"They're crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and they don't have a single natural ingredient or essential vitamin to get in the way of that rich fudgy taste!"In fiction, breakfast cereals marketed as "for kids" are invariably loaded with ridiculous amounts of sugar and contain virtually no nutritive value whatsoever. This stands in contrast to the cereals marketed for adults, which are depicted as being healthy— and about as tasty as eating a cardboard box. Common ingredients of these ridiculously-sugary kid cereals include:
— Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes, performing a mock advertisement for his favorite cereal
- Sugar as its primary ingredient.
- May do something when combined with milk (make popping noises, change colors/flavors, etc.).
- A box with loud, vibrant colors (reds, blues, yellows), designed to draw a child's attention faster than a television set on Saturday morning.
- A name that sounds exciting and action-packed; why settle for a box of "chocolate frosted flakes" when you can have "chocolate frosted sugar BOMBS!"?
- More sugar.
- A cartoon mascot (frequently a Talking Animal who's subject to a Cereal Vice Reward).
- Commercial advertisements that depict said mascot engaged in exciting, wild adventures.
- Ads that claim the cereal is Crunchtastic or make similar unverifiable claims; ads featuring the cereal Adjacent to This Complete Breakfast.
- Hidden toys/trinkets in the bottom of the bag, and/or mail-in offers for toys or trinkets.
- And even more sugar.
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- There's an ad for Fiber One cereal where a couple convinces their son that the product is one of these by covering the name and calling it "Number One".
- In one Sam & Max: Freelance Police strip, "The Beast from the Cereal Isle", all cereals are like this, with only one exception: In the oldest corner are brands so old that "they contain wheat" (and not as an allergen warning).
- Since the Goodkind family owns so much in the Whateley Universe, it's no surprise that Overclock's favorite cereal is Honey Nut Goodios. He's a bit obsessive about them. In "Ayla and the Great Shoulder angel Conspiracy" he decides to drive a girl insane and kill all of her friends because she ate the last of the Honey nut Goodios in the school cafeteria.
- Dave Barry cited these as an important part of his childhood, citing a Long List that culminated with "Kellogg's Big Box O'Sugar With No Cereal In It".
- In Stephen King's Cujo, the Sharp Cereal Company puts out a product called Red Razberry Zingers, designed for kids who want something "halfway between cereal and candy." This being a Stephen King novel, the red dye leaves a toilet bowl full of what looks like blood.
Live Action TV
- In Dinosaurs, the family's kid-friendly cereal is known as "Sugar Frosted Booboo Bears". Millions of years before bears existed.
- In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Miles, a local conspiracy theorist, declines Sabrina's breakfast offer, citing government processing. He does, however, make exception for "the cereal that turns the milk purple".
- In a classic Saturday Night Live film short, John Belushi is unaccountably proving an Olympic track and field star, rather like a hippo being a gazelle. The punchline is a commercial where he endorses a Wheaties-like cereal, but the product is "Little Chocolate Doughnuts," Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
Belushi: I logged a lot of miles training for that day ... and I downed a lot of doughnuts. Little Chocolate Doughnuts.
- The Business Law episode of the educational television show Standard Deviants TV references coupons for the fictional "Honey-Coated Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Rockets".
- Gorillaz song Superfast Jellyfish focuses on one such fictional, chicken tasting, cereal;
"Yo, pretty packages of frosted delights
Look it comes with a toy I like that
I wanna number four, number six, and throw in a plastic donut
Just enjoy the gritty crunch that tastes just like chicken
Wrappers of many bite sizes
Man, are you freaking blind
That's a rock
All mixed in the potful
Momma's homemade from scratch, well not quite"
- The original "Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs" comes from Calvin and Hobbes, where the cereal is sweet enough to choke on, yet Calvin proudly eats multiple bowls a day and collects the box tops for prizes. Sometimes he even adds more sugar, thinking the cereal is "kinda bland" without it. One strip implies that "Buzzy the Hummingbird" is the cereal's mascot.
Calvin's mom: Caaaaaaallllllvvinnnnn, thaaaaat's eeenouughhh.Calvin: (to Hobbes) M-mom s-sure was m-movingg st-strangellly t-today.
