Previous Article - X-Entertainment - Next Article --- By Matt - 7/23/'02
Honeycomb has always been one of my favorite cereals - at least the sixth or seventh. It's hard for me to push the score any higher, since this particular breakfast won't fill me with marshmallows and there's usually no cute mascots to look at on the box while eating it. If you consider what it's missing, it stands up pretty damn well. I mean, it's cereal shaped like the place where bees go to do all sorts of strange things like vomiting and mating and buzzing and beeing, and STILL, kids gobble it up like it's going out of style. I attribute this mainly to the Dry Cereal Phenomenon, that being cereals that taste even better without milk. These companies are really missing the boat. Marketing cereal as a strictly milky exercise totally ruins their rightful spot in the world of junk food. If you've hammered six beers down, tell me you'd rather eat some lame chips than a box of Honeycomb. No, not literally - you don't have to e-mail me and tell me that. I'm just saying is all.
Before we start, there's something I need to get off my chest. It's a tick. I hate having an outdoor cat. There's another thing I need off there too - I hate this whole 'part of a balanced breakfast' crap. They show all these cereals and oatmeals and whatever else pictured alongside a seven course meal, to illustrate what's considered a 'balanced' day-starting meal. Come now, if you're showing a table with toast, pancakes, juice, bacon, fruit, vegetables, party lights shaped like chili peppers, milk and everything else - you could just peddle friggin' rocks and call it part of a balanced breakfast. I need a standalone food. I want to be balanced too, you know. Doesn't mean I want to eat the contents of three aisles in the local supermarket to get there.
There's more to Honeycomb Cereal than what we get from the edible spectrum, though. It's because of these vitamin-packed sugar wheels that I became obsessed with the idea of owning my very own clubhouse. Here's how it all went down...
'Honeycomb Hideout.' The Honeycomb Hideout. You've heard of it, you've dreamed about it, but you were never really sure it truly existed. It did. The Honeycomb Hideout wasn't some cheap tramp of folklore, it was a very real place with very real people inside, at least within the confines of mid-80s breakfast advertisements. It was a place where all the neighborhood kids gathered to do various kiddie things, which for some reason focused mainly on a particular brand of cereal. My best guess? One of the older kids in town told them that Honeycomb contained magic bee dust that, taken in large enough quantities, causes the person eating it to grow a third eye and fifty feet taller. What kid wouldn't hop aboard that bandwagon?
Hey, it's better than saying they were just infatuated with cereal. I don't want to paint these kids out to be perverts. Oh yeah - the kids. Guess I should introduce you to 'em. They're pretty atypical: two girls, two guys, with one playing the mandatory chubby kid. No group of kid actors in any medium of any time or type is complete without the fat kid. I guess it was Hollywood's way of letting children know it was okay to eat cake. Your friends weren't going to turn on you for it. Unless of course you're a fat kid with freckles. Then, by law, you're not allowed to have friends. So if you're young and you're Irish and you like mozzarella - don't go pushing your luck.
Long ago, this commercial inspired me to bug the hell out of my father till he built me my very own clubhouse. For a day's work, it was pretty impressive. He built it atop four 'peglegs,' because during the construction process I started whining and crying about potential flooding. Of course, we were nowhere near a coastline and rain rarely went above an inch. I just wanted it to look bigger. He didn't express too much annoyance with my demands, but the excessive amount of nail heads poking through the inside of the roof told an entirely different story.
I never really used it for much. The first week I was all about the clubhouse, but my interest tapered off after I got it covered in mud. The worst part? The mud thing was completely avoidable, I just chose to throw piles of mud in there one afternoon for no apparent reason. I think I was just protesting since I actually wanted a treehouse. The last thing I remember doing with the demonic obstruction was putting plates of worms I captured inside and gathering my family around the thing as if they'd be interesting in sampling the wares. I've got no idea where I'm going with this, the words are just trickling out my recesses and I've little control over what comes out. Pretty soon I'm gonna start rambling about the time I chewed up all my crayons so my action figures could have a multicolored beach. This is where the candy striped hook grabs my neck and pulls me towards the next, less sense-assaulting paragraph.
They've got a robot? How did they get a robot?! The clubhouse is relatively pedestrian. The floor isn't lined with astroturf and there's certainly no ceiling fan. It's not like these kids come from rich families who could afford million dollar robots. Are they trying to insinuate that he just happens to live in the neighborhood? And even if he did - what's he doing in the Honeycomb Hideout? He can't eat the crap. Jesus I wish I had a robot.
