What makes a toy truly “special”? The joy it brings a child? The memories it evokes from an adult? A dangling chromosome?
If you’re in the market for a unique, unforgettable plaything that almost but can’t quite tug at the heart strings due to a faulty grasping mechanism–or thalidomide–then The Catalog of Unfit Toys has just the game, gadget or gizmo that’s sure to elicit a powerful, piercing response from the tot, toddler or teen in your life.
And bargain hunters, make sure to check out our new Unfit Toys Store at the outlet mall in Paramas, New Jersey (between “It’s Torn But Nice” and “Expiration Date, Schmexpiration Date”). It’s the ideal place for anyone who doesn’t mind a doll missing a limb (or three) and can handle the constant, ear-piercing screams that often come from such hard-luck cases.
Francesco Marciuliano, Unfit Toys CEO
#19 PROACTIVE: THE BUSINESS MEETING BOARDGAME
Created by a committee of real business managers–but not yet signed off by any of them–Proactive comes complete with six or seven card decks of still undetermined significance, a board that may or may not be round, three dice a spinner or a “to be announced,” several revision notes that contradict previous revision notes but in no way refer to the original notes, a collection of inter-office emails revealing prior knowledge of the highly toxic coating used on the tokens, cards, board, box and price tag, several billion dollars of “play money” used to bail itself out and a growing fear that the board game misled consumers about its actual “family fun” value.
Update: The Toys and Playthings Commission has revealed that rumors claiming Proactive takes 19 hours to play and requires no less than 27-40 participants have eroded almost all consumer confidence in the game.
Update #2: The makers of Proactive has been forced to liquidate all assets after disclosing that most of the boxes on toy shelves were in fact empty or simply filled with Kerplunk marbles.
Update #3: Despite an outcry from shareholders, the remaining Proactive sets have been purchased by Monopoly for 12 cents each.
#18 THE DR. SEUSS COMPENDIUM OF UNPUBLISHED BOOKS
And you thought you knew all the good doctor’s works!
This new compendium of unpublished or unceremoniously discarded stories features such deeply buried treasures as To Think that I Saw It with the Aid of Pharmaceuticals, Yertle the Turtle and Other Tales of Yiddish Marine Life, Oh, the Places Your Social Betters Will Go, One Drink Two Drink Three Drink Floor, Horton Hears the Who at Wembley, Hop on Pop: A CPR Guide for Toddlers, Mr. Brown Can Moo So Keep Away from Him, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose: A Tragic Tale of Arterial Blockage and, of course, How the Grinch Stole Purim.
Also featured are several novellas Dr. Seuss penned under the name “Theo. LeSig,” including Whorehouse Cell Block No. 36DD: Big, Bad and Busty, I Shot Him Just to Watch Someone Get Shot, Burning Rubber: Hot Rodder Sex Stories and Hussy Harlot: Under-Covers Agent.
#17 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY LEGO SET
Tired of assembling the Imperial Landing Craft from Return of the Jedi, Dumbledore’s office from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Robert Preston from The Last Starfighter or any of a myriad of pre-designed Lego movie tie-in models that ask nothing of your mental faculties and leave you only with something recognizable but ultimately unrewarding to put on your shelf?
Then prepare to have your mind–and a good seven months–blown with the 2001: A Space Odyssey Lego Set. Your very conception of what a “fun toy” should be is challenged the moment you open the box only to find three seemingly unrelated sections, each equipped with a black monolith, their own maddeningly abstruse pieces and the use of sound in lieu of easy-to-follow instructions or even just one green platform on which to ground your creation. Then it’s off to engage in several, several hours of amusement as you use little prehistoric ape-men to reenact the first discovery of tools and homicide, construct wondrous spaceplanes and space orbital stations from an apparently refinanced Pan-Am while disassembling a talking computer that serves as the set’s one pop culture touchstone or just throw the whole imprecise, infuriating set against the wall as you struggle with the parallels of a floating fetus “starchild” to the nurturing amenities of a Louis XVI-era bedroom, the progression and regression of man and the birth and death of suns and ourselves only ultimately to realize that you simply could not give less of a crap.
