One thing that “The Simpsons” has over every other show on TV, aside from being superior in every other way, is the abundance of satirical jabs at the advertising industry and all things commodified. The epicenter of merchandising satire is the character of Krusty the Klown. There used to be a joke about Bob Hope’s omnipresence: he would show up at the opening of an envelope. Well, Krusty would probably brand his name on the glue that seals the envelope. The truth is, Krusty has pitched a number of even more outrageous products over the years.
Bart Simpson’s bedroom is a shrine to some of the Krusty branded products that have appeared on the show over the years. Others are much less appropriate for a young boy’s bedroom. In fact, sometimes Krusty’s name appears on products of exceedingly questionable taste. For instance, there is Krusty’s Pork Products, which the clown shilled on his show. The bad taste here has to do with the Judaic background of Herschel “Krusty” Krustofski. And that isn’t even to mention that the ham that Homer is awarded after saving the nuclear power plant from a meltdown is a Krusty Brand product.
As bad as a Jewish guy hawking that which does not fitfully belong to the Chosen Food, perhaps the ultimate in bad taste as far Krusty branding goes is the Krusty Home Pregnancy Test. If the very existence of a home pregnancy test endorsed by a womanizing clown is not enough, consider that the box also contains the warning “May Cause Birth Defects.”
One of the most dependable lines of humor running throughout the joke of Krusty’s line of products is that they seem to be parts of a fever dream of Republican politicians looking to do away with all business regulation. Krusty Eyewash proved to be such a toxic nightmare that even the often oblivious jester refuses to get near it. In a direct hit at McDonald’s, the Krusty Burger’s Ribwich was removed from the market not because it was a danger, necessarily, but because the animal from which it was made went extinct. What was the animal? Who knows, but it’s smaller than a cow and has more legs.
The merchandising of “The Simpsons” has extended to lengths nearly as omnipresent as the merchandising of Krusty. Wouldn’t it be cool if the producers started actually putting out products like Krusty Duck Sausage Pizza, Krusty Brand Vitamins or even the Krusty Electric Toothbrush? After all, in the real world, that Republican fever dream has yet to become a reality.