I guess the suits at Post Cereal looked at the storyboards for this ad and felt it needed something. Four kids sitting around giggling isn't what we in the business call a 'hard sell.' Robots, on the other hand, are always a hard sell. Name me a robot who failed in getting kids to spend gagagazillions of dollars. There's 3P0 and R2, Transformers, Foot Soldiers, you name it. Kids love robots, so Post threw aside their previous pride in realistic storytelling. Who cared if it didn't make sense? If they wanted a robot, they were getting a robot. The kids would just have to pretend one of their friends had a serious mercury deficiency.
But the robot...even the robot wasn't enough. If they wanted kids to buy Honeycomb cereal, they had to really go the extra mile. In this case, really going the extra mile entailed hiring a huge bald oaf who wore leopard-print tights. Man, the marketing department at Post must've seriously enjoyed their Stoley's Raspberry.
It's the classic tale. Oaf meets cereal. Oaf falls in love with cereal. Oaf threatens to beat up several small children to get cereal. You're telling me Disney can formulate a movie about thespian genies and dancing Arabs, but not this? Pfft, it's their loss. Walt would be rolling over in his grave if his severed head wasn't being kept in a carbonite freeze. The Oaf starts pounding away like a big bad bald wolf on the Hideout's walls, demanding that the children hand over their cereal.
For some reason, the guy's fitted with a championship belt. Either he's supposed to be a pro-wrestler, or the Oaf is the best damn skeet shooter on the West coast. Whatever his hobbies are, he's big and he's mean and he wants his breakfast! It's David and Goliath all over again. Only this time, Goliath is bald and David's being portrayed by four really ugly kids who aren't made of clay.
Oaf: WHERE'S THE HONEYCOMB?!
Kid: It's right here, man. Pull up a seat.
Oaf: I'LL KILL YOU IF YOU DON'T GIVE ME THAT CEREAL!
Kid: Will you calm down? You can have some. We're all equal opportunists here.
Oak: MAY THE DEVIL STRIKE DOWN ANY WHO DENY ME BREAKFAST!!!
Kid: Listen. You lost your hair, not your hearing. You can HAVE the damn Honeycomb. We've got like 50 keys of this shit.
The whole time they go through this argument, the robot just sits there pretending not to hear any of it. What a lame robot. Doesn't even stick up for his friends. Unless....nawwww. Couldn't be. Do you think the robot set the kids up for a fall? Did he tip off the Oaf on their secret location? If so, what's in it for him? I hate it when cereal commercials become complex. If I wanted deep, 'thinking' entertainment, I'd watch the episode of Full House where DJ battles anorexia.
Don't worry though, everyone's able to solve their differences amicably enough. They sing the Honeycomb song! It goes, word-for-word, like this: 'Honeycomb's big, yeah yeah yeah! It's not small, no no no!' Obviously, a great deal of time, money, and effort went into those lyrics. No wonder Post had to dog it with the Oaf and the stagnant robot. They went through most of the budget with that hot song number.
Finally, Oaf gets his hands on some Honeycomb. I'm glad that's over with. Longest thirty seconds of my life. Well, almost. It's the longest thirty seconds of my life excluding the time I got my hand stuck in a can of soup. As soon as Oaf tastes the cereal, his disposition improves dramatically. It's like his personal tranquilizer, only not quite as fun since nobody gets to shoot darts at him.
Everybody loves each other and all's well. Not only do the kids get to hang out with a robot, they get to chill with Tor Johnson, too. They must be the rock stars of the playground. Nobody involved ever really went on to bigger things, but let's face it, the Honeycomb Hideout is a lifetime peak that can't be surpassed. Why bother trying? Nobel prizes and lottery winnings don't bring this much prestige. I guess it's kinda sad that the kids hit their prime so early on, we all know what happens to these child stars once they see their shine start to fade away. Thank God there's enough sugar in Honeycomb to curb their natural progressions towards heroin. As for the Oaf, I'm sure he must've died soon after this. Not for any specific reason, he just didn't appear healthy. The robot? He was lost in the fire.
We can't always have a happy ending, guys. Drown your sorrows in a bowl of Honeycomb. Do it for the robot. Do it for yourselves.
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