During Married with Children’s fifth season two-parter, You Better Shop Around, the Bundys battled the D’Arcys in a bootleg version of Supermarket Sweep.
It’s easy to see why these episodes are so beloved by fans: The cast had perhaps never been more willing to get physical and act like dopes. It’s pretty great.
Course, as reader Justin E. pointed out, there’s an even cooler reason to watch You Better Shop Around. Both episodes were shot in what was either a real supermarket or a remarkably well-stocked stand-in, and if you look close, there are tons of now-discontinued foods lining the shelves.
Below are five fallen food items that I spotted during the two-parter. (These episodes aired in 1991, but were most likely shot in 1990.)
#1: Teddy Grahams Breakfast Bears!
Breakfast Bears didn’t last nearly as long as the still-produced Teddy Grahams snack crackers, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. In one TV spot, costumed bears sung about the cereal from a roving, car-towed stage. If kids didn’t eat Breakfast Bears, it wasn’t because they never noticed it.
#2: Lemon-Lime Slice!
Slice technically still exists, but now it’s mostly famous for being one of those weird bottom shelf sodas that you can only find at Walmart. The lineage is there, but it’s dotted and thin.
In any case, Pepsi no longer produces lemon-lime Slice, which to me was the definitive Slice flavor, and one of the cornerstone sodas of the 1980s. (Pepsi purportedly dropped it to make room for Sierra Mist, which IMO was like trading $50 for $25.)
I don’t know if it was the flavor, the ads or the name, but lemon-lime Slice always seemed more refreshing than any other soda. Marcy D’Arcy was a fool to ignore it.
#3: Switzer Candy!
Switzer licorice is still being made, but now it’s one of those “speciality” candies that you can only find in gift shops at upscale hospitals. Way back when, it was nearly as ubiquitous as Twizzlers. (And more or less the same candy, too.)
As for what dampened Switzer’s good fortune, I bet it was the name. “Switzer” sounds like a 1960s antacid, or maybe the surname of the worst kid in kindergarten. I don’t connect “Switzer” with beautiful pools of artificial strawberries, that’s for sure.
#4: Breakfast With Barbie Cereal!
Another hit from our pals at Ralston, Breakfast With Barbie seemed more “toy” than “food.” The cereal boxes were made to resemble Mattel’s doll packaging, right down to the precise shade of pink.
Breakfast With Barbie had an ace up its sleeve, too. Certain boxes could be cut into doll-scale vanity tables, which naturally guaranteed that every Barbie fan would drop Honey Nut Cheerios like a bad habit.
#5: Ocean Spray Mauna La’i!
Mauna La’i was a small collection of tropical fruit juices sold by Ocean Spray. They were positioned as the exotic cousins of Ocean Spray’s cranberry and grapefruit juices, complete with a TV commercial that made drinking Mauna La’i sound like the next best thing to a Hawaiian vacation. And also maybe a bit sexy.
Mauna La’i came in “Guava” and “Passion Fruit” varieties, which for a brief time were the fanciest drinks at the supermarket. I suspect that both were well-liked by kids, since they resembled legit cocktails and were thus great for getting pretend hammered.
Oh, and while not a food item, it’d be criminal not to mention that the Bundys’ preferred supermarket had one of those now-legendary Chicken Machines. (If you’re lucky, you might still see them out in the wild!)
The prizes were no better than standard vending machine fare (often far worse, actually), but the fact that they came inside plastic eggs that were birthed by a phony chicken made them impossible to resist. In my “won the lottery” dreams, buying a Chicken Machine is right up there with buying a Ms. Pac-Man cocktail table.
Big thanks to Justin E. for tipping me off about these episodes. I certainly remembered the time Al Bundy bowled a frozen turkey down a supermarket aisle, but back in 1991, errant shots of Mauna La’i just didn’t pack the same punch.
PS: Dino Drac’s March Funpack is still on sale, but this might be your last call! They’re shipping out early next week.