Ed Puskas

Ed Puskas

Hasbro’s announcement this week about Mr. Potato Head was quickly sliced and diced. Days later, the toymaker is still getting mashed and roasted on social media.

Why is everyone fried? 

Hasbro announced that it plans to drop “Mister” from Mr. Potato Head, which would make the almost 70-year-old toy gender-neutral.

There was an immediate and predictable firestorm, because some of us need our plastic toy vegetables to have the proper imaginary private parts. Mr. Potato Head has a wife, for God’s sake. Is no one at Hasbro thinking of what this means for Mrs. Potato Head? I guess she’s going gender-neutral, too.

Of course, at their ages, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head won’t be creating any little spuds, anyway. They’re probably destined to spend their golden-brown years as couch potatoes. Or — since marijuana is now legal in some places — maybe they’ll get baked.

My first thought: Is nothing sacred? I quickly followed that up by wondering what will happen to — in no particular order — Mr. Mister, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Coffee, Mr. Clean, Mr. Crowley, Mr. Greenjeans and Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood when the Personal Pronoun Police come for them.

Mr. Mister will probably have to change their name to some unrecognizable symbol, like Prince did for a while.

How high will Mr. Bojangles feel like jumping when he finds out he’s been neutered? After all, the man’s dog just up and died. Hasn’t he been through enough?

Who wants to buy a coffee maker called something dumb like Thing That Makes Coffee? In this day and age, you can’t afford to call it Coffee Man. What would Joe DiMaggio think?

Who cares? Down with the patriarchy. And the potato-archy.

But what about people who are still looking for Mr. Right? Sorry. They’ll just have to settle for Right. But wait. That implies that they’re taking up with a Republican.

And what about Mr. Goodbar? Without nuts, it’s just another chocolate bar.

This story really seems to have legs, even if Mr. Potato Head doesn’t. If I remember correctly, he had shoes, but no legs.

But consider this: Hasbro may be onto something with this blatant attention grab. Until Thursday, when the story broke, when was the last time you thought of Mr. Potato Head? If you’re like me, you were probably 3 or 4. And Hasbro? I didn’t even know the company was still in business.

But now Hasbro is back in the news and on the tips of people’s tongues everywhere, like a tasty french fry or a dollop of garlic mashed potatoes. (Hey, I’m getting hungry.)

Ingenious marketing, Hasbro, capitalizing on our obsession with stuff that doesn’t matter.

Think about it ... I just got 20 inches out of leftover potatoes. Someone in that company deserves a raise.

ED PUSKAS is Editor of the Star Beacon. Write him at epuskas@starbeacon.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Ed_Puskas.

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