This week on You Love to See It (YLTSI, our lovely movie rewatch podcast), we dived into Beanie Mania, a 2021 documentary about the late 90s craze and bubble. It’s all part of this month’s theme: Nice Try July! This month, we are twisting the habitually positive narrative around human endeavor and entrepreneurial spirit and diving into what happens to people who went big when maybe they should have just gone home. Join us on this celebration of people who truly had the AUDACITY, as we travel through fleeting fads, failed efforts, fallen businesses and flat-out fakes. This…Is Nice Try July. Because success is cool and all, but failure is objectively funnier.
As always, you can listen to the show in the embed, or find it on your podcatcher of choice here. I’m including our show notes here, which contain some creative capitalization and spoilers, but should give a good sense of our research and thoughts moving into recording day. You can also read the full transcription below our show notes, if you prefer your podcast in this format!
Beanie Mania Description:
Beanie Mania is a documentary about that time when a bunch of people embarked on a collective capitalistic delusion and lost a ton of money on a highly speculative investment that turned out to be basically a scam. Which is not at all like what’s happening now because crypto and NFTs are, like, totally cool and good things that don’t ring any bells whatsoever. In any case, the movie chronicles the boom and subsequent bust of the late 90s craze that led a lot of actual adults to fill their houses with little plush toys and even write whole-ass magazines about them.
And here are our must-discuss items:
Fernanda’s must-discuss items:
- I was very curious about this one because, although I knew about Beanie Babies and knew about the Beanie Bubble (and about the divorced couple who had to split their beanie babies collection in two), this was such a foreign situation to me. I don’t know if we ever had Beanie Babies in Brazil, and in fact I didn’t even know what they looked like. I had no idea they could be different animals, for instance, or that they had these cutesy names and little poems attached to them. Interestingly enough, right before Danielle suggested the doc for this month, I’d seen a show on Netflix about a (sincerely brilliant) tax fraudster and one of the people interviewed in the movie talked about doing a scam in which he dyed normal beanie babies purple to pretend they were the Princess.
- I voted to follow The Master with this one because it seemed like fun and boy was I right. Like you said, Danielle, the editing choices are just so good. The music they used, the action shots of the beanies in between interviews, the interviewees each getting their own beanie representations, the way they cut the soundbites… It just all adds up to a very light and fun experience. Truly the palate cleanser we needed.
- Having said that… While I do appreciate the levity (and brevity!) of the movie, I agree with the Hollywood Reporter’s review in that I did miss a little more substance. As much as I love their choices, and appreciate the fact that it doesn’t seem to be passing judgment on any of the parties (other than Warner, who obviously stiffed his employees because why wouldn’t he), I wouldn’t have minded more serious “economy minds” explaining some of the market basics behind a phenomenon like this, and maybe putting it in context with other happenings (*cough cough* CRYPTO *cough cough*). I get that the (wonderful) Beanie Meanie sort of filled that role, but I think I could have used a little more substantial analysis, I guess? Or maybe I should just lighten up.
- This might just be my brain doing its weird thing again, but once more I was drawn to the gender dynamics here. While there were men involved in this, the larger beanie movement was clearly propelled by women (specifically white, suburban, upper/middle class women). It kind of reminded me of the whole LulaRoe thing, and a lot of the MLMs, which are so intensely associated with the same kind of women. Meanwhile, when we think about the big financial frauds, the Ponzi schemes, NFTs — they all have a very male face, don’t they? I’m not even getting to any conclusions here, honestly, it was just a thought I had. Mentally, I kind of think of these “colorful” schemes as women-led, while the male-lad schemes kind of feel… Grey and sober? If that makes any sense? It probably doesn’t. I just kind of feel like we look down on the more “female” of these things with a certain disdain, like it’s all so silly and how did this happen, while when men do their silly shit their bold attempts are at least met with some begrudging respect.
- I thought one particular moment was kind of interesting, when a woman talked about how her husband collected Ferraris or whatever and she mentioned he couldn’t take issue with her collecting because his toys were much more expensive. And I was like… You know what? Yes. Sure, obsessing over little plush toys sounds dumb, but isn’t everything we obsess over kind of dumb? Whether it’s Lululemon leggings or lamborghinis, all the shit we accumulate under consumerism makes no objective sense, and yet we treat some of it as aspirational and some of it as delusional. In the end we’re all just trying to fill the void in our hearts with shit we don’t need. Let us live.
- Honestly, you can really understand the psychology of it. Whether it was a genius ploy by Warner or just a thing that happened, it is easy to understand why this would end up being such an alluring idea. There is the obvious consumerist appeal, sure, but also there is something to the idea of a treasure hunt, of finding something rare, of having a purpose (finding a specific beanie baby) and the thrill that all of it entails. And the babies are both portable, affordable (at their original price, of course) and inoffensive. I can absolutely understand why this would scratch some very primal adult needs while also appealing to our inner children. And, on the same token, I can understand why people would be so interested in the whole story and irrationally kind of drunk on schadenfreude at these complete strangers losing money on their plush toys. Because we *want* to mock these people and, since the simple act of collecting plush toys is mostly harmless, this gives us a good excuse to do it. In a way, the whole thing reminded me a bit of Disney adults. I know, not the same thing at all, but it’s a “cringe” thing that general society tends to look down on because it looks childish, but at the same time… Aren’t we all kind of children? I sometimes check myself with that kind of stuff because, yeah, not gonna lie, I do cringe when I see grown-ass people getting married at Disneyland and being obsessed with minions or whatever, but then I look at my Terminator action figures and I’m reminded that I’m pretty fucking cringe, too. We’re all cringe! Let’s embrace it!
- As you’ll probably be able to see by the notes section, I went on a whole beanie-related comment section journey and I don’t ever wanna come back.
Danielle’s must-discuss items:
- I really, really love some of these editing choices. The cut between the woman saying “there was no competition, there was room for everyone!” immediately to the other lady saying it was VERY COMPETITIVE and that women [makes angry meowing sounds] was CHOICE. Just really supports the kind of goofy tone and variety of experiences that beanie mania caused…
- I really like your points here about gender and about how men and women are contrasted here… and the line about “well, my hobby is less expensive than his!” from the woman who collects beanies with a husband who collects cars. We ALL like stupid shit. It is HUMAN to enjoy stupid things. Like you said, let us live!
- Honestly, the teeth-gritting misery of some of the folks here saying “maybe I can put my kids through college” from horrible 90s newscasts says so much about the grim, sad future we would soon inhabit! It just all seemed a little brighter then, because the beanies (some of them, anyway) are actually cute!
- On that note, did you like the beanies themselves? Did you have a favorite (just from the movie), or did you look at these little stuffed animals like “huh, i guess that’s ok…?”
Here’s our Beanie Mania Episode Full Transcript:
Fernanda: Oh, hi there, and welcome to You Love to See It, Fanbyte’s movie review podcast. Every month, we pick a theme. Every week, we watch a movie, and then we decide where its VHS tape belongs in our delightful neighborhood video store. We’ll judge whether it’s on demand enough to be worthy of our credit card debt and of a spot in our staff pick shelf; whether it’s no Princess the Bear, but it’s no shoddy counterfeit either, and therefore earns a spot in our totally fine middle aisle; or whether it’s nothing but a tax evading, low paying, rich dude and therefore earns a spot in our dreaded dumpster, where the Beanie Rap is always playing on repeat. [Danielle laughs]
Working the counter today, we have yours truly, Fernanda “Beanie Meanie” Prates, and my fellow Teenie Beanie bandit, Danielle “Porsche” Riendeau. Hi, Danielle. How are you doing?
Danielle: Hi. I’m doing great. I’m excited for this one. [laughs]
Fernanda: I’ve always wondered. Is it not– does everybody say “por-shuh” in English or like just some weird people?
Danielle: I think it’s just “porsh,” but like, obviously– okay, right, it should really be like “por-skay,” right? Like, that’s really what it should be?
Fernanda: Is it? I don’t know.
Danielle: Like “por-skay,” maybe? I don’t know.
Fernanda: But not “por-shuh.”
Danielle: It’s “porsh.” We say “porsh” in most–
Danielle: I guess, most people who speak American English, it’s “porsh.”
Fernanda: Say “porsh.” Okay.
