The Magic Bullet Trilogy: A Retrospective

A Magic Bullet. To be honest, it's pretty bad at most things. (Logan Praznik/The Quill)

Homeland Housewares’ Magic Bullet is a rather unassuming multi-purpose blender-type appliance, whose only strong point in practice is that it’s small enough for making yourself a smoothie without having to make yourself four of them. However, like many things in our world, the marketing makes the product. It, and a few related products (namely, the Bullet to Go and the Bullet Express) were, and maybe still are, peddled on late-night infomercials which are remarkable for having an actual plot to them. They’re not unlike a half-trade-show-pitch, half-low-budget-sitcom type of beast, and that’s what makes the infomercials (and their products) notable.

The first of our trilogy, the Magic Bullet’s infomercial opens in the morning of the aftermath of a barbeque at hosts (and pitch-people) Mick and Mimi’s house. The middle-aged guests suddenly find themselves in the midst of a demonstration of the “personal, versatile, counter-top magician” by the unseasonably cheery dynamic duo. Berman, the hungover of the bunch, summarizes their demeanor perfectly when he stumbles into the kitchen: “God, not so loud.”

Temporal continuity is thrown out the window entirely as Mick and Mimi make dishes for all times of the day with the assistance of their Bullets, from salsa (for “the big game”, and apparently for nursing Berman’s hangover), to various pasta sauces for dinner (which the cigarette-smoking Hazel proclaims is “always a production”), to chocolate mousse and fruit sorbet, the latter of which you can enhance with some of your favourite liqueur (“for all you party animals”, Mimi says as she motions to Berman), before the morning has presumably even finished. Nevertheless, the guests are thrilled by the show of kitchen mastery that the Bullet puts on.

The second in the trilogy, the Bullet to Go was founded on the concept of “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if we put a battery on the Magic Bullet so you could take it outside?” However, unlike most people, the guests at Mick and Mimi’s camping outing don’t seem to know what a battery is, let alone that the big lump at the bottom of this new Magic Bullet is one. “Whoa – that is magic,” one confused newcomer named Dino proclaims, as he becomes so stunned by the concept that his wife needs to speak on his behalf for some time after. Later, the party goes to the beach for Round 2, then Mi(ck/mi) ditch their guests to demonstrate the Bullet to complete strangers at a tailgate party.

The premise is more or less the same as the previous ad: Mick and Mimi make a dizzying array of foods with their (plot?) device, wow their easily-wowed guests, and make fun of Berman for being a booze-hound, except most of what they’re preparing doesn’t make any sort of sense in the outdoor environments featured in the infomercial. Of particular note is Hazel and Berman’s budding romance (“Thanks for the socks, big boy!”).

The Bullet Express infomercial, this time featuring a not-quite food processor and set at the duo’s family dinner, reveals the toughest characters they’ve seen yet, including an elderly, grey-haired lady identified only as “Granny”, and an equally crabby Aunt Martha. Don’t worry, though, it’s all part of the plan – Mick and Mimi’s plan to demonstrate yet another product to their guests, as well as American excess, as they use it to shred a literal mountain of cheese, chicken, tomatoes and jalapeño on to a nacho platter. For all you health nuts out there, don’t worry – they make an equally large salad with their dinner, too. Granny gets served a slice of humble pie when Mick crimps the edges of an apple pie with a set of “Granny’s” false teeth, and the duo manage to wow their guests once again.

The Magic Bullet trilogy made for great late-night sleepover viewing when I was in middle school, and it makes for great late-night drunk viewing now that I’m well into university. Let’s not speak of the subsequent efforts, though.