McDonald's McNugget Buddies
Last Halloween, I did an article on McDonald's iconic Halloween pails. It went over very well, so this year I decided to do another McDonald's Halloween article. Real fucking clever, I know. At first, I considered doing an article on the McBoo Bags that were given out in 1991. Unfortunately, there's only three of them and they all suck pretty hardcore, so I quickly realized I wouldn't be able to write anything of meaningful length about them. So instead, I went with the much more obvious choice: The McNugget Buddies.
Chicken McNuggets debuted on the McDonald's menu in 1983 and the McNugget Buddies debuted in ads almost immediately thereafter. The McNugget Buddies were living, talking puppet versions of their chicken-based counterparts. The McNugget Buddies were just like us - they had jobs, personalities, dreams and desires. They liked to play basketball. They could rap. They got married in ceremonies performed by Ronald McDonald. They loved to roll around ass-naked in barbeque sauce. God, they were so fucking much like us. Eventually, someone in McDonald's marketing division realized that McNugget Buddies could be more than just cute little puppets in TV commercials; they could be cute little Happy Meal toys as well. And so, in 1993 and again 1996, McDonald's delivered us their best self-created Happy Meal toys since the Food Changeables, the Halloween McNugget Buddies!
But I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself here. The story of the McNugget Buddies Happy Meal toys doesn't start in 1993... it starts five years earlier. The original set of McNugget Buddies was released in December of 1988 and featured ten different toys: Corny McNugget, First Class McNugget, Drummer McNugget, Sarge McNugget, Sparky McNugget, Rocker McNugget, Volley McNugget, Boomerang McNugget, Cowpoke McNugget, Snorkel McNugget, and Corny McNugget. The promotion featured two toys each week for five weeks, ending in January 1989. So unlike the two sets that would eventually follow, the original McNugget Buddies were not Halloween toys. Instead, the cute little plastic companions were designed to help promote the debut of the Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal, which substituted a four-piece box of McNuggets for the more traditional cheeseburger.
As previously stated, the original goal of this promotion was to raise interest in the newly launched McNugget Happy Meal. For whatever reason, McDonald's thought the best way to get kids to eat McNuggets was to give them names, faces, and accessories. Hell, they even went so far as to put mini biographies on the toy bags to help kids get an idea of each McNugget's individual personality. For instance, Rocker McNugget thinks that rock n' roll is "really RAD" while Corny McNugget enjoys popping "pounds and pounds of pleasingly puffy popcorn". Hey, I never said they were *interesting* personalities. Still, the McNugget Buddies all come across amiable, gainfully employed characters, the type of anthropomorphic pals you'd invite over to eat dinner with you, not to devour en masse as McDonald's wanted. And while it's generally not considered socially acceptable to encourage others to feast upon the flesh of benevolent sentient creatures, that wasn't really the fast food giant's message. No, McDonald's hoped to convey a much more important message to its prepubescent audience, one that most of us don't learn until we're at least thirteen or fourteen years of age: it's fun to eat your friends. I really wish I had taken that message to heart - it would have prevented years of unnecessary sexual tension between myself and a very cute girl who lived two streets over. When I think about the possibilities... Excuse for me for a minute, I gotta go do something...
Article continues below hot 80s pornography
So anyway, here we have Sarge McNugget, Sparky McNugget, and First Class McNugget, a group that I like to refer to as the Friendly Neighborhood Helper McNuggets. You've got a police chief, a firefighter, and a female mailman. Notice that of the three, the mail carrier is the only one that gets to be a chick. Women had come a long way in the 80s, what with their shoulder pads and Virginia Slims, but Americans still weren't ready to see them fighting crime and/or fires. Also, you may notice that all three Buddies have accessories that require hands to use and no fucking hands with which to wield them: Sparky has an axe, First Class has a mailbag, and Sarge has a walkie-talkie. It's not unreasonable to assume that McNuggets have dangerous psychokinetic powers, but that still doesn't explain why the fuck Sarge has gloves and handcuffs. I know why he has them; look at his damn eyes, the motherfucker is the retarded.
Moving on, we have a set of four McNuggets that I have unofficially dubbed the Wacky Occupations That Might Make Cool Toys: Drummer McNugget, Volley McNugget, Cowpoke McNugget, and Snorkel McNugget. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like most of these characters are improperly named. First off, Drummer McNugget is far too obvious name; the character should be named something like Cadence McNugget or Rhythm McNugget. Meanwhile, Volley McNugget just isn't a good name for a tennis-themed McNugget. Yeah, there are volleys in tennis, but kids are much more likely to associate the word with, oh, I don't know, VOLLEYBALL. They should have named the character Martina McNugget after Martina Navratilova, the most dominant (and hideous) female tennis player of the 80s. That, or Balls McNugget. Incidentally, Balls McNugget is going to my stage name if I ever go into porn. Then you've got Cowpoke McNugget who definitely should have been called Tex McNugget. Finally, there's Snorkel McNugget, who's name I have no issues with. Also, he has a knife.
