Disappointing toy sales this year were felt all the way up to the North Pole. Acknowledging that the bears are running with the reindeer this Christmas, Santa Claus is coming to Washington next week to ask for a bailout. House Republicans are against the bailout since they see it as the opening wedge of a unionization effort by the elves.
Even before a disasterous fourth quarter, Santa had to lay off 3,500 elves and over 2,000 reindeer in November.
Facing the challenge of current economic conditions, Santa retooled his product line this season to create new toys incorporating space-age science and the economic spirit of the times. Here are some highlights of this new line of topical toys that made their way into homes across America.
Grand Theft Auto, GM. In this latest version of the video game, angry creditors and unemployed autoworkers descend on the GM plant and offices in Detroit. Auto executives join in hand-to-hand combat with union members. Meanwhile, a Special Forces swat team runs the gauntlet of the angry mob to deliver sacks of money to the besieged auto execs. As it progresses, gameplayers participate in the mayhem as Detroit burns to the ground!
Bailout. New from the makers of Monopoly, Bailout updates that American classic to the high-stakes roller coaster of today's economy. Bailout is designed to teach kids the valuable lesson that being a greedy corporate executive means never having to say you're sorry! Drove your company to the ground? No sweat, Uncle Sam is there to bail you out. Run out of money, no problemo. There's plenty of paper money, called TARP, to keep you going. Players travel around the board on little golden parachute pieces. Need a AAA-plus Standard and Poor's rating immediately? All it takes is a roll of the dice. $50,000 will buy you Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's private phone number and a chance to participate in the Illinois senatorial sweepstakes. Forget about the Atlantic City boardwalk, Bailout teaches players the joy of selling surplus high-rise Florida condominiums at inflated prices. When you go directly to jail, you'll find yourself in Danbury minimum-security prison, where you'll meet captains of industry and finance while enjoying all the amenities of a country club.
Sarah Palin doll. That gosh darn lovable mavericky little lady, who won our hearts in 2008, was available in a doll that walks, talks, and shoots cute little moosies. One of the more popular toys of the season, Little Sarah comes with over 250 costume changes, from Neiman Marcus frocks to LL Bean hip waders, from rough-and-ready hunting gear to a glittery Valentino gown. Little Sarah also comes with a miniature makeup kit, and her own team of stylists, and is programmed to deliver a loop of lovable sound bites, including: "Gosharoni, it's so good to be here among real people, not those big city elites," "Don't it make you so proud to be an American, " and "Fasten your seat belts folks, I promise you'll be seeing me in the White House in 2012!"
Nuclear Blackmail. For children, the ultimate state-of-the-art science project. With Nuclear Blackmail, they can put together their own uranium enrichment plant. Created by an out-of-work Pakistani nuclear scientist, this learning tool now has children creating weapons-grade plutonium in a matter of weeks. Just imagine the excitement when they reveal their WMD workshop at their local science fair. Can any college dare refuse admission to a child knowing that they are now a nuclear player? It's also a great way for any child to bully-proof their life. If they have been threatened by one of those little thugs that roam the Internet, all they have to do is threaten to incinerate the bully, his immediate family, and his neighborhood.
Evil Elmo. Lovable Elmo now has an evil twin, the 4 ft-tall Evil Elmo, the newest member of the transformers. Part furry animal and part ferocious space warrior, Evil Elmo was banished from the dark planet of Muppetcon after destroying Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird with his powerful laser arsenal. One minute a furry bot singing along with your child, the next an avenging robot terrorizing the family cat.
RoboMom. Takes the stress out of parenting by outsourcing the job. RoboMom, the parental robot, relays real-time footage of a child to a bank of caring parental advisors in an undisclosed third-world country. Thanks to space-age surveillance, a parent can leave their child alone for hours, knowing that these surrogate moms will help the child with their homework, teach them how to prepare snacks, and provide them with a range of rainy day activities. To appeal to your kids RoboMom was designed to resemble the lovable Yoda from Star Wars.
Dr. Dave. A spinoff of RoboMom, Dr. Dave is a robot therapist for the hyperactive child. Dr. Dave comes with a special therapy tape loop. In the voice of Mr. Rogers, the shrink stand-in provides a gentle therapeutic environment for the child to express his issues and work out his problems. In his soothing voice, Dr. Dave will ask the child such questions as: When did you start feeling this way, little Johnny (the tape is personalized to address a child by name)? Why do you hate your sister? What does this imaginary friend of yours look like? Why do you persist in trying to burn down your house? The therapy unit is also programmed to dispense the latest psychotropic drugs.