Charles Foley, inventor of the board game Twister, died yesterday at 82. May he rest in peace in whichever socially awkward color-coded contortion was his favorite.
I always thought Twister was the greatest board game ever invented – in theory, anyway. In execution, I think I was playing it wrong. I have distinct memories of ending up with my face smushed onto my uncle’s stomach and my other little cousins’ bare toes (THEY were doing it wrong) wriggling under my butt as I tried not to fall. I almost always surrendered out of embarrassment. What I really needed to do was grow up, work out, and play with sexy peers so my strategy could become less “Avoid the body hair of relatives” and more “Whoops! I fell down and touched your whole body.” I can still do it! Twister is timeless and shall never be forgotten.
Below, a brief timeline of the button-candy board game in pop culture:
1966 – Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played a round of the game in a publicity stunt, trying to convince worried retailers that the game was not overtly sexual. I wish there was a video, because this is the most demure and stylish Twister game I’ve ever seen. Was the spinner fixed that night? I demand an investigation!
1988 – Weird Al parodied the Beastie Boys with a rap called “Twister.” Here’s a commercial compilation set to Mr. Yankovic’s soothing vocals:
1991 – Remember when MTV was cool? CRISCO TWISTER: Smashing Pumpkins vs. Nirvana
1991 – Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) compete against Death in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Left Foot Green is gonna getcha.
1992 – “Let’s play Twister, let’s play Risk.” Michael Stipe and R.E.M. give a shout-out to the game in “Man on the Moon.” Yeah yeah yeah yeah, I wanna play.
2005 – Bratz Twister? Noooooooo.
2008 – There was also a Hannah Montana version with “dance moves” (shudder):
It was around this time that the mass-marketed low-effort, but at least colorful, Halloween costumes came out. Like Sexy Twister:
Decidedly Unsexy Twister …
… and I don’t even know.
2012 – Not only did Britney Spears’ 2009 song “3” feature the line, “Twister on the floor, what do you say?” but she appeared in this commercial for Hasbro’s Twister Dance. Way cooler than Pepsi.
2012 – An intriguing suggestion from Castiel to a bewildered Sam and Dean in season 7, episode 23 of Supernatural: “We should play Twister.”
Also, random: I never saw this commercial, filmed in 2012, but what’s with the gymnastics?
What’s your favorite Twister memory, pop culture or otherwise? Was it sexy or embarrassing? Was it both?