Yes, I’m going to keep doing Friday Fivers. It’s really exciting.
This is the first Friday Fiver of the 2011 Christmas season, the seventh Friday Fiver in total, and a “Part 2” to last year’s Christmas Candy in Similar Boxes. I wanted to make this as confusing as possible.
This year, several new sweets have joined the fray in the great battle for plush sock real estate. These aren’t merely “boxes of candy” — they’re stocking stuffers, and the rules are as follows:
1. The candy must have some thematic tie to the holiday season. It can be as extravagant as snowmen shapes, or as simple as excluding all of the Skittles that aren’t red or green.
2. The candy must come in a box that inspires you to create googly-eyed Christmas creatures out of walnut shells.
3. That same box must also include an inbuilt “to and from” tag, to further the stocking stuffingness.
If the candy meets all or most of this criterion, it’s safe for socks.
Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes: I shouldn’t be starting with this. It’s my favorite of the bunch, and I’m only going to become less excited from here. But, there’s a bright side in this. In my struggle to define the phenomenon, I’ve learned the word “decrescendo.”
If I was three inches tall, those red and green cubes would be incredibly fun to build a fort out of. “Castle Matt,” because when your castle is candy, it doesn’t need an impressive name. For me and mine, it’d be rations and shelter, all at once, like a tent made of bacon.
Warheads are supposed to be obnoxiously sour (or hot, if you prefer), but these holiday cubes have been toned down to a level that is in no way capable of killing mules. You’ll pucker, but you won’t fake-cough.
The box itself has a few points of interest.
First, that red and green background is mesmerizing almost to the point of being painful, and if you stare at it long enough, you explode.
Also, the familiar Warheads logo of “that guy” has had his usual “steaming head” modified into a Santa hat. I enjoy that. I enjoy that more than writing “I enjoy that” conveys. Let’s up the ante by one shift key. I ENJOY THAT. Now I just sound crazy.
Skittles Holiday Mix: This is quality. It’s Christmassy, and it totally eradicates any chance of accidentally eating ugly grape Skittles.
Let’s talk about that one Skittle up there. The crushed one. I know you see it. It’s all you can see.
For ease of flow, let’s call that Skittle “Sam.”
Sam came out of the box that way. I won’t pretend that I’ve never received a malformed Skittle before, but Sam pushes it. He’s absolutely destroyed. The damage is too severe to blame on any normal assembly line mishap. The truth, whatever it is, must be darker.
Not since the universe at large has the origin story of anything fascinated me like this. I need to know how Sam became this way. An amoral chew? An accidental sneaker step? I’m Nicholas Cage in 8MM, and this Skittle is the girl Machine stabbed to death.
I won’t let you down, Sam. The world will know your story. Those responsible will pay.
SweeTarts Merry Mix: Given the admirable production values, it’s unfortunate that I dislike SweeTarts. Maybe it’s the pale colors. I look at these candies and think “medicine or stale,” even if it’s completely unfair of me to do so. The truth is, if I want to avenge Sam, I have to stop playing fair.
Actually, they smell much like Flintstones vitamins, and taste sort of like ’em too. In shapes ranging from holiday bells to fat snowmen, I cannot deny their ability to make November 11th feel like December 25th.
As a lump sum, Wonka identifies these as a “Merry Mix.” But that’s just Wonka turning Christmas candy into an Easter egg. Held upside down, “Merry Mix” becomes “Xim Yrrem,” an old Yiddish phrase meaning “fish now, before they swim away.” Wonka, that eternal momzer.
Frosty Chewy Lemonhead & Friends: …sounds more like a cartoon than a candy, which is appropriate, because the characters on that box are too adorable to go without their own hit series.
Look at those cute fruit-with-feet. Lemonhead is joined by Applehead and Cherryhead, and they’re all wearing Santa hats and smiles. Reserved smiles, mind you. These are the only anthropomorphic fruit who prefer to behave. Gah, why can’t this be a cartoon? I want to see these guys out in an animated storm, having the most polite snowball fight ever.
The candy itself is good. Think jellybeans, but tougher. Meaner.
Frosty Nerds: I try to avoid writing about the same things twice, even if the original review is buried so deep in the archives that nobody who found X-E within the last seven years has seen it. As such, with today’s candies, I strove to locate varieties that I haven’t already babbled about. I largely succeeded, but this is probably the 50th time I’ve covered Frosty Nerds.
And why not? They’re great Nerds. Red, white and green Nerds. They’re Christmassy Italian nerds. So am I.
Let’s say I’m a kid, and my interest in today’s candies has more to do with private enjoyment than public blogging. In that case, I’d pick Frosty Nerds over every other option. Even the fort brick Warheads. You can never go wrong with Nerds.
I can’t come up with any strong way to end this review.