Danielle: But I just– I was just delighted by the way someone said Porsche in this movie. It made me happy. I wasn’t making fun. It made me happy.
Fernanda: It made you happy.
Danielle: I was like, I like that. That was good.
Fernanda: No, I asked because in Portuguese we say “porsh-eh,” and then one day I was watching an American thing, and I heard “por-shuh,” and I was like, why? Why the A? I have questions. [Danielle laughs] So, but yes. I still, I will have questions today about several things, I guess, [Danielle laughs] but we’ll get to it in a bit. We’ll get to our movie in just a second. First, let’s talk about what we’re doing this month. Due to a COVID situation, we weren’t able to record a new episode for the beginning of the month, but you can go there. We have a throwback with John’s beloved movie, Larry Crowne.
Danielle: Yeah. Larry Crowne.
Fernanda: Larry Crowne, right? The one with Pierce Brosnan.
Danielle: Yeah, exactly. I mean, honestly, Thomas Crown Affair, really fun movie.
Fernanda: Thomas Crown, not Larry.
Fernanda: Who’s Larry Crowne?
Danielle: Well, okay. Here’s the deal. So, about two years ago– and I just let you know that that’s just a little treat for y’all in the feed, because I had COVID and couldn’t record last week. I still do, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] but I’m mostly done. I’ve got a real faint line at this point. I’m basically done with COVID number two. But yeah, about two years ago, John just kept talking about this movie, Larry Crowne, which is like a horrifically bad 2011 movie starring Tom Hanks.
Fernanda: With Tom Hanks. Uh huh.
Danielle: And it’s just like an inexplicable stupid movie, but John sort of loves it. Clearly, he has a complicated relationship to it, but like two years ago, he’s like, “For my birthday, let’s do this.”
Danielle: And we did, and hilarity ensued. And you can listen to that episode in the feed, but it really is like a…it’s like classic Fanbyte. It’s when we were a bit of a smaller team, where like everybody would just jump on a podcast. We had fewer like set crews and set, you know, casts for things. It was like a little bit of wild west Fanbyte. And, you know, the Larry Crowne episode, just a delight from a past version of this format. But now, we obviously have this format which is super fun, where we have a video store, which is pretty fucking cool, I think, actually, a pretty awesome vision.
Fernanda: We’re entrepreneurs.
Danielle: Yeah, we got our cool names.
Fernanda: We’re business owners.
Danielle: True business owners, you know, small business, small nineties style business, [both laugh] you might say.
Fernanda: Yeah. I wasn’t on the show yet. That’s why I– I know there’s a Thomas Crown and there’s a Larry Crowne. [laughs]
Danielle: Yeah. The Thomas Crown Affair…
Fernanda: Those are different things.
Danielle: It’s pretty good. I like the Pierce Brosnan version. I think there’s like an older version of it that’s also pretty good, so like…
Fernanda: Yeah. I think so too.
Danielle: Yeah. Maybe we’ll watch that one day. [laughs]
Fernanda: Maybe we’ll do Thomas Crown. We’ll do the Crown trilogy.
Danielle: Yeah! The crowning event, you know, like something… [both laugh] I don’t know, something good.
Fernanda: But yes. But you’re just sitting at home, not doing anything. You have free time. The world is falling apart. Go listen to the Larry Crowne episode. [Danielle laughs] But it was an exception, ’cause today we are kicking off a new theme.
Fernanda: And here is what we’re doing this month. We are twisting the usually positive narrative around human endeavor and the entrepreneurial spirit and diving into what happens to people who went big when maybe they should have just gone home. So join us on the celebration of people who truly had the audacity, as we travel through fleeting fads, failed efforts, fallen businesses, and flat out fakes. This is Nice Try July, because success is cool and all, but failure is objectively funnier. And this week, we are zooming in on the biggest scam of all—capitalism, that is—with the 2021 documentary Beanie Mania.
So, we are about to fly into our first segment, Setting the Scene, where we introduce the movie at hand and have a little spoiler-free chat about our history with it. But first, to those unfamiliar with the story, here’s a brief summary written by me of this movie. [Danielle laughs] Beanie Mania is a documentary about that time when a bunch of people embarked on a collective capitalistic delusion and lost a ton of money on a highly speculative investment that turned out to be basically a scam, [sarcastic] which is not at all like what’s happening now, because crypto and NFTs are like totally cool and good things that don’t ring any bells whatsoever.
In any case, the movie chronicles the boom and subsequent bust of the late nineties craze that led to a lot of actual adults to fill their houses with little push toys and even write entire magazines about them. [Danielle laughs] Wild times, wild times. But we’ll get into all of that in a bit. First, we shall move on with our Setting the Scene segment, and I ask: Danielle, tell me a little bit about your history, not just with the documentary of course, but with the Beanie Babies and what you recall from the actual Beanie Mania that took place.
Danielle: Yeah, absolutely. So, I definitely do recall actual Beanie Mania in history. I remember listening to the radio and people talking about Beanie Mania and, oh, Beanie Babies being the next big thing. And like, there was some like joke program once where somebody pretended to be Bill Clinton ordering Beanie Babies. [Fernanda laughs] This was a thing that I remember about this more than anything else was like some joke radio program where somebody was like, [imitating] “Do you have Humpfrey the Camel?” I can’t really do a Clinton. I’m so sorry.
Fernanda: Oh no. [laughs]
Danielle: But like, it was just somebody pretended to be Bill Clinton for like 20 minutes [Fernanda: “Yeah”] and tried to order Beanie Babies, like, as a bit. That’s what I recall. I didn’t– I think I probably had a Beanie or two, just ’cause they were everywhere.
Danielle: And my mother is a big Disney fan, and Disney tried to get in on this by making like Deanie– not Deanies. [laughs] They should have been called Deanies, actually! But like Disney Beanie Babies.
Fernanda: That makes sense.
Danielle: So not just the stuffed animals, but like, they were basically the same, you know, they were basically beanbag stuffed animal characters. My mom didn’t like collect them collect them.
Danielle: She probably had like 20. I guess that’s a collection, but it’s not like–
Fernanda: 20 is a lot.
Danielle: It’s a lot. [Fernanda laughs] I guess in terms of Beanie Mania. And this was like over years, she wasn’t like obsessively…
Danielle: We would go to Disney world, she’d buy a few, whatever.
Fernanda: Okay. Yeah.
Danielle: And like, she thought they were cute. She wasn’t like obsessed or anything like this movie. But like, that’s about it. I just remember this being a thing. I was a teenager at the time. You know, I thought they were like perfectly cute little things in the world, but it really didn’t touch my life the way it did for, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] you know, clearly a lot of people and people who went to Beanie trade shows and so on and so forth, which is a real-ass thing that happened, so. It was definitely something watching this movie that it rang true. I was like, yeah, I remember that.
Danielle: I remember this. I remember the little poems. I remember, you know, thinking some of them were cute, but never thinking, you know, “Oh my God, this is like the next big thing.” I suppose I was just too invested in like high school at that point, which, you know.
Danielle: I wasn’t even that invested in high school, to be honest with you, so. [laughs]
Fernanda: Wasting time in your education, Danielle, instead of investing.
Fernanda: Instead of investing in your future.
Danielle: Could have put my kids through college! You know, Beanie the bear– I don’t know what their fucking names are, but yeah. [laughs]
Fernanda: Beanie the bear.
Danielle: Beanie the bear. Was there a Beanie the bear? Princess bear, of course.
Fernanda: I don’t think so. Beanie the– I don’t know. I have no idea. I have no idea, because for me, that was the most interesting part. I don’t think we had Beanie Babies in Brazil.
Danielle: Sure, sure. Yeah.
Fernanda: Like, I didn’t know what they looked like. I had heard of Beanie Babies, because I had heard of the sort of craze, and I remembered reading that story about the divorced couple.
Danielle: Sure, sure.
Fernanda: Who like had to split their Beanie collection.
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah.
Fernanda: So I was like, so that’s the thing that like, this is a valuable thing. I really thought like, oh, so this is a valuable item. And then I just kind of dug– I kind of, I was watching recently, and that was interesting, because we talked about this month, which was your brilliant suggestion, [Danielle laughs] and you suggested the Beanie Baby documentary. And just like a week before, I was watching a movie about this scam artist. The guy was a freaking genius, by the way. He did mostly, like, I think he filed taxes for people who were dead and collected the money from the IRS.
