Kids, Suck on This!

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with

Apparently we don’t have enough fat kids in America. Just in time for summer fun by the pool, the makers of Dr. Pepper and 7-up decided we needed new and inventive ways to consume their high-fructose drinks. There, by the doors of my local Walgreen’s, at $2 each, were boxes of “Soda Pops”, which you’re supposed to put in your freezer and thus enjoy the refreshing frozen taste of 7-up, Dr. Pepper or Orange Crush.

fat kids

That’s right. You could simply pull out your 2-liter bottles and fill your ice trays and approximate this same silliness. But these cynical marketers would rather you feel nostalgic and remember (wait for it! The sound of an ice-cold Dr. Pepper pouring into a frosty glass! Ahh!) what it’s like to, well, suck on a soda. It’s that simple. You remember those long blue ice pops your Mom used to give you to shut you up on summer afternoons? The same ones that made your tongue blue? Look no further and oh yeah, hand over the two dollars.

The makers of this product think they’re on to something. By getting an already-addicted soda pop nation to find yet another way of ingesting more sugar, they are conveniently packaging it to appeal to everyone, and of course, young kids. They have created the dumbest food product since Kellogg’s wanted us to drive around in our cars and pour milk into disposable cereal cups –and sip. That concoction, the “Drink n’ Crunch, was sugary too –nothing like choking on a friggin Fruit Loop as you’re speeding off a busy off-ramp.

These “Soda Pops” have the same effect. You’re supposed to buy into the notion of convenience and that you can’t live without this right now. Why would you actually eat something healthy –an apple, let’s say—when you could run to the freezer, break off a pop and start sucking away? Is this supposed to replace dessert for the family? Mom’s just given the kids pizza from Little Caesar’s that she grabbed on the way home and now she can just serve these as dessert, just as our grandmothers would cut us a slice of deep-dish apple pie that she baked. That is so…old. Get with the program.

Oh wait, it is about the kids. The makers of these “Soda Pops” are doing some nifty targeting here. Once again they are appealing to Moms and Dads who remember their retro sodas but it’s the kids who will really be eating these toxic pops. And why not?

Kids love sodas and can’t possibly find enough ways to consume them. Give them more sugar!? At a time when one-third of American teenagers are classified as obese (not just overweight), yet another sweet snack on our store shelves smacks of irresponsibility. Did the makers think we needed more creative ways of packaging soda? I’m not trying to be a spoilsport here, or take some (obvious) moral high ground (over a popsicle!) But it makes you wonder what dunderhead actually green-lighted all this in the first place. Who would buy this?

OK, I did. I took the box home, promptly placed the pops in the freezer and waited for them to get, um, hard. There are 10 pops in each package, and, according to the “nutritional” information on the box, each one has a whopping 35 calories, but of course it’s bereft of any value. Hurry! Why is this freezing process taking so long? It didn’t happen until the next day! So the moment came for me to try one.

I snipped off the top with some scissors. I was not transported, Ratatouille-style, to some tender or overpowering childhood moment. Come on. I was just trying not to get any of the goopy Orange Crush pop on my sofa. That would be bad. And I sucked. And it sucked. Ugh. This actually is for kids, and I have to believe that these are child-size portions because that sucker was down my mouth in about two or three slippery bites. It should not be a surprise that it didn’t taste anything like an Orange Crush.

Then again how do you freeze the carbonation, or fizziness, of any soda? You get what you pay for: a measly piece of plastic that is essentially full of processed corn syrup with some lurid coloring. None of this got on my couch, by the way, but what a let down and why wouldn’t it be? Isn’t something this cheap and rotten supposed to be that way? Stock up, kids!

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