Saturday, May 24, 2008

Totally Innocent Toys?

Who wants to eat the brains of Disney characters? Who wants to squeeze Batman's crotch?

A couple of weeks ago I visited my brother and spent some time with my three-year-old little niece. At one time she and I were sitting on the couch in the living room, talking about something inane and fun, while casually browsing a brochure from an ice-cream company.

My niece started to point out each and every thing that she wanted from the brochure, in a typical childlike manner. One thing she was especially interested in was the severed heads of Donald Duck and Pluto, with the tops of their skulls removed so that one can scoop out their brains and eat them. At least that's what it looked like to me.

When she pointed at the creepy heads I coughed and asked her if she didn't find them strange in some way. She didn't. She pointed out that when you had eaten the ice-cream out you can use them as mugs, and that that's really cool, but other than that she didn't see anything special. I, however, couldn't stop thinking of the scene in that Indiana Jones-movie where they eat chilled monkey-brain. An attractive prospect to me, maybe, but I would have thought that children would react badly to the appearance of those ice-cream containers.

This, however, wasn't the first time I saw a product aimed at children that looked less than innocent in the eyes of an adult. I've found several such things around the Internet, and will present some of my favorites here.

Below you'll see another, much worse example of Donald Duck. There are things that I feel are much more cringe-worthy than just eating his brain. For instance a ride where the children sit between his legs to ride him, with his beak and gaze firmly planted between the child's legs. That is creepy. (Found on this blog)

Disney characters aren't the only ones subjected to such things though. Even our great comic book superheroes get their fill. tells us about a rather nasty looking squirt gun, in the form of Buttma... ehm, sorry, I mean Batman. An easy mistake to make, considering how the damn thing looks.

Even under normal circumstances I would probably find a gun in the form of a person very tacky, but things are several orders of magnitude worse when you fire by squeezing something sticking out of his crotch and refill his ammo by pouring liquid into a hole in his ass. I mean, seriously; who thought that was a good design decision?

Something that might be creepier still is the Pikachu... creation... on the next picture. I have only seen the picture without context (for instance here), so I don't know exactly what it is. I'm guessing it's one of those inflatable bouncy castles, in the form of Pikachu. Alright, that would seem totally ok, if you didn't enter through a curiously vagina-looking hole between its legs. That Pikachu looks so damned excited about it doesn't really help either.

Of course, sometimes designers are really stupid without managing to turn things quite that creepy. For instance, something that caused quite a stir in some people, in more ways than one, was a Mattel-made Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Flying Broomstick.

The broomstick naturally uses the magic of cheap electronics to produce sound effects when you use it, producing "swooping and wooshing" sounds to let you know that you're flying. And not only that, it also vibrates, presumably to give you some feeling of motion.

Now, when a flying broomstick is something you use by having it firmly between your legs, that vibrating function was something that raised a lot of eyebrows. This article tells us about a mother in Ohio who says that her 12-year old daughter played with it for hours, and that her 17 year-old sister enjoys the "special effects" too. Not that I personally have any problem with that, but seriously, the people at Mattel must have been really stupid not to foresee problems from parents by designing it that way.

Then there is Dora the Explorer, which I found here. I have no idea what kind of toy it is, but it's one of the most phallic objects I've seen in a long time, prompting questions about what exactly she is exploring, and if she shouldn't be called "Dora the Spelunker".

I know that there are more examples of toys like that. I know that I have seen more prime examples around, but I'll leave that to you to find if you want. I'm not entirely sure if I want to see any more creepy toys right now.