Danielle: Oh my God!
Fernanda: Dude, and he made so much money, and he was so good at escaping. You have no idea. [Danielle sighs] But one of– there’s one guy on the documentary talking about his scams, a guy who kind of taught him this one, I’m pretty sure. I don’t remember exactly, but he had a Beanie Baby related scam, which I think he dyed regular bears purple to pretend they were Princess Beanies.
Danielle: Oh my God. Yeah.
Fernanda: And sell them for more, because the Princess Beanie was very valuable. So I was like, I was very curious. And I remember, yeah, and once I asked Rodrigo, I was like, “Babe, what are Beanie Babies?” Like, I thought they were actually babies that were like dressed cute, like actual beanie, like, baby dolls.
Danielle: Oh, sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Fernanda: And then he was like, no, they can be different little animals. They can be different little things. So to me, this was just a fascinating journey, being introduced to the Babies [both laugh] with this documentary and just kind of like diving into the psyche of the time and of the people who let the Beanies take over their lives. The whole thing, just…
Danielle: [laughs] Beanies on the brain. Yeah.
Fernanda: [laughs] Bankrupt by Beanies.
Danielle: [laughs sympathetically] Oh, yeah.
Fernanda: My favorite little magnet. I loved all of it. I’m so fascinated by Beanies. I’m upset I never got to have a Beanie Baby.
Fernanda: The original ones, ’cause now they’re like big-eyed little things, aren’t they? I don’t even know. I think they still–
Danielle: Yeah, I’ve not seen a modern Beanie. [Fernanda laughs] I’ve never seen a modern– I’ve only seen the nineties Beanies. I know nothing of the modern Beanie. [laughs]
Fernanda: One part of the documentary, and we’ll talk about it in a second, but I wanted to ask you about personal experience, because I started like digging into comment sections and stuff, and a lot of the people remember the McDonald’s thing when they did the Teenie Beanies.
Fernanda: Do you have any recollection of that?
Danielle: I remember this happening.
Danielle: And I actually, actually I think the stupid Bill Clinton joke spot that wasn’t– obviously it wasn’t really bill Clinton, it was some comedian faking. I think it was about the McDonald’s thing.
Danielle: Like that he was calling into McDonald’s and being like [imitating] “Do you have Humpfrey the Camel?” All I remember is Humpfrey the Camel. That’s all I remember.
Danielle: But I think it was about McDonald’s, so like, clearly this was connected, and like…
Fernanda: You’re already doing a better Clinton than Clive Owen in American Crime Story.
Danielle: I mean, I can’t do–
Fernanda: I will give you that.
Danielle: [imitating] “Do you have Humprey the Camel? Humpfrey? Humpfrey the Camel?” That’s all I’ve got. [Fernanda laughs] I’m so sorry. I could do better with most things, but I just don’t have a Clinton. I don’t have a Clinton in me. I’m so sorry, dear friends. Oh, shame.
Fernanda: Some would argue that that’s a positive trait.
Danielle: Yeah, it might be! It might be! [laughs]
Fernanda: It’s okay. We’ll forgive you. You have many, many skills, Danielle.
Fernanda: Not having a Clinton is something we can overlook. [both laugh]
Danielle: We can get over that one, yeah. Thank you.
Fernanda: Okay. So, with that, I guess we can move onto our next segment of the show. Our second part, which is Stripping It Down. So, Stripping It Down is a part of the episode where we discuss details of the film in question, including specific aspects of the plot and characters, which doesn’t really apply here because we’re talking about a documentary. It’s kind of like, everybody kind of knows what happens to the Beanies, but…
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: The advisory stands. If you don’t want to have the story behind the Bankrupt by Beanies magnet spoiled to you, please be careful when moving on to [both laugh] this segment of the show. But yes, this is where we discuss…we get down to the nitty gritty, and we follow Ringo the Racoon into the Hoppity the Rabbit hole of Beanie Babies. [both laugh] I was very proud of that one when I wrote it, but it’s been a little bit, and I don’t think…
Danielle: That was really good. I like it.
Fernanda: I think it was a little sleepy. [laughs]
Danielle: It’s okay. I wrote half these notes with a full blown fever, COVID brain, the whole thing. We’re doing good. We’re doing good.
Fernanda: So you’re gonna– you guys just– dear listeners, just hold our hands and have a lot of patience with us today. [both laugh] But yeah, beware. Beware before entering this section, which again, does contain spoilers or whatever you can call those when we’re talking about a documentary. I guess, Danielle, let’s first talk about sort of the documentary itself, right? It’s short. It’s sweet. It’s straight to the point.
Fernanda: It’s very cute. We made a deliberate choice to go with this one, after the last show we recorded—again, before Larry Crowne—which was The Master.
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: Dense, long, challenging film that was not an enjoyable experience for all of us in our panel.
Danielle: Sure. Yeah.
Fernanda: And we decided to go with something light and fluffy and plush. [Danielle laughs] And I feel like we achieved that with this documentary. What do you think about the film itself?
Danielle: Yeah, I completely agree. This is like a very colorful and light kind of thing. We do make some points here, certainly, in the documentary. We make some points about capitalism, and there’s some things about gender that I think are pretty interesting. And there is actually even something I want to talk about later where it’s like very clear where like an employee who was a woman of color was like really instrumental to the success of this thing [Fernanda: “Oh, man”] and still made like the bare minimum.
Danielle: So like, there are things here. There really are. Like, I want to say there is some weight here, certainly, but overall the presentation is fairly light, and it is a little bit making fun of a pretty ridiculous nineties phenomenon.
Danielle: You know, which is of course that this toy took off so ridiculously, and it really is like a very, very, very simple toy. It’s a stuffed animal made with bean bags. Like, it’s totally, you know, it’s a fairly innocuous product in and of itself, but obviously in capitalism, anything can be evil, even Beanie the bear. Sorry, what is it? Ribbity the Robbit? I don’t know. Humpfrey the Camel?
Fernanda: Hoppity the Rabbit.
Danielle: Hoppity the Rabbit. Yes, of course, Hoppity. You know, even Hoppity has some evil in his ears, [both laugh] but as a documentary, it is a fairly light touch.
Danielle: There’s some whimsy to it. I love the editing choices.
Danielle: Really, really, really, really kind of had fun with the editing. One of my favorite examples in the movie is that, you know, one of the– so, really basically, it’s interviewing a lot of sort of middle class white women who got really, really into Beanie Mania and became extreme collectors.
Danielle: That’s, you know, a good chunk of this movie. And one of the collectors is like, “There was room for everyone. You know, there was no competition. We were completely, you know, we’re all kind of in it for this fun, you know, for the fun of it.” And then, you know, in the next cut, another, you know, middle class white woman is like, “Oh, it got competitive! Women are rawr!”
Danielle: Like, she just immediately goes into this whole thing. [Fernanda laughs] And it’s like, yeah, it’s pretty fun. That was a fun cut, you know? So there’s clearly some deft filmmaking kind of going on here, and they did a very good job as well of having this documentary and making it feel very light and fluffy and alive—and again, making its points, making its very real points about real-ass things in the world—without ever having access to almost any footage at all of Ty, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] you know, the actual sort of creator of Beanies. And you know, he’s like a major character in the, you know, in the play on the stage here, but he, you know, they really just kind of have to keep using the same photographs and like a little bit of footage from a court case, and that’s kind of all they have for that, but they do a great job of working around that really and also kind of making this come alive. So, they did well. The producers did a good job here.
Fernanda: Yeah. I like the, like you said, the editing choices are– they’re very classic documentary, right?
Fernanda: The cuts that are supposed to be…’cause that’s the thing about documentaries, right? They need to make you feel like you’re just a neutral spectator to like things that are happening. And we know that the cuts lead us toward a narrative, and there’s definitely some of that, but I do feel like they did a good job at like making light of the whole thing without getting too…without mocking, necessarily, the people involved.
Fernanda: Because they’re easy to mock. It’s an easy to mock thing.
Danielle: [laughs] Sure.
Fernanda: And we’ll get into it. I don’t say it like as necessarily…I don’t mean this in a judgey way. I mean in a societal way, right? Like, we talk about Beanie Babies already laughing, because it was just such an absurd situation.
