REVIEW: Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop! Butter Pop Up Bowl

Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop! Butter Pop Up Bowl

I’m surprised the Pop Up Bowl wasn’t invented until now. My mind boggles when I consider all the inventions someone thought of (and capitalized upon) before this quite practical invention. You know, stuff like curly straws, dog goggles, and miniature Sharpies. I am certain when I say that no canine ever in the entire history of puppy-kind ever really desired goggles. OK, maybe the cosmonaut dogs shot into space by the USSR needed some, but those little guys already had a lot on their plates, what with having to demonstrate Soviet might beyond the stratosphere and all. Reducing glare probably wasn’t a priority.

Orville Redenbacher offers the new Pop Up Bowl with their Butter, 94% Fat Free Butter, and Movie Theater Butter microwaveable varieties. The Pop Up Bowl is basically a standard microwave popcorn bag, except it is made with a red, plastic tear-off cover on one side that gives you direct access to your snack when removed.

Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop! Butter Pop Up Bowl Lid

The “bowl” does actually stand up by itself, and it’s very cute. Thick red-and-yellow stripes and a festive, gold band make the Pop Up Bowl look like something from an old-timey movie theater… which is nice if you’re nostalgic for that sort of thing. It’s nothing like the oversized, top-heavy cups they give you at the movies now with a Quantum of Solace Aston Martin or Johnny Depp’s pirated-up face on it, so that’s a plus.

The Pop Up Bowl’s plastic covering was a little harder to tear off than I anticipated. It’s attached with industrial strength glue and is stuck to the corner pocket of the bowl in such a way that it twists up and doesn’t just shear off when you tug it. This can be a bit of a problem when you take into account the fact that this is a heaping bowl of popcorn, filled with kernels ready to fly everywhere at the first errant yank.

Truthfully, it wasn’t that big of a production to get the bag open, but I think they could’ve made it a little simpler to remove, since that’s the whole point. If Orville Redenbacher went through all the trouble of touting the “Easier Snacking, Sharing & Clean-Up” motto, they could at least keep you from spilling your popcorn everywhere.

Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop! Butter Pop Up Bowl Bowl

Despite the cleverness and practicality of this concept, I can’t really think of a real reason why we needed the Pop Up Bowl. Sure, it saves you the effort of having to wash a plastic bowl and makes popcorn feasting a little cleaner, since you no longer have to reach deep inside a greasy bag and get butter all over every inch of your hands… but as nice and as water-saving as those perks are, we’d be fine without them.

Maybe the creation of this Pop Up Bowl speaks more to the fact that despite record-setting opening weekends for movies, audience numbers are way down. People are staying home, renting movies and enjoying their popcorn on the couch. But I realize Orville Redenbacher can’t comment on that. “Easier Snacking, Sharing, Clean-up, and Destruction of the Movie Studio Business Model” doesn’t seem like it would fit on the label.

(Nutrition Facts – ½ bag (about 7.5 cups popped) – 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 300 milligrams of potassium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 8% iron.)

Item: Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop! Butter Pop Up Bowl
Price: $3.49 (on sale)
Size: 3 bags
Purchased at: Ralphs
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Cleaner than a normal popcorn bag. Dogs in space. Bowl does actually stands up on its own. Movie theater nostalgia. Aston Martins.
Cons: Functional but unnecessary. Dog goggles. Plastic lid can be difficult to tear off. The modern movie studio business model. Johnny Depp dressed as a pirate, again.

Orville Redenbacher’s Real Ranch Shakeables

When did making microwave popcorn become so complex, like with the Orville Redenbacher’s Real Ranch Shakeables?

For years, the instructions for microwave popcorn were simple, just like the steps for using the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie Grill or the video camera used to record your personal sex tape with your spouse, significant other, or some random person from the club, which you promise to erase later — just set it and forget it. When it’s done, just pop it out and enjoy it, or in the case of the sex tape, use it also for blackmail or possible internet stardom.

