An Unbearable Idea: The Fifty Shades of Grey Teddy

Written by Rodney Campbell

aNewDomain — Most of us have treasured memories of a favorite teddy bear from our childhood. The fuzzy face, button nose, handcuffs.

Come again?

Thanks to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, desperate housewives can now get their paws on a stuffed bear modeled after Christian Grey, the sadistic lead character of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” book series. The bear comes out just in time for the movie’s release on Valentine’s Day, naturally.

50 BearPromoted during sponsored segments on NPR, which often touts itself during pledge drives as the intelligent person’s network, the Vermont Teddy Bear company advertises the Fifty Shades Bear as coming complete with “accessories,” to which one’s inner voice immediately responds with “and what might those be?”

If you’ve read the books, the imagination does tend to wander.

A trip to the website reveals the furry fellow promoted as a way to “dominate Valentine’s Day” and says the little guy has “smoldering gray eyes, a suit and satin tie, mask – even mini-handcuffs.” It stands 15 inches tall and costs a mere $89.99.

Feel dirty yet?

The company’s site warns adults that the bear isn’t suitable for children because it “contains small parts.” First, you snicker over the thought of “small parts.” Then, you roll your eyes over the fact that the company ignores the most obvious reasons why you shouldn’t get this bear for your kid.

It’s the sexual deviance, stupid.

The “limited edition” teddy is an innovative, if not ridiculous, way to cross-promote a movie that doesn’t lend itself to cross-promotion. Most family-friendly companies wouldn’t touch this movie with a 10-foot whip.

Generally seen as a series of books that are soft-core porn at best, this is the first of a series of “Fifty Shades” films shimmying their way to theaters in the next few years. Fandango reports that the movie is the fastest-selling R-rated ticket in the company’s history despite domestic violence activists calling for a boycott of the film.

Along with its two sequels, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” the series of books have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 50 languages.

There’s no accounting for taste.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company, previously known for such classics as Zombie Love Bear and Firefighter Bear, is one of the few companies willing to come along for the ride. No surprise. The company also advertises a 6-foot tall teddy for $199.99. Jeez, who even needs a guy with Big Hunka Love Bear around?

Further research on Vermont Teddy Bear’s web site reveals pajamas and “sexy lingerie” that matches the teddy you choose. There’s even a “Midnight Fantasy PJs” option to go with the Grey bear.

Lingerie to complement a teddy bear based on a movie that originated from a book that came to life as “Twilight” fan fiction? I can hardly bear the thought.

For aNewDomain, I’m Rodney Campbell.

Photo: Vermont Teddy Bear Company