Fernanda: And I feel like they did a really good job of adding these touches to make it like appropriately funny. They gave like each interviewee– they have their own standing little Beanies, and that was, to me, just brilliant.
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: Or the dramatic shots of the Beanies in between soundbites.
Fernanda: The Beanies falling, the Beanies jumping. I loved all of it.
Danielle: It’s so good!
Fernanda: I thought that it was just so cute and so funny and really like matched the theme. If I were to criticize something, I read a– most reviews I read were actually positive. I think it’s got 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Danielle: Oh, wow.
Fernanda: Yeah, very good. And a lot of people were kind of saying like, it’s a fun little documentary, like a fun little time capsule.
Fernanda: And I think they also did a good job at that, right? Really transporting us to a specific time, especially when they start talking about making the website, right? Like, it really feels like things of a time. But I kind of like, the part of me that is– I’m obsessed with documentaries.
Danielle: Sure. Yeah.
Fernanda: Like, I watch all the documentaries I can get my hand on, but I watch a lot of like dark, disturbing, sadness things. [Danielle laughs] So maybe that’s that side of me speaking. I just kind of missed a little more maybe substance, you know?
Fernanda: Maybe putting a little more context, adding someone else to kind of discuss the economic aspects of it, to kind of put it in perspective, to kind of, you know, explain how a phenomenon like this happens all– like, in cap– how can this happen?
Fernanda: How do these bubbles happen? Yeah, the Beanie Baby thing sounds particularly ridiculous, because it’s just about a lot of people thinking that these plush little things are gonna have a lot of value, but it’s not particularly ridiculous. I joked about NFTs and crypto, but I mean, it’s all highly speculative things that people invest their money on, hoping—it’s a gamble, really—that it’s gonna be valued, right? But, so, I kind of missed a little bit more of that.
Fernanda: They do have a little bit of it with the Beanie Meanie. [laughs]
Danielle: Yeah! That guy was pretty great, yeah. The Beanie Meanie, the economist who, you know, comes in and talks about the bubble, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] you know, and what a bubble is. And he clearly did some news appearances in the nineties, where he talked about the economic sort of concerns about what was going on there, against the woman who did the magazine. Yeah.
Fernanda: I was gonna say he debated a Beanie lady. Mary Beth?
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.
Fernanda: Mary Beth or some–
Danielle: I think it’s Mary Beth, yeah.
Fernanda: Some name that really makes sense.
Fernanda: I’m sorry, it just makes sense. [laughs]
Danielle: You ain’t wrong. You ain’t wrong. [laughs]
Fernanda: In the shots, you see these like wealthy looking white women, and they have like colorful little tumblers next to them and those big couches full of pillows, and I’m like, this all just makes spectacular sense. Again, not in a judgey way, it’s just so interesting. But yeah, like I kind of…maybe that’s what I would have liked a little bit more of.
Fernanda: Just a little more like contextualization perhaps or something like that, but maybe I should just lighten up. Who knows?
Danielle: No, I’m with you. Like, it does read as fairly frivolous. Like, it does make the points that it makes, and it does have, you know, it kind of hints and gestures at the sort of gender dynamics at play.
Danielle: It hints and gestures at the sort of racial and gender dynamic, especially of, you know, the employee who wrote all the poems.
Danielle: Like, it was her idea to write the poems, which was a huge part of marketing these little things. That was a huge part of the appeal that like, there’s a character here, and they have like a little story to the character. It’s not just a little toy. So like, you know, it’s gesturing at these things, and I think it’s, you know, attempting to make these points, but there are absolutely ways where it could have gone a lot harder, for sure.
Danielle: And maybe in one of the most obvious of these is the woman who really kind of lost out on a lot in her life.
Danielle: That she really went all the way in. And, you know, listen, the Beanie Rap… [laughs softly]
Fernanda: [laughs softly] The Beanie Rap.
Danielle: I will say, one of my favorite parts of this movie was the Beanie Rap, because that was pretty fun. But it is really sad. Like, she clearly invested a massive amount of her wealth and her life, and she’s a clearly very intelligent person. She was like a cryptologist, I think, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] who then became obsessive about the Beanies and kind of talks about it like it was maybe an addiction, and, you know, clearly things didn’t work out super well for her. And like, yeah, they could have gone kind of that extra step and been like, “See, this really fucks with people.” Like the, you know, capitalism really sucks. You know, like it really super sucks. Like, it’s bad, and it kind of ruined this woman’s life, and that’s maybe not the best thing, you know?
Fernanda: Yeah. That’s the thing, right? Like, you mentioned the gender dynamics, and it’s something that I always think about. I feel like this wasn’t– I wouldn’t call this a scam, right, ’cause it doesn’t– there were shady like sort of marketing tactics.
Fernanda: Like when Ty Warner said that they’re gonna go, you know, that they’re gonna, it was the end of the Beanies or whatever.
Fernanda: And then it was obviously just to create this illusion of scarcity. Like, a lot of it were just marketing ploys that kind of really played at the dynamics of like scarcity and whatever, and that’s…
Fernanda: Yeah, that’s…you could call it shady, I guess, but not necessarily a scam. He sold a good, and people bought the good, and you know. But I watch a lot of these scam things, and I…to me, it always reads as very gendered.
Fernanda: Like, for instance, I saw the series on the LuLaRoe thing.
Fernanda: The collapse, the rise and fall of the LuLaRoe, which was—is, I don’t know, I think they still exist—an MLM, very like predatory MLM.
Fernanda: And that was like a very typical female thing. It was like mostly housewives who had babies and who wanted to spend more time at home with the kids, and it really preyed on that idea that women– you know, it appealed to this idea that women would be able to work from home and that, you know, the hashtag girlboss mentality.
Fernanda: You can work for yourself. You can be your own boss. And here you have, with the Beanie Babies, it was also very gendered, right? It was all like these upper middle class white women who had the time and the resources, right, to go after these toys, to build Excel sheets, to, you know, really dedicate time. And like, in the case of, I think it was Mary Beth, develop a magazine about Beanie Babies.
Fernanda: And then you talk about other sorts of scams or, you know, investment like Ponzi schemes, or sort of investments that fall apart or things like that. They tend to have a more male face when it’s in, [Danielle: “Right”] you know, the financial, when it’s like a, you know, tax fraud or when it’s a financial Ponzi scheme, and they tend to have these male faces. And I do feel like those tend to be taken more seriously, quote, unquote, with more gravity. And, you know, people who pull that shit off when they’re men, we kind of treat them with a begrudging respect.
Danielle: Right. Right.
Fernanda: And, you know, when these things blow up in women’s faces or when it’s women involved in these situations, and again, the MLM, the LuLaRoe thing is different than this one, but it seems to be…I don’t know, I think we tend to mock it more, [Danielle: “Yep”] and we tend to paint it a little bit differently, if that makes any sense.
Danielle: Yeah, I completely agree. And like, it really is like upsetting on a few levels here. And the movie, it does kind of acknowledge that to some extent, at least– you know, maybe again, maybe I’m giving it a little too much credit, but there is a line that one of the collectors, and she’s actually the…what is the term when you like [laughs] verify the authenticity of something? Like, she’s the, um…
Fernanda: Authenticator? No.
Danielle: Yeah, authenticator? Yeah, I guess, right? Like, she does authentications of whether it’s a real Beanie or not.
Danielle: You know, she actually says at one point—and she’s a collector too—about like, you know, her husband collects cars, like vintage cars or nice cars, and it’s like, “Yeah, my hobby’s a lot less wasteful than his,” basically.
Danielle: Like, it’s a lot less– or a lot less expensive, I think, but that’s kind of the idea that like, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] in terms of like waste in life and how much, you know, goes into something like a hobby, you know, who is doing the harm here, basically, right? Like this is, you know, to some extent, she’s collecting a small thing that’s, you know, not necessarily like polluting. I suppose, yes, there’s some sort of environmental consideration here.
Danielle: I’m not saying, “Oh, there’s no consideration whatsoever of a stuffed toy,” obviously.
Danielle: Obviously there is, but versus, you know, a car, [laughs] like a luxury car, it’s a little…
Danielle: It is a little different, right? And it’s like a salient point, right? It’s kinda like, yeah, what’s more wasteful? And like, why is it that we automatically laugh at collector’s items of some sort and not another, right?
