Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sharkleberry Fin Lives!

Friends, I'll admit that I haven't drank Kool-Aid in over 15 years. That was around the time they stopped making Great Bluedini, the greatest flavor of all.

Great Bluedini was another member of the Kool-Aid Man's calvcade of mascot drinks back in the the 90s. You know them: Purplesaurus Rex, Incrediberry, Pink Swimmingo, Rock-A-Dile Red, and today's subject:

Sharkleberry Fin. Aside from the blue octopus, a pink shark was definitely the coolest thing around. I can talk all day about my memories of drinking this and how much I miss it, but sadly the blue stuff is all I know. I've had to drink vicariously through the memories of other internet denizens. 

Oh sure, I'd watch that awesome commercial all the time, but I was a finicky child and I was more of a Sunny D kid back in the day and Kool-Aid was but a treat for me. But I'd always have dreams of drinking that pink goo, getting to hang out with Sharkleberry.

Seriously, he's a shark that's bright pink and he wears shades. If that isn't the quintessential 90's mascot, then I don't know what is. So I've mostly put my thoughts of Mr. Fin in the back of my mind, to be tossed with the rest of my mental clutter. That is, of course until I saw last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Kool-Aid Man's float came flying by, and Matt Lauer or whoever it was gave off his spiel of fun facts about the guy just like every other balloon in the parade, until he mentioned Sharkleberry Fin with all of the other assorted Kool-Aid flavors.

"Wait...what ?!" Was all I could say. Did Thanksgiving just tell me that Sharkleberry was coming back?!

Indeed. Odd place to announce such a thing, but the Kool-Aid Man can't just go door to door and bust through your wall to tell you that a beloved flavor was coming back. That class-action lawsuit a few years back put the kibosh on it. 

But last week, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula (formerly X-Entertainment) tweeted out that he found Sharkleberry in his local Wauldbaum's.

A quest, that's what I had to do. And folks, I came back a winner.

It lives! Reboots, especially food reboots, don't happen very often so I pretty much witnessed a miracle at only nineteen cents a pop.

The packing isn't as charming as it used to be, but I'll take it. Why can't kids today grasp the idea of a pink shark wearing shades? Are those swimming goggles?! He's gone from being a shark to that dolphin from Super Mario World.

Now let's skip ahead to when I decided to crack it open for myself.

Holy crap, they weren't skimping on the PINK. I gotta caps lock the PINK, that's how pink it is. The lighting doesn't do the color justice at all, but trust me on this. Remember: caps lock.

Back when Matt wrote about Sharkleberry Fin in the X-E days, he described the color as such:

"Now this shit is pink. Not like Minute Maid's pink lemonade is pink - way pinker. The color is too intense for any gray area - you're either drawn to it immediately or so put off that you have to go to another room, one where there isn't something that pinking sitting on the table. Admittedly, it's not as inviting as the traditional Kool-Aid red, but like I don't got no shark."

The dude has a much better way with words than I do, but I wholeheartedly agree after seeing the stuff in person. He also told me that it reminded him of the ecto slime from Ghostbusters 2, and he's not wrong about that, folks. I could easily see this stuff powering the Statue of Liberty.

Now for the moment of truth. A lifetime of expectations have led up to this one moment.

Hmm. Again, it might look orange here, but don't get me wrong, it's still PINK. And well, that sums up the flavor. Orange and pink. There's banana and peach in there too, and all of those flavors are fighting for your tongue's affection creating a real unique blend of tastes. As far as powdered drink mixes go, it's pretty good, and you could do far worse.

Again, Matt had a similar opinion, but he worded his thoughts far better than I did:

"It's good, but I'm having a hard time separating what my taste buds tell me from how much my heart wants to love the stuff. I guess saying this would be fair: I'd drink it to get through a bag of Doritos without dying, but I'd probably pass if, say, popcorn was in the bowl. There's a minute difference in the faiths involved there, but as far as radioactive kid soda goes, Sharkleberry Fin is well above average. It actually tastes a lot like peach Snapple, and that's totally a good thing. The fact that I look like I'm taking medication for diarrhea while I drink it just ices the kool cake. Without the ambiance, I give it a 7 out of 10. We can bring that up to a 9 by counting the sharks, the neat names and the idea that we may ultimately piss pink in the equation."

So if you can find this in your local store, pick it up! Nostalgia tastes just as good as you remembered it.

Now get on with resurrecting Great Bluedini, Kool-Aid. I'll be waiting.

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