It’s no secret that toy company manufacturers can often produce some... questionable products. Many toys may have looked great on paper, but the actual execution is laughable to say the least. There are plenty of toys that were bad ideas from the start but got made anyway. The Barbie line is infamous for scores of “what were they thinking?” entries that often elicited major backlash. It’s easy to look at the long history of bootleg toys from other nations as being laughable to look at. Yet often the official toys can put those to shame.
They can run the gamut from major action figure lines to a few long-forgotten toys of decades past. They can be serious figures or random game items but all share an image of something that could make parents roll their eyes and have to fight off giggles. The best are the ones whose implications went right over the heads of kids but quite obvious to the adults. Here are 20 unintentionally hilarious toys that caused parents to blush and giggle when their kids wanted to buy them.
20 A Nasty Oreo
There have been a lot of times in Barbie’s history when people wondered what in the world the manufacturers were thinking. But few of them have managed to top the ridiculous idea of an “Oreo” Barbie. It was meant to be a tie-in to the line of cookies but of course, “Oreo” has a much different connotation in some circles. The backlash against the doll was massive and it was yanked from shelves within weeks. This was one sour bit for the Barbie line.
19 Bandit Bashing Mike
Throughout the 1990s, it was impossible to walk past a toy shelf and not spot some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. Over that decade, the line produced just about every Turtle figure imaginable and some that weren’t. Sadly, that meant a few major duds. Among them was a line of Western-themed figures which included the “Bandit Bashing Mike.” Yep, Michaelangelo looking like the most stereotypical bandit from down south in cliche clothing. It’s a terribly insulting look that proves the Turtles are better off in the sewers.
18 Growing Up Skipper
Maybe this was a good idea on paper but the execution was flawed to say the least. The concept was to show Barbie’s little sister growing up from a kid into adulthood. Instead of simply having a pack of figures aging, Matell instead had special buttons that, when pushed, allowed Skipper to rise up a few inches in height. That doesn’t sound bad until it turns out the same button could allow her chest to grow as well. That was more than a bit disturbing for many parents and not quite the best way to explain puberty to kids.
17 Tatted Up Barbie
Over the decades, Mattel has produced Barbie dolls that make parents slap their hands to their faces in disbelief. This includes everything from various national stereotypes to the infamous “math is hard” talking doll. But the “tattoo Barbie” is still something else. A Barbie doll that openly boasts on how girls can put special tattoos on her. Sure, they’re stick on but it still gives the idea that inking up their bodies is something girls should aspire to. It’s another entry in the long list of crazy Barbie dolls adults didn’t appreciate.
16 Shaky Broom
In Harry Potter, Quidditch is a major game played with flying brooms. It’s become popular in real life to the point some fans even play it for real on fields. It’s only natural a toy company would replicate it with a version of Harry’s special Nimbus 2000 broom. What makes it tricky is that the broom could vibrate to replicate flight. Quite obviously, this could create a very different image for some adults and it’s easy to imagine parents giggling at their kids riding these “magic” brooms around.
15 Wild Woody
You know a toy has gone into hilarious territory when it transforms into an Internet meme. A Japanese company put together a fantastic version of Toy Story’s Woody with a variety of slap-on faces for different expressions. One of them had Woody seemingly looking to the side with a leery expression on his face. The Internet had a field day putting him into suggestive poses to match that gross expression. It turned this wholesome and lovable character into a more predatory type for one weird toy.
14 Troll Turtles
It’s the mash-up the world never knew it wanted. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, those Heroes in a Half-shell known for their great attitude and action transformed into...Trolls. The sight of the Turtles with colored hair just doesn’t seem right and the image of Trolls with ninja weapons is also weird. It’s equal parts adorable and creepy and it’s hard to see fans of either property actually playing with what looks like an unwanted fusion of properties.
13 Shave The Baby?!
Yes, this was a real toy. It seemed to have been made in the 1970s which shows just how desperate toy companies were for new material back then. The concept is right there in the name as a baby is shown with hair over its body that has to be shaved off with plastic razors. The very idea of a hairy baby is freaky enough without having to shave it. It just makes you wonder exactly what was going through the minds of toy manufacturers in that decade.
12 Jibba Joke
Even by the standards of 1990s kids toys, the Jibba Jabba had to make parents do double takes. The doll just looks downright bizarre with its design and the face a tad freaky so it’s no surprise most toddlers would cry at it. Then the crazy shakes and noises it makes also made it come off more laughable than most would accept. It was meant for toddlers but the Jibba’s performance made it a toy a bit rough for the younger set.