In the end you’ll have an astounding model that isn’t so much enjoyable as critically-lauded, providing years of reverence and reflection while never once engaging you or your guests except when someone asks, “So…is it all just one big joke?”
#16 GIRLS GONE WILD CHRISTMAS CAROL
Ebenezer Scrooge is a despicable old miser with a heart as warm as a dying ember and a life as cold as the thin gruel he dines on nightly. That is until one Christmas Eve, when he’s visited by wave after wave of nubile college girls just dying to flash their funbags for our camera and your holiday cheer!
Watch Ebenezer’s unexpected guests jingle their bells and check out the boughs on Holly as these fun-loving freshman (high school or college) doff their tees and drink until their hearts are pumping Cuervo Gold. This is your chance to re-experience a holiday favorite or just spot your half-unconscious daughter shove her tongue down another girl’s throat as they gyrate topless to Timbaland in the men’s room.
Plus, if you order now we’ll send you Girls Gone Wild Meet Oliver Twist, in which a poor orphan is forced to eke out a pitiful existence as a street urchin…until he’s picked up by a Range Rover packed with 15 of the most stacked sophomores ever to appear outside a Russ Meyer film.
#15 YU-GI-WHA? TRADING CARDS
Who shall become Number One High Dark Master Magician ? Will it be Excelsior Emerito, son of Lord Rannifan of the dreaded Blue-Eyed Synchro Dragon Consortium? Or will you be able to smite your enemies and control Ghangshire with your Continuous Use Dijon Packs?
Remember to win you must conserve your Tanker-Ko fusion forces, energize with Zan-Zan Juicy Pellets and never let your Krashow fall into Shorbin or Jannisando will be your demise. Collect Granifax, short play Vladmies and Refengo the Horthblues to wrevizon flagthy quothoon kpytnmis. Ythunlox blethmanit!
Also Included: A 750-page parental manual with extensive glossary, exhaustively detailed flowcharts for each card, simulations of your children playing Yu-Gi-Wha?! and an emergency phone number to help people communicate with their children about the game.
#14 ENNUIJI BOARD
Introducing Ennuija Board, the exciting “talking board” for those who, quite honestly, have heard enough and can’t imagine that anyone or anything will ever have something interesting to say again.
First, gather around a few of your closest friends you never really had anything in common with and who you can’t possibly feel further apart from even as you literally sit right next to them. Second, place your hand on the moving indicator because that’s what is expected of you and not because you expect even the slightest hint of fun or fortune in return. Then third, ask yourself why you bothered to play in the first place. Seriously, what could be more tedious than a parlor game? The endless, enervating chit-chat that goes with it? The dead-eye stares of people mere fate has dictated are your companions? The distant sounds of the grandfather clock in the hall, each chime a death knell for another minute forever lost and forgotten?
Perfect for mandated get-togethers, evenings, mornings or noons that just won’t seem to end or as yet another thing to do while you contemplate why there will never, ever be anything interesting, inspiring or important for you to do, Ennuija Board won’t so much make your day as mark it on a calendar already teeming with X’s but incapable of answering “Why?”
#13 FIRST-TIMER’S RUBIK’S CUBE
Relive that magical, now almost mythical night you finally became a man and solved your very first real puzzle with First-Timer’s Rubik’s Cube.
The anticipation and anxiety begin in your dorm room, older brother’s car or parents’ beach house as the far more experiencedFirst-Timer’s Rubik’s Cube calmly suggests you “Relax,” “Put on some music,” “Maybe have another beer” or “Stop waving that thing around.”
