By Brian Heiler
Trading cards were essentially legal drugs for children. We hoarded our allowance, we skipped the cafeteria lunch to pocket the change, hell we might have even done lawn work, just to buy some more of those sweet, sweet trading cards?an addiction that no matter how many packs we bought, we always needed more. After decades of baseball card domination, the ’80s brought forth a cornucopia of nerd-friendly cards for us kids who didn’t know which end of the bat was up, including Garbage Pail Kids, Marvel Superheroes, the Batman movie and more. And then, there was a lot of terrible, simply unexplainable shit that also made it into little packs with this razor-sharp sliver of pink gum. Here are the 10 most mind-bogglingly awful card set ever made, and we pity you if you collected ’em.
10) Three?s Company
We understand that Three’s Company was a popular sitcom, but since the entire premise was that Jack Tripper had to pretend to be gay, did kids really want trading cards of these homo-erotic hijinks? I mean, it’s not like there was a bonus card of Janet and Chrissy making out. In fact, the best you could hope for was a picture of Norman Fell, which is the saddest thing ever.
Although these seemed awesome at the time, they were a total gyp. Basically, you scratched off a path for Pac-Man and tried to “win” the game on the card.
An extremely low tech way of cashing in on videogame action, it’s like an arcade for the Amish?and worse, it was more expensive than actually playing Pac-Man. In the end, all it did was train a generation for a lifetime of Scratch ?n Win lotto games.
8) Gone With the Wind
Yes. Collectible cards. For Gone with the Wind. A movie from the ’40s. Obviously, the trading card companies were trying to capture that Septuagenarian demographic, which sad proved elusive. I?d make a ?I don?t give a damn? joke but this isn?t an episode of The Carol Burnett Show from 1974.
Yeah, Alien was a trend-setting, classic horror/sci-fi film that created its own genre. But you know what? The trading card set does not feature the titular character once. When you buy a set of cards expecting to see a bad-ass killer alien and get card after card of Yaphet Kotto? That?s some capital A-one suck you have there, my friend.
6) Home Alone 2
Cards based on an inferior sequel to a pretty weak yet commercially successful film aren?t necessary or welcome. Any child that wanted to relive the magic of Home Alone 2 in trading card form needed to be beaten badly, and almost surely was.
5) Good Times
Suburban white children could buy themselves some trading cards of the exploits of the Evans clan, a poor inner city family just keeping their head above water amidst temporary lay-offs and easy credit rip-offs. Doesn?t anyone see the irony in that?
4) Here?s Bo
Sure, Bo Derek in her prime was a force no pubescent boy could reckon with but this series of cards ?From John Derek?s Archives? had the creepy feeling of your uncle pulling out a cigar box brimming with polaroids of his “conquests.” It would be initially exciting, but then you’d start to feel weird, dirty and nauseous.
3) Howard the Duck
Even as children, we knew that Howard the Duck was terrible, and worse, this was how George Lucas was spending his time in the ’80s instead of making the Star Wars prequels that we then still had hope for. For the sheer fact that they serve as a constant reminder of the film these Howard the Duck cards do not deserve to exist. It should be no surprise almost every card is still available sealed in its wax pack.
2) Growing Pains
The laziest, most uninspired trading card set of all time? Almost certainly. Even a Kirk Cameron trading card set would make more sense, since the girls loved him so much in the ’80s. But no, this featured the entire Seaver clan, meaning at leats 1/5th of the cards featured Alan fucking Thicke. Our only explanation is that someone owed Joanna Kerns a big favor to get these things made.
1) Nancy Kerrigan
Not an uninspired idea, but a inspiredly terrible idea created during the brief point when America was fascinated with this skater, whose claim to fame was mainly being clonked on the knee with tire iron by a dude named ?Gillooly.” These cards were glaring evidence of what everyone would soon discover; Nancy Kerrigan isn?t all that interesting, and trying to track down 60 cards of her is even less so.