I Ate Ninja Turtles Kid Cuisine

I’ve yet to come across someone from my generation that doesn’t know what Kid Cuisine is. Whether recalling the penguin mascot on the box or the icy blue plastic tray it came in, others recollections of it are surprisingly fond. And with so many iconic childhood brands going the way of the dodo, it’s remarkable that you can still find Kid Cuisine nestled comfortably in your local freezer section.

I know this because I just bought one from my local freezer section.

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This site has hit an all time low.

No, I didn’t buy it because I had a hankering for soggy cardboard cheese pizza. Nor did I get a craving for soupy slimy mac and cheese. I didn’t yearn for spongey chicken nuggets and a “brownie” so hard it could break a kitchen window. I bought it because it featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And anyone that knows me understands you can slap a Ninja Turtle on anything and I’ll buy it. Case and point: Kid Freaking Cuisine.

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A Kid Cuisine Vanity Shot.

I was never particularly fond of Kid Cuisine. I think I just felt, as a kid, it was my duty to eat Kid Cuisine. It’s right there in the title after all. This time around after a nostalgic conversation with my girlfriend I found myself in the “frozen dinner” section for curiosities sake. Lo and behold, towards the bottom of the freezer they be for a mere $1.97. The presence of Ninja Turtles coupled with the diarrhea the meal would surely cause reinforced my purchase. And to bring everything full circle I realized I could write about this on my virtual tumbleweed of a website. Now as I put this in writing I realize it is very sad.

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The activity I did located on the back of the box whilst waiting for my dinner.

I put my tray in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I crushed the activity on the back of the box in about 25 seconds. Writing the Turtles names and weapons down? Please! I scoffed confidently. I pondered why I was doing this exactly. That took some time. Before I could come up with any discernible answer my food was about ready.  And here it is…

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It’s food! (?)

For anybody who wants the details it’s Cowabunga Popcorn Chicken with fries, corn, and Shell Shocked Chocolate Cookies. You’d think a Ninja Turtle themed meal would contain PIZZA. But at this point I realized I was giving too much thought to my frozen children’s meal. I mean, I probably have the longest review on a Kid Cuisine out there right now. And if that’s true, it’s an accomplishment I’ll relish to the grave.

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The new TMNT logo was on the “Shell Shocked” cookies. That was the peak for me.

Now, I’m no food critic. I don’t have sophisticated tastes (I took pictures of a Ninja Turtle doll next to a frozen dinner). I grew up on Happy Meals and think Taco Bell is high culinary art. But I do like to watch Gordon Ramsey television shows. So I have some training in that regard.

THE GOOD

  • The tray is blue. Which is fun. Most trays are not blue.
  • The Cowabunga Popcorn Chicken could be kinda sorta maybe passable with a decent dipping sauce.
  • The Ninja Turtles were on the box. And their logo was on the “cookies”.

THE BAD

  • Everything tasted like the packaging it came in.
  • Corn tasted like packing peanuts. The fries were bland mush. The cookies were literally a bag filled with nobody’s favorite part of an off brand Oreo.
  • I felt sad eating it.

To be frank, it was awful. But it was just a microwavable kids meal for $1.97. And when you’re a kid…you’re picky and your taste palette sucks. So maybe this would be passable to the average 5 year old I don’t know. Taking what I remember about previous Kid Cuisines, I would’ve had a pizza, that weird brownie thing (with some green “ooze” icing) and maybe a Ninja Turtles sticker/trading card/temporary tattoo in the box.

In conclusion, I can’t believe I’m writing about this much more posing it for pictures. I guess it adds to the eccentric charm of my website. I’m not going to recommend this to adults or children. And with the “clean and healthy” eating angle my generation pushes, I’m sort of astonished that these are still around. I’m not saying that because I think you shouldn’t feed trash to your kids, I’m simply saying there’s much tastier trash you could be feeding your kids.

This is just the consequences of being a shill to a brand you love. A slave to my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Cowabunga, dudes. Cowabunga.

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I Dissected An Alien

Are toys as fun as they used to be? Would the modern kid rather have a touchscreen instead of a Stretch Armstrong? Years of experience as an expert man-child led me to realize that toys have sort of “grown up” alongside me. Trading “Glow In The Dark!” and “Oozing Action!” features for “collector friendly packaging” and “high articulation and detail”.

Yet sometimes you long for a toy that wants to be played with. It’s a wild concept, I know. So my 25% off coupon and I ventured to a Target toy aisle this holiday season in search of adventure. And I think I found it…in the form of a plastic capsule holding what looks like an aggravated cucumber.

