Hey Kids! It's Toy Box Time!
April 24, 2005
I have a weakness for kitsch and junk. Combine the two to make junky kitsch or kitschy junk and I'll be your BFF (that's "Best Friend Forever"
for those of you who didn't have a friendship necklace and/or have never watched The Simple Life).
Toys, books, movies, dolls, stickers, coloring books, drug
paraphernalia are crammed into every nook and cranny of this no-storage-having apartment. When the toys started to
take over countertop, floor and table, we were forced to buy three 24-gallon Rubbermaid
tubs in which to contain (some of) the treasures. I was recently trying to find the Rosie O'Donnell doll when I realized that
-- hey! -- there's a lot of
good shit in here!
I rummaged, tossing aside oodles of headless Barbies, a ceramic Abraham Lincoln bust and a collection of rubber Buddha finger puppets. No, no, no -- these
will never do! No one wants to hear about Baby Brian and his tiresome head wound. Everyone knows his fontanel spontaneously started to geyser...
The police already took my statement; I've been cleared. Can't we talk about something else?
Primarily spurned by laziness and the fact that I didn't want to do a lot of thinking for this article, I've decided to share a few of my
favorites from the sweatpantserection.com coffers.
Miami Vice: The Game
Keeping with the nostalgia for everything 80's, the resurfacing of Miami Vice is no surprise. Crockett
and Tubbs are back on the beat in a big way. If you only know one thing about Miami Vice, you know that
Don Johnson is Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas is Tubbs. They spent their days and nights chasing down drug smugglers, getting laid,
ogling women, discriminating against immigrants, shooting big guns and getting laid some more.
Maybe they solved a couple cases here and there...but isn't that beside
the point? It was all about the suits, the loafers and the electronic Jan Hammer theme music. Awesome.
Miami Vice was revolutionary television in that it featured action sequences that weren't too far removed from the videos seen on MTV.
This rock-n-roll vibe wasn't limited to the set; both Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas tried their hand at a solo career. Ouch.
Merchandising is never far to follow the break-out of a hit show. In addition to spawning a feathered man-hair fashion craze,
the Miami Vice marketers figured there should be something for the kiddies. Thus, Miami Vice: The Game arrived on the shelves in 1984.
Miami Vice: The Show had to compete for ratings with Night Court and Kate and Allie, while Miami Vice: The Game had to compete with
The A-Team, Murder She Wrote and the TV Guide Games. A Vice cop never rests.
I came across Miami Vice: The Game when I cut through a parking lot and realized I was in the middle of a make-shift flea market.
A couple was selling a bunch of crap from the back of their van. Amidst the lampshades, scuffed shoes and Poison cassettes,
I spied my prize. They wanted two bucks, but I talked them down to $1.17...in change...all that I had on my
person. I was assured that all the game pieces were in the box. Yeah, they better fuckin' be...I know where you park your van every Saturday
afternoon. Watch out.
For the player who acts as the Miami Vice Team, the goal of the game is to apprehend the criminals' forces (cars) and/or
get to the target drop before the criminal does. For the player who acts as the criminals team, the goal is to get to the target drop before the
Miami Vice team does and if possible, to eliminate the Miami Vice forces (cars).
The three-fold game board is a map of Miami. You place your cars on the spots marked "start" and roll the die. From there each player
advances his or her car. Along the way, you draw cards that can help or hinder your cause. Such snags as "Shooting Incident" and "Witness"
can pop up at any moment. The pressure is intense. The cop winner has to catch the criminal, whereas the criminal winner has to make it to the
drop off point. The "strategic" part comes into play because the cops have to guess where the drop-off point is; the criminals have the advantage.
Sure enough, the criminals came out victorious. We celebrated by smoking crack down by the docks and having sex with Cuban hookers.
I can't say that Miami Vice: The Game is the worst game I've ever played. However, I'm hard pressed to come up with
something that out-bored me. It's a good thing we were tipping back margaritas at the time...alcohol saved the day again.