Danielle: Is it more ridiculous to collect stuffed toys or vehicles you don’t need? Like, what’s more ridiculous? It’s all kind of ridiculous, frankly.
Danielle: But why are we looking at this from this gendered lens of “things that women like are stupid, but things that men like are cool and awesome and useful!” Like, that’s the sort of lens of our society. That’s just sort of how patriarchy sees things. Things women like? Stupid. Things men like? Great.
Danielle: You know, like, obviously not all of life is that black and white, but there really is a flavor of that to so much in our culture that it’s kind of hard to escape that, even here.
Fernanda: Absolutely. Like, for instance, I was thinking, my dad, he collected watches. He had a lot of very expensive watches.
Fernanda: And it’s like, nobody’s mocking him ’cause he has all the– he only has two wrists. Like, there’s a limit.
Danielle: [laughs] True!
Fernanda: [laughs] To how many of those he can wear in a lifetime, and you know, and it’s something that I kind of had to check myself [Danielle: “Sure, sure”] watching this, because it is so– like I was saying, it’s so easy to mock, and we’re talking about this out loud and I’m like giggling, talking about both the documentary and the whole concept, but it is kind of…we, as humans in capitalism and, you know, consumerist society, we– I sound like a giant buzzword, right?
Danielle: But it’s real!
Fernanda: [mocking] In the patriarchal consumerist… [Danielle laughs] But we are, right? We’re part of this, and consumerism is such a part of our lives, we can’t really escape it. We can lie to ourselves about the essentials, but I feel like all of us have stupid shit that we care about too much, [Danielle: “Oh, absolutely”] that we like too much, and that doesn’t really make any sense. And, you know, I was watching and thinking like, what are these grown people with like rooms full of fucking plush toys? And then I look right next to my TV, and there are my action figures.
Danielle: Sure. [laughs]
Fernanda: Why is my Predator action figure any better than Patti the Platypus? If anything, it’s more expensive. Maybe I should start getting into Beanies or something. [laughs]
Danielle: Right? [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: Beyond the sort of aspect of the speculation and the collapse and the sort of, you know, people going completely bananas and literally risking their lives to pick up Beanies.
Danielle: Oh my God, yes. Oh my God.
Fernanda: [laughs] Fallen Beanies from a highway. There is that aspect of, you know, “Wow, that’s stupid. Why would you do that?” And then it’s kind of like, it’s like you’re saying, why is it more– why is it less stupid to collect cars that you’re never driving?
Fernanda: And that’s what rich people do. They have garages full of cars that they don’t drive. Why is that…
Danielle: How is that less stupid? Yeah.
Fernanda: Why is that cool and a symbol of success and aspirational, and, you know, really wanting Ringo the Raccoon a problem? Like, I…
Fernanda: It’s interesting. I kind of like was doing that, having that conversation with myself a little bit watching it. Like, maybe just let people live. Let’s just let ourselves live.
Danielle: Yeah. It’s like, let us live. And also like, it’s useful to have that perspective, I think. And if nothing else, I think Beanie Mania can help us do that and say, you know what? Everything is fucking stupid. We’re all made of atoms, and we like atoms arranged in certain ways.
Fernanda: Yeah. [laughs]
Danielle: We find it pleasing to us as human beings. We are stupid animals who enjoy things sometimes. And like, I’m not saying, “Oh, never temper your indulgences.”
Fernanda: Of course, yeah.
Danielle: But like, let’s have perspective here about like what’s stupid and what isn’t stupid.
Danielle: Everything is stupid. There is nothing that isn’t stupid. [laughs] Like, frankly, like let’s be real, besides oxygen and food and water and shelter and like very basic needs.
Fernanda: Mm-hmm. Everything is stupid.
Danielle: Everything is stupid on one level or another, right?
Danielle: And it’s okay. I like a lot of stupid movies. You know what? That’s okay. [laughs]
Fernanda: Let people enjoy– it’s like that meme.
Danielle: Obviously, don’t hurt other people.
Danielle: Don’t murder people over the Beanie Baby. Like, there’s a common sense here, but there’s also a point of like, let’s have some perspective about life [Fernanda: “Exactly”] and like the fact that we all enjoy some frivolous things. No matter how serious and cool you think it is, there’s a element of frivolity to all human enjoyment, and that’s okay, and that’s something we can accept and move on from. [laughs]
Fernanda: Anything. This is our lesson for today’s episode, children.
Danielle: Yeah! [laughs] Also, and pay your employees what they’re worth, you know?
Fernanda: Pay your employees fairly. Pay your taxes, especially when you have a lot of money.
Danielle: Yeah, pay your taxes.
Fernanda: And as a general rule, I feel like if you do those things…
Fernanda: Like, don’t hurt people. Don’t abuse people.
Fernanda: That’s it. Only use violence if it’s against fascists and Nazis.
Danielle: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
Fernanda: I feel like that’s pretty much a good line to toe. It was interesting. I was– so I started like watching and reading things about the story, and I found that the treasures were in the comment sections.
Danielle: Oh, sure.
Fernanda: Because a lot of people…again, I don’t, I didn’t live it, right? But a lot of people who experienced it in different ways had all these little insights, and there was one very short comment on, I think, a YouTube video from Business Insider, and it was like talking about the fall of the Babies, and it was like, “Just means more for me! I collect unwanted ones from thrift stores. Doesn’t matter if they’re damaged or not, they’re charming and make my brain go brrr.” [both laugh] And like, aren’t we all just looking for things that make our brains go brrr?
Danielle: It’s true! It’s a good point. Exactly. [laughs]
Fernanda: That’s me when I find really cute biker shorts. I have so many biker shorts.
Danielle: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Fernanda: I don’t need new biker shorts, but some of them make my brain go brrr, and I’m like…and there is a line to toe, right?
Fernanda: Like you were saying, I understand– we talk about consumerism. It’s not just a harmless thing. Like, we can go into fast fashion and Shein, and, you know, [Danielle laughs] you can go to all these things and all the ways in which consumerism is actively objectively ruining our planet.
Fernanda: So, not to make light of that, but at the same time, it’s kind of like, I do feel like we’re so hard on ourselves and each other and disregard the fact that we are in a very oppressive economic system and that we need to like make our brains go brrr with whatever tools we can get, you know?
Fernanda: And in the grand scheme of things, are the Beanie Babies the worst thing a person can dedicate their lives to? I just, I don’t think so. That’s my two cents
Danielle: A hundred percent. I could not agree with you more. I also, like…I have a much less serious question to ask you about this.
Danielle: I want to know, like really genuinely, if you found the Beanies cute yourself, [Fernanda laughs] if there is any brain go brrr part of it for you, or did you think they were like kind of ugly and weird looking? Like, just as someone who has never been exposed to the Beanies. Like, I couldn’t stop thinking that. And again, I’m gonna be honest with you: I had a high fever during a lot of this process. [both laugh] So like, if this doesn’t make any sense– but I just couldn’t stop thinking. Like, I knew from, you know, the way we had discussed it, that you didn’t have much experience with Beanies.
Danielle: And I’m like, did you think they were kinda ugly? Or like, “Oh, they’re cute,” you know? Did it do anything for you?
Fernanda: They’re cute. No, they’re cute.
Fernanda: I like their simplicity.
Fernanda: I like their simplicity. They look portable. I never touched a Beanie. I’m guessing touching the Beanies probably makes your brain go brrr too, right, ’cause they’re like…
Danielle: They’re very soft. They’re bean bags. Yeah, they’re like little beanie– [laughs] they’re they’re bean bags. They’re beanies. [laughs]
Fernanda: They’re Beanie Babies. [laughs] So I would imagine touching them adds to the experience, but by looking at them, I loved Patti the Platypus. I love Pinchers the Lobster.
Danielle: Oh, the lobster! Yeah, the lobster’s cute.
Fernanda: One of the OGs of the Beanie Babies.
Fernanda: They’re very cute. And I…that’s the thing. It’s hard to transport yourself at the time.
Fernanda: But I can absolutely understand the psychology of wanting the Beanie Babies, because they were not expensive at their actual selling price, right? We’re not talking about eBay and the secondary market.
Fernanda: Because the whole criticism, I think, here, really very much lies on the secondary market, but they were not expensive. You can form– you can get different ones. They are not all in the same place, so there is a sense of challenge, right?
