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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cereal Killers

UPDATE: I apologize for the formatting of this post. It should look okay once the post for 7/29 is up and this one is pushed below the sidebar. If not, then I'll have to learn some HTML so I can avoid these problems in the future. Now, on with the show:

Welcome back, folks. This week we cast a suspicious eye on the character featured on popular cereal brands. It seems that every time they change the box art, the characters go a little bit more insane.

When I was a kid, we had our "crazy" cereal characters. Sonny would go Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs on a regular basis. Going Cuckoo usually consisted of jumping really high, or running really fast. I like to think of this as honest in advertising, because if you're feeding your kids Cocoa Puffs, you should have an idea of how they're going to act after two or three bowls of the stuff.

But these days the cereal characters have gone from wacky to frightenengly insane.

I mean seriously, let's start with Sonny:

He started off being badly drawn:

Okay, so his taste in shirts is questionable, but there's nothing here that would make you back slowly away and make for the nearest policeman.

Then he grew up and got better artists to design him:
Okay, he's Cuckoo, but he's still friendly. Not in the Helter Skelter zone yet.

But look at him now:
GAH! He's now naked, first of all, and what is with those eyes? That's not Cuckoo. That's "we've switched Sonny's bowl of Cocoa Puffs with industrial strength methamphetamines. Let's see if he notices the difference."

Now, let's consider everyone's favorite ethnic slur: Lucky the Leprechaun!

In the old days, he was your standard, ruddy-cheeked oirish mythological figure. Pointy ears, green suit, clover stuck into the band of his hat. Sure, his eyes were a little beady, and you're suspicious that wasn't milk he poured over the magically delicious "marshmallows," but he was still a jolly type of guy.

Flash forward a bit, and we get a redesign:

Ah, lucky. Cartoonish and friendly, like a Rankin Bass character from a cancelled stop-motion holiday special. He's upgraded to the four-leaf clover now, and the cereal actually looks like something a human child would eat.

But it was not to last:

AUGH! Here! I don't want your Lucky Charms! Take them! Just don't hurt me!



See what I mean? Every redesign brings our beloved cereal mascots closer to inmates from Arkham Asylum.

Even Cap'n Crunch was not immune to the madness.

Okay, so he sort of started insane. Big sword, constricted pupils. And he's obviously been a pathological liar since the start.

(Stays crunchy in milk my eye.)

Moving on, he actually got less crazy, more kindly.

He's bucking the trend here. Kindly expression, normal eyes. He may be a little short of sleep, and he's a little too close to the camera (all right, I'll try the cereal. Back off!) but he's basically your standard issue naval air puffed corn pusher.

But then he relapsed, the poor dear.

I love to eat my crunchy breakfast cereal with some chianti and fava beans.


And finally,

Ahh, but the Crunchberrys that's... that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic... that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I'd have produced that key if they hadn't of pulled the Caine out of action. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officers...

He's still Navy, but then so was Captain Bligh.

Finally, I leave the most disturbing transition for last.

Do you perhaps remember the Cinnamon Toast Crunch chefs? There used to be three.

They were never officially named, except the one in the middle.

Oh sure, they all look friendly.

But now there's only one of them. His name is Wendell.

I wouldn't ask him what happened to the other guys.

Just eat your cereal.

Eat it.