Then once the mood is right or at least all your friends have gotten the hint and left,First-Timer’s Rubik’s Cube gently guides you through the mystifying process with such helpful advice as “The right…move to the right…no, the other right…SLOW DOWN! What is this?! A race?!…Oh Christ, don’t apologize! Just try and concentrate on the…No…No…NO!…WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR HANDS?!?…Okay, how about we start with just one finger…”
Whether you ultimately complete the puzzle to your emotional and physical satisfaction or wind up several hours later with nothing but a cramped hand, self-loathing and the crippling fear that you’re never, ever going to get it right, First-Timer’s Rubik’s Cube is sure to be the one toy you’ll always remember, whether in your dreams or in your nightmares.
#12 THE BERENSTAIN BEARS GO PRIMAL TREASURY
That upstanding ursine family from childhood throws off the shackles of civilization and finally embraces its grizzly and grisly instincts in this new collection of bedtime reading musts.
Stories include The Berenstain Bears Rub Themselves against Trees, The Berenstain Bears Wander Aimlessly for Several Days in Search of Suitable Sex Partners and this year’s Caldecott Winner, The Berenstain Bears Eviscerate a Couple of Campers and Their Dog.
#11 CNN CRIB CRAWL
Sure, mobiles over the baby’s crib are nice but why waste your wee one’s formative years teaching them basic shapes and colors when they can learn that 200,000 Chechnyan rebels have amassed on the outskirts of Moscow?
Just install the news crawl along the inside perimeter of the child’s crib. Then marvel as your infant’s eyes grow wide and their mouth goes agape while he or she is fed such up-to-the minute global political and economic reports as India resuming nuclear arm testing, the colossal fallout from the subprime crisis, the emergence of Islamic militancy in Cambodia and the rumored cancellation of The Backyardigans.
Let’s face it, your newborn spends most of his or her day in a fetal position. Why not give them a good reason to stay that way?
#10 PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE SIMON
Introducing a party game that finally captures all the mirth and merriment of chronic resentment, indirect stubbornness, unexplained sullenness and even disavowed resistance!
Simply turn Passive-Aggressive Simon on and wait. And wait. And wait. The game can go for hours without uttering a sound or emitting a single flash, all the while expressing a willful misunderstanding of what it is you want it to do or claiming forgetfulness of its own instructions.
But avert your eyes for just one second–just one!–and out comes a quick but ambiguous series of blips and lights . Did it go blue-red-green? Did it indirectly blame you for why it took so long to start? Was that sequence of lights sincere or sarcastic? Is it trying to incite anger and disappointment by purposely failing at its own assigned task? Does it think it’s unfairly being held to too high of a standard by being used as a party game? And why did it leave a note about which colors it flashed instead of just telling you face-to-face?
Yes, with Passive-Aggressive Simon you’ll enjoy everything from trying to play a game with a game that fears competition and confrontation to trying to have a relaxing night with a toy that seemingly wants to foster chaos and inefficiency to trying to get through just one round with a gadget that doesn’t get why you’re suddenly so angry and severely critical even as it resists every attempt you make at having just one moment without it muttering yet another negative response or prematurely admitting defeat by turning itself off.
#9 9/11 JENGA
Remember the innocent joy of watching one move transform a tall, rectangular structure into a heap of bricks?
Well, no more! That’s because the new 9/11 Jenga is as strong as our nation’s freedom and as resilient as America itself. First each wooden brick is hot-glued to one another. Then the entire tower is encased in form-fitting Lucite, permanently affixed to your kitchen table with a steel spike and patrolled by a phalanx of 4,000 army figurines, model helicopters and Estes rocket launchers, all under the watchful eye of 600 cameras posted around your house without your permission or prior knowledge. The result is a childhood classic you and your family can once again safely enjoy if not approach or touch.
Estimated completion date: 2049.
