When thinking about toys from the ’90s, Beanie Babies are probably one of the first things that come to mind, after Gak and Cabbage Patch dolls that got recalled for eating a little girl’s hair. Beanie Babies were so popular that adults even got in on the game, convincing themselves for some reason that these Korean children’s toys that cost like five cents to make could be worth millions of dollars someday. (Side note: if you haven’t seen the photo of the world’s saddest couple dividing up their Beanie Babies in a divorce, stop what you’re doing and look at it right now.) I’d make fun of people for this, but I have like five Kylie Lip Kits so I can’t really say shit. As a child, the Beanie Baby was the perfect accessory to your Lisa Frank folder/Beauty And The Beast Lunchbox/Pocahontas backpack lifestyle, and were basically a requirement for any playdate that you were hoping would go well. Kind of like bringing a condom on dates today. If things really take off, you’re definitely going to want to have at least one Beanie Baby in your bag for a potential trade situation. But which Beanie Babies were the best? Well, there are a fuckload of them, but here is a ranking of the top 10, from back in the days when your biggest concern was how you could fit as many butterfly clips in your hair as the popular sixth grade girl on your bus.
10. Pinchers The Lobster
This lobster loves to pinch,
Eating his food inch by inch,
Balancing carefully with his tail,
Moving forward slow as a snail.
Okay I’m sorry but what child would choose a lobster Beanie Baby? I feel like on the list of kid-friendly animals, lobster ranks somewhere between an electric eel and one of those fish that has a light on its head. Maybe Ty saw The Little Mermaid and wanted to capitalize on the success of Sebastian, but I think we all know that Sebastian is the exception and not the rule. And also, isn’t he a crab? Just read Pinchers’ poem. None of the activities listed sound appealing to a child. Oh cool, a toy that is fat, lazy, and pinches people. Sign me the fuck up. Pinchers would only reasonably come into your Beanie Baby collection if you were one of those freaks who was like, actually trying to collect Beanie Babies, or when your one uncle who doesn’t have kids made an attempt at bringing you a present.
9. Patti The Platypus
Ran into Patti one day while walking,
Believe me she wouldn’t stop talking,
Listened and listened to her speak,
That would explain her extra large beak!
Okay calm the fuck down, Patti. I don’t have time to listen to you blabber on about bullshit all day. This was a stop and chat, but now you’re all up in my grill telling me about how platypuses are the only mammals who lay eggs and I’m like girl, you’ve told me this. You’ve told me this several times. I’m late for work now because of you and your ridiculous beak. Get your shit together. Kids who had this Beanie Baby were the ones who were desperate to “stand out” so instead of doing something cool like developing a skill, they just started saying weird shit like “my favorite animal is the platypus!” Please.
8. Humphrey The Camel
Humphrey’s resting here amid,
A desert near a pyramid,
He thinks that it would be just grand,
To live somewhere that has less sand!
Wow. Okay, Humphrey. Maybe take some responsibility for yourself? If you don’t want to live somewhere with so much sand, go on google, type in “apartments NYC” and get yourself a sublet. It’s not my responsibility to get you out of your situation. You have to do that for yourself. Also, you’re standing next to one of the literal wonders of the ancient world, so maybe try and count your blessings a little bit. As an animal, camels are cooler than platypuses (I looked it up, it’s “platypuses” not “platypi”) but only barely. They’re kind of like gross misshapen horses that spit on you and don’t look good on folders or pencil boxes or any of the other stuff you’d put a horse on so like…what’s the point?
7. Cubbie The Bear
Cubbie used to eat crackers and honey,
And then what happened to him was funny,
He was stung by fourteen bees,
Now Cubbie eats broccoli and cheese!
Umm excuse me? Wtf is this poem describing? What happened to Cubbie is not funny, it’s a very serious medical emergency. Fourteen bees?!? Cubbie is lucky he didn’t go into anaphylactic shock. Apart from his brush with death, Cubbie is just meh. He’s a bear, but like not one of the cool special edition bears that sit up straight and have a little patch over their heart. He’s just like…a regular old bear who lays on his stomach. (Though now that I’ve read his horrific poem, I’m thinking that maybe Cubbie doesn’t sit up because his heart was weakened after the bee attack, which is kind of sad.) Cubbie isn’t even a cool color, he’s just brown. A regular old brown bear that was stung by fourteen bees and has an extremely limited food palate. Not exactly the stuff dreams are made of. Also, I fail to see how getting stung by a swarm of bees correlates with eating broccoli and cheese—which is not a part of a bear’s healthy diet, BTW. Cubbie, you’re gonna get sick, bro.
6. Spot The Dog
See Spot sprint, see Spot run,
You and Spot can have lots of fun,
Watch out now, because he’s not slow,
Just stand back and watch him go!