Danielle: Sure, sure.
Fernanda: There is that idea of going on a mission, you know, of scavenging, [Danielle laughs] of like the treasure hunt, and then you go and find a different one that you wanted in the small store. It’s not in the Walmart. It’s not something that everybody can get.
Fernanda: So you have that idea that, you know, not everybody’s gonna have this particular one. I can understand all of it.
Fernanda: To me, like, the idea is very alluring. And it’s something that is portable, so you can get a bunch of Beanie Babies and just put them in your car, and you can– you know, I can absolutely understand why somebody would go bananas for Beanies, but objectively looking at it now, like if I found– if I was browsing around the store and I found a, you know, a cute little hippo, I’d get it.
Fernanda: I think they’re cute. They do make my brain go brrr. Like I said, I like that they’re simple and the variety.
Fernanda: It’s a lot of different animals. Like, who would’ve thought of doing a fucking stuffed lobster? That is such a ridiculous concept. And I love it.
Danielle: [laughs] It’s good! Yeah! It’s super good.
Fernanda: A platypus! A platypus!
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: Dogs, cats? They’re everywhere. Platypus? No.
Fernanda: So, I love the Beanie Babies.
Danielle: Did they ever make a squirrel one? I like need to know now if there were some squirrely ones, like little cute squirrels. I don’t…
Fernanda: There probably was.
Fernanda: Let’s see. Squirrel Beanie.
Danielle: As a side note, I told my girlfriend we were watching this movie, and she watched it, and she was like, “Did you know my mom collected these?”
Fernanda: [gasps] She collected the Beanies.
Danielle: I don’t think it was like a huge collection, but she did recall that there were Beanies that, you know, she—she grew up with three brothers—that she and the brothers were allowed to play with.
Danielle: And then there were Beanies that like had to stay in these display cases for collectors’ edition purposes. [laughs] So like, there was some level of collecting going on with my girlfriend’s family.
Fernanda: That’s amazing.
Fernanda: But no selling, just for like her own enjoyment.
Danielle: I think it was just to have a collection, yeah. I think. I could be wrong. You know, I haven’t seen this collection. It’s possible that it’s wild, but it made me laugh a little bit when I heard about some of these details. [laughs]
Fernanda: That’s amazing. And there is a squirrel Beanie. Nuts. Nuts the Squirrel.
Danielle: Aw! That’s really good!
Fernanda: See? Amazing.
Danielle: All right, that’s cute. That’s cute.
Fernanda: But that’s one part of like the collector’s mentality that I never had. For instance, my uncle, he had…oh my God, I don’t even know the name in English. In Brazil, it was very popular, an anime called Cavaleiros do Zodíaco.
Fernanda: Like, Zodiac Warriors? I don’t know how, yeah.
Danielle: Sure. Sure.
Fernanda: It was very, very, very popular in Brazil. Everybody– he had the toys, and he kept them in the box and wouldn’t let us play with it.
Danielle: Aw. [laughs]
Fernanda: And that’s something I never understood about the collector’s mentality. I never had that chip in my brain that takes satisfaction from knowing I own an object but that its sole value lies in it being there.
Danielle: Right. Yeah.
Fernanda: I feel like some people have that in their brains, and I don’t have it. Like, I was born without it. I’m the kind of person like, I buy a thing, I need to wear it right away. Like, I don’t… [laughs]
Danielle: Yeah, for sure. For sure. I think I have it but only weirdly in the case of like, you can collect certain things in like video games.
Danielle: Like, oh, ’cause that’s like all the things in the game, but to me in my head– and I don’t really pay for like micro transactions or anything like that, it’s really just like, oh, you know, this is sort of like…I do have a little bit of completionist thing for like, oh, you got all the– all right, so, here’s an example. There’s a game I play like every day. It’s called Cozy Grove. It’s super, super cute. It’s a lot like an Animal Crossing, but you do more crafting in the game.
Fernanda: Oh, yeah.
Danielle: And there’s like crafting recipes, like, oh, you get some wood and you get some fish bones, and you can make some cute little furniture in it.
Danielle: Something like that, I enjoy it, ’cause it’s like, oh, that’s so cute! I can decorate my little virtual house, but it doesn’t take up space in my life, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] so therefore it’s like good collecting and not bad collecting? I don’t know why.
Danielle: But like, in my head, there’s a cute little colorful thing. It’s just a little thing in a game that I enjoy playing, and therefore it feels okay. Versus like, I have like a severe fear of becoming– this is content warning, I guess maybe, territory, but like I have like a fear, an actual fear of like becoming a person with a hoarding problem.
Danielle: I don’t think there’s any actual danger of this, but it’s like something I’m just afraid of.
Danielle: It’s just like a concept that is scary to me, that like, oh, you know, to have a feeling of retaining control in life, I would not be able to throw things out or something.
Danielle: Again, not a real problem in my life, just something I’ve always been scared of, like ever since I was a little kid and probably saw some fucking documentary and was like, “Oh my God, that could happen to me.” So like, there’s like something that’s scary to me about big collections of things.
Danielle: Versus, oh, in my little video game, the cute little objects are just little digital things in a video game. It’s fine. [laughs] Brains are weird, I guess is what I’m trying to say. [laughs]
Fernanda: Brains are weird. No, but I get what you’re saying. And like, I had a bunch of junk in my apartment, and then I had to move to a different country, [Danielle: “Mm-hmm, mm-hmm”] and I couldn’t keep my things, and then I got rid of all of it.
Fernanda: And I survived, so. [laughs]
Danielle: Totally. Totally! I get it, yeah.
Fernanda: And I think that really switched a flip in my brain, [Danielle: “Sure, yeah”] in terms of just having things, because I had a bunch of, for instance, action figures, that stayed behind.
Danielle: Yeah, totally.
Fernanda: And sometimes I’m like, “I wish I had my action figures here with me,” but most of the time I don’t really think about them, so like… [laughs]
Fernanda: And again, this is not me saying, “Oh, I’m superior. I’m a minimalist. I’ve gotten rid of, uh, the earthly acquaintances.” [Danielle laughs] A quick look at my closet will tell you otherwise. I have a bunch of useless shit, but it’s…yeah, to me, that’s just fascinating. Like, that’s just part of like the human psychology that really appeals to me, and I think…and this is something I really noticed watching the movie, right?
Fernanda: I feel like on– there’s that side of it, I can easily understand the psychology behind wanting the Beanies, like beyond the having them at home, [Danielle: “Right”] the thrill of sort of the Beanie chase.
Danielle: Yeah! Yeah.
Fernanda: And how it…and the brain go brrr thing, right?
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: Like, I feel like it scratches some primal adult itches while also appealing to our inner children.
Fernanda: And we all like that. We all need that, but we all like to mock that.
Danielle: Yeah, that’s true.
Fernanda: So I also feel like part of the fascination with this, with the story too, because people like reading about Beanie Babies, right? People like talking about Beanie Babies. There’s a reason why this documentary happened in 2021, when this whole craze happened in the late nineties, and there’s a reason why we like to discuss this and laugh at it and mock it, is because we also have that part of our brains that want to mock things that are cringe, right?
Danielle: Right. Right. Yeah.
Fernanda: And it is…as I was watching it, I was kind of like reminded of, again, it’s a different thing, but I thought of Disney adults.
Fernanda: It’s very easy to mock Disney adults.
Fernanda: My brain, when I see adult people getting married at Disneyland…
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: I kind of want to laugh, because I’m like, you’re adults.
Fernanda: And then I’m like, you know what? You’re adults spending all that money that you would’ve spent at a different party.
Danielle: Right. It’s not going to orphans, probably. Right? Like, it’s… [laughs]
Fernanda: Exactly. Exactly, and the ritual of weddings is stupid in its own…it’s stupid and wasteful in its own way, when we think about it.
Fernanda: Rings are stupidly expensive. Dresses are stupidly expensive. So all our rituals, if you start really like boiling them down to their essence, it’s what you were saying, like, what is necessary, right? What is essential? What is essential? What is needed? And not many things are. So again, it was really an exercise of like, of catching myself and trying to like talk to myself about, okay, why is this so amusing to me?