- When he's trying to eat enough boxes (four) to send away for a CFSB propeller beanie, it proves too much even for him, and he tries to enlist help from Hobbes and his dad. Neither are willing, and one of the strips shows Calvin sitting with a bowl and box in front of him going "Man, I'm earning this."
- There's also a variety with marshmallow bits too, but Calvin's mom won't let him eat it.
- In one strip, Calvin eats so much of this cereal, he literally starts vibrating due to the sugar overload. Even worse/better, he's completely unaware of it, although in one strip he thinks that his mom was moving in slo-mo.
- The subject comes up occasionally in FoxTrot, usually to contrast against Mom's own health-craziness Running Gag:
- When out shopping, Jason tries to find a cereal that Mom will approve — one whose first ingredient is not sugar. Jason cites a box where the last ingredient is sugar — actually, sugar was its only ingredient.
- Another strip had Peter reading from a cereal box, "Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Sugar..." and so on, finishing with, "...Sugar, Sugar, Sugar... Flakes."
- A third has Jason admitting that while his "Sugar-Frosted Honey Flakes" are gross enough to turn his milk into purple ooze, he'll still eat six bowls every morning to get a glow-in-the-dark dinosaur stickers offer. Paige, reading the ingredients, remarks, "Actually, I'm a little surprised you don't glow in the dark by now."
- The choice of the color purple is likely a direct homage to Calvin and Hobbes, in which Calvin has said, "I won't eat any cereal that doesn't turn the milk purple."◊
- In yet another series of strips, Jason's cereal itself glowed in the dark, and when Peter ate it (because they were out of Wheaties) it made him sick. At first he was surprised that one bowl of cereal made him so sick; then he read the ingredients, and was glad it only made him that sick.
- In yet ANOTHER strip, the kids have nothing but a bowl of sugar for breakfast and claim it STILL doesn't have as much sugar as most cereals.
- Well, there are certain plants that are actually sweeter than sugar cane (the source of sugar). But that's probably not what they were referring to.
- In one strip that is posted the Monday after Easter, Paige is wondering what to take from her candy basket first. Andy holds up a box of cereal and suggests she have breakfast first, causing Paige to say, "Right, like that cereal has less sugar."
- One Professor Garfield skit features Nermal getting addicted to "Sugar Coated Sugar Blasts," courtesy of a deliberately misleading commercial about its supposed benefits hosted by so-called "Kool Kat Karl" (really the resident dogs in costume).
- Garfield himself spazzes out on chocolate-covered coffee beans in one strip.
- A Phoebe and Her Unicorn comic has Phoebe telling Marigold about a cereal originally called "Sugar Kabooms" when her mom was a child, before being changed to "Organic Kabooms" to make it sound healthier. Marigold is confused as to how a cereal with "Kabooms" in the name could possibly sound healthy.
- Fallout 3's kid cereal is called "Sugar Bombs", whose pieces are shaped like miniature nukes. A ghoul will buy them off you since they can apparently be used to double the potency of a particular drug (useful for ghouls who are much more resistant to them).
- The best food item in Twilight Heroes is called "Frosted cocoa-fruity marshmallow blasts", and in case the name didn't make the cereal's nature obvious, the description tells us it has "a powdery white coating of frosted goodness that instantly dissolves in milk, turning the liquid into something nearly as sweet as soda, because if it didn't the unsweetened milk would seem downright sour compared to the rest of the cereal".
- Broken Age has a plethora of cereals for Shay to choose from with increasingly odd names until you're finally forced into eating "Splargh!" The joke is that, despite the promises of the descriptive and varied boxes, every cereal is exactly the same.
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Adam Jensen's apartment is littered with boxes of sugary cereal with cartoon mascots.
- Homestar Runner
- Spoofed with the "Cheat Commandos...Os" Sugar Cereal, which includes an advertisement where the word 'nutritious' is crossed out and replaced with 'delicious', and is eventually described as a 'ridiculous brekafast'.
- In the Strong Bad Email "specially marked", Strong Bad explicitly points out several traits associated with kid cereals, like having names with sound effects in them (like 'pop', 'smack', 'puff', and 'gunshots in a crowded mall') and offering a Free Prize at the Bottom if you're lucky.
- In Darkwing Duck, Darkwing occasionally wonders whether Goslyn's favorite cereal (a ridiculously sugary brand) is responsible for her acting hyperactive. Not that DD himself is any mellower...
