Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, why am I a Spider-Fan? Because Spider-Man is about a lonely, unpopular science and photography enthusiast kid who becomes a super-hero. Because Peter Parker is a middle-class New Yorker, not some space alien or millionaire dilettante in an imaginary metropolis. Because Spider-Man doesn't help the simple folk out of noblesse oblige; he sticks up for the little guy because he's one of us. Because he keeps at it, even when the world misunderstands his heroism. And because there's something authentic in his brooding masculinity; not the narcissistic machismo of the alpha male, but a quiet manliness born of adversity and self-examination.

Now, behold, if you dare, the Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man:

The picture does not do this travesty justice--you must visit the website, where you can watch and hear the wretched thing in action, and learn that the Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man

talks, dances, even sings! This friendly plush, electronic Spider-Man figure is ready to boogie! Press his left foot and he sings and dances to the "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" song! Press his right foot and he moves and grooves while singing the Spider-Man & Friends theme song! He even says fun phrases like, "Would you like to have some fun?" and "C'mon, let's do it again!"

The great web-slinger reduced to a poor relation of Tickle Me Elmo? The hero who battles evil in atonement for the death of gentle Uncle Ben; who stood up to the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus in the face of personal tragedy--now "moves and grooves" to "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider?" Is nothing sacred?!

Indeed, this ignominy is precisely the sort of thing a demented Marvel Comics villian would visit on Spider-Man:

The Toymaker: Well, Spider-Man, I've been expecting you.

Spidey: Toymaker!

The Toymaker: Yes, welcome to my workshop. Oh, and never mind the force field...

Spidey: Can't...move...

The Toymaker: Ha ha ha ha! You thought you'd defeated me back at FAO Schwartz, but now it's time to PLAY!

Spidey: You'll never get away with this, Toymaker!

The Toymaker: Oh, we'll see about that. I have great plans for you, Spider-Man, or should I say, The Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man! (Engages shrink-ray.)

Spidey: Getting...smaller...

The Toymaker: Wa ha ha ha! (Engages emasculation-ray, audio-animatronic-ray, move-and-groove-ray.)

Spidey: Must...resist...

The Toymaker: Come on in, children!

Children: Yay! Yay!

Spidey: Must...no...arrrgghhh...the itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout! Down came the rain and washed the spider out!

Children: Yay! We love you, Toymaker!

Spidey: Noooooooout came the sun and dried up all the rain...

The only thing I will say for the Itsy-Bitsy Spider-Man is that it comes with one feature parents will appreciate; something sadly lacking from many among the current generation of my-imagination-does-not-function-without-batteries toys: "A convenient volume-control switch lets you decide just how loud Spidey sings!" Thank Heaven for itsy-bitsy favors.


  1. I also like how the commercial shows the mom checking in on the boys and their father. Like - what was gonna happen?

  2. I remember reading a Spider-Man comic where some villain (a college professor gone bad, I believe) works a whammy on him and leaves him hanging from a streetlight singing Oliver's Army.

    If this thing sang Oliver's Army and had prehensile grippy legs, I might buy it.

  3. I know you are going to kill me, but I bought this for my nephew a few weeks ago for his birthday. He's just 1 year old, and he likes it. So does his sister, who is just 3.

  4. The most frightening thing to me is the phrase "and friends" they added to the old spider man theme music.
    I wonder what songs the itty bitty batman will sing.

  5. I found the "and friends" very ominous, too.

    Just a guess, but:
    Twinkle, twinkle, little bat
    How I wonder what you're at.
    Up above the world you fly,
    Like a teatray in the sky.

    Dananananananana Batman and friends!


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