Číslo Zemiaky sprevádzajú diela Alexeya Klyuykova

Interview with Mrs. Potato Head

Slovak version

We have known Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head in our region since the mid-90s as characters from the Disney movie Toy Story. The model for these movie stars are the originals, which were the first ever television marketed toys. For the potato edition of Kapitál, writer Jennifer Mills, one of the producers of the internationally acclaimed podcast Everything Is Alive, which is focused on speculative conversations with everyday objects, spoke in a fictitious interview with Mrs. Potato Head. A new season of Everything is Alive will debut in mid September. All episodes are available at everythingisalive.com or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Can you introduce yourself to us?

Yes, my name is Mrs. Potato Head, and I’m a Potato Head Toy. Right now I’m wearing my yellow hair, purple hat and my pink set of ears. I only have one arm installed and no nose today.

I see that. Noone has ever introduced themselves before with a full description of their outfit.

For us, that’s a formal introduction. In general Potato Heads are very focused on manors and a stickler for honorifics. That’s why we’re always referred to as Mrs. or Mr. Potato Head. We never go by our first names.

You know it occurs to me, I’ve heard of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, is there a Dr. Potato head?


Why not?

Our livelihood relies on our body parts falling off, so Doctors are pointless.

Do you feel like a potato?

My great great grandparents were real potatoes. I like to think that means I have a little bit of actual potato DNA in me.

They were both real potatoes?

Yes. They were born underground. Isn’t that amazing. I’d love to be born underground, wouldn’t you?

Hmm. I’m not sure. How did they become Potato Heads as real potatoes?

They were the first of the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads in 1952. Back then kids would just get a box of our accessories with little push pins on them and kids would find real life potatoes and dress them up.

Really? So, children would dress up your great great grandparents who were actually real potatoes?

Yes! And in those days my great great grandfather was allowed to smoke a pipe. They stopped letting Mr. Potato Heads smoke his pipe in 1987. Now Mr. Potato Heads sometimes come with a microphone instead. I guess he quit smoking to improve his singing voice.

Were your great great grandparents popular?

Oh my gosh yes. They were so famous in those early days. They were TV stars!


In 1952 they starred in the first ever TV commercial that was just for kids. Everything else on TV was for adults back then. But wow, ask a kid if they knew who Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were, you might as well be asking if they knew Justin Bieber. That year more than a million kits were sold. A lot of my relatives went to work being Potato Heads in that era, it was good work for potatoes.

So, what happened to your great great grandparents after they got famous?

Well, the toy sets were so popular that kids were playing with real potatoes all over the house. And then that following year they started bringing in a whole new family. They didn’t stop at potatoes, the kids started shoving arms and eyes into any vegetable they could get their hands on… cucumber, carrots, tomatoes… who knows.

That sounds messy.

It was. Parents started complaining because they were finding moldy vegetables all over the house. We became a health hazard when we probably should have been dinner. That’s when they stopped letting real potatoes like my great great grandparents be Potato Heads. And that’s when my kind came along. Ever since 1964 our bodies are just plastic. Later on, we also got bigger ears, bigger noses, bigger hats… everything is bigger, so babies won’t swallow us. I guess at least that’s a good thing…

You sound sad that your kind became plastic. 

Yeah, a little bit. We’re basically the Barbies of the potato world. Such unrealistic body standards… I’m enormous for one thing. So voluptuous, and I don’t even have a single spec of dirt or any weird bumps! Look how smooth my skin is!

It’s true, you are the most perfect potato I’ve ever seen. 

I don’t want to be perfect; I just want to do potato things like get moldy or live underground.

I see you only have one arm today. Can you tell me about that?

Oh, heaven’s yes. Some of my parts get lost forever, others come and go. Like today, you’ll have to forgive me, my professional smiling mouth seems to be misplaced. That’s why I’m looking a little more um, seductive than I’d like to.

It is a very puckery mouth.

I really hate this mouth. I hope my professional mouth gets found soon. I don’t want everyone thinking I want to kiss them.

If it makes you feel better, I don’t think you want to kiss me.

Well, that’s good. And poor Mr. Potato Head. Right now, all his hats are lost. He’s so embarrassed because he doesn’t want people to know he’s bald. But come on. Everyone already knows you’re bald. You’re a potato.

Can you tell me about Mr. Potato Head?

Oh sure, as long as you DON’T ASK IF WE’RE MARRIED. Just because all the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads you’ve seen in pop culture are couples, doesn’t mean we all are. My Mr. Potato Head and I are just friends. Honestly sometimes I can’t stand him. He’s always borrowing my good set of ears.

Thanks for telling me, because I just assumed you were always married to whoever your Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head is. 