Fernanda: And I think it’s also the human need that we have to feel superior, to want to mock something, to point at people who do things that seem childish or silly and be like, [mocking] “Ha ha. I don’t do that. I’m better.” You know? So, to me, it’s very, like…
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: That is also something that I feel that is really on display with documentaries like this. And it’s not just the Beanie Babies, right? I feel like we have a general fascination with people falling for scams and people getting stuck in MLMs and things like that, culturally.
Fernanda: So, that’s part of it. And then as I was saying, then I look at my fucking Terminator and my Edward Scissorhands, [both laugh] and like, I’m cringe too! We’re all cringe!
Danielle: We’re all cringe! Honestly, we’re all cringe. We are.
Fernanda: Let’s embrace each other.
Danielle: To be human is to cringe. [Fernanda laughs] You know what I mean? To be human is to be cringe. We’ve got deep thoughts here today. I know we do. [laughs]
Fernanda: Too much for you, our dear listeners, to unpack, but it is I think a daily exercise, and I think it also started happening to me particularly after I turned 30.
Fernanda: And I started realizing that like, I wasn’t cool anymore.
Fernanda: Like that gen Z-ers probably look at me as like an uncool person, [Danielle laughs] and I’ve spent my whole life, like… [both laugh]
Fernanda: ‘Cause I still dress like I’m 17. [Danielle laughs] I’m slowly developing into the Steve Buscemi gif saying, “How do you do, fellow kids?”
Danielle: Oh, yeah.
Fernanda: It’s very much my personality right now, [Danielle laughs] and I feel like that made me more tolerant to other people’s, uh, cringiness.
Danielle: Yeah. And it’s part of why I like unironically sort of loved the Beanie Rap here. [Fernanda laughs] Like, I honestly was just like, you fucking go for it, lady. Like, God fucking bless. You know what I mean? Like, if it made you happy, if it sparked joy in your heart to write the Beanie Rap, to perform the Beanie Rap, to say to the camera, “I’m told it has a rhythm,” or whatever exactly she said. I don’t remember the exact quote. But like, if that brings joy to your heart, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] I couldn’t be more happy for you. Like, Beanie Rap it up, lady. You do you. Enjoy. [laughs]
Fernanda: And it was a wholesome rap.
Danielle: I might not be going on that particular journey with you, [Fernanda laughs] but I applaud your journey, you know? Like, good on you, Beanie Rap lady. Good job. [laughs]
Fernanda: It’s a wholesome rap. It has no slurs.
Danielle: That’s the thing. Like, yes, of course, if the Beanie Rap were racist, it would be awful. But like, you know, it’s not, at least the part that they showed. Now, listen, I’m not a Beanie Rap aficionado. I don’t want you to take this out of context. [Fernanda laughs] If she says something awful in there, I take away my, you know, commendation here, but as long as it really is like a harmless little thing, then it’s fine.
Fernanda: Imagine if we listened to the entire Beanie Rap, and it’s like a white supremacist… [laughs]
Danielle: I would die. I would die right here and now, if it’s like, oh, the Beanie Rap contained lines. Like, I would just die. I would be dead. I’d be like, no, why did you do that? This was an innocent Beanie Rap. [laughs]
Fernanda: Let’s– the parts of the Beanie Rap we heard are approved and, uh, [Danielle: “Yeah”] woke enough for our 2022 standards.
Danielle: They were fine, yeah. [laughs]
Fernanda: You know, if Kid Rock still has a career, why isn’t Beanie Rap lady [Danielle: “Why can’t she? Yeah”] allowed to do her thing?
Fernanda: Having said that, there is like a darker, objectively, darker part to all of it.
Fernanda: You alluded to it. There is a woman of color actually, who was behind the poems.
Fernanda: If I’m not mis– I actually wrote it down. Apparently–
Danielle: Trina*, right? Her name is Trina, I think?
Fernanda: Trina. Yes. And I think she wrote 86 poems in 3 days. Like, prolific writer, creator.
Danielle: Like, for real, she worked her ass off. Like, she worked her ass off on these!
Fernanda: Give her, uh, what is poem…what do they get, Pulitzers? Is there a poem Pulitzer? I don’t know, whatever poems get for their efforts.
Danielle: She could be the poet laureate.
Fernanda: Yes, laureate. Let’s give her that. And she also was responsible for making the website, [Danielle: “The website, yeah”] which ended up being a massive tool on the marketing thing, because as we were talking about, the whole thing was driven by like the idea of scarcity, right? Like, we’re gonna go, “These Beanies are gonna go out,” and it kind of drove people into frenzy to buy the Beanies that were gonna go out, because the idea, right, is that, oh, if this Beanie Baby doesn’t exist anymore, it’s gonna be worth a lot of money in the future. Again, based on nothing, but how many financial things…and again, I hate to be the person who trashes NFTs every episode, but you know what?
Danielle: Oh, you can. Please do.
Fernanda: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it, okay? [Danielle laughs] And if that person has to be me, so be it. But yeah, like a lot of, you know, the way capitalism fucking works is based on artificial concepts and ideas.
Fernanda: It’s very interesting, ’cause I was reading on a YouTube little, the same YouTube video of Business Insider, and I was reading the comments, and one of the people actually commented about Pokemon cards.
Fernanda: You know, saying, ‘Oh, so people like saved their Pokemon cards and thinking– my friends saved them thinking they were gonna be worth a lot of money, and I told them that they were being stupid, that it’s stupid to think of a mass production item as a valuable asset, because it really is artificially– the whole idea of demand and offer is artificially created,’ and whatever. And then somebody said, oh, and then they started an argument. “Oh, some cards are really worth a bunch of money today. They’re collector items.”
Danielle: [sighs] Yeah.
Fernanda: And then under it, it was like, “They’re garbage. They’re just paper.”
Danielle: [laughs] God.
Fernanda: And then somebody under it said, “So is money.” [laughs]
Fernanda: So I was like, “Man…”
Danielle: It’s all fake! It’s all fake. It’s all a construct. It’s all faaake.
Fernanda: It’s all fake! And this YouTube little thread has taken me on a whole journey analyzing [Danielle: “Right, yeah”] the human nature and our whole fake idea of wealth. Just very, very interesting stuff. But, going back to, I guess, Trina, the woman who was behind all of– some of the really good ideas that ended up driving the phenomenon and consequently driving Ty Warner to make all that money.
Fernanda: And like, obviously she was underpaid, and when she asked for what she was worth, right, she was let go. If I’m not mistaken, that’s what happened.
Danielle: Didn’t go well for her, yeah.
Fernanda: And then we find out that Ty evaded taxes and actually went to court, even though he didn’t have to serve time. And then like, that’s the darker aspect of it, right? And incredibly unsurprising, because you start watching, it’s like, of course this dude who’s making a bunch of money off of this shit is just gonna be weird. He’s just gonna do some weird shit. He’s gonna be shady. And sure enough, shadiness ensued, to the surprise of no one.
Danielle: Yeah. To the– yeah, exactly. That’s the part. To the surprise of absolutely no one. And the collector who did not end up doing well in life, and–
Danielle: Not “well in life.” I don’t want to say, “Oh, like, everything was horrible,” or anything. She appears to be, I guess, okay. But, you know, things didn’t go super well for her.
Danielle: Beanie Rap.
Fernanda: Went into credit card debt and shit.
Danielle: Yeah, she went into real debt over this. She kind of was like, “You know, he should have paid his taxes…” It’s like this very mild [Fernanda laughs] kind of thing that she’s saying about like, yeah, you know, that kind of sucks. Again, kind of understating, like yeah, this fucking guy should have paid his employees much better, especially this person who, you know, created so much of the success and got no credit for it, like with the poems and the website and things like that. Like yeah, of course, you know, the woman of color who does all this incredible creative work, doesn’t get, you know, the proper credit for it. Like it’s like, these are these depressing realities that just kind of show up through the cracks of this like, again, kind of cute and otherwise somewhat light and airy confection that is this documentary, which.
Danielle: To its credit, I think this movie has a worldview that cares to some extent about these people.
Danielle: For sure. it’s just, like you said earlier, it’s not exactly the most hard hitting piece. [laughs]
Danielle: And especially when we’re talking about some fairly serious kind of things.
Fernanda: It’s more in the air.
Fernanda: It’s more implied and kind of like make your own conclusions and, you know, the context, in many ways, is there, right?
