I appreciate capitalism. No doubt I have benefited from living in a capitalistic society. But there are some effects of capitalism that are particularly heinous. I’m not referring to pollution or class divide. I’m talking about absurd movie tie-ins. Below are four completely unexpected movie tie-in action figures. I only hope the children these figures were marketed to were not as utterly dumbfounded as I find myself now.
1) Dennis Nedry.
In Jurassic Park, Wayne Knight plays Dennis Nedry, a putrid slug of a fuckup that is painted in vivid tones of fat, lazy, and gross. Undoubtedly responsible for the large amount of Asian fetish porn on Jurassic Park’s mainframe, the asshole also commits the cardinal sin of the 1990s: littering. He also completely fucks up the one chance you had of having a dinosaur as a pet. A bright red applause sign practically lights up on the screen as Nedry is spat upon and subsequently ripped apart by a dilophosaurus. These rough features were smoothed away by the Jurassic Park marketing colossus, and we were left with the Dennis Nedry action figure.
The action figure has been slimmed down considerably, Nedry’s figure going from ‘grotesque monstrosity’ to ‘reasonable human being.’ His eye for Snickers bars and general mischief has been replaced with an apparent interest in rocketeering (hey, it was the 1990s). He was even given a gas mask, presumably to prevent the circumstances of Dennis Nedry’s demise. Maybe in the world of Jurassic Park action figures, Nedry successfully evaded the tiny dilophosaurus he is packaged with, returned the DNA samples he stole, joined a gym, and bettered himself through adult education at the local community college. It is as if the Dennis Nedry of the film had been swallowed, chewed, and shit out by some perverted Horatio Alger embodiment of the American dream.
2) Klinger in Drag
To be fair, the only real exposure I’ve had to MASH is indirect. When my parents say phrases like ‘the original Hot Lips,’ I simply have no cultural bearing. I laugh at a reference to MASH in a 1980s flashback of the Simpsons only because the timing tells me to. I don’t feel that I am alone. I have a feeling that most of my generation don’t even know that the Korean War existed, much less that it was fought by a bunch of wise-cracking pot-head army doctors. Maybe that’s why I find this action figure so bizzarre.
What’s going on? Throw me a bone, baby boomers. Who is this man, and why is he in drag? Was smiling like a jackass in drag something that everyone did back then? If so, why is gay marriage such a hard sell to you guys? Was this even a regular character? Thank God for the cultural rosetta stone that is TV Land.
3) David Levinson.
This one is along the same lines as the Nedry action figure. In Independence Day, Jeff Goldblum plays David Levinson, a technician for a cable company that becomes drafted in intergalactic warfare. David Levinson is nerdy, nebbish, and very Jeff Goldblum. A perfect match for an action figure transformation.
Levinson is packing heat. He’s got a Mac, a Kevlar vest, and a rocket launcher. A fucking rocket launcher. I know the packaging says grappling hook, but that’s just action figure code for a rocket launcher with a piece of string attached. The only thing that’s missing is the small-scale, vinyl, incredibly Jewish father-sidekick.
4) The many faces of Adrian.
To begin with, I don’t fully grasp why the Rocky movies appeal to anyone under seven. There’s an awful lot of talking going on. Consequently, what’s the point of Rocky action figures? Sure, there’s the cartoonish fight sequences, but those are few and far between. Likewise, I have no idea why so many different Adrian action figures have been made. Maybe there was a hugely popular Rocky IV domestic violence playset that I’m unaware of.
Unfortunately for Adrian, these action figures were made with cloth clothes, making Adrian look like a brightly colored bag lady. Also, detachable clothes have a nasty tendency to get lost, potentially leaving a host of naked Adrians. In Rocky Balboa, Rocky mourns the death of his wife. He says she died of cancer, but I hope that she was just lost, naked at the bottom of the toy bin.
-Mister Andy Lavender