This is THE toy. It has movable parts. It talks. It folds. It turns into stuff. It's a kid's wildest dream and no, it's not just a slogan; the Cool Toy is "the real deal".
It might be a one-of-a-kind, custom made, imported or simply the greatest toy ever that has somehow made it to the mass market, but it is the number one in the story, no substitutes.
So, naturally, it will be a major plot point. A Cool Toy that has landed in the hands of the protagonist might give them a sudden boost of popularity or self-confidence, or even turn out to be alive or Phlebotinum in disguise. Naturally it will also regularly get broken, misplaced, or stolen.
As a general rule, "normal" kids are allowed one cool toy, which they will treasure, while rich kids will have a roomful which they barely even touch.
Do not confuse with another type of "cool toy".
- The protagonist of Hollow Fields, Lucy Snow, turns her toy dinosaur into one of these using mad science.
- In The Adventures of Superman #520, Superman is attempting to buy that year's cool toy for adults - a reissue of the classic Date With Debbi doll - as a Christmas present for Lois when he ends up having to battle a hundred C-list costumed villains. By the time he has finished, the stores have closed. However, the department store president rewards him for saving the store by giving him a doll from a shipment that arrived too late to go on the shelves.
- A Christmas Story: The Limited Edition Red Ryder BB Gun.
- The original Toy Story was largely driven by Woody's fears of being displaced by Buzz Lightyear as Andy's cool toy.
- Jingle All the Way revolves around a father trying to obtain one such toy (the Turbo Man action figure) one day before Christmas.
- In the second half of Santa Claus: The Movie, the runaway elf Patch decides he will get back into Santa's good graces (after screwing up the previous Christmas with a mass-production system that turned out defective toys) by coming up with one of these and distributing it himself for free come the next Christmas Eve. With the backing of the Corrupt Corporate Executive B.Z. he creates a Cool Treat — a lollipop that, thanks to the secret ingredient of stardust, allows the person who consumes it to temporarily fly. These become a worldwide sensation, so much so that Patch is a bigger name than Santa come Christmas Day. B.Z. then convinces Patch to come up with an even more powerful followup (candy canes this time) that B.Z. will charge the public for, even coming up with a new holiday concept, Christmas II, to promote it. Patch, who doesn't realize that B.Z. is evil, obliges — and then it turns out that the candy canes are Made of Explodium, as stardust is volatile when exposed to heat...
- On the US version of The Office, Dwight buys up all the Princess Unicorn dolls from stores so he can re-sell them at ridiculous prices to desperate parents.
- In the Jim Henson Company's The Christmas Toy, Rugby the Tiger was this last year, and is convinced that he's going to be again this year.
- In one Christmas Episode of Murphy Brown, having done all her Christmas shopping, Murphy then learns that all her son Avery wants for Christmas is that year's cool toy. She spends the last few days before Christmas desperately hunting for one, only to discover that it is sold out everywhere. Ultimately Eldon ends up sending Avery one from Europe, where the fad is already over.
- An early episode of Frasier had his son Frederick (and presumably all other kids) wanting an Outlaw Laser Robo Geek for Christmas. Frasier, who had wanted to only buy intellectual toys, had to hurry out and find one, without much success on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, his father had planned ahead.
- A Furby-like toy called Beebo is a plot point in the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Beebo, the God of War", where it's the must have toy of 1992, and the younger Martin Stein is desperate to get one for Lily.
- The Discworld Roleplaying Game scenario "Watch Academy VI: Hogswatchnight" features the must-have toy in Ankh-Morpork this Hogswatch, which is — of course — secretly part of a Sinister and Eldritch Plot. In the scenario as written they're quasi-intelligent furry things called Burfies, but the author recommends adapting them to whatever the Cool Toy is at the time the game is played.
- "The Marvelous Toy" by Tom Paxton, about an unidentified toy that pops when it stops, zings when it moves, and whirrs when it holds still. The narrator had such fond memories of it that he buys one for his own kids.
- "I Want a Rinky Dinky Doo Dad for Christmas" by Da Yoopers. The son demands that his parents buy him the toy in question, leading to the mom getting into a fight at Kmart. Come Christmas, the son is excited to get the toy, only to be told that it's being recalled. He then says that's okay, because what he really wants is another toy that's even better. As a result, both parents Freak Out.
- The plot of the Interactive Fiction game Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina involves obtaining a "Sugar Toes Ballerina" doll on Christmas Eve for the PC's daughter, when the only mall in town that still has one is closed.
- The Simpsons:
Terri: [holding stuffed animal] It should be soft and cuddly.Bart: Yeah, with lots of firepower.Milhouse: Its eyes should be telescopes! No, periscopes! No, microscopes! ... Can you come back to me?Nelson: It should be full of surprises.Milhouse: It should never stop dancing.Martin: It should need accessories.
- The titular character from Robotboy looks like one in safe mode.
- Fun Haus' toys in the "Invasion of the Secret Santas!" episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold were the "gotta have it" toy in the present day, and the reason li'l Bruce was being a brat was that he didn't get the "gotta have it" toy for Christmas, but a family heirloom.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door they had Rainbow Monkeys that Numbuh 3 was so crazy about. And when there was a release of a new one, it caused something like riots.
- The Woggle fad hits Elwood City and everyone "has to" have one. Arthur doesn't want to join in but eventually is sucked in, by which time no woggles are to be had.
- The girls are into "World Girl" dolls, and rich girl Muffy tries to get one of every one; then she discovers they're making new ones all the time so she'll never be able to.
- One episode has a Transformers parody robot toy that Buster ends up shoplifting so that (he dreams) he will be cool.
- Fanboy and Chum Chum has a toy so hot that Fanboy trades another kid Chum-Chum for a day of playing with it. Hilarity Ensues.
- In My Life as a Teenage Robot the cool toy is the Musique, A Brand X of the iPod, that drives the whole town crazy.
- Parodied in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Toy to the World". The boys create the immediate sensation "Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure", where the selling point is the fact that the toy does absolutely nothing. Later, it's supplanted by the equally inert Brick.
- Scaredy Squirrel parodies this in "Snerd Envy", where the toy everyone in town but Scaredy has is completely plain and useless. And then again when Scaredy convinces the rest of the characters that he has an invisible one. They follow him at first until he fesses up... but then wins them back when he has the cool new "Mr. Handy Hand" (just googly eyes placed on his hand). This episode also leads to a subtle Aesop about using your imagination.
- Many holiday seasons there's one of these, the most famous being Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, and the Nintendo Wii. These days, it seems as if merchandisers try to manipulate the media into representing their product as the demand-exceeds-supply Cool Toy of the season.
- Defictionalised Buzz Lightyears ended up being this the year after Toy Story was released.