Don’t tell that to my friend Marjorie. Her Mr. Potato Head is her brother. Good Lord I can’t imagine being them. They’re always correcting people and making sure they talk really loudly about their mother when they’re together in public. It must be exhausting.

So how do you know your Mr. Potato Head?

We’ve been through a lot. We were given together as a set one Christmas to a little boy who didn’t really like us, so we were sold in a garage sale the following summer.

Oh really? Is that when you got your current human?

Yes, her name is Helen. We got so lucky. We were the first thing in the whole garage sale to get picked because we were in our original boxes. I felt sort of famous. And Helen was so excited to get us she was screaming the whole way home. She actually got in trouble because she wouldn’t stop.

I bet that felt nice.

It did.

So that whole experience made you closer to your Mr. Potato Head?

Being in a garage sale might really do a number on your self-confidence but Mr. Potato Head has such a dark sense of humor and he was funny about it. I’d start to feel bad about myself and get a little sad and he would just crack me up. “You should feel sad!” he’d say, “We’re just two fake potatoes being sold out of an old garage!” He’s the best. But I’ve never liked him as more than a friend, and I know he feels the same way.

Have you ever been in love?

I did fall in love once with a real potato once. He was very sensual.

Oh yeah?

He was always naked. Never even wore so much as a clip-on mustache.

Earlier you said you dreamed of getting moldy and living underground. Is there anything else you’ve dreamed about doing one day?

Well, Helen is working on her school science fair project right now. She’s doing it on how solar power works. If I were a real potato, she could turn me into a battery for her science fair project instead. It would be so cool to get to go to school with her.

Yeah, that would be really special.

I’d be a good science fair project too.

I can absolutely imagine you as a potato battery. You’d be so jammed full of different parts. 

Copper wires where my arms should be, a zinc plated screw in my nose hole, a hat, a purse, a few alligator clips….

You’d make quite an entrance at the science fair.

I sure would, and maybe earlier that day there’d be a huge storm that would take down the power lines in the whole town. And of course, the science fair wouldn’t be able to run without power.

All the kids with their science projects in the school gymnasium would be trying to set up for the fair in the dark.

Exactly, Teachers crying, kids running into each other with paper maché volcanos. Then I walk in.

A perfect potato battery.

All the kids would start cheering, I’d have Helen launch me up to the ceiling in a potato cannon, then I’d grab hold of one of the gymnasium lights, and BING! All the lights in the gym would turn on instantly just because of my electric touch.

I’m not totally sure that’s how a potato battery works, but I’m sure it’s something like that. So, I’ve met a few of your friends, but I’ve never seen anyone quite like you. Can you tell me about your eye? 

Well, yes. This isn’t one of my manufacture-approved eye pieces. Helen got a little creative one day and got into her mom’s superglue. She glued this one giant googly eye in the middle of my face. It’s from a craft set so it doesn’t go with the rest of me, and now I can’t wear any of my official eyes anymore because it’s covering my eye socket, but I don’t mind.

Doesn’t it bother you to have one big eye?

Oh, I know it looks a little odd, but I’m a fake potato who carries a purse, so who cares.

That’s a good point.

I’m honestly lucky. It always irritated me to have someone come by at any moment and pop my eyes out. And Helen loves switching out my eye sets, so I was constantly losing my sight out of nowhere. I’d never know how long it would be gone before she’d give me back my eyes.

Wow yeah, what was that like?

Well, this one time, her older brother was watching a really scary movie in the background, and I was kind of watching it out of the corner of my eye you know? And the funny thing is, she kept taking my eyes out at the perfect moments, right when the movie was getting too scary for me. But then she took them out one more time and the family went on vacation so I couldn’t see for an entire month.

Oh wow. So now your one big googly eye works all the time?

Yep. And she can’t take it off even though she’s tried. So now I never have to worry about suddenly going blind.

How does Mr. Potato Head feel about it?

Mr. Potato Head is always teasing me. He calls me “The Oracle.” But look who’s laughing when his eyes get pulled out and I’m the only one of us that can see.

Is there anything you wish you could see now that you have an eye that works so well?

I wish I could see the place underground where my great great grandmother was born. I’d love to go down there deep into the dirt and just look around. I want to see the roots of nearby plants, maybe some potatoes being born, maybe some worms…

You might even get to see a mole…

I could find something someone has lost…maybe an old Roman coin…

Or a buried treasure….

I’d like to feel what it’s like to be down there and see everything she must have seen.

But how would you see anything? It’s dark underground.

I’d use my battery to turn on the lights.

Jennifer Mills is a radio producer, writer and artist living in New York City

Napíšte komentár

Vaša emailová adresa nebude publikovaná. Povinné polia sú označené *