History Repeats Itself: Are Squishmallows the New Beanie Babies?

Hello, I have just learned of the existence of Squishmallows. These plushes are squishy not beanie and Gen Z seems to love them. One Gen Zer featured in The New York Times has three hundred twenty-five!

Squishmallows 7" Plush - Assorted* | BIG W

Having lived through the Beanie Baby collectible craze of the 90’s, and ultimately, the big ole bubble burst, I’d like to take this moment to reflect upon our toy mania history, lest we repeat ourselves. Thankfully, 3rd Rock from The Sun has a 1998 episode on exactly this topic — well almost exactly. The toys in question in 1998’s “Collect Call for Dick” are “fuzzy buddies.”

For those of you unfamiliar with 3rd Rock from The Sun, Dick (played by John Lithgow) is one of a group of aliens sent to live on Earth to observe humanity. It’s like a really weird group of anthropologies from another planet. During a trip to a fast food restaurant, Dick receives a fuzzy buddy toy as part of a promotional giveaway. Initially disinterested, Dick becomes invested in the fuzzy buddy craze after learning that several of the toys are rare and valuable.

3rd Rock from The Sun 4x04 - Collect Call for Dick - video Dailymotion

Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize this until after he gives the extremely rare toy he received at the fast food restaurant to a coworker. He then panics and offers her $500 for the toy. Thus begins Dick’s foray into the world of fuzzy buddy re-selling. This is a 30-minute show, so things escalate quickly. Soon Dick is using the group’s food money to purchase more fuzzy buddies. (Some would call this a real dick move, pun intended).

Beanie Baby bubble
Helpful infographic from The Hustle

One of Dick’s fellow aliens urges him to sell the fuzzy buddies for a profit as soon as possible. But Dick’s too caught up in the game. Instead of selling his collection he purchases another rare fuzzy buddy for $800.

The group stages an intervention and Dick is finally confronted with his behavior. By the end of the episode, he sells his whole collection (which is good because the freezer was literally full of fuzzy buddies instead of food). He then goes on a crusade to warn others of the dangers of fuzzy buddies. So I suppose I’ve taken up that mantle with this post here. But I dunno…those squishmallows sure are cute…maybe I should get one of those little ones for my keychain…

3 thoughts on “History Repeats Itself: Are Squishmallows the New Beanie Babies?

  1. I’m embarrassed to think how much I spent on Beanie Babies. It was fun while it was happening though, and I set price limits. But if a local store had a new supply come in, we’d hop in the car to check it out.

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