The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

February 13, 2011

Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundup 2011: Love Isn’t as Blind as You Think

Filed under: Holidays — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 1:39 am

Valentine’s Day is coming up once again, and as seems to be the case far too often, it looks like I’ll be spending it in annoyingly single fashion, same as I’ve spent pretty much every Valentine’s Day since, oh, about 1989 or so.  Most of it is, of course, my own fault (sometimes I wonder if I enjoy being single just a little bit too much,) but I figure as long as I haven’t got much else going on, I might as well at least snark a bit about the whole thing in what has now become customary fashion over the course of the 3 1/2 years I’ve been Blogging here.  It’s not that I have anything against Valentine’s Day, of course.  I’d be glad to join in the festivities in the event that someone else was interested in doing so, but it’s not like any of this stuff is going to help with that anyway.

I don’t make any pretense of being any sort of expert on the subject of Valentine’s Day gift-giving, but I will say that by now I think I have a pretty good idea of plenty of things NOT to do.  For those of you who might not be familiar with these posts, basically what I do is go out and find the oddest, tackiest and most ill-advised examples of Valentine’s day merchandise to be found on the shelves of the various stores around here, and put together a bit of a “Do not do this” list.  I suspect that the vast majority of people reading this will have enough common sense to figure this stuff out on their own, but  even though I haven’t ever made a thorough examination of the dumpsters behind the store at the conclusion of the after-Valentine’s Day closeouts, I suspect someone’s buying this stuff, otherwise they wouldn’t keep cranking it out at an alarming rate.  Then again, love has been known to make men act irrationally, which isn’t generally the best trait to have in situations where common sense is indicated, so who knows?  Anyway, whatever you choose to do on behalf of the lover in your life, be careful out there, and when you’re being chased out the door with a rolling pin, don’t blame me.  I’m just the messenger here, OK?

So, without further ado, the 2011 Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundup begins after the jump.

Previous  Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundups:

As usual, stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes (including plenty in the “impractically large” category) take up a large amount of space on the Valentine’s Day shelves. Most of these are relatively mundane (aside from the standard allotment of pink hearts and standard-issue seasonal sentiments,) but you do still manage to run across the occasional fugitive from a Sid and Marty Krofft show on the shelves too.

If for some reason you aren’t on quite enough drugs for one of those to make sense, you can always just throw some random critter together out of whatever happened to be left over in the sock factory after the last batch and stick some of those on boxes of candy. 

Oh no, they’re definitely not trying to copy anything here. Not at all.  And they’re certainly not doing a very good job of not copying anything either.

Like most things on the shelves these days, it seems that even stuffed animals now come with an expiration date.  Perfect for those short-term relationships, I guess.

If you’re looking for something a bit more committed though, you can always get one of these.

From the people that brought you the not-so-famous Devil in a Coffee Cup comes…  Well, I don’t know what this thing is supposed to be, but if I saw one pop out of my morning coffee, I’d be fleeing in panic.  And quite possibly jumping through a window in the process.  Even if the window was closed at the time.

Bears are always popular with kids and (some) grown-ups alike.  These two just happen to make kissy sounds when you put their lips together.  Which sounds kind of cute the first couple of times, but would probably get obnoxious after a while.  Then again, it could always be worse…

…You could end up with this thing, which basically just sits around, does nothing productive, and spouts out horrendously bad pick-up lines on command.  No seriously, I’m pretty sure most of the lines I heard from this thing came straight off of some “top 10 worst pick-up lines ever” list I saw on the Internet once.  Then again, that might just be the whole point.

If you’re looking for something just a bit more on the dark side, they’ve got you covered there too.  This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this (the 2008 Kitsch Roundup has a couple of Star wars items with a slapped-on kiss sticker,) but at least now they’ve actually printed it on there.  Apparently evil planet-destroying Sith lords need love too.

For the most part, the kids’ Valentine cards are pretty mundane this year.  Not much stands out, but I think we may have a new leader in the “What’s the lowest rated movie we can manage to turn into Valentines nearly a year later?” contest.  With a 36% Tomatometer rating from the critics, these Prince of Persia cards make a pretty strong case, but if someone managed to sneak a few of the presumably aborted Last Airbender Valentine cards out the door all bets are off.


Oddly enough, this year there seem to be a lot more generic cards out there than you usually see.  Sure, the usual standbys are there, but licensing fees get expensive.  I suspect it’s probably a lot cheaper to go buy your designers some of the good drugs and let them go to town than to pay to license some characters to use.  Sure, the results do occasionally delve into nightmare fuel territory, but at least you’re saving money.

