A reader writes:

One of the hottest toys this year in the U.S. is a pooping and peeing doll. Yep, a doll that poops. My niece has one, Baby Alive. And the commercial is just as insane. So I'm not sure the Germans have a monopoly on the love of poop.

Another writes:

God knows I love bashing the Krauts as much as the next, but the UK also has its odd toy or two. For example, Baby Pee Pee, when you uncover his nappy, raises his organ and pisses on you.

There was also the very odd 1997 UK baby rash doll, which developed an alarming scarlet rash on its bum until ministered to by a magic hanky. (Talk about your bleak, Dickensian Christmas. There you are in your damp, English flat, dragging around your red assed dolly, the magic hanky having been lost hours ago amidst the wrappings.)

But it begs the question: what goes on during these pitch meetings at toy manufacturers? How do the afflictions, albeit minor, of responsible adulthood (dog poop, diaper rash, errant willies) become the central entertainment value in a toy?

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