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If you’re not here for this why do you even come here to begin with?

Enter the TREASURE X ALIEN. 

This dude cost me $12.99. They have two other alien designs you can slice into, but I chose this one because I wanted the rare opportunity to own something that looks like someone pickled The Creature from the Black Lagoon. 

ALIEN2Some research (scrolling through Amazon while eating a damp corndog) revealed that Treasure X is a line excavation toys that involve slime, sand, scalpels, skeletons, and serpents. Digging deeper revealed boards games, expansion packs, and promises of REAL (?) gold and meteorite treasure. Feeling overwhelmed and confused I longed for the simple days of baking a tray of insects using a low wattage light bulb. And using my recollection of Creepy Crawlers as a palate cleanser, I decided to (literally) dig into my discounted alien creature. You’ve come this far. You might as well finish the article.

ALIEN3Long story short: You cut open a slimy alien to retrieve a smaller slimier alien.

After struggling with insanely intricate packaging, I removed my oozing phallic space monster as well as several accessories needed to dissect it. The “directions” given were really creative, overall looking/reading less like directions and more like a special top secret assignment. I do not feel as ridiculous as I should I thought to myself standing in my living room dressed in Ninja Turtle pajamas holding a plastic toy scalpel.

I began to cut into the creature, eventually removing it’s rubbery skin plate revealing a bright yellow ribcage. I proceeded to snap it out because I watched The Autopsy of Jane Doe 5 times and that is what you do. That led me to discovering  the alien’s slimy yellow egg-like gut sac. Gut sacs normally don’t intrigue me but I was lost in my playtime imagination and proceeded with the autopsy as directed by my top secret government files from Target.

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What was thought to be a simple autopsy turned out to be a rescue mission.

Using my scalpel to slice open the egg-sac, it began to overflow with what I can only describe as thick dank green ooze. Feeling in the moment, I quietly exclaimed “My god…” to myself as my mutant cucumber’s innards dramatically dripped on the paper towel I laid down out of fear of my girlfriend’s wrath. I then dug my scalpel inside the snot-like region and “rescued” our dear alien adventurer. To the right of the gut-sac squeezed in tight was a “heart” bag containing more strange alien treasure. I put that to the side as I tended to the little mucus soaked creature I had just removed.

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The gooey contents within my creature…

After a quick cleanup I examined the little ninja alien guy. He was a pretty cool little action figure complete with moving limbs and a blaster. I also discovered a stretchy and sticky little pink slug monster within the gut-sac. If I was a child I would have ate that for sure because even as an adult I was debating doing so. Cutting open the creature’s heart-bag revealed this a small plastic accessory that looked like a late 90s pocket planner. Kind of a let down, but I made up the story that my alien devoured some sort of Michael Douglas-esque businessman during rush hour. So it had that going for it.

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The little adventurer dude that I extracted. I named him Barry.

That pretty much sums up the autopsy process. Think of this as those little “blind box” figures you see at the store checkout, but instead of ripping up some cardboard you have to cut into a large rubber alien to reveal your character.  It’s a very creative and fun way to go about it and isn’t that what buying toys is all about? So let’s breakdown the positives and negatives of this Treasure X Alien.

GOOD: 

Creative and fun. From the directions to the packaging to the actual dissection. It all comes together well. I took my time and the whole process took me about 15-20 minutes.

Affordable. For $13 you get a cool little action figure, accessories, rubber alien, slime, and a really awesome experience to retrieve it all. I could also see why Target has these dudes all over the store for the Christmas season: They are perfectly sized for CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS. Duh. Solid marketing there.

Gross with Variety. There’s 2 other types of aliens to slice open. And about a dozen different little alien adventurer guys to “save”. And in an age terrified of gender labeling, it’s refreshing to see something that is so clearly a “Boy’s Toy”. Though anybody can dig this, honestly.

BAD:

Messy. I don’t mind gettin’ down and dirty with my alien cucumber, but the toy scalpel isn’t very sharp and it may take some scissors to cleanly open/dig into things. I understand it’s for safety reasons, but at times I felt like my alien was like cutting a Dollar Tree steak using a glorified spork. And, obviously, slime is involved. And kids, probably. So take that as you will.

No Story. Is my alien dead? Who are these little guys I’m digging out? What are their names? Why is their treasure and why am I getting it? Imagination is a great tool but so is direction. I love that this isn’t some sort of tie in an existing property, but having some fun backstory is nice too.

One and done. You can’t “re-dissect” the alien. And if you somehow spend too much time reassembling it, the autopsy still won’t be as fun. The whole point of these being so cheap is to buy more and “discover” more aliens. So it’s understood. It’s just kinda sad that your big oozing alien has a huge permanent hole in his chest.