Fernanda: Like, you see enough of these things, you hear enough about these situations, and you can easily see the pattern and the thread. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a talking head on a documentary [Danielle: “Right”] you know, chewing it and spilling it out for you. But, yeah, I would say that that would be the one thing, just because the story is so popular at this point that…like, watching the Business Insider video, for instance, there wasn’t a lot more information that I got from the actual full length documentary is what I mean. So kind of like, maybe if they had added a little bit more of substance, [Danielle: “Yeah”] or, you know, a new lens to a kind of old phenomenon or something that we’re very familiar with culturally, I think that would be interesting. But again, here we are. We’ve been talking about this for an hour, [laughs] so they surely gave us [Danielle: “Yeah”] enough to think about.
Danielle: They did! Honestly, they did. They gave us quite a bit to chew on and I guess hold onto and squish. You know, squish the Beanies gently.
Fernanda: Squish the Beanies.
Danielle: Yeah, with the brains go brrr. [both laugh]
Fernanda: And I do recommend going in the comment sections of everything you see Beanie-related, because the anecdotes are amazing.
Danielle: Oh, yeah.
Fernanda: There was one in a review that said this: “I used to know a guy who smuggled Beanies from Canada. [Danielle laughs] He said there were some that were released in Canada only and weren’t allowed to be shipped to the US. He made a ton of money with the Beanies. Then, he lost it all with his newfound gambling addiction.” [laughs]
Danielle: Oh no!
Fernanda: “Seriously. He became addicted to the illegal gambling games in the bar, New York.”
Danielle: Oh no!
Fernanda: So, uh…
Danielle: Oh my God. The roller coaster of that one.
Fernanda: [laughs] And they’re all like this. It’s amazing.
Fernanda: But there was one lady, for instance, who made a lot of money. This is from the AV Club review. “My mother used to work at a hotel which had a gift shop that sold Beanie Babies.”
Fernanda: “Every week, she’d bring a few home, because her employee discount made the cost of each one almost negligible. By the time Beanie fever took off, she had a massive sizable collection. We came to find out that my,” I don’t know what, “had stumbled on three of the original release Beanie Babies. We ended up selling those three little stuffed animals to some woman in the Midwest for $10,000. [Danielle laughs] My parents redecorated their home. She continued to sell the high value of Beanie Babies on eBay until the craze died down. I have two kids now. My mom will occasionally surprise them with random Beanie Babies from the giant storage bucket in her garage.”
Danielle: [chuckles] That was a more uplifting one, I guess, you know. Yeah. All right. Good job, mom.
Fernanda: Redecorated the house, kept Beanies to give to their grandkids.
Danielle: To the kids, yeah.
Fernanda: There is one woman in the documentary too, right, who actually made quite a lot of money in this situation, so.
Danielle: Yeah. That is true. Somebody made out a little bit on this, even though clearly not everyone can make out on it, because that’s how this shit works.
Fernanda: [laughs] Exactly. [Danielle sighs] Some people are good in everything, right?
Fernanda: In scams, in MLMs, in Ponzi schemes, in all of it. Somebody is gonna make a lot of money. Most likely, it won’t be you, so consider not doing it. [laughs]
Danielle: Consider not doing it. I do…can I read one of these comments? I truly…
Fernanda: Of course.
Danielle: Ah, okay. There’s two. You can read the perfect one at the end. I feel like that’s probably the best way to go out here, but I do want to read this one about the claw machine.
Danielle: So this is a comment on a Business Insider video. “There was a claw machine at a restaurant in my small town that my family always went to on weekends. The owner had put a Princess Diana bear inside. I probably played that machine over a thousand times trying to get that bear. You could play one game for 25 cents. One lady put $50 in and played. She moved the bear around but didn’t win. I put $1 in right after her and finally got it! My 10 year old ass was so proud. I had played that game for a month trying to win. The same lady actually offered me $150 when I won the bear. She then turned into a Karen and had a hissy fit about how I would ruin it. My granny told her to kick rocks. [Fernanda laughs] I collected Beanie Babies. I had around 1500 of them. My lovely granny would always have a baggy of quarters for me to play games with. [Fernanda laughs] I miss her so much. She was an amazing woman. I’ll never get rid of that Beanie Baby.” That’s–
Fernanda: Again, a roller coaster.
Danielle: Oh, a roller coaster, but has a much happier ending than that poor person who had a problem later on. But yeah, that one was a…that one went up, it went down, it went sideways, but it ended up in a good place.
Fernanda: Yeah. It has a tale of revenge, of family.
Danielle: Ah, yeah.
Fernanda: Of wins, of greed. It’s got it all. I guess– [laughs] so I’ll read the last comment that I had put here [Danielle: “It’s really good, yeah”] for us to close this segment of the show, ’cause I feel like we’ve gone into this plushy Hoppity the Rabbit hole. We’ve gone far enough for the day. [Danielle laughs] So I’ll read this last comment, which I also found on a YouTube video. [clears throat] “My cat loved these things. He’d put it in his food dish, cuddle it, groom it, and nursed it for some reason.” [Danielle laughs] The end. End of comment. Beautiful. Beautiful. And you know, if cats love it, it must be great.
Fernanda: So that’s the final verdict on Beanie Babies. Pay your taxes.
Danielle: Yep. Don’t abuse people.
Fernanda: Don’t abuse people. Think of the environment. Don’t go into highways trying to get Beanie Babies. [both laugh] Maybe be nice to people at the McDonald’s line. Just because you want a Teenie Beanie doesn’t mean you get to be an asshole. [both laugh] And pay your employees fairly.
Fernanda: I guess that’s it. I think this…
Danielle: I think we did it, yeah.
Fernanda: I think we did it. I think the Beanie Babies gave us a good roadmap to life. [both laugh]
Danielle: I think so too.
Fernanda: You know, I’m gonna publish– you know how Jordan Peterson has his 12 rules to life?
Danielle: Oh, yeah.
Fernanda: I’m gonna publish the Beanie Baby, [Danielle laughs] uh, beans of wisdom. I don’t know. I’ll think– [both laugh] it’s a work in progress.
Danielle: I like it, though. Yeah.
Fernanda: I guess that will settle it for today’s in depth discussion, and that means we are ready to move on to our final segment in which we discuss where the movie at hand belongs in our delightful neighborhood video store. And this is gonna be a little interesting this month, since we’re doing mostly documentaries, but how do you feel, Danielle, about Beanie Mania [Danielle: “Yeah”] the documentary and its place in our video store?
Danielle: I think this is just a rock solid middle aisle pick. Like, I think it’s really, really well done. It’s really, really good. I don’t know that I would call it like a favorite that I will watch again and again and treasure [laughs] the way I do with The Core. But, you know, it’s really good. I think it’s like a very rock solid middle aisle pick for me.
Fernanda: That’s perfect. I really do agree that it’s solidly a middle aisle, and…oh, by the way, the anime I was referring to, I think in English, it’s called Saint Seiya.
Fernanda: And I don’t know if it was popular in the US. I just wanted to mention, because I’m sure there was a listener who was listening to it and being like, “I know this! It has a name!” So there it is.
Danielle: [laughs] It’s a thing! It’s a thing! Yeah.
Fernanda: It’s Saint Seiya. But I do agree. I think that it’s a very typical middle aisle. It’s short. It’s sweet. It’s, you know, informative without being too much.
Fernanda: And it’s a fun little way to kill an hour and a half of your time. So, middle aisle it is, an easy decision this week. And with that, we’ll leave you all for this week. I gotta thank, as usual, my wonderful co-host for joining me today. And of course, thank you all at home for listening. And if you’re tired of just listening and want to say some stuff too, well, that’s just dandy, [Danielle laughs] because as it so happens, we would love to hear from you as well. If you would like to get in touch with us, by all means, head on over to our lovely Discord at fanbyte.casa, where we have a channel specifically for You Love to See It, or you can send us an email if you’re old fashioned, [Danielle chuckles] and you can send us an email to YLTSI@fanbyte.com. That’s our initials.
And you can send us your reviews, your thoughts on the Beanies, your recommendations, your questions, and any general feedback, and maybe we will even read it on the show. We really appreciate all of it. And if you like the work we do and want to show us some support, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts or rate us on Spotify. It really goes a long way on helping us out. You can find links to our other podcasts, our Discord, and our socials in the show notes. That is all for this week. Until next time: you love to see it.