#8 THE HARDY MEN MYSTERY NOVELS
We all grew up with the Hardy Boys. Isn’t it time they grew up with us? Now comes a new series of books written specifically for an older—if not particularly wiser—generation. Each edition in the new Hardy Men Mystery Novels library details the exciting adventures of our now middle-aged but still intrepid heroes, including:
The Hardy Men and the Case of What’s-His-Face, Y’know, That Guy…I Think It Begins with an M: Yep, Frank and Joe are off on their latest escapade, only to suddenly forget who they were pursuing. Frank is certain he wrote it on the back of his shopping list while Joe yells at his kids to keep quiet for just one goddamn minute so he can think straight. Eventually the two go back to the couch and watch SportsCenter.
The Hardy Men and the Missed Financial Opportunity That Really Could Have Gotten Them Back on Their Feet: Recently downsized from their jobs and trying to make ends meet, Frank and Joe are let in on a sure-fire investment by Chet, only to be held back by a now complete lack of self-confidence. The two then spend the next several months dreaming about how they could have flaunted their wealth in front of their so-called friends.
The Hardy Men and the Case of Those Thieving Bastards Down at the Car Dealership: When Frank and Joe go to lease some previously owned SUVs, little do they know that they’ll be the ones taken for a ride. But six hours and seven charges for “undercoating” later, the brothers feel horribly violated and not all too certain about how their wives will react to matching Serbian-manufactured Yugos.
The Hardy Men Inadvertently Kill Most of Their Day at Home Depot Buying the Wrong Drill Bit before Going to Brewster’s Pub to Watch Their Local Team Not Win Enough to Cover the Spread and Hear that Hot New Piece of Ass behind the Bar Call Them “Old Timers” and then Driving Home to Each Find Their Home’s Foundation Cracking, Their Boiler Dying and Their Youngest Son Being Encouraged to Consider Only Trade Schools or Food Service Training Programs at the Tender Age of Five: Frank and Joe go back to Brewster’s and drink themselves blind.
The Hardy Men Grow Eerily Silent While Flipping through Their High School Yearbook: While looking for the DVD manual to see how to remove a Dragon Ball Z figure out of the disc tray, Frank stumbles across his old high school yearbook. The brothers then spend the next three hours in quiet reflection, reliving long-forgotten accomplishments, recalling all-too-fleeting glory and imagining having sex with every single girl in their 12th grade class.
So whether you want to relive a childhood classic or just have something to hide your face behind while your kids scream at each other at the dinner table, The Hardy Men Mystery Novels will let you experience true adventure without the usual shortness of breath and aching joints that now seem to accompany everything you do.
#7 BOB THE CONTRACT BUILDER
When you first open the hastily assembled, inexplicably untreated and three-times-the- initial-cost-estimate box for Bob the Contract Builder you’ll make a startling discovery–Bob’s not in there.
But just wait a few days or seasons and the uninsured and unlicensed Bob is certain to arrive at your doorstep, neither contrite nor sober. Then it’s time for another’s day work that may or may not occur at your house but will almost certainly appear on your bill.
One of this year’s hardest to find toys (despite an oral contract), Bob the Contract Builder comes fully loaded and surly to boot, featuring three out-of-service phone numbers, no physical business address, several incorrectly-sized planks of the wrong lumber, sheetrock instead of copper pipes, a rambling rant against Mexicans and his last wife and $10,000 of your money.
#6 MY DRINKING BUDDY
Your favorite childhood chum has gone from PlaySkool to the bar stool and is ready to teach you everything he knows, from saving cash by bringing a rum flask to pubs and just buying Diet Coke to making money by doing anything–and we mean anything–for a dollar.
So why drink alone when this rummy raconteur will go wherever you go…so long as you’re buying. Just get him a double, pull his string and hear him spout such insightful, occasionally incomprehensible witticisms as “The bitch left me” “What kind of man drinks hard lemonade? A wo-man!” “I said, play some fuckin’ Merle Haggard!” and “Oh Christ, I can’t go to jail again.”
Also available: My Pot Pal, featuring such memorable mumblings as “Is it Tuesday?” “Are those Funyuns?” and “Am I still working at Mellow Mushroom?”