- The Simpsons:
- In one episode, Springfield is declared America's fattest town. Marge notes how unhealthy everyone's diet is, including the sugar-loaded cereal, "Frosting Gobs."
- In many episodes of the show, both Bart and Lisa inhale "Frosty Krusty Flakes", one of Krusty the Clown's most well-known pieces of trademarked merchandise.
- The Powerpuff Girls has Lucky Captain Rabbit King Nuggets ("For the Irish sea-faring nobleman in you!"), with a mascot who's some weird mash-up of Lucky the Lucky Charms leprechaun, Cap'n Crunch, the Trix rabbit, and King Vitaman.
Repeated tag line: Ridiculous Lucky Captain Rabbit King ... Lucky Captain Rabbit King Nuggets are for the youth!
- Arthur featured such cereals including "Crunch" (whose mascot was a singing cereal nugget wearing sunglasses and a tuxedo, who sings the cereal's jingle) and "Golden Honey Squids."
- An episode in which Grandpa and Tommy go grocery shopping features Reptar Cereal: "They're round, They're mean. They turn milk green!" For adults, there's Corrugated Bran Puffs. The "Reptar on Ice" episode shows Stu reading the ingredients for Reptar Cereal on the side of the box (Including re-hydrogenated cardboard bits) and remarking, "Hey Deed, there's no actual food in here!" Didi tells him that Angelica (who's staying over) won't eat anything else.
- And over at Chuckie's house, Chaz buys "Dummi Bear Sugar Lumps", which, based on the coloring, appears to be honey flavored. Despite the word "sugar" in the title, it's probably less sweet than the "Reptar Cereal" because Tommy considers it yucky.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Grim reads off a cereal box's ingredients. "Sugar" is both the first and last ingredient, and every other ingredient is "sucrose", "glucose", "fructose", or some other artificial sugar.
- In an episode of CatDog, our heroes get a job stuffing prizes into boxes of a sugary cereal called Kavity Krunch.
- A parody of this is shown as a short in one episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show. The cereal is "Sugar-Frosted Milk" and it "stays lumpy, even in cereal!"
- In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: M.U.N.C.H.I.E.S.", Sector V has to fight nearly every villain in the show over a store's last box of Rainbow Munchies, a cereal like this that is so delicious that everyone, good guys and bad guys alike, love it. Knightbrace proves to be the only exception, buying it simply so he can destroy it, which causes everyone else to have an Enemy Mine to take it back and share.
- The Amazing World of Gumball has Smashmallows, which cause a hallucinogenic sugar high if you eat them through your eyes.
- The Sugar-Blasted Purpleberry Puffs cereal associated with the Purpleberry Pond cartoon in the Futurama episode "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" are triple-coated in maple-flavour syrup. The final commercial is for Sugar-Frosted Sugar-Blasted Purple and Orange Berry Puffs. It's available in "regular" and "type 2".
- The "Sally's Comet" of Hey Arnold! had Arnold and Gerald trying to win a telescope so they can watch a comet that appears once every seventy years. They need fifty box-tops to win a telescope. The cereal they eat is named "Sugar Chunks".
- In King of the Hill, Bobby eats Grandma's Oatmeal Cookie Crunch cereal. Peggy lets him eat another bowl because she forgot to prepare him breakfast and then Hank lets him eat more resulting Bobby in a sugar rush and diagnosed with ADD.
- One episode of Jem had characters choosing between various cereals: Candy Coated Zips, Sugar Biffos (which had a clown on the box), Chocolate Flakes, and Healthy Cereal. They buy Healthy Cereal.
- Of course, this Trope is Truth in Television to a point (the "point" in question being as much as 63% sugar by weight in the case of Kellogg's Smacks), and as this article shows, such stuff used to be a lot more popular. In fact, up until the 1980s, it was a general rule for most children-marketed cereals to be named "Sugar X". It was only after the rise in rates of childhood obesity and the backlash from a more health-conscious public that many brands dropped "sugar" from their names (i.e, "Sugar Pops" became "Corn Pops", "Sugar Crisp" became "Golden Crisp", "Sugar Frosted Flakes" became simply "Frosted Flakes"/"Frosties", and "Sugar Puffs" became "Honey Monster Puffs").