Today, there are microwave popcorn with added steps. With the Orville Redenbacher’s Shakeables, after the popcorn is done in the microwave, the instructions say that I have to stick it in a bowl, sprinkle on the powder from the separate Ranch flavor pouch, cover the bowl, and then shake the bowl to evenly mix the seasoning with the popcorn.


I don’t have time for these extra steps. If I wanted popcorn that involved that much pain, I would go to the closest movie theater, purchase a nine dollar ticket, buy a bag of five dollar popcorn, stick the popcorn in a muzzle, lock my arms and legs to the theater chair using chains and padlocks, and then force myself to watch Larry the Cable Guy in Delta Farce.

I’m not being lazy. Laziness is not wanting to go outside and mow the lawn or being stuck on a recliner, flipping channels, ending up on a Dora the Explorer marathon, accidently dropping the remote, unsuccessfully attempting to reach the remote without moving anything below your arms, then giving up and for the next six hours you help Dora with her quests, while occasionally reaching for the remote, hoping that your arm has grown slightly within the past 45 minutes.

It’s just that these added steps take away the convenience of microwave popcorn. We don’t need no stinkin’ bowl. That’s what the bag is for. The bag is the bowl. As for adding the seasoning and shaking a bowl, if I want to shake something I’ll make my way to a dance floor and shake my thang until the break of dawn. With regular butter microwave popcorn, I don’t have to add the butter, so why do I have to add the Ranch seasoning? If we have the technology to make microwave popcorn, the iPhone, and sex dolls that look real, I’m pretty sure we also have the technological know-how to add ranch flavor to the popcorn pre-popped.

Despite the extra work it takes to prepare the Orville Redenbacher’s Real Ranch Shakeables, it does taste good and has a strong ranch flavor, which reminds me of most ranch-flavored potato chips. Some people might think that the flavor is too powerful, so for those people I would recommend using less of the flavor pouch. The shaking of the seasoning in the bowl did create an even distribution of flavor, but I think that could also be accomplished using the popcorn bag instead.

Each serving contains 150 calories, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 17 grams of carbs, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of protein, and a very high 550 milligrams of sodium. Speaking of salty, just like the breasts of most pornstars, the Orville Redenbacher’s Real Ranch Shakeables comes with only two salty bags per box.

So if you like microwave popcorn with a twist and are willing to do some dishwashing and low-impact shaking to get that twist, the Orville Redenbacher’s Shakeables might just be for you.

Item: Orville Redenbacher’s Real Ranch Shakeables
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good flavor. Strong ranch flavor, similar to ranch-flavored potato chips. Zero trans fat. Made with real buttermilk. The ability to add as much or as little flavor as you want. Set it and forget it. Popcorn is a good source of fiber.
Cons: Only two salty bags. Having added steps to microwave popcorn. Delta Farce. Using a sex tape as blackmail. Being lazy enough to sit through a Dora the Explorer marathon. Shaking my thang on any dance floor.

Act II Popcorn Ball

I personally think the food that best represents the holiday season is the Act II Popcorn Ball, although it definitely isn’t the best tasting holiday food.

Many of you will probably disagree with me and say either turkey, gingerbread cookies, egg nog, candy canes, chocolate Santas, fruitcake, or a large bottle of whiskey are foods that best represent the holiday season, but this is what I’ll say to you, “Nay, my festivus friend, the holidays are all about balls…popcorn balls.”

Think about it. The Act II Popcorn Ball is very similar to many things that are seen during the holiday season. You may not realize them, so I’m going to point them out to you.

First off, it’s round and is roughly the size of a tennis ball (three inches in diameter). There are many holiday-ish items that come in a round form, like tree ornaments, a snowman’s head, a snowman’s body, cookies for Santa, Santa’s big fat gut from eating cookies, and the number of times most people have seen any of the three Tim Allen The Santa Clause movies — zero.

Its white color is also the color of many things seen during the holiday season, like snow, iPods, Santa’s beard, and Jesus’ skin color.

