|A Bogleech toy review by Jonathan Wojcik
| While I understand the phenomenon widely known as nostalgia goggles, there's really no arguing that
the 1980's were the best time for a kid to be monster-obsessed. The crude, rude Madballs are often
cited as having really jump started the "ugly-cute" era of the boy's toy market (arguably beginning
decades earlier with the aid of Ed Roth), ushering in a renaissance of gross, gooey monster toys like the
Boglins, Mad Scientist, my beloved GERMS and so much more. The Real Ghostbusters cartoon and
toy line ran especially rampant with this comically grotesque esthetic, as did the later Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles, Mighty Max, Aaahh!! Real Monsters and other franchises lasting well into the mid-90's,
shaping the evolution of my own artistic style and teaching kids around the world that being ugly,
misshapen and messy can be cool.
Sadly, all these whimsically hideous, carefree mutants slowly faded from popularity, as cartoons and
action figures began to take on much more serious tones. Bug-eyed, warty slime creatures gave way to
gritty superheroes, coldly horrific Mcfarlane figures and shiny Japanese robots. The children's toys of
today, almost exclusively film or television tie-ins, continue to opt for either darkly realistic detail or
blocky anime-like designs. Sleek. Jagged. Clean. BORING. I haven't come across a toy line I wanted to
actually collect in well over a decade, my nerd purchases limited largely to Halloween decor and the odd
one-off action figure.
That was all before The Trash Pack.
In late August, 2011, on a regular trip to Toys R' Us with the sort of friends who still like to go on regular
trips to Toys R' Us with me in their late twenties, I turned down the aisle where they lump uncategorized
miscellany and practically screeched to a halt (or would have if I had wheels. Some day.) when I caught
sight of something magical. Green slime, giant eyeballs, flies and maggots. It was almost too much to
take in at once. Here was everything I've ever loved condensed into a single toy line. A toy line that's
brand new, yet could have walked straight out of my childhood.
Created by Moose toys, the Trash Pack is a vulgar, irreverent counterpart to the popular and much
more sanitary squinkies, not unlike how the Garbage Pail Kids made a mockery of Cabbage Patch
dolls back in the 80's. Packaged in their own little plastic trash cans, the Trash Pack characters or
"Trashies" all represent things you can really find in people's refuse. Rotten food, broken appliances,
rats, bugs, even deadly pathogenic diseases are all represented by squishy little rubber mutants. You
may have already noticed my fondness for garbage based creatures, and a part of me is almost bitter
that I had nothing to do with this, since it's exactly what I'd have come up with had I ever followed my old
dreams of working in the toy industry.
I've already amassed quite a few of these little bastards (don't mind Garbodor, he's just chilling with his
real family) though I'm still missing a few supposedly "common" figures, which I'll elaborate on later. Their
bright colors and extreme squishiness make them hard to resist messing with, and some of them even
glow in the dark! They're available only through Toys R' Us right now, but come in packs of one, two, six
and twelve. Sixty some characters are shown on the packaging backs, and I'm going to go over every
single one of them, right now:
The largest and most common category of Trashie is known as "The Grubz," all consisting of animate, spoiled food.
Awful Pie is hilariously barfing up the rancid green remains of whatever his filling used to be. Grot Dog is just a hot
dog with the "generic" Trashie face on it, but it's a pretty great face to put on just about anything, with a "mouth"
seemingly formed by decomposition. Foul Nugget is cooler in person, as there's an entire tiny chicken foot
sculpted on the back of his head. Garbage Egg would have made more sense to be called "rotten egg," a term
we're all familiar with, but he's a really cool design, with those lower "teeth" formed from his shell. Mouldy Milk has
the most unique pose in the bunch, trying desperately to hold in his own stinking curds. Dump-ling has a nice
grouchy muppet sort of look to him, and is the sole glow in the dark figure among the Grubz.
Rancid Steak is so rancid, you would never guess he was a steak without being told...though there is a rarer, more
natural looking red version. Putrid Pizza and Off Cheese are easy to mix up, though Off Cheese is clearly the
best character on the show, and amusingly infested with mice. Putrid Sardine is actually a can of sardines, with
a sort of Frankenstein's Monster vibe. Sicken Chicken is a whole upside-down chicken leg with a face growing on
it, which somehow feels weirder than any of these other guys...is he drooling gravy? Slop Corn represents my
single most hated food, but might be one of the cutest of the food critters...and looks a little like Homer Simpson.
Rotten Apple is one of the most "iconic" objects one can find in trash, and like the traditional cartoon apple, is
occupied by a worm - which he seems to be regarding with satisfaction. Stale Bread is a bit of a misnomer, since
he's really an entire hamburger with rotten meat lips. Stench Fries is cutely holding out one of his own fries, which
may explain the look on his face since his fries would have to constitute his brain. Smelly Fish is another "iconic"
garbage item, and one of my favorites in the series...the exposed ribs make him nice and ghoulish. Scum Gum is
one of several amorphous ooze trashies, but has the finest gooey details of them all.
The second largest group, the Hard Rubbish consists of all the inedible, less organic junk. Stinky Soda
unfortunately does not have such an adorably lumpy face in the actual figure (you can see him in red in my above
photo), which is pretty disappointing. Toxic Trash Rim, the glow figure of the hard rubbish, is an entire barrel of
bubbling industrial waste. Smelly Sock is pretty cute with his goofy smile. Scummy Screen logically has what is
either a fracture or an on-screen image for a mouth. Snotten, oddly, only has green snot in his rarest figure....I
don't know anybody who oozes neon blue when they're sick. I really like how his eyes make him look like he's about
to sneeze himself. Rott Box is almost the least interesting trashie, and should have had stuff coming out of him.
