Attack of the Dad salutes Candace Payne, the Texas mom who treated herself to a Chewbacca mask, broadcast the joyous unboxing on Facebook live video and broke the internet.
My son the Champ is a connoisseur of online toy videos. He’s the driving force behind our YouTube channel, our sprawling Batman collection and my frequent trips to every toy aisle in town. He sidled up to me as I was watching this video today, then demanded to watch it a second time.
“Everyone likes this video because she is so happy,” I explained. That’s an understatement. This video has more than 131 million views and is the most watched video since Facebook live launched. Happy for a viral shout-out, Kohl’s bathed this family in Star Wars swag and other goodies.
Have you watched it yet? Most likely you’ll giggle right along with Payne. The Champ didn’t.
“Because it makes sound and it covers up your face,” he says. “That’s why I don’t like it.” That’s not all, though. He and this mask have a history.
It’s called the Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Chewbacca Electronic Mask by Hasbro, and you can’t get one now. Since the video dropped, demand for the mask has soared.
This wasn’t the case in December, when I picked one up at Sam’s Club on clearance for $30, bundled with a Nerf bowcaster. You know, Chewbacca’s iconic laser crossbow that gets its own mini lovefest in The Force Awakens. I snagged the bundle as a white elephant gift for a buddy’s holiday party.
The mask is child-sized, but it fits most adults well enough that they can make the mouth move. Open the mouth fully, and it makes a Chewbacca noise. The mask was a huge hit and, along with some more grown-up novelties, entertained everyone at the party. Yeah, I have a video.
But before the holiday shenanigans, the mask sat around our house a few days, taunting a pair of small children with its “try me” feature. Pull open the mouth, hear the sound, repeat. My 2-year-old daughter loved it. The Champ was terrified.
I hid the mask away in the closet. Eventually I wrapped it up and brought it to its permanent home. I forgot about the Champ’s issue and only remembered the pure delight of watching an adult wear this thing and make Chewbacca noises. Candace Payne and I feel the same way about this toy.
Not the Champ, though. As a longtime Batman fan, he understands that the power of a mask isn’t something to be taken lightly (see my Dark Knight Rises meme above). He also knows his Star Wars from the Original Trilogy (no special editions or prequels), so he understands that Chewbacca will rip somebody’s arms off if he loses at space checkers. I guess there’s also a primal terror in sticking your fingers in a monster’s mouth only to hear it scream at you.
My son asks, “Dad, why is the Force Awakens number 7 when there are only four Star Wars movies?” #ProudestParentingMoment
— Tim Agne (@timagne) April 26, 2016
Or maybe, unlike we adults who can barely contain ourselves when a Star Wars tchotchke comes around, a Champ is just over it. “It’s so boring,” he says. “It’s a really good mask, but I just don’t like it.”