Overall this is an awesome little toy for an affordable price. It took me back to the days of Creepy Crawlers and Dr. Dreadful’s Lab. It’s original, it’s gross, and mysterious. I hope these gross dudes end up in some Christmas stockings this year, because I’d love for this line to continue and even expand into more intricate sets of gross slimy dissection.

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Pictured: My face when being forced to watch The Last Jedi

Plus when you’re done dissecting, you can jam as much goop into your alien’s head as possible, squeeze it, and watch him ooze from his eyes, nose, and mouth! Yum!

So are toys as fun as they used to be? While the innovation and creativity may have taken a backseat to collectability and intellectual properties, fun original and interactive toys are still in the aisles. You just might have to dig a little deeper to find them than, say, 20 years ago. The best thing about toys is the ability to pretend and imagine. And these types of toys are perfect for that. Like I mentioned earlier, these are toys that beg to be played with. Would I buy another one? Not for myself, but they’d make an excellent gift for kiddos on Christmas.

I hope you enjoyed reading my college thesis on pointless future trash that you don’t even care about. The thought “Why are you even doing this?” popped up several times when I was writing this article and photographing my toy. Then I seen green slime ooze out of my new rubber alien’s toy face and that’s when I knew the answer. It was all worth it in the end, folks.

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Ad Nauseum: Magneto #2

Hey, I heard you guys like trash. Welcome to another installment of Ad Nauseum: a completely original idea where I look at old ads from childhood comic books and write about them as a means to escape an unfillable void!

Let’s wind the clocks back to December 1996, a time where Superman inexplicably had a mullet, Nickelodeon was in its golden era, Bill Clinton was totally not getting head in the oval office, and Michael Jordan kept telling me I should buy a particular brand of hot dogs based solely on plumpness.

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Magneto Vol. 1 Issue 2 December 1996

Magneto is quite possibly one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. And riding that X-Men high from the mid-90’s, he was able to acquire his own title in the form of several miniseries throughout the era. This is the first of 3 miniseries and is the second of four issues. In this particular issues Magneto does such badass things as cry about his daughter and complain about violence. Let me remind you this was the 1990s, which means every character you were reading about was always revealed to be a clone or cyborg. Duh! 

I found this issue in a clearance drawer for 50 cents. And even though the bookstore was nearly empty, the one customer besides myself was browsing the same section without a shred of decency concerning personal space. Humans are very irritating.  So it’s fitting this all led me to a Magneto comic. He smelled like stale pizza rolls.

Let’s see what we got between these dank smelling yellowed pages…

2

Universal’s Islands of Adventure Theme Park

Universal’s “newest” theme park didn’t open until 1999 but they built up years anticipation in what is one of their earliest ads! The park was a smorgasbord of Intellectual Properties such as Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss, and Marvel Superheroes. In this particular ad the park “skyline” is illustrated from early concepts and is showcasing the Incredible Hulk roller coaster!

I was lucky enough to visit Islands of Adventure multiple times as early as 2000.  And as much as I enjoy Disney, it was a very special feeling to be among superheroes at Marvel Superhero Island. I seen ads in my Marvel comics for years building up this section of the park. Realize this was long before a cinematic universe. Tony Stark and Stan Lee were names only “nerds” recognized. Walking around this colorful “city” ripped straight from comic panels, passing Kingpin’s “gambling” arcade, and Fantastic Four’s cafe seemed to good to be true. Walking through Dr. Doom’s fortress and seeing an army of full scale Doombots was incredible!

Due to Disney now owning the rights to Marvel, Universal Islands of Adventure has an agreement to still use the characters for this section of the park but Universal can only use what they have. Therefore the Island is stuck in this late 90s era of Marvel comics style. This may seem disappointing with how much Marvel has grown in the years but I find it very comforting to see this piece of childhood nostalgia frozen in time when comics were most important to me. ‘Nuff said! 

Editors note: The park does not feature a twelve story raging Hulk. Sorry.

3

Crash Bandicoot Video Game

This ad for Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation perfectly exemplifies the 1990s counter culture “attitude” of the era. The idea of costumed characters in rebellious “adult” situations mixed with the crude “handwritten” messages to create this almost scrapbook-like advertisement was fresh and cool way of marketing your garbage.

I didn’t pick up a copy of Crash Bandicoot until it was a “Greatest Hit” on the Playstation about 3 years later. This was a great 3D platforming game with solid humor and a fun style. It was Playstation’s attempt at a Mario or Sonic. And though Crash was cool and had good games to back him up, he never really met that level. My favorite thing about this ad is definitely the picture of Crash showing of his new game at Nintendo headquarters.