Not having to deal with licenses does also allow a few creative liberties that might not otherwise be possible, like these highly fashionable skull tattoos.  Perfect for those times when you need to hand out Valentines to people who you secretly want dead for one reason or another.

Over in the candy department, not much has really changed when compared to last year’s selections.  There’s definitely no shortage of the stuff though.  I’ve heard rumors that there was a Whitman’s Sampler this big, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen one on the shelf.  2 1/2 pounds of chocolate, and enough calories to make you gain at least three pounds if you eat it all at once (if the diabetes doesn’t kill you first, that is.)  Given the fact that I still have trouble looking at one of these things after getting sick while I was writing the other Whitman’s Sampler post, don’t expect a review anytime soon.  Granted, it wasn’t the fault of the candy, but I still have a hard time with the stuff as a result.

I guess the sentiment is nice and all, but last time I checked, cuddling with chocolate was a pretty bad idea.  Chocolate has rarely been known to develop much affection (and given all the devouring generally involved in such relationships I can’t say I blame it,) and ultimately all you’re really going to do is make a mess of your clothes that’s not going to come out easily in the wash.

And this one…  I’m not even going to go there.  Let’s just move on, OK?

Having trouble figuring out who your valentine is supposed to be this year?  Figure that you might need to make a few attempts?  Just buy your heart-shaped boxes of candy in bulk, and you’ll be all set.  Either that or you’ll be eating chocolate until the cows come home.

But remember, a box of chocolate is a big investment, and you’ll want to make sure that you get your money’s worth.  You might want to consider a box of chocolate that will double as furniture once all the chocolates have been consumed.  Sure, your friends will think you’ve got questionable taste (and I don’t think I can blame them to be honest,) but think of all the money you’ll save that way.

The chocolate fish featured back in the 2008 roundup has made a return trip, only now it’s added beer guzzling to its already dubious list of qualifications for the job of Valentine.  Perhaps this provides a not-so-subtle way to inform to inform your prospective Valentine that they are about to be gutted, filleted and served up for dinner?

By now, to some people I’m sure that chocolate hearts might seem just a bit too cliché, but there’s other options as well.  Buy two or three of these, and you might even be able to use them to play tic-tac-toe. 

But if you happen to prefer your candy to be, well, a little bit more interactive, then there’s this love monster.  Because nothing’s more romantic than candy-coated monster poop.

For a little bit less high-tech approach to Valentine’s Day, there’s the old classics like Spin the Bottle.  It’s pretty simple to play; All you need is a bottle and a group of four or more people of various genders.  Someone spins the bottle, and when it points to someone, they both have to… um…  eat candy together.  Yeah, that’s it.  Nothing to see here.  *whistles innocently*

Or if you happen to be one of those people who has suddenly found themselves in their bedroom with a real live (and presumably consenting) member of the opposite sex without any idea what you’re supposed to do, you can look to this box of candies for (somewhat vague and somewhat random) instructions.  If you manage to not mess that part up, eventually you might need to venture beyond the instructions provided here.  If you happen to need further guidance at that point, please note that it is unlikely  you are going to find this in the grocery store.  In other words, you’re on your own. 

Of course, it doesn’t matter how carefully you plan things out or how much effort you put into it, sometimes things will go off the rails, leading to awkward situations that warrant apologies, occasionally combined with varying quantities of jewelry and/or flowers and candy.  Most of the time, a simple card will suffice, but is it just me, or have the cards for this type of thing started to get just a little too specific?  Of course, by the time you find yourself dealing with the above listed scenario, chances are good that the only card that’s going to help you out  is the business card of a good lawyer. 



But if you’ve burned your bridges and find yourself alone on Valentine’s Day, you can always find a nice warn blanket, get some ice cream, and settle in for a nice romantic action thriller.  Preferably one with lots of explosions, just to show how much you care.

Or, if you happen to be the type who doesn’t care much for movies, there’s the ever popular “chocolate and cynicism” option too.

But if you have the type of love that not even restraining orders can tame, they’ve got you covered for that one too.  After all, love comes and goes, but Krazy Glue is forever (or at least until the paramedics and/or the cops show up.)

Anyway, regardless of your situation, have a happy Valentine’s Day with whoever you choose to share it with.  Oh, and if for some reason you choose to ignore the gift-giving guidelines being offered, here’s  some additional advice that may come in handy.

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