Spot is a dog. He likes to run. It’s kind of his thing. As far as dogs go, being named Spot and liking to run is as basic as it gets. Like, if Spot was a person his name would be Emily and his interests would include unicorn frappuccinos, Smartwater, and Michael Kors watches. He’d definitely be wearing Lululemon leggings, a Northface, and Adidas Superstars right now, and his hair would be ombré. When you try to talk to Spot, he’d say things like “Oh Em Gee!!!” and is perpetually on a juice cleanse. We all know Spot. We all have a Spot in our friend groups. Some days, when the temptation to start a wedding Pinterest grows too strong, we are Spot. Spot is like, fine, and a necessary addition to any Beanie Baby friend group, but like, he’s never going to be anybody’s fave. The other Beanie Babies mostly just keep him around so they don’t have to feel bad when they low-key want to see the next Katherine Heigl movie that comes out (Unforgettable looks really good, ya’ll…).
5. Chocolate The Moose
Licorice, gum and peppermint candy,
This moose always has these handy,
But there is one more thing he likes to eat,
Can you guess his favorite treat?
Chocolate. His favorite treat is chocolate. That’s the answer to the riddle. Takes a pretty high level of self-centeredness to have your favorite food also be your name, and I respect that. While moose (again, I looked it up—the plural of moose is moose) are not necessarily the betchiest animal on the surface, upon further investigation they have some hidden betchy tendencies, like getting wasted off fermented apples and running through town with Christmas lights on their head. Chocolate is also one of the OG beanie babies, which makes him a much hotter commodity among Beanie Baby collectors—which is apparently a group of people who still exist—so like, he’s one of the wealthier members of the Beanie Baby friend group. Still, as far as I recall, “moose” was definitely not at the top of any little girl’s animal companion wish list, so I doubt a lot of kids were going straight for Chocolate in the toy aisle. He’s more of a “I already have all the cute Beanie Babies and now I want to branch out into smellier animals” type of purchase.
4. Splash The Orca
Splash loves to jump and dive,
He’s the fastest whale alive,
He always wins the 100-yard dash,
With a victory jump he’ll make a splash.
Poor Splash. Sure, he had the distinction of coming out in post-Free Willy America, meaning he was a necessary part of any respectable Beanie Baby collection, but now that we’ve all see Blackfish, we know that Splash was suffering. Like, sure he can do the 100-yard dash, but does he want to? Is that a victory jump he’s doing, or an attempt to escape to the sea and search for his mother, who he was stolen from at birth? Splash belongs in the ocean with the other orcas, not at the bottom of your toy chest trying to make smalltalk with a giraffe. And with all that we now know about the horrible conditions in which Orcas are kept, this photo is extremely disturbing:
Still cute, tho.
3. Flash The Dolphin
You know dolphins are a smart breed,
Our friend Flash knows how to read,
Splash the whale is the one who taught her,
Although reading is difficult under water!
I honestly can’t imagine a better time in the little girl-dolphin relationship than the early ’90s. We’ve got Lisa Frank to thank for that. As a 6-year-old, there were like two acceptable favorite animals, and dolphin was definitely one of them. Dolphins had an amazing PR campaign to market themselves as cute, friendly animals, when in reality they’re just really horny. Dolphins are some of the only animals besides humans and bonobos that have sex for pleasure, which raises some serious questions about how this dolphin got the name “Flash.” Like, I have a feeling it’s not related to speed. Still, no true child of the ’90s would not have made Flash a top priority for their collection, and her ability to be considered respectable while being a closet freak is something we should all admire.
2. Mystic The Unicorn
Once upon a time in a land far away,
A baby unicorn was born one day in May,
Keep Mystic with you she’s a prize,
You’ll see the magic in her blue eyes.
Mystic the unicorn was the central figure in most little girls’ Beanie Baby collections. Like, if you did not have Mystic, you def can’t sit with us. Mystic is also one of the only OG Beanie Babies that is not a real animal (later they’d add like, ghosts and shit, but much like the Pokémon beyond 150, we do not recognize them as legitimate). There’s really not much else to say about Mystic except that she’s a unicorn, she’s gorgeous, and after about two weeks of hanging out in the bottom of your backpack her white coat would turn a sort of smudge-y grey and your mom would have to run her through the wash, at which point her horn would kind of never be the same. Bummer.
1. Princess Diana
Like an angel she came from heaven above,
She shared her compassion, her pain, her love,
She only stayed with us long enough to teach,
The world to share, to give, to reach.
There is no question in anyone’s mind that the Princess Diana Beanie Baby was basically the Lumee case of Beanie Babies. She was luxury, special edition, and only your friend with rich parents and serious Beanie Baby collections had her. She was so special that, despite being a children’s toy, she was not to be played with. Nope. As soon as you bought this priceless heirloom, your parents would stick her in one of those clear plastic Beanie Baby boxes and put her on a high shelf so no one dare fuck with her. And unlike literally every other member of the Beanie Baby family, she was actually a good investment. A couple in the UK sold their mint condition Diana for $100,000, meaning that a purple bear your parents probably sold at a yard sale in 2001 could have actually paid for your college. I guess I finally understand what that Beanie Baby divorce couple was actually talking about.