toy hall of shame


Earlier this week, a big vote (of which I had a lot of stake in) ended with unexpected results. The Toy Hall of Fame (yeah, it’s a thing) inducted a new toy into their pantheon of the greatest toys in history and it was NOT my  beloved Transformers.

An American tragedy.

Perhaps not enough people voted for those sweet, sweet robots, or the maybe the word didn’t get spread. I planned to send the voting link to friends, but never got around to it. Definitely could’ve done more. But while I follow Transformers news, keep up on the latest, I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with them. (Some of you might argue that. Fair.) But since I heard Transformers was in the running, I just thought how could it not win? I mean, for a toy, it’s the most innovative by far. It’s 2 toys in one-a vehicle when you need it to be, and a defender when it must. And they don’t just turn into cars. In fact, I have an awesome Transformer that turns into an entire planet! Some people think that’s too big in scope, that Transformers should stick to more domestic vehicle modes: tanks, jets, etc. Then again, some people don’t even like Transformers because they’re originally from another country. That’s a whole different stupid story I won’t waste my breath on. Point is, I love Transformers. There’s never been a more literal vessel for change, am I right?

And Transformers are no spring chickens. Believe it or not, they’ve been around consistently for the last 30+ years. People sometimes take them for granted because they’re always on the shelves, but they’re a big deal. For one thing, they inspire the imaginations of kids, which is always nice. Obviously, older people like them too. They challenge, they teach. Dare I say, they inspire me on a daily basis. Their, ahem, shelf life alone should get them into the Toy Hall of Fame.

Admittedly, they haven’t all been flashy. There’s been some design mistakes, sure-a clasp that didn’t quite fit, or a part that seemed out of place. Sometimes I’d get so frustrated with the instructions I wanted to give up on Transformers altogether. Sometimes I’d think Maybe LEGO is more my thing. Yeah, maybe I could build the toy I wanted, instead of relying on one I’d been given as a gift. But at the end of the day, I’m not a toy designer. I know a lot about them, sure, but I’d never assume I could create a better toy than career toymakers. Even when the plastic seemed a little flimsy, I trusted the team behind Transformers. After all, they are a resilient brand. Tough. They took a lot of flack when the movies were released, but you know what? I’ve sat through way worse. You don’t see a lot of other franchises that have been as reliable.

In my mind, Transformers were the best choice for the Toy Hall of Fame. The obvious choice. Maybe I’m a little biased, but from their history in the toy arena to the sheer diversity…well, they had it in the bag. I mean, their biggest contender was bubble wrap. Seriously. Bubble wrap? Did you know it was created years ago as an accident? It’s not even a toy! Sometimes it’s used with toys, sure, although I’ve never trusted it with mine. It pops loudly, that’s about it. Really it shouldn’t have been allowed in the running.

But back to the vote. I was so sure Transformers would win, I didn’t even really watch the results. I just went to bed and prepared myself to wake up to history being made. Tomorrow, everyone would be talking about my favorite toy.

On the radio, the morning crew at KDWB was talking about the results. After a suspenseful pause, they announced the winner: Little People.

What the F@&% is Little People??? Came out of nowhere!

I was bummed for sure, but not devastated. A little salty, yes. I bitched about it at work the next day. Most people didn’t seem to care. Some people told me to get over it. Seems aggressive. I mean, Transformers being added to the Toy Hall of Fame would have been a big gamechanger for something I’ve been invested in for so long. The notoriety, the press. The message it would’ve sent to toy collectors around the world. Maybe new toys we never even heard of would have been introduced to us. I guess we’ll never know.

At least bubble wrap didn’t win. Do you know how dangerous bubble wrap is for kids? In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s a suffocation warning on the side of the box. What kind of parent would knowingly give their kid a choking hazard as a toy? The next day, kids would’ve been endangering their friends and kin by mistake instead of playing nicely. Plus, the whole industry would be turned upside down! Imagine going down your trusted toy aisle and finding a bunch of basic household tools instead–how shitty would that be?

No, I can’t even imagine what would have happened if bubble wrap would’ve won. It’s unthinkable.



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