X-Entertainment.Com - Next Article --- By Matt - 10/30/'02

Well, the last article was about Ronald McDonald, and the one before that was about Transformers. This one is about both, mixed together, swarmed into one solid compound element of doom. Why? Because like Dr. Catherer said in Gremlins II, variety is the splice of life.

So you may have heard about this new Armada cartoon that's been making the rounds and pissing off everyone over six who watches children's television. Longtime Transformers fans can't seem to get into this new show, something I attribute mainly to the fact that Optimus now looks like something that should be teaming up with Godzilla to fend off Mothra or Mecha Mothra or Mecha Metal Maniac Mothra. Personally, I don't care. I have enough good older episodes of the show on tape - I can let one measly shitty season slide. Come on, we're all adopting that same train of thought with the current Sopranos season...surely we can extend the same pity towards programming meant for people who don't have pubic hair yet.

Bobby Bacala was a Teenage Sharkticon.

Still, there's toys to be sold, so a mass marketing blitz is going to be a necessity no matter how bad the show sucks. There's no better avenue to get the word out than teaming up with the world's number one clown and setting up camp within the cardboard halls of his Holy Grail, the McDonald's Happy Meal. Eating crap and getting a crappy toy was never this much fun before, and for a limited time, the glory is available to all willing to drop down three or four bucks.


I think the Happy Meal boxes are the best part of the deal, always have been. They're just so cute, and somehow, fries taste better coming out of a cardboard box than a paper bag. Maybe it has something to do with retaining heat, I'm not sure. In recent years, McDonald's has been more stingy with the boxes - usually you just get all the Happy Meal junk thrown into a standard bag accompanied by a few self-impressed giggles from the cashier. Oftentimes you'll hear the kitchen staff talking amongst themselves as you're walking away... 'Sucka thought he was getting a cardboard box! What a fool! We are victorious! Minimum wage, maximum rage!' If you don't get an actual box, the whole ordeal is cheapened.

Fortunately, this particular Happy Meal came in the classic container, so I had no reason to set myself on fire. Yet. The box art features some of the Transformers sporting their new looks, and wow, do they ever look different! They've somehow managed to make Starscream appear fat. Guess he's a regular customer. Megatron has some kind of claw appendage growing out of his head; it'd almost look neat if it didn't make him look like a giant moose.


The flipside of the box features a whole bunch of Hello Kitty crap in case any girls out there weren't interested in Transformers. The guy working the register actually gave me the Hello Kitty-inspired prize when we bought this, and I'm pretty sure he did it with malice because I changed my drink order five times. I got him to switch the toy to the boy version without much resistance, but I've gotta tell ya... Now that I think about it, there's certainly some small merit in owning a Hello Kitty CD holder. It only held two CDs but it came with funny face stickers!!! Oh well, maybe next time.

The HK side of the box even has a punch-out Kitty Wand, which lets even the most macho get in touch with their feminine side.


I STILL EAT GAMMORREAN GUARDS.
BUT NOW I DO IT WITH GRACE.
AND A NAPKIN ON MY CROTCH.

Before we get to the toy, let's take a look at the food. Since McD's food is so terrible, I opted against the McNuggets and went with a cheeseburger. The way I see it, my heroic stomach fluids will have an easier time breaking down one large enemy than six little ones. You know, I think the only reason our nation can survive eating McDonald's food is because our bodies have evolved over the years to accept it. I'm pretty sure that if you introduced the Big Mac to a foreign nation that the chain hasn't conquered yet, it'd be like the Indians facing malaria. All in all, the fact that people eat this crap is reason enough to fund a scientific study to see if we can perform surgeries that add trap doors to our intestines, allowing us to remove terrible food after eating it. I mean, sure it tastes good, but does anybody really want to digest this stuff? You wouldn't eat lemon-flavored rat poison, would you? What if it came in a Transformers Armada Happy Meal box? Tomfoolery at its highest.


Appetizing:
Main Entry: ap·pe·tiz·ing
Function: adjective
Definition: appealing to the appetite especially in appearance or aroma; also : appealing to one's taste


WELL IT'D BE A TOTAL PERSONIFICATION IF TODAY WAS OPPOSITE DAY!!!

The picture above is of an open cheeseburger, not a squirrel I ran over. I'm pretty sure the small white bits are onions, though finding out that maggots are an ingredient wouldn't be a total shock. The burger itself is thin enough to turn into a circular Chinese wall scroll. What was once bread is now a bloodied ketchup sponge, used to either paint the town red in literal comedy, or as a prop in school lessons teaching girls how to use Maxipads. Either way, eating the paper wrapper it comes in would prove twice as nutritious and won't cause your heart to supernova.

Bobby Bacala was a Teenage Grimace.


And now, the toy. Happy Meal toys were and still remain a staple in any kid's life, a constant reminder that there IS a God, and that God doesn't recommend toys with small parts for kids under three-years-old. The bag suggests that parents ask for 'special toys' for the younger kids, I guess because really little kids wouldn't appreciate Transformers. Oh wait, no, it's because they might choke to death. The 'special toy' is a bit of a misnomer, because there ain't much special about an inflatable apple pie with googly eyes.


As it turns out, I got the 'Cyclonus' figure. Cyclonus was on the old Transformers show too, and was my favorite character. Sadly, this new Cyclonus retains none of the former version's charm. Apparently some sort of helicopter, Cyclonus makes the rookie mistake of not being able to conceal his head in vehicle mode. Essentially, he looks like a really shitty helicopter with a robot head glued on top; sort of like the bronze medal prize winner in a backwoods parade float contest. When you roll the thing, the copter 'wings' spin around. I'm not sure if they're supposed to pop off and fly upwards because I managed to break the toy about two minutes after taking these pictures. I would say I handled a kid's toy a little too roughly, but I prefer to think I have super strength.

The gimmick with all these toys is that they can merge together to form one ultimate robot. Sort of. Here, take a look:


The 'One Mighty Robot' looks more like 'One Mightily Stupid Cheerleading Finale.' That's Optimus up at top - I keep waiting for him to 'give me a T!'. The 'One Mighty Vehicle,' made up of the Decepticon figures, looks like what a robot dog would shit out on the rug. I'm overanalyzing things though, these Armada toys are some of the best Happy Meal prizes I've ever seen offered. When I was young, the best thing I ever got was a pullback friction car with Birdie's torso glued on top of it. I remember asking my mother if Birdie could really drive a car, seeing as how I was young and didn't realize that Birdie was merely some guy in a stupid costume.

"No, birds can't drive cars, just fly away. Now eat your McNuggets before they fly away too."

That's how I learned the awful truth about Chicken McNuggets - they were made from real buck buck buckawin' chickens! Soon I had put the puzzle together, and realized that eating a Happy Meal was like going to the zoo and taking large bites out of cows, chickens, and probably a few sea otters. I went vegetarian for a week, but after finding a baby centipede in a granola bar, I figured it was a lost cause. I'm gonna eat something alive anyway, may as well be tasty and fried.


BET YA NEVER SAW A BOCA BURGER DO THAT, KIDS!

As a final coup, part of the box pops off, allowing your new toy to bust out of his cardboard prison all menacing-like. I'm regretful that the effect is lost when he's accompanied by a few loose fries and grease stains...


More Than Meets The Fry?

The toys are pretty cool overall as far as free prizes go, but I think I'm only eating vichyssoise from now on. I don't know what vichyssoise is, but I'm pretty sure eating it won't make my stomach explode into confetti.

- Matt
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