Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy toys, or evil instruments of death? You decide!

It's my favorite time of year; no, not Thanksgiving, although I am looking forward to gorging myself on carbs and poultry, not necessarily in that order. I'm actually referring to the annual release of the list documenting toys that, while on the surface may appear fun and cheerful, have really been sent here from the future to kill us.

The list is compiled each year by World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.), whose name always struck me as very James Bond-ian. I picture them in black spandex, meeting in their secret undersea headquarters where they spend the first 10 months of every year rolling back and forth over potentially dangerous toys, and then checking each other for penetrating and blunt-force injuries.

I'll let you read the entire list yourself -- it's always very entertaining -- but my favorite this year has got to be "X-Men Origins Slashin' Action Wolverine," a toy for kids ages 4 and up based on a character whose entire raison d'etre is slicing people to death with his razor-sharp claws. Sounds preschool-riffic to me! But W.A.T.C.H. disagrees:
The Wolverine action figure, sold for children as young as four years old, is marketed as an “indestructible combat machine” with a “[s]lashing [u]ppercut!” Wolverine has rigid, pointed plastic claws sporting three 1 1/2 inch protrusions on both fists. The right “pop-out” claw retracts upon impact, whereas the left claw remains rigid and unforgiving upon contact. Incredibly, there are no warnings on either the box or the toy itself.

Of course, there's a very good reason for that: Warnings are for sissies.

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