Most Gen-Xers don't realize that they owe many of their Christmas memories to the FCC. During the early '80s, parents became concerned by the kinds of things their kids were seeing on TV, so they asked for new rules regulating advertisements shown during kids' shows. Bowing to pressure from the White House and from toy makers, the FCC responded to these concerns by pretty much deregulating children's television altogether. Kids' shows quickly became half-hour commercials for toy lines, which parents began buying at unbelievable rates.
What is strange is that, given the chance to create simple stories and background information on their products, toy makers instead took the characters' mythology to bizarre, dark places.
Cabbage Patch Kids -- Child Slavery, Kidnapping, Mutants
It's hard to overstate how big of a deal the Cabbage Patch Kids were in the '80s. Riots over the latest Christmas toy are all too familiar today, but back in 1982 when Cabbage Patch Kids hit the scene, it was almost unheard of. Determined to be ready for the demands of Christmas '84, toy makers released storybooks, cassettes and an animated Christmas special describing the adventures of the Cabbage Patch Kids. What they unveiled was a world of sheer madness.
Via Wikimedia Commons Stare deep into the eyes of your dark fate, my children.
First of all, "Cabbage Patch Kids" is not a cute nickname -- they grow from actual cabbages. Which is fine -- we understand the makers of a toy line about babies don't want to have to begin their show with a woman screaming from labor pains. But it just keeps getting weirder from there -- the magical cabbages are pollinated by mutated creatures called bunnybees, who drop crystals on them.
Hybrids that scientifically must result from a rabbit sexing a bee.
The kids thus emerge into a world with no parents, and are basically left to fend for themselves until they're "adopted" (that is, until their doll is bought by some lucky kid whose own parents are willing to face down a stampede to get one). And these kids really need to be adopted quick, because unfortunately their little cabbage patch is in very close proximity to a gold mine owned by the evil Lavender McDade. Lavender is an entrepreneur with a brilliant business plan: kidnap the Cabbage Patch Kids and -- get this -- turn them into slaves.
To mine the gold, obviously.