History: We have spent quite a few weeks now wading through the histories (both real and imagined) of various breakfast cereals. And almost every week, somewhere in our discussion of the history of the cereal in question, there has been a line which said something along the lines of...
"...and it was at this point that the cereal manufacturer realized that the ONLY WAY TO GET KIDS TO EAT THEIR CEREAL was to back up a dumptruck full of sugar and just start pouring the stuff on."
So many breakfast cereals have failed simply for a lack of sugar. Sure, some of them have still failed despite their tooth-loosening levels of sweetness (see, for example, Circus Fun, which failed because of any child's inherent--and wise--fear of creepy breakfast clowns), but many more have ended up on the ash pile of cereal history simply because those responsible for their manufacture have forgotten the one and only rule of breakfast cereal manufacturing: More Sugar = More Sales.Sure, it ain't as catchy as "Always Be Closing," but it works. And honest to god, some smarty-pants food designer could come up with a cereal tomorrow that was lumps of partially-toasted wheat straw and tiny bits of gravel in a box with a picture of a cartoon beaver on it, and provided he'd made sure the boys in the lab had just frosted the shit out of those cereal pieces (and maybe candied the gravel), it would sell a million boxes a day and that beaver would probably have its own Saturday morning cartoon show by the end of the week.
Anyway, the More Sugar = More Sales mantra was certainly not lost on the brainiacs at General Mills who first came up with the idea for a fruit-flavored and sweetened puffed corn breakfast cereal that was addictive to rabbits. When first introduced in 1954, Trix was made up of more than 46% sugar (yeah, I know) and tore through the adolescent world like crack. There were kids hanging out on streetcorners grubbing change to get a fix, roving gangs of toddlers stealing car stereos and pawning them for Trix money, pre-teen boys sitting in school yards eating mud on a bet just to score a couple nickels. It was terrible.
But hey, no one ever said the cereal game was pretty. And you know what? Trix is still around today...
The Box: Almost always red, almost always featuring the Trix Rabbit and always always showing the cereal itself, in one of its many iterations. The numbers, shapes and varieties of fruit-flavored pieces have changed over the years, but one thing that has always remained the same? The rabbit. He's a total junkie--been strung out for decades on the orangey-orange and grapety-purple. But can he get some? No. There's always some bunch of little brats standing between him and his fix and no matter what kind of scheme the rabbit comes up with (going into space, dressing up like an Indian, riding on jet-powered rollerblades), the kids are always there, calling him a silly rabbit and taking away his cereal.
This, of course, is an allegory for the entire aging process--teaching children a not-so-subtle truth that, as they age, they will slowly have to give up everything they love to the next generation until, one day, they are reduced to disguising themselves as French painters and begging on the streets just to get a little cereal.
Okay, not really. But still, what the fuck is wrong with that rabbit? Motherfucker's been doing TV commercials since the 50's, so I'm sure he's got some money stashed away somewhere that he hasn't blown on clever disguises and rabbit prostitutes. Just go out and buy some goddamn Trix already!
The Product: All Trix cereal pieces taste like grape Kool-Aid powder sprinkled on a generic corn puff with the faint aftertaste of cough medicine. Also, with the amount of sugar in a modern box, you'd probably be better off just eating the Kool-Aid powder with a spoon
Best Feature: Blinding amounts of sugar and a history of understanding what children want in a breakfast cereal.
Worst Feature: Rabbit abuse.
Fun Fact #1: An individual piece of Trix cereal is called a "Tric."
Fun Fact #2: Twice, the rabbit has actually gotten some Trix. Neither time did it involve him murdering any of the children standing in his way.
Is It better Or Worse Than Apple Jacks?: While Trix certainly gets points for historical longevity and understanding the tastes of its core audience (children and stoned teenagers), the stuff still tastes pretty crappy most of the time so, once again, Apple Jacks is still better.