Santa Claus knows somehow, kids. He always knows.”
…Anyway, for some reason at my elementary school, girls were allowed to bring Cabbage-Patch Kids to class with them, possibly because they were so life-like and creepy as to be confused with actual suburban pre-teens, I’m not sure. And there was a boy in my school — one and only one boy — who had a Cabbage-Patch Kid and brought it in as well. His name was Jason. By the time he turned 13, he had dropped the Cabbage-Patch doll thing, but one day, a janitor opened his locker at school, and a gun and a bottle of vodka fell out, and we didn’t see too much of Jason after that. I don’t know if there’s a causal relationship between owning a girl’s doll and become the potential future Unabomber, but suffice it to say that I won’t be adopting any kids from the ol’ Cabbage-Patch anytime soon. Grade: D-minus.
The Easy-Bake Oven: Speaking of boys owning girl toys… Okay, I had an Easy-Bake Oven. You got me. I’d try to defend myself in review form, but really, what can I say? Anyway, owning an Easy-Bake Oven, along with my casual drug use and the fact that I’ve seen “The Ice Capades” multiple times, is yet another reason that you won’t see me running for president anytime soon. Although I could probably figure out some way to weasel out of it during the presidential debates:
“…I’m sorry that my distinguished opponent sees it fit to mock my ownership of an ‘Easy-Bake.’ But, my fellow Americans, the fact is that my family was very poor when I was growing up. Sometimes my ‘Easy-Bake’ cupcakes were all that my family had to eat in order to survive. True, I haven’t been to Yale or to Harvard, but I know hardship, my friends…”
Umm, so, yeah. Right. So what was I talking about? Oh, the fact that I owned a girl’s toy. Ri-iiight… Grade: C
The Big Wheel: Returning now to the land of actual toys owned by non-lame boys like me, we have… the Big Wheel Bike. Super-sweet! I loved my Big Wheel. …But returning now to the topic of my personal lameness, I never learned how to ride a real bike, so “The Big Wheel” really represents the apex of my self-propelled personal transportation skills. I’ve tried looking on the internet for adult versions of the Big Wheel, but apparently The Man won’t let us have them, probably for the same reasons that he prevents us from having visi-phones and jetpacks and other such potentially awesome inventions.
Anyhow… Big Wheels rule! And the best part of the bike… the “Spin-Out Lever,” which you could pull when you had reached the truly awesome speed of 5 mph, allowing you to do a truly insane power-side. I recall being more than vaguely disappointed that there weren’t more things in my neighborhood that would legitimately require me to spin-out, such as say collapsing boulders or an exploding dam or landmines or something like that. Instead, my friends and I pretty much biked around our ‘hood and manufactured whatever “spin-out” requiring dramatic crises that we could come up with. “Look, dudes! It’s a cat! Maybe she’s in heat! Pull the lever, boys!” Grade: A
Strawberry Shortcake: Okay, I give up. I’m talking about a strawberry-scented doll; that means I’m lame, all right? Anyway, mercifully, I did not play with Strawberry Shortcake dolls when I was a kid, Strawberry Shortcake falling under the general rubric of “action figures that neither transform nor shoot rockets which girls were stuck playing with for generalized sexist reasons.” But I did have occasion to watch several Strawberry Shortcake cartoons in my early twenties, hopefully under the influence of drugs. And, okay, so there’s Strawberry Shortcake, right? And then there’s the bad guy in the cartoons; he’s called, like, the Purple Pieman, right? Are you with me so far? You know how most bad guys want to take over the world or blow up New York City or something like that? Well, not the Purple Pieman. He just wants to get Strawberry Shortcake’s recipe for shortcake. …Now here’s my thing. Couldn’t Strawberry just give him the recipe? …Isn’t that what recipes are for? I mean, if I came up with a killer new type of cookie with caramel, chocolate, and two kinds of nuts, and my friend Dan asked me for the recipe, I wouldn’t be like, “Fuck you, no. I will defend it to the death.” And yet this is what happens every week with Strawberry Shortcake.
So anyway, armed with this information, I now realize that Strawberry Shortcake would make a perfect new girlfriend for me: a withholding bitch-goddess who can cook really well. Except that she has red hair. That doesn’t really work for me. Grade: C-minus
Trivial Pursuit: Here’s the thing. Either way with this game, you look dumb. If you answer the question correctly because you actually know that Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and the 24th president of the United States, then you look like a big loser nerd for carrying that information around in your overstuffed brain. If you don’t know the answer, then you’re a retarded idiot. Plus, I win this game every time I play it, which sadly puts me in the first category. So maybe the rest of you can stop playing now. Grade: C-plus
Othello: Playing the board game “Othello” is not a good substitute for actually reading the Shakespearian play “Othello.” I used to be an English major, so I know. For example: “Mr. Miller, would you care to explore the themes of alienation and race within the play itself?” “…Sure. …So, uh, there was like, this guy — Othello. And he was, like, surrounded? By white circles? And the circles represented, like, rage? And that like, flipped him. Flipped him over. Flipped him out. But then, once he got flipped, we learned that… we learned that like, everyone is black and white. But like, on different sides.” “…Please sit down now, Mr. Miller.” Grade: D-plus. Dude? D-plus? That’s like… a sucky grade.
Sorry!: Are you? …Are you really? Because I’ve been thinking a lot about our relationship, and here’s the thing. I don’t think that you are. Grade: Oh, you want a grade now? You just lovvve putting things into neat little boxes, don’t you?
Monopoly: Yeah, I don’t know what that last review was about either. Anyway… “Monopoly.” This game harkens back to a simpler time — a time when ‘a monopoly’ was considered to be a good thing and not, say, something that caused tickets to rock concerts to cost 75 dollars or American cars to be built really badly. Plus, the Scotty Dog. The game has a Scotty Dog. There you go. …There’s probably some ‘Scooby-Doo’-esque personality-test game where you can break people down based on what Monopoly tokens they choose: like, for example, “Racecar” people are intense and crave excitement; “Top Hats” are only in it for the money; “Flat Irons” are level-headed and sensible; “Scotty Dogs” love to piss all over you; “Thimbles” are confused and probably gay…
Anyhow, what a great game. The best thing is, you get 200 hundred bucks just for passing “Go.” I wish this happened more often in real life. The only real comparison I can think of in real life is when you wake up in bed and someone has made you coffee and breakfast and maybe you get some oral sex out of the deal. Just for waking up!
Plus, since I’ve never taken a class in Economics or in Business, pretty much all I know about the world of high finance is what I learned from the game “Monopoly.” My business philosophy can thus be summarized as follows: buy things that are the same color, put houses on them, don’t go to jail. But if you try to talk about stuff like this during a potential job interview, for some reason, they call security. Grade: A-minus
A SINGLE FOOTNOTE:
 You know… “Velmas” are nerds. “Shaggies” are stoners. “Scoobies” are… also stoners. “Daphnes” are frigid hotties. “Freds” want to split up all the time…
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