After the Choco-Diles extravaganza posted in January, I've received a lot of questions and comments about other elusive Hostess snacks. It's a phenomenon I can't really explain, but the public shares a strange fascination with the whereabouts of snack cakes once eaten. We could easily dig deep and come up with several explanations -- perhaps yesteryear's junk food serves as a perfect window into memories almost forgotten, or maybe certain people are cursed with having abnormal cravings for foods that are possibly extinct. With Hostess' treats, it's a bit different. The obsession is incredibly heightened, the hunts are more intense, and those who search with expend boundless resources for the opportunity to solve these edible mysteries. Oh Jesus Christ, I just don't have any idea if anything in this paragraph makes any sense.
Without naming names and ruining potential future articles, there's at least a few Hostess snacks long thought to be discontinued that are absolutely still out there -- albeit in limited scope. Readers have sent in dozens of hopeful requests for one particular cake's whereabouts, and I'm sad to report, this one is really gone. If you were pining for the secret location of a Hostess bakery that still makes "Choco-Bliss," put your dreams to bed. The gooey mess of chocolate heaven is gone forever, and all we have left are memories of crumb-stained teeth and the kind of throat-tickling whipped creme that sent chills all the way down to your testicles.
While the Internet provides a wealth of memories for just about any topic you could think of, Choco-Bliss cakes are damned by having very few fans who actually remember what they were called. The snacks were sort of outside the box for Hostess -- they had no peculiar cartoon spokescreature, and as you'll see with the ad campaign I'm about to review, they were stamped into one specific era of time and cast aside once trends changed. After the blue raspberry craze of the 90's took control, Hostess threw Choco-Bliss in the soil and never looked back. No idea why. Maybe the fact the one single cake contained enough fat for kids to outstore blue whales for a season played into it. Maybe the public just turned their backs on desserts that contained forty different kinds of chocolate. Maybe I should move on to the commercial review, because it's a lot more interesting than theories about missing crapfood.
The ad was 80's personified, to the point where it plays out more like a parody twenty years before its time. It's also among my favorites of the commercials we've looked at on X-E, in part for its unabashed cheesiness, but mostly because it features a blinking, neon Hostess sign that I'd pay good money and sever a leg to own.
A kid, a very very cool kid, enters some diner to spread his holy aura. He's wearing sunglasses and a leather coat, so we're assured that he's hip enough to be a worthy foil for Hostess' latest cake. They never give him a name; I assume that's my job, so let's call him Benny. Benny's used to getting all of the attention at this particular diner (it's gotta be the glasses), but today, things are different. The usual suspects pay him little mind, instead devoting themselves fully to a cart full of chocolate desserts that, suspiciously enough, seem to be free for the taking. Never one to be defeated by cake, Benny inspects his surroundings and begins to understand the magical hold Choco-Bliss maintains over every idiot twelve-year-old who bites it.
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By now you might be wondering just what in God's name a Choco-Bliss cake was. Its closest living relative is a Hostess "Suzy-Q," but this thing was eighty times more indulgent. Let me break it down: there were two devil's food cakes smacked together, with the upper cake being topped with chocolate cake icing. In-between the cakes was a light whipped chocolate, effecting transforming Choco-Bliss into the most disgustingly tasty treat outside of dunking a skunk ape in cherry syrup and biting its head off. As you'd imagine, the cakes were insanely thick -- taller than a Twinkie and nearly double the width. This all might've been overkill. I was a child the last time I had one of these, but I distinctly recall the feeling that I'd just swallowed and was carrying around a three-pound sneaker afterwards. As a saving grace, at least the sneaker was made of chocolate. Eighty different types of chocolate.
More kids arrive in the diner, more Choco-Bliss cakes are eaten, and Benny? Benny's pretty upset. It's hard enough when a new kid strolls into town and outcools you, but when a Hostess snack does it, you're gonna feel even worse. And let's face it, we've all been in similar situations. We'll happily hop along, confident that our superiority over everything on the planet is safe and stable, when BAM -- Hostess craps out another loaf of candy and saps our storied fanbase away. But for a slight twist of fate, any of us could've been Benny. The boy who lost to cake.
Boy, isn't that sign something?
One of Benny's former worshippers provides a nice size comparison -- check out the hearty Choco-Bliss compared against the kid's chubby digits. His hands are just about completely swallowed up by a swollen baton of chocolate wonder. Choco-Bliss also has the distinction of being the messiest dessert in history; in fact, it's so messy that not a single person in this commercial manages to make it through without having to lick their fingers. Some would call that the result of a motivated director. I call it the fruits of making children handle food that literally disintegrates into a mess of chocolatey goo to the touch. Anyone who ate this stuff ended up looking like they tried to give oral to a shitting bear's ass. I probably could've said something less gruesome, but I really want to finish this article before Lifetime gets to my Golden Girls reruns.
I didn't mention this earlier, but Benny's actually narrating the action. Through his words I was able to see his cognisance to Choco-Bliss' super chocolatey action, yet a slight tinge of defiance shines through every syllable. Plus he's all scratchy-talk; I think it's puberty. As he walks through the crowd, we're also privy to some of the other kids' thoughts on Choco-Bliss. Words like "awesome" are thrown around recklessly, while another fool voices his extreme pleasure with the cakes' extreme whipped feeling by belting out an auspicious "XO!" XO?? That one's new to me. I remember "mint," "radical" and "gnarly," but "XO?" Guess I better run through my Family Ties tape collection to find out if that was among Andy's one-line-per-episode make-it-matter quotes. Until such time, I'm guessing Hostess just got creative.
Everyone in the ad gets at least one line, no matter how small. For instance, the green-sweatered girl up above manages to say something, but it's so close to a bird chirp and so far from actual words that I keep watching the clip expecting her to unmask, revealing the world's largest pidgeon. I do the same thing when I watch "Frasier." Only way to get through those post Season 87 eps.
Eventually, a giant peacock attacks Benny and offers up a Choco-Bliss cake. Since you join 'em if you can't beat 'em, our hero decides to give into luscious chocolate temptation. He'll eat it, all right. Devour your enemies and all that jazz.
I hope you're ready for Benny's reaction. It's a doozy. Hostess has successfully portrayed Choco-Bliss cakes as not only a tasty treat, but a snack capable of both shifting social trends and getting disguised giant pidgeons on television. Truly, Benny has no idea what he's up against. It stands to reason that he'd benefit from disliking Choco-Bliss -- he'd find justification for hating the snack that stole his fire, and he'd have a reason to make that "ohhh...what did I just EAT?" pissyface that became a sitcom standard decades prior to this commercial's debut. Still, locating a seething hatred for something so chocolately is no easy task, and Benny just doesn't have what it takes.
He bit, he loved, he surrendered.
And then he made a weird face that indicated the half-chewed Choco-Bliss cake's ability to bring Benny to orgasm from within his body. Ten years later, Benny got a nose job.
With the reactions seen here, it's incredible that Hostess' Choco-Bliss didn't last longer. Course, now that I've said it's gone, I'm sure someone who lives near an obscure Hostess bakery in Tahiti will e-mail in telling me how absolutely wrong I am. For what it's worth, I've done my research, and unless there's a couple of midwestern towns that have Choco-Bliss but no phones or Internet connections, these cakes are history. You can still mimic the feeling of eating a Choco-Bliss by lumping chocolate cake icing on top of chocolate cake covered in chocolate. Chips optional. I'm not sure if Benny moved onto bigger things after this superstar smallscreen debut, but even if not, he's left his indubitable mark. It's easy for me to say that since I have no idea what indubitable means.