In 1991, the oceans churned and the world trembled on its axis when a commercial aired wherein the Trix Rabbit finally managed to eat a bowl of Trix cereal unmolested. It was the first and only time in the history of the universe.
Sadly, the Trix Rabbit’s further efforts to procure his Holy Grail proved “fruitless,” and we can do naught but wonder if his brief flirtation with victory was enough to quell his insatiable desire, if only for a little while. But true cereal aficionados would scoff at such amateur psychoanalysis. They would agree, as I do, that pursuit of the perfect cereal aesthetic is a far loftier and intriguing goal, second only, perhaps, to taste (which need not be touched on extensively here, since everyone knows Trix is delicious).
This is why General Mills’s decision to change Trix back to the ball shapes is so unsettling.
As any cerealman worth his salt can tell you, this is no mere marketing ploy devised by GM’s research and development team. Some of you older readers will know Trix started out with the ball shapes and saw great success with them for almost 40 years. The ball shapes carry with them a storied tradition unmatched by nearly anything else on the cereal aisle, no small feat in a world where embarrassing blunders like Fruity Cheerios and French Toast Crunch disgrace the shelves.
But the introduction of the fruit shapes in 1992 marked a new era for Trix, an era that did not stiffen at change, but welcomed and embraced it. Who could look at those new flavors — Grapity purple and Wildberry blue, among them – and honestly say that no emotion stirred in their hearts? Did not so many of us gaze down at those berry and grape shapes and see in them contours as perfectly crafted as Raphael’s Lucretia or Alexandros’s Venus de Milo? Finally, intelligentsia of the cereal scene stopped arguing about the Franken Berry/Boo Berry controversy and started talking about what really mattered: Trix and its art.
I will admit my own bias in the matter, for that was a time I view today with rose-tinted spectacles. This monumental change in the cereal world came during my formative years, and I remember many a fine morning watching cartoons and feasting on that fruit-shaped manna until my belly protruded as proudly as Bacchus, god of wine. To me, the ball-shaped Trix exist only as the faintest wisps of memory, a relic of a simpler age that has gone and will not come again. When I walk through the supermarket today, I am dismayed and saddened that my old friends, the fruit-shapes, have been retired to the Elysian Fields of cereal.
I have yet to try the ball-shaped Trix, and I am not sure that I want to. They have their place in history, yes, but perhaps they should have been resigned there. There was a time when function trumped form, but hasn’t the cereal industry moved past this antiquated and — dare I say it — Philistine philosophy? Cheerios were great for their time, because the milk went through the little holes and they didn’t get soggy. Fine. Haven’t remarkable innovations like Lucky Charms and Waffle Crisp shown us that we can have our cereal and eat it, too? We no longer have to settle for hideous abominations like Shredded Wheat or Grape Nuts, which are as offensive to the eye as they are to the pallet. As a discerning cereal connoisseur, I can only shake my head in abject disbelief at what seems to be a great leap backward for the industry.
Captain Crunch did most of his best work when he was still a Colonel, and his words ring as true today as they did then. “To aspire to create the perfect cereal is a fool’s errand, because only fools believe in perfection,” he writes. “The best cereals don’t come from the stomach, they come from the heart.” Perhaps GM’s intentions are noble. Perhaps the switch to the ball shapes comes from a good place, a true place, a hearkening back to the ideals and beliefs of old. Perhaps this writer is the fool, believing that Trix could ever really attain that perfect shape, that divine form. But then I think back to the fruit shapes that so captured my imagination, and my heart wrenches. I feel like that wretched rabbit: forever denied the one thing he holds most dear. My head swims, and like a perverse mantra I hear repeated over and over:
Trix are for kids, silly rabbit. Trix are for kids.
Don’t even get me started on Berry Berry Kix.
Adan Berkowitz, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a weekly columnist for The Daily Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.