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M.U.S.C.L.E. Toys Cause Unnatural Obsessions
Matt - 06/04/00

Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere! Yes...M.U.S.C.L.E.! These little pink plastic figures owned the lives of many of us as kids. It's just one of those universal anomales better left unexplained. Why we all desired these cheap little guys so much is still a mystery, but we definitely did.

The deal with M.U.S.C.L.E. figures - the two 'lead' guys each had opposing factions - The Thug Busters and The Cosmic Crunchers. Here's the specs on the leaders...

The Thug Busters were the good guys, led by the 'Muscleman'. He's supposed to be wearing a helmet I guess, but all you really need to know is that he had an inarguably phallic head and was the guy who's face was prominently displayed on all the packages.

The Cosmic Crunchers were the pinnacle of evil in the universe, led by the malevolent 'Terri-Bull'. With a name like that, he's gotta be bad! Due to some horrendous past battle, one of his horns was broke off. Notice the incredulous attention to detail!

While there were good and bad guys, almost none of us followed such rules. All we knew is that they were little pink toys which, for some reason, appeared cool to us. Kids everywhere tried to resist the evil temptations of falling into the M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting frenzy, but truth be told, kicking a heroin habit would be an easier task.

The things must've been laced with something. We were all obsessed with 'em here. But god knows why...I had Imperial Shuttles, Jabba the Hutt playsets, Snake Mountains, even Optimus Primes to be concerned with. Still, my parents would take me on the obligatory toy store trip as a reward for not crying in frustration for having to tag along on their casino runs, and with all those toys present...I'd head straight for the M.U.S.C.L.E. section.

There's actually 5 steps to the program that would turn you in a complete M.U.S.C.L.E. addict. You'd start off small, but soon be reeled in by some of the most...hmmm...interesting items to ever hit the toy aisle.

Let's run through these steps...

Step 1: M.U.S.C.L.E. 4-pack. This is how your obsession usually kicked off - and you felt pretty safe in that. After all, how could someone fall so hard for four little pink monsters in cheap packaging? If anything, this was a good way to get a toy instead of a promised lollipop or something, since the 4-pack was only 99 cents.

But then, you'd go home. Your friends would have these sinister toys, too. You'd start playing. You'd start trading them. You'd start having battles on the official M.U.S.C.L.E. wrestling ring. You were starting to get hooked...which brings us to the next step...

Step 2: M.U.S.C.L.E. Trash Can. You were playing Russian Roulette with this one. Sure, now you'd be getting 10 M.U.S.C.L.E.s instead of just four, but you weren't quite sure which ones you were getting. Perhaps doubles! Perhaps the awesome 'hand' figure! You were playing a game of chance, but the cool trash can container proved too be too strong for your will to handle.

I was so obsessed with the figures and had such lackluster parenting back in the day, that I was allowed to use the M.U.S.C.L.E. trash can as drinkingware at the dinner table. Despite the more-than-faint stench and taste of manufactured plastic splurging about the soda from our Ghostbuster three-liter bottle of Pepsi, I couldn't help myself.

Perhaps being intoxicated from the evil plastic led me to step three...

Step 3: M.U.S.C.L.E. 28 Pack. Now you were getting serious. This wasn't a meager four or ten figures - this was 28 toys of reckless abandon. Once you got this, you had something to brag about. And brag I did. I refused to open mine until I had at least three jealous friends present. Their M.U.S.C.L.E. army doomed to my army's infinite numbers, I soon became king of the universe, mockingly offering to trade the worst of my doubles for not one, but three of their best figures.

While they all plotted to topple my reign, I realized I was on a roll and needed to add more M.U.S.C.L.E. to my force. And that I did...

Step 4: M.U.S.C.L.E. Battlin' Belt. I never paid much attention to fashion as a child. If my mother wanted to dress me in her clothes, I might protest for a few minutes, but eventually I'd get used to it. Truly, my one claim to fashion fame was this - the glorious M.U.S.C.L.E. belt.

Honestly though, if the toyline wasn't as popular at school as it was, I certainly would've been met with several punches to the stomach immediately upon walking into the schoolyard while wearing this. But no, I was adorned by pads and pens from classmates wanting my autograph for being such a M.U.S.C.L.E. hero.

Of course, while kids understood - others did not. I really had no shame when it came to toys. I didn't care if we were going to a restaurant or a funeral - the M.U.S.C.L.E. belt was that final touch I needed to make me appear deboinaire. My poor parents. They had to walk around with this little freak wearing a plastic belt housing strange little toys for about two months solid.

There was no halting the obsession now...

Step 5: M.U.S.C.L.E. Nintendo Game. Honestly, as far as video games went, they didn't come worse. A more accurate title for this game would've been 'Horribly Awful Wrestling Game'. In essence, you were only buying this game because it has the M.U.S.C.L.E. logo prominently displayed. Other than that, it's totally useless.

Of course, I bought it to again prove to the world that I was a bigger M.U.S.C.L.E. enthusiast than them. This would start an ongoing trend where I'd set out to prove that I was more into the stupidest things possible, ranging from nail polish to stickers that had pictures of chickens on them.

But, after those 5 then went on to the dreaded final step...

Step 6: M.U.S.C.L.E. Madness! The final step on the road to M.U.S.C.L.E. obsession? Buying everything you can find that simply has the word 'muscle' on it! That's right...Muscle magazines, muscle pills, muscle body charts...anything.

Once you hit this step, you officially became a obsessed M.U.S.C.L.E. loser. Like me!

Getting back on track - M.U.S.C.L.E. toys have certainly etched their place in the hearts of toy kids everywhere. Later, we'd find a similar obsession in Battle Beasts, the figures that taught us, once and for all, that wood did indeed beat water.

- Matt