Consider, if you will, the Twinkie—that classic combination of golden sponge cake and creamy filling. It's a solid, dependable snack cake. You always know what you're getting when you sink your teeth into one of Hostess' legendary creations.
But what if you don't?
What if, in the throes of an uncontrollable snack attack, you reach for old faithful, peel back the cellophane, open wide and then sink your teeth in, only to find it's been filled with pickle relish?
Chocolate Creme Twinkies, a brand-new flavor from the Willy Wonka of snack cakes, do not taste like pickle relish, of course, but they might as well. Perhaps on its own this alien chocolate creme (not cream, of course—we're not millionaires here) might be tasty, but in the context of a Twinkie casing it's just as unwelcome as mashed pickled cucumbers, but not half as hilarious.
Remember back when Twinkie the Kid looked like a Twinkie and not a worm having creative sex with a snack cake?
At least on the normal Twinkie box we can suggest what's coming out of the bisected snack unit is the by-product of his vigorous lovemaking.
Switch the painted creme with painted chocolate creme and the best I can do is "Be right with you folks! Just gotta finish pooping in this here golden sponge cake!" That's not a good mental picture to have in your head prior to eating. Neither is a worm fertilizing your snack cake, for that matter, but if I had to choose I'd go with worm sperm; at least it rhymes.
To criticize the exterior of that Chocolate Creme Twinkie would be like punching proud tradition in the throat. For all intents and purposes it is still a Twinkie, and that iconic oblong cake-a-zoid is untouchable from a critical perspective.
What I can criticize, however, is Hostess' failure to adequately indicate that this is not your standard Twinkie. Sitting pristine in its cellophane tomb it would be quite easy for an innocent, unsuspecting snacksman to set it free. That's just what the Chocolate Creme Twinkie wants. No, don't look at the bottom of the wrapper at those three tell-tale dots of brownish-gunk. Just pop me carelessly into your mouth and try not to scream as my alien roots plant themselves in your flavor receptors.
How would I have done it differently? I probably wouldn't have done it at all; I respect the sanctity of the Twinkie too much twist its nature so. Chocodiles lovingly—almost sensually—encase the Twinkie in chocolate, but it remains a Twinkie, just as if you covered me with chocolate, I would still be Mike Fahey. Replace my delicious blood with, say, Folgers Crystals, however, and I cease to be Mike Fahey. I also cease to be alive. That seems like a bad idea.
Despite what my flowery allusions may indicate, I take no joy in tearing down Hostess' creation. This isn't a case of snack reviewer seeking to generate traffic by attacking the biggest name in the business. This is honest criticism. I mean, just look at this:
That looks like shit.
Chocolate Creme Twinkies play much like their white-cremed inspiration, only the classic flavor is lost in an explosion of artificially flavored cocoa. My brain is simply not prepared to accept anything except a genuine Twinkie in this configuration, and when it does not get exactly that the taste buds aren't sure how to process the negative reaction.
Instead they go a little nuts, adding a bit too much bitter to the sickly-sweet chocolate goo. As you can see in this gameplay footage, said goo becomes slightly more palatable when taken on its own. Together, however, the experience never quite meshes. It's just too far removed from the classic Twinkie experience.
One day, hopefully several hundred years from now, the world will come to an end. Rogue bands of survivors will roam the shattered Earth, competing with the cockroaches for the last few scraps of edible material. Rather than settling down and going about the business of repopulating the planet, these survivors will fight amongst themselves. Once the food runs out, the cannibalism begins.
Several hundred years after that the scout from an advanced alien race will land on our tiny space rock, digging through the debris to try and determine where all the people went. They'll find the remains of those final survivors, grinning skulls with the bones of their enemies gripped tightly between their teeth. Humanity's last stand, they'll call it. Just a pile of half-eaten skeletons in a warehouse filled with unopened boxes of Chocolate Creme Twinkies.