On the heels of 2008's Guitar Hero: World Tour KFC Fully Loaded Box Meal, this year the purveyor of alleged poultry allegedly from the Bluegrass State has teamed up with EA Sports for the KFC Madden NFL Box.
The meal comes in four configurations, offers four "collector's cups" featuring NFLers rendered, interestingly, in their cartoony Madden-for-the-Wii forms. McWhertor, still nauseous from last year's unboxing of the Guitar Hero meal, assigned this to me on the pretense that as the sports writer, it was my responsibility.
I selected the five hot wings version over the two-piece grilled chicken (white or dark meat), the three chicken strips or the Twister (a wrap with lettuce). I went with the hot wings because I figured five pieces would allow me to burn 66 percent more calories reaching into the box than I would with three crispy strips, and that would be healthier than whatever I got from the Twister's vegetable matter.
The KFC Madden Box also comes in a standard $5 version and a $7 special edition that, while it doesn't include night vision goggles, is packed with enough pupil-dilating sodium you'll see in the dark on your own. I went with the $7 configuration, which is supposed to deliver an extra side item and a dessert.
But as you can see in the above unboxing, this product shipped in such an incomplete state I'm not sure any patch or update can fix it. Opening the box reveals just the five wings and the mashed potatoes and gravy - which I had declared as my extra side item. No crumbly biscuit doused in butter pheromones. No chitinous coleslaw in mayonnaise the color and consistency of watery ejaculate. In fact, since the hockey-puck brownie bites come in plastic and I poured the Diet Pepsi (oh hell yeah, I went with the diet), there are a grand total of two items here actually prepared by KFC employees, even though the loading time for this was an unacceptably slow seven minutes.
KFC #D705027, Springfield, Ore., you fail. Well, maybe you were thinking of my health by subtracting 360 needless calories. Either way, my review of this meal's components follows:
Hated (Secretly Loved):
Hot wings: These babies start slow, not really hitting you with the spice until midway through the third piece. Then it was like Cayenne Frankenstein farted in my face. Even after the meal my mouth had this residue on it that reminded me of the time I drunkenly kissed this chick who had that bee-sting toxin lip gloss to give her the Angelina Jolie pouty look. Both encounters were degrading, but this one diminished my self-esteem. Also, these are not boneless wings; I thought "wings" was an allegorical reference in lieu of "nuggets," a competitor's term, because these things were fried up to the point they no longer resembled the limbs of any known terrestrial animal. So I took a big mouthful of bone on the first attempt, and believe me, that's not a sentence I ever wanted to write. I didn't expect the amount of meat in this item to be nourishing; I did expect it to at least be filling. Rating: Anorexy.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy: The pudding-like body of potato flour and pureed notebook was at least free of lumps or standing water. It was thoroughly mixed with the viscous tailings of cooked chicken, whose bouquet hit artful notes of obesity, unemployment, and parole. If the chicken didn't fill me, this sure did, as not soon after polishing off the MP&G it felt like my large intestine was mixing up Redi-Crete, certain to turn my commode into a birdbath. Rating: Lunchlady.
Brownie Bites: These pucklike treats came packaged in a cellophane sleeve upside down on a piece of waxed cardboard, evocative of the conveyor belt that shat them out. In March. But ultimately, they were chocolatey and thus the highlight, comparatively speaking, of this dining experience. Rating: Hockey.
Despite the grandiose packaging and $7 pricetag, even if this order had been completely filled it would still be engineered for a 15 minute experience, tops. I expected that this calorie bomb would have left me doing the old Dad thing of unbuttoning my pants and laying on the couch to watch Jeopardy and blame my farts on the dog. But all it took was one tuberculose belch-cough and I was back to full strength.
If there was $1.95 worth of actual food in this meal I'd be astonished. That, coupled with the EA Sports sponsorship, must make this cross promotion an insanely profitable no-brainer for Yum! Brands, and all but guarantees a sequel in the coming year.
KFC Madden NFL Box was developed in a conference room by marketing geniuses and produced by KFC, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. Retails for $5, $7 if you want the extra side-item and brownie bites, assuming they remember to pack all the base items. Eaten until regretted.