My childhood took a big hit when they made a live version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Then they did the same thing with Speed Racer. But now I don’t know if I can take it a third time—they’re messing with Mr. Peanut.
I didn’t care for the live version of the Grinch but I could understand it. I figured Ron Howard is a fan and wanted to do something with his beloved childhood memory. The technology and make up had come a long way and Jim Carrey was a very logical choice. I could even see, and I think it’s fairly well received, that kids who didn’t grow up watching the animated version would become attached to the new one. But still I didn’t think it had the charm, and come on, it didn’t have Boris Karloff doing the narration!
Then the Wachowski Brothers, the same boys behind the Matrix—sorry, correct that now one boy and one girl—were going to make Speed Racer. And the Mach 5 looked cool. And it was so amazing that the guys behind Neo, one of the coolest heroes, could make such a bad movie. Oh man, so bad. So very very bad. Spritle and Chim Chim were now so tarnished, heads drooped low in shame.
And now Mr. Peanut. Unlike the other two, I really don’t know why. The Mr. Peanut that I knew was just a classy little legume. He simply tipped his hat and smiled. That’s all. But the new one, and I really love Bill Hader, is, well I don’t think it knows what it is. When I saw Mr. Peanut I would have given him an English accent—or at least a pompous one. But this sounds like a combination of a white kid from the suburbs who grew up and in his 30s still wanted to sound like an african-american rapper. Oh and that combined with Tony Robbins if the most recent commercial is viewed where the tiny Peanut is on the stage in front of thousands of people extolling the power of the peanut like Eckhart Tolle.
The questions is why? If you want to remake the symbol why not remake him so he sounds like his voice. Give him a tank top and high tops instead of spats and a monocle. If you think the classic image doesn’t work anymore then ditch it? But seriously what are the people that run Planter’s thinking?
The only thing I can think of, and this really is unfortunate, is that over the last thirty years kids developed peanut allergies. When I was in school no one, I mean no one, was allergic to peanuts. But in my career as a professional magician, I would see at least one kid at every birthday party and the number grew as the years went by. With no real explanation as to how this virus or epidemic or freak of nature started.
So this probably flabbergasted the peanut people and they’ve been drunk for the last decade or so. Or just have gone a little kookoo trying to figure it all out. That’s the only reason I can come up with to take the classic, sophisticated Mr. Peanut and make him into a cross between pimpled out Thurston Howell III and Jerry Falwell.
The Power of the Peanut. Whaaaaaat?