As further proof of Miami Vice: The Game's inability to impress, the pug refused to move from the game board. After eating a few
car game pieces, he remained uncooperative and immobile. I'd say the plastic upset his stomach if I didn't know the things he's capable
If you are looking for a modern take on Metro-Dade gaming, Miami Vice: The Video Game was released last year. I haven't (and won't)
play it, but it looks like you have the opportunity to shoot things. I wonder if they allow Crockett to fire off rounds into Tubbs' chest (or vice versa).
Is it considered police brutality or reciprocity if one cop shoots another? Hopefully the new Miami Vice game will enjoy
more success than its cardboard predecessor.
Mork and Mindy Acrylic Paint by Number
A spin-off from Happy Days, Mork and Mindy became a huge hit in 1978.
Produced in 1979, the Mork and Mindy Acrylic Paint by Number set captures the zany relationship between
Mork from Ork and Mindy McConnell, a music store clerk. Mindy (Pam Dawber) befriends the Orkan (Robin Williams) and allows him to stay in her attic as he "studies Earthling
customs." The series ran for five seasons...each progressively weirder than the last. Mork and Mindy were married during the fourth season.
Shortly thereafter, Mork birthed an egg from his navel...which then hatched a full-size
Jonathan Winters (whom they named Mearth). Did I mention that Robin Williams was coked out of his gourd during most of the Mork and Mindy years?
I dearly wanted to paint Mork and Mindy's portrait and hang it in my kitchen. However, it turns out that cheap acrylic paint from 1979 does not stand
the test of time. I shall be forced to channel my artistic intention through another Paint by Number located in the sweatpantserection.com catacombs:
the Leonard da Vinci Last Supper Oil Paint by Number. (You paint on genuine canvas!) One should always have a Plan B. Na-noo, na-noo.
KFC Picnic Play Set
There's something utterly depressing about the KFC Picnic Play Set. A little girl (let's call her Tawny) carefully lays out her picnic play set
on the living room carpet. She sighs as lifts the plastic biscuit to her lips and pretends to eat. Munch, munch. She forces a smile.
How much fun can one have with fake fried chicken and a decidedly stunted piece of plastic corn?
One can argue that toys made to resemble fast food are contributing to the larger problem of childhood obesity. Kids play with the food
and then -- surprise! -- they want the real thing. You can't blame the manufacturer; you've got to blame the idiots who are
spending money on these crappy pieces of molded drumstick (I guess that means me). The $4.99 I forked over to Big Lots in order to bring my KFC Picnic Play Set home
has caused one little boy or little girl to become obese and sluggish. In order to atone for my sins, please accept this apology:
I'm sorry that I caused your child to become enormously fat. I'm very sorry that I caused him to be picked last for kickball...that was
never my intent. Please forgive me.
It's very clearly marked on the outer packaging that the play set is a CHOKING HAZARD. Don't think that children under age three are the only
ones at risk. Late one night I went to fix a small snack. The pieces of chicken and corn were so convincingly real that I didn't realize they were
fake until I had to perform the Heimlich on myself over the back of a chair. That was a close one.
Growing Up Skipper
Growing Up Skipper made her debut in 1975. As Barbie's younger sister, Skipper had some catching up to do. What ho, what's this? Well, by Jove,
if you crank her arm in a circle, her torso elongates and her once indented chest bulges with girlish, budding breasts.
As a doll that morphed through puberty right before your eyes, Skipper caused quite a stir amongst mothers and feminists. Would little girls become
confused? Would Skipper's growing boobies scar them for life? I'm personally more frightened by her disproportionate mid-section than anything else.
Grown-up Barbie had giant boobies and Grown-up Skipper had a giant torso...I think we know which is more freakish. (Let's not even get into Ken and his
complete lack of genitals). The folks at Mattel need to hit the anatomy books a little harder.
It's time to watch some pubery in action. Skipper sans halter top will allow us to fully view the magic. (I recommend playing Britney's
Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman to set the mood).
When Skipper is in her pre-pubescent form, her chest is concave in nature. (We opted to use a pencil to demonstrate this; feel free to use any sharp
implement you might find around the house). However, after the estrogen kicks in, she suddenly develops a woo-worthy rack. All these changes...the miracle
of life. Now I finally understand what's been happening to my body.
Skipper hopes one day she'll look just like Barbie...but, really, isn't that what we all want? Excuse me, I've got an appointment with a surgeon about
those implants. Ta.