Mello Yello to Go-Bots: The Top 10 Poor Man's Versions
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Dentyne: The Poor Man's Trident
For a little while there, Dentyne and Trident were neck and neck in the battle for tiny rectangular gum supremacy. You'd ask your grandmother for a piece of gum and you wouldn't know if she was going to pull out the red or the blue. More importantly, you didn't care. But then Trident did something brilliant by making the ridiculous claim that chewing their product meant you didn't have to brush your teeth anymore, rendering dental hygiene irrelevant to a generation of college students. Dentyne, meanwhile, went with "We don't stick to Dentures!"-dooming itself to a tomb of balled-up, napkin-encased obscurity.
Nectarine: The Poor Man's Peach
The nectarine is thoroughly dominated in the national consciousness by the peach, which is strange, because the nectarine is juicier and isn't covered with the disgusting tarantula hair that coats its fuzzy cousin. But, none of that changes the fact that Snapple doesn't make nectarine-flavored iced tea; that James Naismith didn't invent basketball with a nectarine basket; and that Dylan and Brandon didn't meet at the Nectarine Pit after school to exchange longing, homoerotically-charged gazes over nectarine milkshakes. While science has yet to come up with an explanation for the peach's prison rape-like domination of the nectarine, nine out of 10 fruit enthusiasts agree: Man, fuck a nectarine.
Go-Bots: The Poor Man's Transformers
Launched when Tonka caught wind of Hasbro's plan to import the Transformers from Japan, the Go-Bots actually pre-date Optimus Prime's legion of awesomeness by about a year. But the Go-Bots had one major malfunction: They lacked everything awesome about the Transformers. The kick-ass names? Gone. The sweet superpowers? Kaput (The Go-Bots fired energy out of their hands like some sort of lame robotic Reiki healer.). What you're left with is a crew of boring, horribly named characters like Cop-Tur (who turned into a helicopter), Loco (who turned into a locomotive) and the most ridiculous of all, Spoons (who turned into, and we don't understand it either, a forklift).
Neil Cavuto: The Poor Man's Lou Dobbs
There has never been a more clear representation of the Poor Man relationship then the one exhibited by Neil Cavuto and Lou Dobbs. Dobbs graduated from Harvard, Cavuto went to St. Bonaventure. Dobbs has an Emmy, Cavuto has five nominations for CableACE awards, often called "The All-Cable Emmy'" and even more often called "Cancelled Due to Lack of Viewership." Dobbs' boss and personal friend is known-lunatic Ted Turner, a man who could have us killed for typing something disrespectful between these two commas, while Cavuto's most high-profile comrade is Bill O'Reilly, who is exactly like Turner, if Turner was ridiculously less powerful, about a metric ton less wealthy, and a suspected sexual predator.
Global Warming: The Poor Man's Apocalyptic Scenario
As the bloated fat-sack that used to be Al Gore Jr. will tell you, the global warming crisis puts humanity directly in the path of destructive natural forces, such as rising sea levels. To that, we say "big whoop." What ever happened to real imminent global crises, namely the specter of nuclear apocalypse? What ever happened to having to worry about your face turning to dust as your internal organs boil? However gradually harmful global warming is, any apocalyptic scenario that can be combated with swimming lessons pales in comparison to the apocalyptic threats of days gone by.
If we can turn to movies as proper indications of what the future will be like, (and, why wouldn't we?), then the apocalypse our parents grew to fear can be compared to the nightmarish, face-melting insanity found in the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Our global warming scenario, however, was most accurately depicted in the 1995 documentary Waterworld, and, to be honest, we'd choose having our faces melted off over even watching Waterworld again.
Did we miss something? Of course we did! That's what poor man's versions do! Tell us what we missed below.