Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Haven't Your Way

By Nick Brown

AUGUST 16, 1999:  There's no McHummus or Pork Chop del Grande warming in America's kitchen this summer. In fact, most of my favorite restaurants are barely selling food anymore. They're selling cups and posters and partially articulated action figures. Well, you can't eat movie promotions or scratch-off games, so somebody had better beat some beans into those smug, finger-steepling idea men before I starve to death. I need variety, and I'm about one Big Mac away from cannibalism.

Burger King has had almost enough trendy, stupid ideas to make up for the others this summer, bless their lame-brained, teeny-bopper malt-shop souls. I always cringe at the embarrassing sexual tension simmering among the pimply BK workers as they pop one another with towels and drop ice cubes down each other's uniforms. Squealing giggles and breathy retellings of "what Mark said" are readily available, if not listed on the menu. These are kids who barely have time to make it, much less make it my way. Somehow they find time.

Our first stop, the Western Whopper, is nothing but a tenuous tie-in to Burger King's unfortunate choice in million dollar summer movie promotions, which nevertheless affords one the rare chance to taste mayonnaise mixed with sickeningly sweet barbecue sauce. It's surprisingly palatable alongside the crispy, factory-fried bacon and weird cheese, but I could have done without the extra large dinner salad they dumped on it. I found myself wishing for a pet goat to eat all the spillage. Then I could eat the goat.

I can't remember if I've ever talked about the Rodeo Cheeseburger. It's neither new nor particularly good, but the fact that it keeps forcing its way onto the menu bears mention. Somebody important must have invented it. Imagine a cheeseburger with the same bad barbecue sauce. Now put a couple onion rings on it. Weird. Now try a bite while wearing your stupid Jim West sunglasses. Weird. You look like the village idiot.

The Quarter Pound Classic Cheeseburger is about their silliest idea yet. All they did was stick a Whopper-sized patty on a small bun and imply a big meat value. Sure it's only 99 cents, but a tiny bun doesn't make the meat any bigger, and you used to get a big bun for the same price. I'm not sure there was enough great bun flavor. It wasn't bunny enough. It required bunnification. Mars needs buns. Bun me, Amadeus.

Burger King also made big strides in the sullen ungrateful brat department with the introduction of Big Kids' Meals. These are just like regular Kids' Meals except that they come with either double meat burgers or a couple extra chunks of chicken, depending on how you choose to interpret your child's pouting silence. Oh, and they cost more. That way you can throw a little extra food in the trash as soon as they unwrap the crappy plastic toys you'll step on while getting them glasses of water tonight. Enjoy your spankings, kids. My dad would've shoved that toy so far up my ass I'd need Quincy to get it out.

So while I'm mildly pleased by BK's innovation this summer, I'm also very disappointed in the competitors. On the one hand I feel like getting a high paying job in the food industry to help shape their promotions and marketing. That way I could steer the industry in a direction more to my liking instead of just complaining about it. On the other hand I might get a pet goat, which could be kind of cool. Decisions, decisions. See you at the goat store.


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