Crud Can seems to be a grouchy old can of beans, which is pretty funny. Bashed Bottle has a delightfully screwy
gaze and is probably the most dangerous of all these after Toxic Trash Rim. Yes, Loo Paper is a toilet paper roll
with feces splattered right in his eye, and he's darn happy about it. Puke Pod, aside from making a statement about
the ephemeral nature of technology, has almost nothing going for him...he's not even puking! Fortunately, Putrid
Boot is pretty adorable, clutching his "belly" and looking like he's ready to belch.
You know this is my favorite group. Rancid Roach looks about as much like a cockroach as the Trash Pack art
style can manage, and looks like he's razzing us with a big, dripping "tongue" of goo. Noxious Bee is my least
favorite for whatever reason, but is certainly an insect you'll find poking around trash. Rot Moth is adorable, though
not a commonly garbage-centric insect. The oddly named Bin Scab Beetle could represent any number of
scavenging beetles, and Sour Snail is a contender for my favorite of these guys. Snails and slugs do scavenge on
rotting matter, if you were wondering. They'll come after trash, dog droppings and even corpses!
Mucky Maggot is one I've been hoping to get and still haven't seen...except for realistic life-size novelty maggots,
I've virtually never encountered toy fly larva, so this guy is a real milestone in rubber bug history. I love that there's a
normal sized fly on him, too, making him at least a couple feet tall. Germ Worm has the cutest little smile, and my
favorite name of the line. Disinfect-ant is an odd choice for the only glowing bin-sect, and his name isn't really that
appropriate for these guys. He is clearly not in any way disinfected. Blow Fly, the obligatory Dipteran, is an
adequate hairy little fly figure, apparently even larger than Mucky Maggot considering the whole chciken leg stuck to
his stomach. I also like how his name is just an actual type of fly commonly found in garbage, but anyone who
doesn't know that is probably going to take it for another gag name, with unfortunate implications. Finally,
Trash-a-pillar, while not something I'd really expect to eat trash, is the most disturbed looking Trashie in the series.
The Bin Critters are all those larger vertebrates who thrive off our waste, though they surprisingly didn't include a
raccoon or a stinky skunk. I haven't much to say about these guys, honestly. El Trasho is the glow figure and
seems to be a chihuahua. Garbage Gull is probably the coolest, with an incredibly menacing face and all sorts of
crap stuck to him. Trash Rat, however, is my favorite, with his fat scuzzy ratness and excessive slobber.
The strangest group, Bin Monsters seem more like uncategorized leftovers than anything else. Germit is a giant
microbe inexplicably excluded from the bin-fections (below)...I guess he's just a noninfectious bacterium associated
with decomposition. Waste Wolf apparently doesn't count as a bin critter, so I guess he's meant to be a
lycanthrope. Trashola is a lovably straightforward slime monster with an almost froglike face. Rankenstein feels
the most out of place for a trashie, I guess a failed experiment somebody tossed out. Manglez on close inspection
is actually a garden gnome, which makes his name exceedingly terrifying...though he could have been classified with
the hard rubbish. Last but not least, the glow in the dark Compost Monster is one of my favorite trashies, just for
being a sludgy heap covered in worms.
The smallest group, the Bin-fections all personify contagious diseases, and are all pretty damn cool. Bird Flu might
be the least interesting and could easily be mistaken for just a fat baby bird, but it's a nice effort in making a toy out
of something that had people in mass panic years back. Moo Cow Disease is much more germy, with a weirdly flat
scalp and melting lower body. Flu Virus doesn't really convey any particular illness, but looks appropriately sinister
compared to the others. Flesh Eating Virus is by far the coolest and scariest, brandishing a knife and fork while
munching on a human hand...I guess these are, in fact, gigantic mutant germs. Chicky Pox is my favorite of these
though, its brainless zombie stare giving it much more personality than Bird Flu.
Several Trash Pack figures are available only with special items, and three in regular distribution are
supposedly extremely limited:
Wasted Banana and Squashed Wheel can be found only in the Trash Pack collector's case, a plastic
suitcase-like package with a spot for every figure. It was rather insidious of them to make a banana
exclusive...any garbage completist knows you have to have a banana in there. Squashed wheel on the other
hand is one of the more unusual and creative trashies, being an entire car crushed into a cube! I love the
fender mouth and cracked headlight eyes.
Skummy Skull and Spew-shi are packed only with the collector's can, a big, classic metal trash can
covered in colorful Trashie graphics. Spew-shi is pretty cool and appears to be a salmon roll, my favorite
food, whereas Skummy Skull is easily the most gruesome, disturbing and therefore awesome Trashie of them
all. The eye socket full of maggots is the best part, of course, while the second best part is the simple fact
that a human skull is in someone's trash. That is not an entertaining fact in the real world, ever, but
monstrously entertaining for a children's toy line.
So here's the three "limited edition" figures. Soggy Tomato, while extremely cute, seems like a superfluous
choice to be limited. King Rat is silly looking, but his little robe reminds me of Master Splinter, so that's cool.
Trash Cat is fully worthy of his special status; an entire roadkill housepet is arguably even more tasteless
and hilarious than Skummy Skull. This poor cat doesn't even look alive like the other Trashies.
Finally, we've got two figures exclusive to the Dump Truck playset: Sludge Can has a lovably exhausted look
about him, with rusty ooze seeping from his openings and a dented up mouth. Dead Tyre has the much
happier, dopier demeanor that comes with having an empty rubber head, and hilariously features a whole
roadkill animal of some sort where "hair" ought to be.