I always thought Sea Monkeys were creepy as a kid, but I was strangely drawn to them. I remember them big and bold, the whole family on display on the back page of the Betty and Veronica comic books. They looked like proper families – people’s torsos on mermaid bodies. I wanted them so badly but they were only available by mail order. I vaguely remember my whiny pleas and my parents insistence that they would buy no such thing and that I was wasting my breath.
Sigh. Sea Monkeys were marketed as real live pets, but people said they were just plastic. I so wanted to believe they were real. I imagined how I would have hours of fun watching the human-like family interacting in a fishbowl…
Over the years, many creepy toys have been marketed to our kids. From Furbies ‘intelligent toys built to learn and grow each time you interacted with them’, to My Twinn Doll, custom ordered to look exactly, eerily like each little girl. There is something very wrong about this.
Back in my day there were Creepy Crawlers, home made gelatinous insects that we indulged with morbid curiousity, and Teddy Ruxpin, the psycho looking bear with the blind stare and monotone voice.
There was Simon, the sci-fi looking console that made you feel like you were communicating with the Battleship enterprise, eminating creepy tones to lit up segments you bashed out in sequence…
There have been numerous anatomically correct peeing dolls, including Baby Wee Wee, that I’m sure I had… and recently there was the craze of the Tickle Me Elmo.
This year, there is really no imagination in the created hype over Chinese hamsters called Zhu Zhu Pets. Big yawn. I hear that they’ve sold out, there have been reported riots in Walmart stores, and some evil grinchly entrepreneurs are extorting huge sums from brainwashed parents on ebay…
BUT what I happened upon today takes the cake for the creepiest toy ever. It gives me one of those, ‘what is the world coming to’ shudders.
It is a new toy that looks more like something in a sci-fi flick about a world where cloning and android beings have taken over fully.
But it is being marketed today. It’s called Genpets TM, and the ‘catchy’ tag line is: “MASS PRODUCED, BIO ENGINEERED PETS, IMPLEMENTED TODAY”… WTF??!!
Reading their website, I don’t even know where to begin with the creepy factor.
You have to see this site to believe it. The RFQ say that these ‘pets’ (that look like badly designed plush toys) actually feel pain, have blood, muscle and tissue and bleed if cut. What?!
And eerily like the marketing of Sea Monkeys, the makers claim they have a special technology that keeps the lifeform in a state of limbo, like a coma until you take ownership and spark them to life.
Writing this inspired me to look into the whole Sea Monkey mystery, to cure that childhood curiousity once and for all. Thanks to the Internet and the Sea Monkey’s official website, I now know that they are nothing more than a tiny species of brine shrimp. What a let down.
And the Genpet? I can only hope they are the hoax of the season.
Update. My faith in humanity has been temporarily restored – the Genpet is indeed an elaborate farce. A school project taken to the extreme. Taken to the Internet, for naïve surfers like me to happen upon and worry that the world has slipped into a sci-fi nightmare. I think I need to get outdoors more.