10 Twinkie sightings in films and TV

News Gaye Birch 15 Feb 2009 - 18:42

From Ghostbusters and Die Hard through to the pages of Batman, we trace the enduring media career of the humble Twinkie...

Unless you’re a fan of made-for-TV movies, follow US state politics, gay rights struggles or outrageous legal tactics, you may not know the depths of slights the Twinkie has endured. Now, with Sean Penn in the title role of the massively-multi-award-nominated, Milk, revelations of the maligning of one of America's favourite and most famous treats may reach a much wider audience.

If you haven't seen the film or heard the true story it's based on, we hope we're not spoiling too much to say (it’s a biopic of events from 1978-79, a bit like blurting out the fate of the ship in Titanic, really) there's a trial involved - for a murder - and the attempted argument is, put simplistically, one of diminished capacity, evidenced by eating too many high sugar, low sustenance snack foods while depressed. It became known as The Twinkie Defense.

As if being linked to the impetus for manslaughter isn't bad enough, Twinkies have also recently joined the Oreo cookie as a derogatory term for individuals of races who, supposedly, don’t embrace their ethnicity. In Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies (or Go To White Castle in the US), Harold (John Cho) is accused by a fellow Korean of being a Twinkie, which he explains is "yellow on the outside, white on the inside".

We think these are unfair misuses of a much-loved foodstuff, junk or otherwise, and we take this opportunity to remember the Twinkie of kinder days, in some of its most memorable moments for geeks and non-geeks alike.

Come with us as we revisit some exceptional Twinkie-fied moments in film and television history. Love them, hate them, wonder about the taste, appeal, and longevity, we're sure you'll agree, they're in good company. You can view clips of each sighting below.

The Iron Giant features a prominently placed Twinkie in one of many great scenes from this fabulous animated film of 1999. Hogarth demonstrates you can never have too much creamy filling or ever get your fill of late night snacks and scary movies. The three convenient signature injection holes on the bottom of his broken promise are evident, even in cartoon form.

All In The Family is the American version of Till Death Us Do Part with Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) taking the stateside chair of Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell). In the Episode 34 clip below from Sammy's Visit (1972), the joke isn't that the bigoted Bunker offers Sammy Davis Jr an inferior snack in a Twinkie, but that he actually considers opening a fresh box to be the ultimate treat - and greatest sacrifice - for his guest.

Twinkies have achieved a status beyond that of an iconic snack food; they're also the stuff of legend. One urban myth persists that Twinkies last a lifetime and beyond, probably originating in the fact that they enjoy a long-lasting freshness because they have absolutely no dairy products in their makeup, which, compared with conventional cakes, gives them a super-cake shelf life, and they take much longer to spoil. Movies and cartoons perpetuate the claim and reruns rejuvenate the lore for new generations of box watchers...

Family Guy's Da Boom (Season 2 Episode 3) originally aired December 26, 1999, a year that fizzled into anticlimactic, unrealised fears for us, but the Griffins saw in a catastrophic Y2K. Peter, Lois, Meg, Chris, Stewie and Brian, survive a nuclear holocaust to be left in a world without food. Their only salvation from starvation may be at the 'Twinkee' factory, cleverly, ever-so-slightly misspelled, but a Twinkee is a Twinky is a Twinkie.

The Simpsons episode Homer and Apu (Season 5 Episode 13, 1994) has an irate customer attempt to take his overcharged rage out on innocuous, innocent Twinkies at the Kwik-E-Mart. Apu scoffs at the futile effort to destroy the indestructible cellophaned treat.

Die Hard introduced us to loveable cop, Al Powell, in 1988 and we saw the first hint of the strength of his addiction to the paired packs of cream-filled cakes, which he shamefully denied and tried to hide. A bit later in the film he redeems himself among Twinkiephiles everywhere by praising their virtues and recipe while a legend is shot down by super-cop, John McClane. Apparently, thousand-year-old Twinkies are not so tasty.

Die Hard 2 dropped us smack dab onto Al's desk and by 1990 he had nothing to hide, proudly displaying his treasured treats in plain sight and even walking through the station munching away. (This demonstrates another advantage of the Twinkie: they're immensely portable and crumb-free requiring neither plate nor napkin.) We also notice he's switched from the twin packs to the individually wrapped cakes, which means he's buying them by the box now. Very liberating scenes for Twinkie lovers everywhere, earning Al the crown of the Twinkie Flicks King.

Chuck fans were treated to a perfect geeky gift this past Christmas. The reluctant spy sitcom included another Al Powell Twinkie moment - 20 years after the original - in Chuck Versus Santa Claus (Season 2 Episode 11, 2008) when it was revealed that the famous Twinkie-toting Sergeant is Buy More manager Big Mike's cake-lovin' cousin. Evidently, they share a fondness for a fondant-filled snack.