#5 BLACK MARKET OPERATION
It takes a steady hand–and a Styrofoam cooler–to win in this big money makeover of a family favorite.
We’ve taken that beloved bulbous-proboscis patient, drugged him into a near-coma and dumped his inert body in a tub full of ice in a condemned tenement building. Now all you have to do is make your incision and take your slice of the huge cash payoffs. So what will it be? Heart? Kidney? Stem cell?
Whether a sultan needs a fifth liver or you need a quick and dirty way to pay off Sally Mae, this cut-up classic is sure to leave your whole household in stitches.
#4 CARE-FOR-ME BEARS
These cuddly cubs will immediately grab your heart…and never, ever let go.
Have fun with your extremely huggable playmates as they repeatedly call your cell phone for reassurance or reconnaissance, make numerous yet vague allusions to migraines, the flu or lupus and pepper their conversations with such sweet nothings as “I can’t handle this,” “If you really love me,” “Last night I dreamed you cheated on me…how could you?” and “If I didn’t have you I…I just don’t know what I’d do…”
Before you know it these beseeching bears will have systematically alienated both your friends and family until it’s just the two of you alone, sitting on the couch, staring at the next 40 years while waiting for the sweet release of death.
#3 COMMUNITY SERVICE BARBIE
Why do time for “The Man” when you can do time for your fellow man?
Thanks to a minor run-in with the law (suffice it to say it involves a busload of orphans no longer in need of homes) and a major coup for celebrity-judicial relationships, Barbie is now making the most of her 1100 mandated hours with the “Barbie Inner City Community Center Playset.”
Let the healing–and the fun–begin as Barbie greets her hard-luck charges with such insightful, invaluable remarks as “Eww, what’s that smell?” “You would look so much prettier if you straightened your hair,” “Don’t go into hiding. Just take him for everything in the divorce,” “Um, my agent specifically stated there would be no touching” and, of course, “You want a new life? Then let me just say three little words—’Elizabeth Arden facial.’”
Thanks to the Jack-in-the Skinner-Box, however, every time is sure to be a new experience. The fun begins the moment you close the lid. That’s because inside we’ve installed new behavioral psychology technology that allows us to conduct numerous environmental conditioning experiments. One time Jack will be repeatedly shocked with electrodes. Another time his floor may instantly heat up. Maybe screaming voices will constantly belittle him or rats will come pouring into his container.
Whatever the action the reaction is sure to be priceless as Jack comes shooting out of his box, shaking violently, referring to himself as “Other Jack,” speaking in a language all his own making or simply pleading, “For the love of God, kill me!”
You never know what you’ll get with the one toy that’s bound to be as startled as you are.
#1 IRISH ROCK ‘EM SOCK ‘EM ROBOTS
We’ve replaced the typical boxing arena with a cozy pub (your choice of “The Lacerated Lamb” or “The Immolated Terrier”) and exchanged the red and blue robots for the all-too-colorful Seamus and Other Seamus.
To start, simply select one of the three following rummy remarks: “More men have been inside your mum than in Trinity College,” “I wanted a go at your sister but Maureen Siobhan Mackenzie doubled her rates” or “It’s five o’clock! Who wants some?!” Then sit back and enjoy as the soused Seamuses go at it with the ferocity of a heavyweight fighter and the accuracy of a blind, palsy archer. After several minutes of mercilessly and mistakenly pummeling walls, stools, soccer memorabilia and a wholly startled Father Seamus O’Reilly, the Celtic cutups will break into tears, embrace, cry out “Jesus, what are we fighting for?!” and order a round of drinks for the house, all while singing that beloved Irish ballad, “Christ, I’m So Hungry I Could Eat My Own Feet But Then I Couldn’t Outrun The Rats.”
Also Available: Italian Double Trouble, complete with one unlicensed Berreta and an extra-long mailbag for “storage.”