My main question is why Crash is traveling to Seattle exactly. Perhaps this was a series of ads that featured Crash traveling major cities to show off his new game? If anything, Crash taught me that a Bandicoot is an actual living animal. A marsupial based in Australia. Though I highly doubt they can drive automobiles. Who said video games rot your brain?

4

Marvel Online

Well now the masses have access to this thing called the internet. And American Online was a browser that pretty much streamlined it to where anyone can use it.

Having a website at this time meant you were somebody. And the mere idea of the internet to someone like myself was expansive in thought yet limited in execution. I remember one of my first interactions with the internet involved me trying to wrap my head around being able to look up information on anything. My fingers hovering over the keyboard overwhelmed. I specifically remember visiting the official website of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, WWF, Disney, and Marvel. Take it, there wasn’t much to these sites back then…but it was still a new exciting experience. And little did I know Disney would end up owning mostly everything I loved.

This ad for Marvel Online in particular takes me back to the early days of internet. Calling itself the “C Y B E R V E R S E” with exclusive features like Live Chat Sessions, Cybercomics, and Message boards. Message boards were probably my favorite thing about the internet. Being able to connect with other fans all over the world about such niche interests and hobbies was fascinating at the time. Being able to access exclusive comics of Spider-man or Wolverine for free was something captivating.

In this time, when left to your own devices, you had what you had. But the idea of having a device that was constantly updating, evolving, and changing around your interests and hobbies but being able to access it anytime? It was mind bending. Suddenly being “stuck” in video games and not knowing song lyrics was gone….expansive knowledge on your favorite subjects you can only find in libraries was all there. And it was just waiting for you to find it.

Also AOL Keywords. That was a thing.

5

Millennium TV Series

Sometime in the late 1990s somebody at Fox thought it’d be a good idea to put Lance Hendrickson’s enormous head on television and I actually watched it every week with my grandma. Well, really, X-Files was huge at the time and the creator decided to give another swing with a series titled Millennium

It’s about an ex-FBI agent that can read the minds of criminals and works in Seattle where he probably ran into Crash Bandicoot. The series ran for 3 seasons and was cancelled right before the friggen’ Millennium! So close! Imagine the X-Files meets Se7en and you got yourself Millennium. I remember the show being very atmospheric and gritty. And you can use those words to describe Lance Hendrickson’s forehead alone. After it’s cancellation it had a crossover with the X-Files for an episode to give things closure.

And, after that, Lance Hendrickson decided to haunt every horror convention within a 1200 mile radius of his home.

If that’s not enough for you, IDW actually published a 5 issue Millennium series of comics in 2015 proving that nearly anything can get revived as a comic! And I sit here like an idiot waiting for a Perfect Strangers season 9 in comic form.

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Bonus! Macfarlane Movie Maniacs! (Bloody Edition) 

Oh, sweet nectar of the horror Gods! I praise thee!

McFarlane Toys was pretty much the company that stepped up and made adult collectable action figures a thing (in the US anyway). Started by Spawn creator and human slinky dog, Todd McFarlane, McFarlane Toys took IPs that appealed to adults and made super detailed high end collectable figures. The Movie Maniacs line took R-rated slashers like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Norman Bates, Leatherface, and Jason Vorhees, packaged them, and sold them so your mom could complain about how you’re well on your way to becoming a serial killer.

The set pictured featured “blood splattered” variants in which you can order all 3 for $29.95. Pretty incredible considering a single figure fetches a price of around $50 unpackaged nowadays. To much surprise, I actually never owned a single McFarlane Movie Maniac. And the series expanded quite bit from Predator and Terminator to The Blair Witch and even Shaft for some reason.

I couldn’t tell you why I never partook in buying a single action figure from a toy line that seemed to be marketed specifically for me...it could’ve been that I was too caught up in Sideshow Collectable Universal Monsters figures…or I was simply too thick headed to pick up on signals like that girl in my art class junior year of high school (sorry Liz).


Looks like we’re on the last page of Magneto Vol. 1 Issue 2  from December 1996. I hope you enjoyed reading my overblown recollection of theme parks, Lance Hendrickson, and bloody action figures. While typing this article I actually had a coworker ask what I was doing. After I explained they had a look of complete bafflement on their face and simply asked, “Why?”. 

I honestly didn’t have an answer.

You’ll always find articles on ancient comic culture right here on ChrisDoesComics. Until next time, fiends!

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