Robot Chicken, the stop-motion animated show for adults concocted and constructed by chief geek, Seth Green and Co., had a poke at Twinkie The Kid in the 2006 episode entitled 1987 (Season 2 Episode 6). The Kid finds himself in a thorny situation with a shoot 'em up showdown with some ornery cacti. And what's his reward? Let's just say it's harsh treatment for such a sweet kid.

Ghostbusters is a classic, rare example of perfect casting, lines and timing. Since 1984, it's also brought a certain sugary confection to the consciousness of continents in Mr Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But let’s not forget the Twinkie’s importance in this all-time favourite flick. After all, a New York full of psycho-kinetic energy equalling a 600 pound Twinkie could herald a four-fold cross rip! Whatever that is, it sounds bad. Delicious. But bad. A less noteworthy dessert, Jello, merely merited a fleeting mention in the sequel.

Twinkie “I’m Da Boom King” The Kid is an early commercial featuring the original Twinkie mascot with the ten-gallon hat, first introduced in 1971, and later parodied in the Family Guy ep, Da Boom and Robot Chicken's 1987. Here's the real thing... Please stand up, Twinks.

The Den Of Geek Showcase of Twinkie TV and film
Click Play button to start, then scroll to see them all.

Twinkie sightings aren’t limited to moving media either. SeanBaby.com has a vast collection of Twinkies in superhero comics and, although clearly headed “Advertisement”, they include some of the most astounding and amazing leaps, bounds, dives and sideways shoves and squeezes to work Twinkies and other Hostess products into the panels.

Despite misuse and abuse, brave Twinkies still court the media, and are happy enough to form associations, even with movie monsters. Funny that these two examples feature green guys, one with “ogre green creamy filling”: a foolhardy invitation to ridicule? Or an attempt to break free of the perpetual freshness myths for fear of tiresome time-consuming litigious claims over stale or mouldy Twinkies for eons to come? Centuries will tell.

If all that adoration of a fat finger of soft cake is too much even for the sweetest of sweet tooths from Sweetyville among you, take another kind of delight in either of the following sites. Each is a virtual swig of vinegar:

Twinkies project
T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. stands for Tests With Inorganic Noxious Kakes In Extreme Situations.
A series of experiments conducted during finals week, 1995, at Rice University. The tests were designed to determine the properties of that incredible food, the Twinkie.” The most painful of Twinkie deaths are on display here.

SolarDeathRay.com: The #1 Death Ray On The Internet!
The Solar Death Ray, made of 112 mirrors mounted on a platform…works by reflecting the light of the sun...onto a single spot.” You can guess one of the targets. Seek out the animated gif that explains in seconds how it all works much better than the 60 minute Mythbusters episode on a similar subject.

Have a Twinkie movie or TV moment we missed? Add it to the comments below…

UPDATE: 20.02.09

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Inca Mummy Girl (Series 2 Episode 4, 1997)
as suggested by DOG member, StellaK

Wall-E with nods to MovieNut14
UPDATE: 20.03.09

The Monster Squad (1987):

UPDATE: 21.05.09

UHF (1989) as suggested by GeekDaddy665:

Click here for a list of ALL the lists at Den Of Geek...

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I was also disappointed not to see Wall-E on the list. I thought it was a brilliant visual pun to see a cockroach bathing in a Twinkie in a post-apocolyptic world.

BuffytVS - Inca Mummy Girl - Xander teaches the Mummy Girl about thi essential American food.

Thanks for that, StellaK. I remember the episode but can't picture that scene. I'll have to have a look some time soon. :c)

You forgot an earlier scene from WALL-E.

Wall-E!! MovieNut14, good call, I'd planned on Wall-E since the conception of this piece and rolled right by him in the end.


I'm gutted that I've left him out :c(

Food of the gods ;o)

When I first went to the state back in 1994 one of the first things I did was try and find a Twinkie bar. Im my opinion they are sugary, sweet and artificial in taste..fantastic!

I was also disappointed not to see Wall-E on the list. I thought it was a brilliant visual pun to see a cockroach bathing in a Twinkie in a post-apocolyptic world.

BuffytVS - Inca Mummy Girl - Xander teaches the Mummy Girl about thi essential American food.

Thanks for that, StellaK. I remember the episode but can't picture that scene. I'll have to have a look some time soon. :c)

You forgot an earlier scene from WALL-E.

Wall-E!! MovieNut14, good call, I'd planned on Wall-E since the conception of this piece and rolled right by him in the end.


I'm gutted that I've left him out :c(

When I first went to the state back in 1994 one of the first things I did was try and find a Twinkie bar. Im my opinion they are sugary, sweet and artificial in taste..fantastic!

Food of the gods ;o)

You are missing Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure "Want a Twinkie, Genghis Khan?" as they kidnap him in a montage.

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