Thursday, February 21, 2013

Batman Taffy!

I am Vengeance. I am the Night. I am…really, really hard to chew.

When you think of Batman, you probably think about a couple of things. A pretty good movie from 2008, or an even better one from 1989. A fantastic animated series in the ‘90s, and a cheesy - yet wholly entertaining - live-action program from the 1960s. You might think Frank Miller, or “Arkham City,” or even Joel Schumacher, but the one thing you probably wouldn’t EVER equate with the Caped Crusader would be taffy. Well, thanks to America’s absolute finest retailer of surplus goods and potentially lethal foodstuffs, the Dark Knight and hardly chewable candies will forever be interconnected notions.

Strolling down the aisles of the local Dollar Tree, I observed this set of nine - count ‘em, NINE - sealed candies, which is remarkable for two primary reasons. First and foremost, that’s an absolute shit ton of candy for just a dollar, and I’ll be several shades of darned if the artwork on the packages wasn’t half-way awesome-looking. And for four measly quarters, you bet your sweet derrière that I’ll take a gamble on a sugary comestible that has the Scarecrow’s face on it.

So, I plopped down my two dollars (that’s right, I bought two of these sets, just in case I felt the need to devour a solid pound of artificially flavored things on the ride home) and decided to review each individual candy. Why, you might ask? Because…well, honestly, I don’t know. You gotta’ do something in between periods during NHL games, I guess.

Not surprisingly, the two pieces of candy that caught me attention first were the two “mystery flavors” with the Joker’s face plastered on them. Since the set consists primarily of characters seen in Nolan’s second Bat-movie, I’m thinking that, perhaps, this thing was initially released to capitalize on the success of “The Dark Knight.” By extent, this also means that the candies themselves would be almost five years old now, but come on…it’s not like the Dollar Tree ever sells products past their expiration dates or anything.

As far as the “mystery” here is concerned, I’ve got little to say. The first one tasted a lot like bubble gum, while the second piece of taffy tasted like really, really sharp bubble gum. Seriously, the textures here are an absolute Russian roulette game for your gum line; sometimes, you get soft and squishy, and other times, you get what appears to be a knife painted strawberry pink. With that in mind, I’m beginning to see how the manufacturers of this stuff were so quick to associate the particular candies with a clown-faced mass murderer known for convoluted trickeries.

If I had to pick a favorite out of the set, I would probably go with the Two-Face candies, for one particular reason; they’re the most palatable flavor in the set (blue raspberry, known by all cultures as the greatest of all unnaturally-occurring substances), and they’re blue…therefore, totally different looking than everything else, and therefore, the easiest to pick out in a line-up.

Not that this doesn’t go without saying, but you really are getting a mixed bag here, as far as candy textures and sizes go. Alike chemical-encrusted snowflakes, no two taffy bars appear to be uniform in length, width or height, and frustratingly, they seem to fluctuate wildly in overall texture. Some of the bars are soft and pillowy, and others are basically shivs that you can also eat. Maybe it’s just a commonality among the more villainous bars, perhaps?

The Scarecrow bar had to have my favorite artwork of the set, by far. As far as comestibles targeting children, that’s a pretty freaky mascot to slip on the packaging of a piece of candy; I’m damn near thirty, and even I had to look away from the package while I crammed the item down my throat hole.

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot to say about this one. Umm, it tasted kinda’ like cherry? Well, that’s about it. And also, it was somewhat chewy, and it clings to your bicuspids. Folks, YOU try and find a way to diversify a review of TAFFY. It’s a whole hell of a lot more difficult than it appears, I assure you.

As far as the Bat-branded flavors, we end up getting a LOT of duplicates (but more on those later.) The main, Batman-only flavor is sour apple, which might just be my least favorite, quasi-popular artificial flavor of all-time. I especially hate how they ALWAYS include it in those value-priced “three sets” of Bubble-Yum, where it’s smack dab in between two flavors that are delicious. Methinks its some sort of conspiracy to rid the factory of a surfeit of undesirable product, you know…

So, uh, yeah, the sour apple taffy. It’s green, It’s also really powdery, and true to the nomenclature, quite tart. I guess my favorite thing about this one is that it has Batman on the package, rearing back to cold-cock something. Which is a little fitting, since eating sour-apple flavored things is only slightly more desirable than getting socked in the jaw by a psychopathic JFK, Jr.

Hey, do you like strawberry? Well, you better,  because there are two strawberry flavored bat-treats on board. Peculiarly, both packages feature Batman swinging on a rope, Tarzan-style. That might have some sort of sociocultural significance, but it probably doesn’t.

I like how the taffy in the orange packaging kinda looks like a tumor, or some artificial lung or something. Conversely, the red package taffy looks just like a tongue, which…you know, I’m not even sure, to be honest. I’m reviewing pieces of taffy, for the love of Jehoshaphat; if this isn’t a sign that this perma-winter is driving me crazy, I don’t know what it is.

And two more duplicate flavors to round out the set; another cherry (featuring Batman heroically leaping towards his own emblem) and another blue raspberry (which I can never, ever complain about, of course.) I really like Batman’s completely stoic “action pose” here. It’s almost like he’s saying, “dude, just forget it…just forget it.”

That’s cool how the cherry one doesn’t even look like a thing. The best I can fathom is that’s it’s a picture of Tennessee drawn on an Etch-a-Sketch, or some really hard to wield Medieval lance. And the blue raspberry bar is just blue…as it should be, as nature intended. Batman, surely, would approve of this.

So, there you have it; an absolutely, absurdly in-depth review of a throwaway, 99 cent store product that no one in their right mind would ever care to read so much about. But you know, it’s our civic duty to document this kind of stuff. Can you imagine a world were people never KNEW that blue raspberry Harvey Dents were once mass-marketed, or that last fall, you could spend a human dollar on a garbage bag that sort of resembled a spider? It’s a selfless job, and one without prestige; but as long as surplus, novelty goods keep getting manufactured and hoisted upon lower class America…

…I’ll be waiting in the wings, America. I’ll be waiting in the wings.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.