Chuck E Cheese: Where a kid can be bored.

I have a childhood gripe to share.  It's Chuck E Cheese.

Growing up I was inundated with references to this palace of childhood joy.  TV shows mostly, from Full House to the Disney Afternoon, would spout the name of Chuck E Cheese like some freaking holy grail.  So much so that looking back I wonder if Chuck E Cheese had paid product placements in all those shows.

Example dialogue involving Chuck E Cheese:

"Where are we going for my friend's birthday party?"  "Chuck E Cheese!"

"You are a sad child and I need to make up for faulty parenting?  Let's go to Chuck E Cheese!"

"Can we go to Chuck E Cheese?  PLEEEEASE?????"

"I'm running away from home!  You'll find me at Chuck E Cheese from now on."

And on it goes.  Chuck E Cheese, Chuck E Cheese, Chuck E Cheese.  Everywhere.  I had heard so much about it that it became a pillar of everything that is fun in my mind.  "If only I could go to Chuck E Cheese," I would think, "I would be happy for the rest of my life!"


I never went.  I don't know if it's because my parents hated me (although if that's the case, they did a remarkable job of acting the opposite, despite my rampant middle-child syndrome) or I lived in a suburb that had an imitation Chuck E Cheese.  It was called Wonderland until Canada's Wonderland sued them and they changed the name to Castle Fun Park (for me, it will always be Wonderland).

Excruciatingly slowly, I got older.  I forgot about Chuck E Cheese and only went to Wonderland with groups of friends so we could pretend to play games and practice flirting with boys.

That's when one of my younger cousins had a birthday party at ... you guessed it, Chuck E Cheese.  The child in me welled up once again, I was going to finally visit this land of enchantment and legal underage gambling!  Childhood dreams were finally coming true!

All I remember from that visit was sitting with my family around a picnic table in the middle of one of the game rooms.  We ate cake and I looked around me.  It was sad.  It was just a bigger, older, crappier version of Wonderland (and that is saying something).  Everything was kind of dirty looking, I didn't get to play any of the games, and I was a preteen hanging out with my family in public.

Chuck E Cheese was lame!  Childhood TV lied to me!  Life is the worst!

PS: I googled Chuck E Cheese while writing this and it turns out they're still in operation.  WEIRD how something so disappointing can force itself to continue to exist.

Comments

Philip said…
I always felt that Chuck E Cheese was a ripoff. The prizes were way too lame and required you to be the ultimate gamester times a gazillion to get a remotely cool one (but that's coming from someone who tended to suck at most of the games there...maybe I'm just bitter?).

Yay for more blog posts!