Are you a fan of non-chocolate bar assorted candies? How about completely arbitrary internet rankings? Well, then, you've come to the right place!
If there's one thing the prior two rankings posts have taught me, it's that I am wrong about everything and that I should feel bad for it. But since I completely and totally lack even the barest semblance of self-awareness or a sense of impending doom, it's time for round three: all the candies that don't quite fit into the "chocolate bars" category we covered last time. Basically, if it comes in a box or a bag (and isn't just a miniature version of a candy bar we already talked about), you can find it here.
So let's take a look at the completely scientific (not scientific in any way) rankings of every assorted candy. Well, OK, obviously not EVERY candy — we'd be here all week. In general, I didn't do any sub-flavors (hence no peanut M&M's), nothing that isn't readily and widely available in the US (because obviously I hate anyone not from the US and I'm excluding your sweets JUST to make you personally angry*), I didn't do candy I couldn't get jokes out of, a few I forgot, and a few don't appear on here for various other entirely arbitrary and stupid reasons**. If you're going to leave some outraged comment that I left your favorite candy off the list, just take a deep breath and remind yourself that's a really silly thing to get angry about.
Let's do this.
Many people have wondered why licorice hasn't yet made an appearance on Foods That Should Not Exist or any other feature where I rip apart things that are terrible (so...basically any feature I write, come to think of it). People have even presupposed that I'm one of those horribly broken people who actually enjoy licorice. I'd like to take this opportunity to set the record straight: the reason I haven't put licorice on a list so far is that licorice is not food, in the same way Ipecac is not food. If a product's only purpose is to make you violently vomit and possibly start having a seizure, you can't really claim that product is part of This Balanced Breakfast.
Crows, for those who aren't familiar with them, are the result of someone finding a way to compact tar into a convenient conical jellied shape, then inflicting them on unsuspecting children the world over. They are not food. They are a Soviet psychological warfare initiative that went off the rails. YOU LIED TO ME, THENNS. CROWS ARE NOT DELICIOUS.
32. Good N Plenty
These aren't candy, they're mislabeled cyanide capsules. The only reason no one's discovered that yet is because no one ever actually eats the fucking things. Every vending machine box of Good N' Plenty's you've ever seen has been sitting there since the Carter administration.
31. Hot Tamales
I want to meet the person who invented Hot Tamales, because I'm desperately curious about the sort of mind that could look at the candy market and think that what the public was clamoring for was a marriage of peppers and jelly beans. More than anything, I'm curious how many victims this person racked up before police thought to dig up their backyard.
I'm honestly sitting here trying to get over the fact that these things still fucking exist. Really? Lemonheads?! Who the hell buys these things that their manufacturer hasn't gone bankrupt from the overhead alone? Finding these on the shelf is more inexplicable than Brett Ratner having a successful directing career.
28. Cookie Dough Bites
Whatever's in these, it is neither cookie nor dough. I hate to hazard a guess, but if I had to put my money on something, I'm going with granulated sugar mixed with flavored sand and elmer's glue.
Is there anyone under the age of 60 who enjoys the taste of malted milk? Because if you could condense the Great Depression into a taste sensation, the result would be malted milk. It tastes like the physical act of waiting in a bread line.
On the plus side, they're not actually licorice, so at least they don't need to be outlawed for use on humans by the Geneva Convention. On the minus side, they appear to be flavorless ropes of congealed and colorized tooth plaque. The minus side wins out here.
25. Mike and Ikes
The best thing you can say about Mike and Ikes is that they're not Good N' Plentys or Hot Tamales. By the same token, I love Binghamton, NY, in that it is not Mogadishu, Somalia.***
24. Charleston Chews
I tried these for the first time in preparation for this article. Logically, I am aware that these are not marshmallow, but my brain keeps screaming "YOU JUST PUT MARSHMALLOW IN YOUR MOUTH," and now I need to hose down the walls.
23. Bottle Caps
I don't know about you, but when I'm in the mood for something sweet, the first thing I crave is talcum discs soaked in Kool Aid.
22. Butterfinger BB's
The fact that they're actually naming them after a type of bullet should tell you something. "Eat lead" is typically not seen as an invitation to a lovely aperitif.
Mark Shrayber insisted I put these on the list so that I could quote him on the following: "Smarties: the only candy that will satisfy your craving when you've run out of colored chalk." So if you love Smarties and wanted to see them in the top ten, go bother him about it, because no way in hell was I passing that joke up. Obviously these are the American ones, and no, I don't care if the UK ones are better, shut up.
20. Swedish Fish
I know this is going to make people go nuts, but seriously, what the hell is the appeal of Swedish Fish? They taste like the Gummi Bears That Time Forgot, like if you left a congealed gummi mass out on the sidewalk for a week and a half, then washed it off and chucked it in a bag. I mean, they're not HORRIBLE, exactly, they're just vaguely fruity wads of only partially-chewable disaster that make me wish I'd bought almost any other candy. After re-reading that sentence, I take it back — they actually are horrible.
