It's been a while since The Incredible Hulk lumbered into a completely fabricated media controversy, a drought no doubt prompting the LA Times to report today's scandal that... that... Sweet Jesus, we can't even write it. John Horn, would you please step in?
If your kids simply must watch the Cartoon Network, they will be overwhelmed with ads for all kinds of tooth-rotting junk, including Pop Tarts, Lucky Charms, Reese's Puffs and some concoction called Froot Loops Cereal Straws. But critics say there's a different pediatric health risk on the cable channel — promotions tied to violent, PG-13-rated movies. ...
While studios can't sell R-rated movies directly to young kids, they have more flexibility — but not total freedom — in how they market PG-13 releases to children, with some limitations on when certain ads can and can't run. So instead of directly pitching the violent movies straight to little children, the studios are using a more subtle tactic: They let their promotional partners do their bidding through licensed toys and snacks.
So if your 4-year-old suddenly says he has to see The Incredible Hulk — rated PG-13 in part for "sequences of intense action violence" and "some frightening sci-fi images" — it could be that he's seen a Hulk Airheads candy spot running in the middle of the morning on Cartoon Network's Robotboy."
Angry families, meanwhile, have had enough of Hulk Smash Hands: The "Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood" has reached out to the Federal Trade Commission, which in turn scolded the MPAA. As befits their role as the story's imperious bête noire, the MPAA merely yawned in response ("The PG-13 rating is not a restrictive rating and admission is permitted by — and often may be appropriate for — children younger than 13"), thus inspiring a toy-store raid on Lil' Villagers™ Pitchfork-and-Torch Lynch Mob Sets in the first defiant, symbolic step against Hollywood's youth stranglehold.