Next up, we have the It's Not Copyright Infringement McNuggets, Boomerang McNugget and Rocker McNugget. Any resemblance that the McNuggets above have to Crocodile Dundee and Jem is purely coincindental. They're absolutely NOTHING alike. Jem had pink hair, and Crocodile Dundee wasn't some cross-eyed goofball. Also, neither Jem nor Dundee constantly kept their mouths in blowjob-ready positions.
Although there were only ten different McNugget Buddy names, there were actually eleven different McNugget Buddies in the 1988 set. For some reason, there were two different versions of Corny, one with a red belt and one with a beige belt. It's hard to say, which if either, is rarer. Beige Corny appeared in the commercial for the toys, as well in the in-store display sets. However, Red Corny appeared in the artwork on the McNugget Buddies Happy Meal boxes as well as on back of the in-store display case and on the drive thru menu's translite ad. So really, it's anyone's guess. The red belt is definitely cooler though.
After their 1988-1989 debut, the McNugget Buddies disappeared for a while. When they returned in 1993, they were Halloween toys. Instead of popcorn vendors and cowboys, we got a group of costumed McNuggets who were ready to trick-or-treat: McBoo McNugget, Mummie McNugget, Monster McNugget, Witchie McNugget, McNuggula, and Pumpkin McNugget. The designs toys seem to be at least partly inspired by McDonald's "Scared Silly" Halloween commercial from the 80s. This set also marked major design changes for the McNugget Buddies. The original McNuggets were very well-crafted. They were made of a sturdy rubber and had a decent weight to them. Their accessories, on the other hand, were not. The belts were very flimsy and easy to break, and very few of the hats fit snuggly on the nuggets' heads. Apparently some sort of Faustian bargain was made when The Halloween McNuggets went into production, because they suffer from exact opposite problem: the accesories are sturdy, but the McNugget bodies are light, plastic and hollow. Oh well, such is life.
So here again we have Mummie McNugget, Monster McNugget, and McNuggula. I don't know what stupid fucking assholes named these goddam things, but there's no such thing as a mummie. Everyone else in the entire fucking English-speaking community who has at least first grade education spells it mummy, because that's the PROPER FUCKING WAY TO SPELL IT. You know, like the classic 1932 Boris Karloff film The Mummy? Christ. Mummie McNugget is also a girl, which probably supposed to be a clever play on mummy/mommy. Nice try, except that joke is so fucking obvious that even preschoolers find it trite. Also, why the fuck are her eyes two different colors? Who does she think she is, Kate Bosworth? Monster McNugget suffers equally annoying coloration problems. If you're going to be Frankenstein for Halloween, you either buy a mask that covers your whole face, or you buy the headpiece and a shitload of green makeup; the main point is that your entire body should be the same fucking color. If Monster McNugget didn't want to wear green makeup, he should have bought a proper mask. That, or he should have gotten a headpiece that matches his skin color. Also, he shouldn't be wearing eyeshadow. McNuggula is mostly cool, but I'd like him better if the worthless Chinese sweatshop child who painted him had done a better job of not getting black paint on the giant McDonald's medallion. Also, I could do without the bat on his head.
Here's the second half of the 1993 McNugget set: Pumpkin McNugget, McBoo McNugget, and Witchie McNugget. This half of the set is kinda weak. First, you have a McNugget in a pumpkin suit. That's not even a real costume. A pumpkin is what mean-spirited parents dress their piece of shit toddlers up as because the kids are too young and too fucking fat to wear a real costume. McBoo is going to escape criticism, because even though he had a stupidass hat, he's also the only Halloween McNugget Buddy who's mercifully free of the McDonald's logo. And Witchie McNugget just doesn't interest me at all. I don't know what it is, but she's lacking some intangible quality that prevents her from being entertaining in any way, shape, or form. I think this toy set would have turned out better if Witchie and Pumpkin were replaced with the Mad Scientist McNugget and Monster Bride McNugget featured in the "Scared Silly" spot.
The McNugget Buddies returned one last time in 1996, and once again they were a Halloween toy. Six new McNuggets were added to the family: Alien McNugget, Ronald McNugget, Dragon McNugget, Spider McNugget, Fairy Princess McNugget, and Rock Star McNugget. And now, in keep with the pre-established format of this article, here's some slightly closer shots of them.