Your first thought, upon eating a Warhead, is "OH GOD WHY HAVE I DONE THIS TO MYSELF." It is also your third thought. And your tenth thought. All the thoughts in between are devoted to incoherent screaming. By the time you get to the actual candy part, you're so ready for the pain to end that you convince yourself you love the candy, just because psychologically, that's all you can do. What I'm saying here is that Warheads are the Ramsay Snow of hard candies.
First of all, if you're about to type "they're called nonpareils!" just shut up. No one cares. Second, why are these never as good as I expect them to be? They're delicious for about 15 seconds, then someone goes wrong. They're like time-released chocolate bombs covered in sugar shrapnel.
Fuck you for this name. Seriously. You can't even put the extra "T" on there? I'd rather eat Flintstones vitamins than Sweetarts.
16. Milk Duds
Fneh and Loathing in Las Vegas/Fnehver Been Kissed/Flight of the Fnehvigator.
13. Junior Mints
Junior Mints are this high on the list by virtue of not being everything else that's come before them. They're essentially Crest-flavored gelatinous ejaculate with a shellac coating that melts in your hand, not in your mouth...and they're still way better than Swedish fucking Fish.
12. Jolly Ranchers
I'm curious what mad scientist figured out a way to make stained glass edible, but with the tensile strength of concrete. The weird thing is I find Jolly Ranchers strangely compelling, even if I hate myself for it.
11. Reese's Pieces
Reese's Pieces are the ur-example of the Reese's company's many attempts to break free from their element and create something that really does not work in any capacity, only people still buy the product and claim to love them because they have Reese's Stockholm Syndrome (kind of like how so many people desperately want to believe Frozen is a good movie).
So why rank them this high if I don't particularly like them? Purely because of the name, which serves to make everyone who pronounces it "Reesee's" look like an idiot. It's "Reese's," dammit.
10. Sour Patch Kids
Sour Patch Kids taste like Gummi Bears left out in the sun all day and then rolled in sand...and yet I can't stop eating them. My brain screams in horror, but my taste buds demand more. What the hell do they put in these things, pure black tar heroin?
9. Gummi Bears
The best thing about Gummi Bears are all the fond memories I have of eating them by each of my favorite flavors. I mean cherry was the...what's that? It's raspberry? And green is strawberry? What the shit, you going to tell me that clears are pineapple or something? They are? MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD IS A LIE. WHAT IS MY LIFE.
8. Everlasting Gobstoppers
These things are an ADHD kid's worst goddamn nightmare, which makes it weird that I actually really liked them. Also, when I was a kid, I thought they were called "Godstoppers," which was confusing, because I didn't know there even was an atheist candy company.
Still the best-executed peanut + chocolate candy combo on the market. Which is kind of like being Miss Butte, Montana, but whatever.
I mean, they're pretty good, I guess. I can't really look forward with rapt anticipation to any candy that feels like it's dislocating my jaw, but the pink ones are pretty badass.
Remember these things? I'm not even sure you can find them any more. Fuck it, they were delicious. By the way, I'll save everyone the trouble: the "Mystery" white flavor was "Chemicals."
Raise your hand if you ate them by pouring half the bag into your mouth at once and chewing them into a giant, nightmarish wad of sugar-goo. Oh, no, I totally don't know anyone that did that, either. *cough*
I don't care what you say, Runts are delicious. Orange Runts are so good they should be illegal, and I don't even like oranges (note: this is probably why I like orange Runts). But not the banana ones, because fuck them; you needed a goddamn hacksaw to break them apart.
2. Buncha Crunch
Can anyone explain to me why Buncha Crunch are so much better than Crunch bars? I mean, Crunch bars aren't bad, but Buncha Crunch are like a chocolate orgasm. Our top scientists need to get on this shit, pronto.
You're goddamn right my #1 choice is pure, uncut sugar. I'm not even listing a flavor, because every flavor is goddamn delicious. I will fucking tear up some Nerds.
*Kidding! Obviously, kidding. I love all foreigners, EXCEPT FOR THOSE GODDAMNED ALBANIANS.
**For instance, Sour Worms don't appear on here because after their recent horrifying ad campaign (the most nightmare-inducing thing since that PS3 baby ad), I'm refusing to acknowledge their existence. Seriously, who the fuck came up with those ads? Even Geico would be embarrassed of those things. For what it's worth, they'd have a top-3 spot if I wasn't boycotting them.
***Don't ever go to Binghamton. Trust me. It's where joy goes to die.
Image via Vorobyeva/Shutterstock. Special thanks to kinja user Smithwellette for all of her help with this post.