|by Brian Orndorf
Everyone’s favorite yellow family is no stranger to the robust demands of commercial whoredom. With products numbering in the thousands (of every imaginable concept and execution) bearing the imprint of “Simpsons” over the last 17 years, it comes as little surprise to see the wicked financial cycle lurch to life again to celebrate the release of hotly anticipated “The Simpsons Movie,” opening across America on July 27th. However, this is no ordinary, yawn-inducing promotional push. This, my friends, is a marketing atom bomb; an explosive payoff of throbbing fandom that has taken far too long to manifest itself in the real world.
For the musty month of July, 11 cadets in the mighty 7-Eleven force, besieged by paint and various insider-only decals, will be embiggened into Kwik-E-Mart locations: the Springfield convenience store staple run by spoiled meat huckster Apu. While lacking a certain all-encompassing detail, the store switcheroos are nonetheless monumentally enchanting, bringing to life a lusted after piece of the television show that was previously left to the drunken fantasies of back alley urinators and college dorms. The selection of converted stores seems pretty arbitrary (Maryland gets one, but Phoenix is left out? Henderson, Nevada? Sheesh!), and not all of the locations fit the ideal Kwik-E-Mart look many are accustomed to. Yet, as film promotional blitzes go, this puppy is a doozy.
However, if you have the misfortune of not living next to a rechristened 7-Eleven, your neighborhood location, barring the typical angry franchisee arms-crossed non-compliance, should have a healthy selection of “Simpsons” swag available for purchase, filled with items neat enough to help you forget most of it is basically overprice hooey.
The top of the “Simpsons” food chain are the Slurpees, only now in this flaming hot month they are known as “Squishees.” The signature flavor of the month is called “Blue Woo Hoo! Vanilla,” which tastes a little like vanilla and a lot like hair conditioner. I’ll take Tangerine Lime for the block. Mountain Dew if you’re nasty.
The true selling point of the Squishee isn’t the flavors, but the cups. 7-Eleven is the undisputed champ of worthless collectible cup production, kicking major ass over the last year with their vivid “Superman Returns” and “Spider-Man 3” lenticular designs. It just isn’t a true Slurpee experience without Brandon Routh pretend winking at me.
“The Simpsons” have their very own line of colorful Squishee cups, sans any awesome 3D action, but still entertaining in the way they display the characters loud and proud, topped off with a disposable yellow lid to best simulate drinking out of Homer’s head. Hey, Slurpees are God’s sugary gift to humanity, perhaps as way to apologize for the existence of Maroon 5. Squishees are just the natural extension; a cartoon version of the preeminent dank convenience store treat intended to lift the average fanboy off the ground for a few sweet daydreaming moments.
Accompanying the Squishees, but you must to pay for the pleasure of their company, are a series of magnetic character curly straws. They double as a fun way to slowly suckle your iced beverage and add to the average refrigerator door mosaic.
“Buzz Cola” continues the theme of unnecessary liquid, giving customers a chance to sample the soda that Springfield prefers. Packaged in an awesomely designed can, it almost seems a sin to crack the aluminum open and give the fluid a taste. On the show, it’s portrayed as a sort of Jolt knockoff (the Sorny of the cola wars), but once you sip it in the harsh light of real world, it tastes like...RC. Flat RC to be more disappointingly specific. Still, the buzz of holding an actual container of Buzz is worth the three buckaroos the pricing sonsabitches at 7-Eleven have decided is a fair cover charge to slip into this exclusive club of caffeine.
“KrustyO’s” taps into the same giddy delight as the Buzz cans, taking a beloved cartoon punchline and putting it into your Squishee-stained hands. Of course, what made the cereal such a hoot on the program was the way it subverted the kiddy breakfast meal traditions in increasingly violent ways. In the real world, that won’t fly. Outside of the colorful, but oddly one-note, box, there’s little mischief to be found. In fact, these KrustyO’s are just generic Froot Loops, without the worms, screws, or mold promised on the cover.
This is my favorite part of the box:
Oh lawyers, how you make our world hilarious at times.
There’s an official “Simpsons” pink-frosted donut in the mix as well, but is there really a need to taste that? I guess my sense of adventure ends at products where I can predict the outcome. “Mmmm...tastes like...a donut. NEXT.”
Along with the assortment of specialty treats, you’ll find the other the usual suspects: t-shirts, watches, fruit snacks that aren’t even shaped like the characters (what the hell is the point of that?), figurines, hats, four-dollar comic books, talking keychains, cookies, and other trinkets that never moved off the shelf at Spencer’s, all crossing their fingers hoping to be snatched up by the overly impulsive “Simpsons” fanatic.
Truthfully, this is all a complete gas, sure to fill the coffers of 7-Elevens across America by catering to the nerdly while giving said nerds a chance to live out their 2D fantasies one sip and bite at a time. If you have any speck of love for Homer and the crew, get thee to a 7-Eleven as quickly as you humanly can before the fun is all sold out and put on Ebay by soulless, sad bastards.
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originally posted: 07/12/07 15:38:25
last updated: 07/12/07 15:40:46