It almost seems as if McDonald's originally intended to give this McNugget set a fantasy setting. You've got a spider, a fairy princess, and a dragon. You know, a medieval-themed McNugget set would have been pretty cool. They could have thrown in a king, a knight, maybe an evil wizard... God, that would have been badass. Instead we got this:
The second half of this set is an incoherent mess: Ronald McDonald, an alien, and a rock star. If these are supposed to be Halloween costumes, you could have fooled me. There are probably a few people who dress up as Ronald for Halloween, but I've been to a lot of Halloween stores and the only one-eyed monster costumes that any of those places sell definitely aren't PG. And what the fuck is up with Rock Star McNugget? He looks like a cross between Bono and a gay biker.
With each incarnation of the McNugget Buddies, McDonald's advertised that you could mix and match the pieces to create your own craaaaaaaazy McNuggets. Personally, I don't see why McDonald's would have to hype that up; any kids who couldn't figure that out on their own are too goddam stupid to live. On top of that, there aren't any really cool combinations you can make with the pieces. The best things I could come up with were Punk Rock Spider-Clown and Molesto The Dragon, neither of which are all that entertaining. And there is absolutely nothing you can create with the 1989 McNuggets. What are you gonna make, Scuba Mailman? Drummin' Firefighter? Popcorn Guy With Moustache? You could, but THOSE IDEAS FUCKING SUCK. However, with a little imagination and all three sets of McNugget buddies, you actually can do some pretty fun things. For example, I made some Celebrity McNuggets:
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney!
Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan!
See wasn't that fun? For those of you keeping score at home, that's THREE (3) obvious jokes in a row. It's just like watching David Letterman, only I don't have the Grim Reaper looking over my shoulder. Oh, and my lists are better. But I digress...
Like most McDonaldland characters, the McNugget Buddies have not been seen in commercials in a number of years and, as of 2007, McDonald's considers them officially retired. They have become the victim of anti-obesity lobbying groups, a bunch of sissy liberal crybabies who think they know how to run our lives better than we do. Don't ever let anyone tell you that the leftists support freedom of speech, because it's simply not true. Conservatives don't either. Conservatives want to take away our rights to watch violence, pornography, and violent pornography because they view it as immoral. Meanwhile, liberals condemn the same things as being ignorant and demeaning, savage and sexist. But liberals are worse, because they hate more stuff. The left has effectively bullied cereal companies and McDonald's into removing lovable corporate mascots such as Count Chocula and Grimace from their advertising because such characters promote foods that are sugary and unhealthy to children. This way of thinking is dangerous and stupid. In America, we have the right to free enterprise. It is not illegal, nor should it ever be, for companies to sell us food products that aren't good for us. Likewise, it should not be illegal for companies to promote said unhealthy products. Where's the harm in advertising a cookie-shaped cereal to kids using a lovable cartoon crook, or using a clown and big purple monster to try and sell cheeseburgers? Last time I checked, kids don't have any fucking money. It's up to their parents to decide what they eat, and any parent who caves in a buys their kid a box of Lucky Charms just because they start crying in the supermarket is a useless fucking retard. Enough with all the lobbying groups and legislation, whatever happened to parenting and self-restraint? It is indeed a sad pathetic world we live in when there are people who devote their entire lives to removing cartoon food mascots from television. There are many complex and horrible problems in our world - global warming, poverty, AIDS, terrorism - and these assholes waste their lives whining about how the Pillsbury Doughboy makes kids fat. Way to go, you fucking cum-guzzling morons. But no matter how they try, these bastards will never win. Mayor McCheese died a long time ago, the victim of a copyright infringement lawsuit from Sid and Marty Kroft. Yet, through the power of the pop culture, he lives. So too shall the Hamburglar. So too shall Ronald McDonald. And yes, so too shall the McNugget Buddies. Morgan Spurlock and his idiot friends may force our favorite corporate mascots off of TV, but they'll never take our fuzzy VHS-ripped YouTube clips.
McNugget Buddies Happy Meal Box Scans
1988 Happy Meal Box (Front)
1988 Happy Meal Box (Back)
1993 Happy Meal Box #1 (Front)
1993 Happy Meal Box #1 (Back)
1993 Happy Meal Box #2 (Front)
1993 Happy Meal Box #2 (Back)
1993 Happy Meal Box #3 (Front)
1993 Happy Meal Box #3 (Back)
1996 Happy Meal Box (Front)
1996 Happy Meal Box (Back, Coupon)
1996 Happy Meal Box (Back, No Coupon)
Posted by: Syd Lexia
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