11 Real Punishment
The concept of the Marvel Shapechangers line was to have the heroes and villains transform into various figures. With the Punisher, the idea was to obviously have him change into a gun which fits the character. However, the placement of the gun barrel is... tricky to say the least. Yes, placing it right between the Punisher's legs as if he’s straddling it was the way they went. The expression on his face doesn’t help either as this entire toy is punishing to look at.
10 Too Buzzy
Over the decades, Buzz Lightyear has found his way on various items and toys. Disney has made a mint off the spaceman character placed on various materials. However, someone really should have done a double-check before producing this Buzz drink toy onto shelves. Having him as a figure on top of a plastic cup with a straw is fine. But did no one find the placement of the straw just slightly odd? One can only imagine the number of mothers fighting laughter when their kids showed them a Buzz who was taking off in a different way.
9 Bearly Capable
This is another classic case of a toy that has a decent idea but something seriously fell apart in execution. The concept is that a teddy bear is able to fire off balls for kids to catch. Okay, firing them from his mouth might be a bit off but it can work out. But the packaging... Did no one consider just how the sight of a bear with a ball seemingly taped into his open mouth would be seen on the shelves? This looks like a toy for a very different type of party.
8 Mad Indeed
Madballs was one of those ‘80s toys kids wanted but really had nothing to do with. It was the designs that drew kids in— those wild and crazy balls that looked like monsters. One was a pure eyeball, another boasted horns, others were just warped and many looked like drooling monsters. They really didn’t lend themselves well to being thrown or caught and just looked way too weird to fit in today. Plenty of parents had to roll their eyes and buy one or two for kids just to own these strange monster balls.
7 Birds Barbie
While a great director, Alfred Hitchcock was infamous for his rough treatment of actresses. For his classic The Birds, he would literally throw live birds right onto star Tippi Hedren which the woman hated. The movie is hailed by horror fans, but a Barbie doll of it is crazy. Yet there’s Barbie in that dress looking almost serene as birds attack her like it’s just a normal thing. What’s next, a “Psycho Shower” Barbie?
6 Bad Breath Indeed
In the 1980s, a line of toys called “Breath Blasters” was created. They were weird characters that, when squeezed, fired off a foul odor. In 2005, someone decided a revival was called for with Stink Blasters. It was the same concept only now the figures were divided into packs and based on teenagers with weird names. It’s really amazing how laughably weird they look with freaky faces, disgusting stuff on their clothing and the mouths ready to fire off that odd stink. It shows you really can make a toy line even more bizarre.
5 Gooey Goof
Any list of the wackiest toys has to include Gooey Louie. It’s an idea and execution so amazingly bizarre that one almost has to respect the manufacturer for going through with it. Basically, it was a guy with a massive nose that poured out long and thick green goo as boogers. The game’s goal was to yank out as many of the boogers as possible, but if someone were to pick the wrong one, the top of his head would pop open and his brain would fly out. It’s as weird as it sounds which just makes it hilarious.
4 Bieber Belle?
When Disney put out their live-action Beauty and the Beast in 2017, Emma Watson was a terrific choice for Belle. The actress did a wonderful job in the role and Disney should have been honoring her with a lot of great merchandise. The big one was a doll of Belle in her iconic yellow dress. But for reasons that baffle everyone, the doll looked almost nothing like Watson and instead seemed to resemble Justin Bieber. It’s hardly the look this beauty deserved.
3 Face Off
The What’s Her Face dolls may have been one of the weirder concepts for girls’ dolls out there. The idea was a regular sized doll in some “hip hop” clothes. The freaky thing was that the faces were completely and utterly blank. This would allow the owner to draw any face they wanted with markers or stickers. This would create some dolls so freaky looking that they could scare Annabelle. The line only ran a couple of years as kids seemed to think creating faces was a bit much for dolls.
2 Shark Spidey
Spider-Man has certainly had some weird looks via toys over the years. He’s had everything from metal armor to multiple arms and handled it well. But what in the world possessed him to try his hand at being Aquaman? First, the green colors are completely unlike anything Spidey usually wears. The wacky suit is laughable and that’s without the trident in hand. One can imagine the Sub-Mariner taking one look and laughing his head off at the Wall-Crawler turned water joke.
1 Street Super
When one thinks of Superman, they think of the bold bright hero flying in the sky, standing as the defender for truth and justice. Only in the 1990s could the idea of Superman as a street tough crimefighter be made a toy. Here, Supes is dressed in a Punisher-style black cloak instead of his cape which looks ridiculous against his usual costume. The idea of a chain, of all things, as a weapon is even more hilarious. It showcases the Man of Steel doesn’t quite fit as a street avenger.