If anyone can claim to be the authority on the topic of poor man's versions, it's CRACKED. Created as a knock-off of MAD magazine just under 50 years ago, we spent nearly half a decade with a fan base primarily comprised of people who got to the store after MAD sold out. Our latest incarnation of the magazine (a poor man's version of Maxim) only came about once the old CRACKED offices were closed by the anthrax attacks of 2001 (the poor man's version of the fall 2001 terrorist attacks).
Lately we've noticed that calling "X" a poor man's version of "Y" has gained a certain degree of cultural currency. So, in a cynical effort to cash in on an emerging trend like the poor man's version that we are, we've created a place for our fellow poor man's versions to exist together in a state of quality-diminished unoriginality.
#10. Mello Yello: The Poor Man's Mountain Dew
Mello Yello is the only Coca-Cola product to routinely have its ass handed to it by its Pepsico Inc. counterpart. It did, though, have its brief moment in the sun as the logo on Tom Cruise's car in that ridiculous NASCAR movie where Cruise can't win races until Robert Duvall convinces him to believe in himself. As far as moments in the sun go, that's on par with barely getting on TV by waving a sign about how much you love Wisconsin in the background of the TODAY show.
Of course, there are about a million reasons to never drink either soda, including both taste/look like a dehydrated radiation-exposed hobo's piss, they shrink your balls, and they cause strangers with a certain IQ level to tell you that your probably going to have shrunken balls. For the most part, the only reason to drink them is because chugging a can is the closest thing your poor ass will probably come to trying cocaine. So when tasked with naming their new turbo-charged soda, Coca-Cola Co. did what corporations do best when undertaking a minor creative endeavor: They missed the point entirely, giving it a name that sounds like it should be a competitor of NyQuil. Apparently "Slumber Juice" and "Sleepy Fizz" already were taken.
#9. L.A. Clippers: The Poor Man's L.A. NBA Franchise
The Clippers play in the same stadium, and even in the same conference, as their "actual NBA team" counterpart the Lakers; they just play a lot worse. While other same-city teams like the Mets and Yankees or the Sox and Cubs draw geographically and ethnically distinct fan bases, the Lakers and Clippers draw the same mixture of celebrities and people pointing at celebrities. But whereas the Lakers have lifelong celebrity fans, such as Jack Nicholson and Denzel Washington, the Clippers have lifelong "celebrity" fans like Frankie Muniz (Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle) and Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne Wayne from A Different World). Clippers games: Where the stars come out to shine. And, fail at it.
#8. Jersey Shore: The Poor Man's Vacation Destination
The Jersey Shore has actual sand and a real ocean, just like every other vacation destination. But, its sand and ocean just happen to be-unlike other "good" destinations-littered with syringes and Red Bull cans. At normal beaches, if you wait long enough, you may catch a glimpse of a dolphin, majestically leaping out of the ocean. In New Jersey, you are guaranteed to see no less than two fights, enough Gotti-wannabe' to stage an all-guido remake of 300, and an assortment of less-than-stellar sandcastles that are really more cigarette butt than sand.
The ludicrously high number of syringes would lead one to sensibly conclude that every male on the Jersey Shore is either on steroids (presumably because they wanted to get their money's worth on the "$50-per-each-additional inch of barbed wire tattoo" deal at the parlor on the boardwalk) or heroin (presumably because they like heroin).
#7. John Mellencamp: The Poor Man's Bruce Springsteen
Both of these guys aim to be blue-collar America's voice box, singing in down-home southern drawls. In this respect, at least, Mellencamp's accent is probably more authentic than Springsteen's, a nebbishy Jewish guy from New Jersey. A good indication of each artists' success can be found in the condition of their nicknames: Springsteen' status as "The Boss" remains unchallenged but "Cougar," unfortunately for Mellencamp, is now more closely associated with surgically altered older women who hang around clubs in an effort to score much, much younger men.
When it comes to careers, Springsteen managed to take his talents in new and surprising directions with each successive album, while Mellencamp's most notable contribution since Little Pink Houses has been giving Toby Keith fans a car commercial they can rally around.
#6. Fishing: The Poor Man's Hunting
In both of these outdoor activities, you spend 95 percent of your time trying to stay awake while waiting around for the opportunity to make a grizzly mess of something innocent and beautiful. The big difference is that when you're hunting, you're waiting around to shoot something with a gun, which is pretty fucking sweet. When you're fishing, you're waiting around for the thrill of playing tug of war with something that you can't see and that has the intelligence of a Venus flytrap.