Grading the 2020 Amazon gift guide

Now that we have been through that great Thanksgiving tradition of having a stressful dinner with the relatives and watching football games that seem to be geared toward making us collectively hate the NFL, it’s time to turn our attention to that most corporately mandated of all days: Black Friday. The day when companies parrot the official line that “Black Friday” is a happy term, because it gets companies out of the “red” of bankruptcy! And not either a depressing market crash of 1869 or an event in the 1950’s where civil services were taxed to the extreme because people were out shopping that day. Surely no day named Black Friday can have evil connotations!

This year, thanks to the pandemic, we’ll likely be inside doing shopping —- which means I’m probably going to be working overtime at my delivery job. So crack open that Amazon gift guide, the modern day booklet that out ancestors once called “the Sears catalogue”, and let’s see what the hot items of 2020 are.

I think that the ad writer could take a few hours off for lunch with that line. I notice, too, that there’s a speaker at the front of that flamingo. If anyone can confirm if it makes poopy noises and releases appropriate poopy smells, that would be greatly appreciated. Grade: B.

As I understand it, one of 2020’s hot items is a remote control balloon dog. I feel this is a targeted attack to put hundreds of hardworking birthday clowns out of business. First those viral videos of scary clowns stalking strangers and now this? Dark days, indeed. Squeakee can apparently fart, too. Bathroom humor toys are hot this year. Grade: C.

So wait… Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet was all just a crass commercial for a Disney Princess doll line where they’re all in modern clothes? I feel so used. And Vannelope doesn’t even get to pity join this line-up. Grade: C+.

So somehow my two-year-old niece knows Baby Yoda despite not watching an episode of The Mandalorian. Such is the power and pervasiveness of pop culture. Or it might be the Baby Yoda T-shirts I own and wear. Anyway, this year Amazon has a whole page devoted to Baby Yoda toys, including a Baby Yoda version of Operation. What better gift for a child than a game where you can rip the organs out of your favorite child alien? Basically roleplay as those jerk Stormtroopers from the end of Season 1.

Oh, wait. That’s the game? Disappointing. More disappointing than The Rise of Skywalker, even. Grade: D.

I get that this inspires creativity, and toys with interchangeable limbs are hot right now. (Plus kids have to buy more then one. Otherwise you get a completely intact Captain America and that’s booooorrrrrring.) Still, I can’t help but get anxiety when I see these. Those are mismatched legs, Thanos! This is more evil than when you wiped out half the universe. Though I’m pretty sure T’Challa taking on the mantle of Iron Man is canon at some point. Grade: C-.

Ohhhhhhhh… I am totally buying this. For the kid! Yeah. For the kid. That’s the ticket. This thing has a super happy fun slide! AND a garden! I never wanted an RV before —- too much of a real life hassle —- but Lego changed my mind. This is my proof of concept for my retirement planner. Grade: A.

Fifty cars?!?! It is then that I realized Hot Wheels had gone mad with power. No road is prepared to take that load. Grade: B-.

You know, I’m so used the Bronze Tiger as an 80’s movie action star in the Ostrander Suicide Squad. So I was caught a little off-guard to learn that he is the proud owner of a fursuit. I did a quick search for “bronze tiger batman 2 pack” on Amazon, by the way. Not only does the first result look like it was done by a different manufacturer where Batman is wearing see-thru yellow boots and gauntlets, they also name the villain “Copperhead.”

Different fursuiter, Amazon! Maybe Amazon would think we wouldn’t even notice. (Certainly the buyers didn’t. 336 5-star ratings?) Who gets their kid a Bronze Tiger action figure, really? You sorta deserved the bait and switch. Shame we never got a BatATV in the movies. Grade: C-.