How sweet…is your sweet tooth?

Everybody loves candy. I believe that is a true statement. Even those who are “health conscious” and don’t eat sweets, love candy. They may not partake in the sweet goodness that is candy, but they down deep love it. Why wouldn’t we love candy? So many flavors and varieties. Eating candy evokes many different feelings in in your body, whether it be psychical, chemical or emotional. Just look at the way someone reacts when they’re eating candy, the facial expressions and sounds that one makes don’t come from many other things in life. Whether is it is in the form of a chocolate bar, a bite-sized piece, a chewy gummy or a hard sucker, everyone has their personal favorite.

Most of us find our love of candy in childhood. It’s part of three of the best holidays as a kid. First, there’s Christmas: trees filled with candy canes, chocolate snowmen and tins filled with hard, sweet candies. After that, there’s Easter: waking up in the morning and finding a basket filled with all sorts of jelly beans, candy bars and peeps. Then the grand-daddy of all holidays for kids when it comes to candy, Halloween. The candy tastes better because you earned it of sorts. You have to get dressed up in a costume, go up to someone’s (usually a stranger) door and ask for candy. Hopefully, your neighborhood had that one cool house that gave out full-sized candy bars. What you tried to avoid was those houses that gave out pennies, toothbrushes or notebooks, what were those people thinking? At the end of the night, you went over your “haul” and then the trading begins as you horde the best of your stash so your dad doesn’t take your favorites. I personally still don’t get the appeal of candy corn to this day.

Candy has a major presence in pop culture as well. In every medium, you can find many slogans, quotes and scenes that involve candy. Let’s look at the movies. What’s most famous line from Forest Gump? “My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” If it wasn’t for M&Ms turning down E.T., Reese’s Pieces may not have been the success they turned out to be. Baby Ruth is one of the rare candies that has a couple of movie moments. In The Goonies, it’s sharing a Baby Ruth that bonds Chunk and Sloth. And who can forget the pool scene in Caddyshack. The candy bar gets innocently thrown into the pool (with the Jaws theme playing) and is mistaken for “doody”. The pool gets drained and cleaned and there’s the great Bill Murray as Carl Spackler nailing it by picking up it, sniffing it and taking a bite with a huge smile on his face. In the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, what kid didn’t want to go there and just eat until they were sick? Although not the most memorable scene in Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig losing it in the chocolate fountain was hysterical and sad at the same time. Half of Wreck-It-Ralph takes place in a “Sugar Rush”, car racing game that will put you in a sugar coma by just playing it. There’s a huge discussion in This Is The End about how much of a Milky Way bar each of the “survivors” will get to have. Then there’s Elf where Will Ferrell basically eats an entire breakfast consisting of candy.

On TV, there’s been countless great scenes involving candy. Probably the most iconic is from I Love Lucy. Watching Lucy and Ethel try to work the candy conveyor belt will bring you to tears every time. Candy was always a big part of Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy. In his standup, he would take about going to the movies and picking out which sweets you’re going to enjoy during the flick by going to the “jewelry case” of candy. They take out the velvet sash, “I’d like to see something in a Milk Dud, if I may.” On his sitcom, Seinfeld, who can forget “The Junior Mint”, I hear they’re quite refreshing. Or George’s candy line-up at Puddy’s car dealership. If you go the website MentalFloss.com, you take a quiz based on said line-up. On Friends, while Ross and Emily are trying to tell each other “I love you”, Joey is obsessed with getting his hands on Emily’s Toblerone.

In terms of music, there’s Bow Wow Wow’s 80’s anthem, “I Want Candy”. No child of the 80’s will get that song out of there head once it gets in there. We then got one of Def Leppard’s biggest rock anthems, “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Thanks to the movie Dogma, I can’t hear the song “Candy Girl” by New Edition without the image of Selma Hayek dressed as a Catholic school girl doing a striptease. One of 10,000 Maniacs biggest hits “Candy (Give “Em What They Want)” evokes my memories of going to college in the early 90’s. Later in the 90’s, we got Marcy Playground’s alternative hit “Sex And Candy.” And many of our parents grew up on the great Sammy Davis Jr. singing his iconic song “The Candy Man”.

In closing, I say to you Place To Be Nation (while I quote famous candy slogans from commercials), let’s take it to a vote to find out which is the best candy by voting in the Greatest Candy Tournament, which fires up on Sunday, March 10. Will you feel like a nut or will you won’t? Is your peanut butter going to get in my chocolate or is my chocolate going to get into your peanut butter? Is it going to melt in your mouth, not in your hands? Are you going to taste the rainbow? Are you going to gimme a break.? Will you get the sensation? If you’re hungry, why wait? Are we going to finally find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop? Does fresh really go better with Mentos? And nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!

Author: Andrew Atherton