Toy Fair is where America's children's dreams come true—sometimes. After visiting the 2013 edition at NYC's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the kid in me was terrified as much as he was delighted. I don't know if any boy or girl would play with some of the things I saw... or run.
Just take a look at the mechanized bear above and tell me that that's not what your worst nightmares are made of. Look at his black eyes—like shark's. Its perennial movement. The look of her cub. What's going on here? Is the mother crying because her cub is dead? Is she hungry and trying to decide if she's about to eat her young? How did this happen?
If that's not enough to make you cringe, don't worry, I have more. How about these doll versions of the Lion and the Scarecrow, from the Wizard of Oz? Just look at them.
Look at those painted faces, probably modeled from Victorian mortuary baby masks. Those are scary enough on their own, but when you put them in the bodies of the movie characters, that's all you need to spend the night awake in terror, or to turn kids into sociopaths.
But there's more. This one will cause psychological scars on kids and adults alike. I really can't think of anything worse than Hello Kitty versions of Kiss this side of a Justin Bieber sex toy, a device that, if it doesn't exist yet, it will probably happen soon. Probably Hello Kitty branded too.
This also gets extra brownie points (brownie as in crap) as the worst sellout in the history of music. Shame on you Kiss. You did enough damage to the world by making your music and sticking your tongues out.
Speaking of sellouts, take a look at these Boo toys, including a 1:1 scale stuffed version. Boo—the famous internet canine celebrity whom the internet killed and resurrected in one breathtaking afternoon last year—is happy. Life is good for Boo because she's a dog, she says.
I wish they sold limited editions of the stuffed Boos made with actual Boo hair. Or some of her ashes.
If you'd rather shatter a kid's dreams than outright traumatize them, you've got options there, too. These Downton Abbey puzzles will be a great way to develop their visual skills while lobotomizing their social abilities by either making them turn into servants or frustrated aristocrats.
And finally, here's a way to subtly tune down their expectations about life. Don't let kids dream about being astronauts or a jet pilots—like I did—by giving them airplane or spaceship models. No. Give them a drone model. Because nothing says "I love you, kid" like letting them dream about flying remote control planes and killing people in faraway countries.
OK. Now back to my new Lego sets.