Black Friday approaches, like an SUV-sized pothole that threatens to eat our credit. Yes, the Friday following American Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., which means bank accounts will be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder before a single Christmas stocking gets stuffed.
In honor of this retail harbinger of holiday shopping, it’s time for my second annual Toys-That-Suck post.
Here Are the Top 5 Toys of 2010 That Really Suck:
1. Barbie Video Girl Doll
- Description: Barbie with a video screen on her back and a camera above her breasts
- Premise: Barbie swallows a camcorder
- Pitch by product development team: “And we will call her ‘Barbie Video Girl Doll’ because that’s easy to say, especially for a four-year-old.”
- Favorite excerpt from Amazon.com review: “I HATE THE IDEA [of the doll] AND THINK YOU CAN KICK THE IDEA TO THE CURB.”
- Snarky commentary: Brilliant invention. Because as a society we need to promote taking off Barbie’s clothes and touching her breasts while filming something. I mean seriously. Just when you think our children are playing creatively with a doll, someone has to go add a screen to it. Plus, what’s with Amazon.com’s pricing? It is $39 for the blond version, $50.99 for the brunette one, and $68.54 for the African American doll.
2. Mattel’s Monster High Doll
- Description: A long-legged, scary looking doll with heavy make up
- Premise: Barbie’s Gone Goth, or Bratz on a diet
- Pitch by product development team: “There’s a hole in the market waiting to be filled. We will create a doll with proportions more extreme than Barbie’s.”
- Favorite excerpt from Amazon.com review: “I JUST HAD TO MENTION TO ALL THOSE REVIEWERS WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT HAND AND ARMS FALLING OFF THESE DOLLS, IF YOU READ THE DIRECTIONS, THEY ARE MADE TO DO THAT.”
- Snarky commentary: The Monster High Doll looks like Barbie mated with Jacob from Twilight (evidently Team Edward lost the game of genetic roulette). Moreover, our daughters will benefit from a doll with longer legs because, with all this body image awareness out there, they may be starting to feel like they’re good enough just as they are. And that’s just not good for the multi-billion dollar beauty industry.
3. Fisher Price’s We-Did-It Dora
- Description: Dora, now with longer hair, says “We did it” and does a dance number, which primarily consists of flapping her arms.
- Premise: Dora, not only yelling, but now repeating the same phrase, and flailing.
- Pitch by product development team: “We take Dora, rip off the Nike slogan, and add a bit of Dancing with the Stars.”
- Favorite excerpt from Amazon.com review: “I bought this doll as a birthday present for my niece, and she loves it! I live out of state…” I can think of many toys that I’d rate highly if lived 500 miles from them.
- Snarky commentary: Like I said in last year’s toy review, I like Dora, because she’s not Barbie in shape or attitude. Granted, Dora yells a lot and should probably be sold with a pair of earplugs (or free shipping out-of-state). One has to wonder if the We-Did-It Dora flaps her arms so much because she wants to get away.
4. Scrabble Flash
- Description: A modern version of Scrabble that’s about speed, not vocabulary (or knowing that qi is a word)
- Premise: Diet Scrabble, or Scrabble Zero
- Pitch by product development team: “It’ll be perfect for those kids who only know one-syllable words and who have the attention span of a gnat on speed.”
- Favorite excerpt from Amazon.com review: “Being a middle aged adult though, with no children, I quickly found I needed more of a challange [sic] than this offers.” If this reviewer were a middle aged adult with children, opening the box would be enough of a challenge.
- Snarky commentary: I like Scrabble. It is one of those things that I enjoy, but don’t actually do much of, like exercising and listening to classical music. With Scrabble Flash, Hasbro has created a version that takes less than two hours, does not require a dictionary, and has three solo features. It’s brilliant because who can sit for two hours anymore? Plus, who actually has time to interact with children? According to Amazon’s kids-could-die warning, the game is recommended for ages eight and up because kids under eight could choke on the balloon. Wait: there’s a balloon in Scrabble? How many six-year-olds run around with balloons in their mouths? Never mind. I have two in my own house.
5. Smart Cycle Racer Physical Learning Arcade System
- Description: Primary color stationary bike meets video game.
- Premise: We are better parents if our kids burn some calories while we plop ‘em in front of a screen.
- Pitch by product development team: “It’s a Junior-Couch-Potato Training System, complete with a Video Game option. We’ll keep the cup holder option for the next model.”
- Favorite excerpt from Amazon.com review: “It’s almost impossible to peddle [sic] it very fast…it looks like someone just repackaged some old programming…[it] freezes up, and is a bit difficult to navigate.”
- Snarky commentary: I think Fisher Price should’ve added more adjectives into the name of this product; after all, there’s only four with smart, physical, learning, and arcade. I suspect Fisher-Price is casting their net wide, aiming for a large audience, from parents who want their kids to learn something, to kids whose adrenalin starts pumping the moment they hear the word arcade. But, seriously, whatever happened to letting your kid run around outside?