The Act II Popcorn Ball consists of popcorn and sugar compressed together in a tight space. This cramming of popcorn together is much the bringing of people together in any shopping mall on the day after Thanksgiving or the week prior to Christmas.

Instead of popped kernels of popcorn packed tightly together, it’s pissed off patrons waiting in line for a cashier, dressing room, next generation video game console, women’s restroom stall, or $29 DVD player at the Behemoth-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Despite it being held together with sugar, and possibly the holiday spirit, the Act II Popcorn Ball tears apart easily, like the hearts of little children when they find out Santa doesn’t exist. Its consistency is much like old popcorn, but the sugar around it makes that old popcorn taste better, sort of like kettle corn, but not really as sweet or as good.

Wrapping the old popcorn in sugar is very similar to the holiday concept of re-gifting. Think of the old popcorn as a gift from last Christmas, like the sweater grandma knitted, the “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt your stupid friend got you, or the piece of jewelry you were going to give to your significant other, but then they break up with you right before Christmas and every day for the next year you stare at that piece of jewelry and think of your former significant other and cry for about an hour in your bedroom staring at the ceiling, then you want to throw it away but you can’t because every time you’re about to throw it into the ocean you remember all the great times you spent together on the beach, so you keep holding on to that piece of jewelry hoping that your ex-significant other comes back to you, despite the fact that they’re dating another person, and you take it with you every time you’re sitting in your car staring through their window with a pair of binoculars. Then think of the sugar as the new wrapping paper around it, turning what was old into something new for that not-so-special person receiving the gift — probably a co-worker.

With 12 grams of sugar, 100 calories, one gram of fat, one gram protein, two grams of fiber, and no cholesterol, the Act II Popcorn Ball has roughly the same nutritional content as many holiday decorations, like a small Christmas wreath, a Christmas tree branch, or the mistletoe branch that is strategically placed directly above your waist.

Finally, because the Act II Popcorn Ball is made out of popcorn, it’s most likely that popcorn kernel parts will get stuck in between your teeth. If you’ve experienced this, you know that this is irritating like the other holiday annoyances: little old ladies cutting in the cashier line, finding parking at the shopping mall to do Christmas shopping, and making sure the shopping mall Santa doesn’t touch you improperly while taking a picture with him.

Item: Act II Popcorn Ball
Price: FREE
Purchased at: Given by co-worker
Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Best food to represent the holiday season. Low fat. Low sodium. Zero cholesterol. Two grams of fiber. Tears apart easily. Sugar makes it taste better. Sort of like kettle corn, but not as sweet.
Cons: Old popcorn consistency. Getting popcorn stuck in between your teeth. Receiving re-gifted gifts. Waiting in line for a women’s restroom stall. Waiting for a woman who is waiting for a women’s restroom stall. Any of The Santa Clause movies. Crying after finding out Santa isn’t real and also after your significant other breaks up with you and leaves you as an empty cold shell of a person.

REVIEW: Jiffy Pop Stove Top Butter Popcorn

Jiffy Pop Stove Top Butter Popcorn

Here at The Impulsive Buy we try to find the latest products to review, but reader Taikog suggested we go old school once in awhile. Following his suggestion, we thought about doing a review on Brylcreem, but decided to review the Jiffy Pop Stove Top Butter Popcorn instead, because it looked less oily.

The instructions for this popcorn were simple. Preheat the stove for 3 or 4 minutes at medium high heat. Then place the pan on the burner. When it starts to sizzle, continuously shake the pan in a back and forth motion until the foil is fully expanded. In about 2 to 5 minutes, the popcorn should be ready.

I was just about to start popping the popcorn, when I realized that I can’t shake it, unless there’s music playing or someone is putting money in the elastic band of my boxers. Since there weren’t any women around flashing dollar bills, I needed to find a soundtrack for my popcorn shaking.

After spending about 30 minutes looking through my iTunes library, I found the perfect song I could shake popcorn to. Some of you may have guessed the song already, Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”

With my popcorn shaking song on, I got down to making some popcorn. I put the pan on the preheated burner and waited for the sizzle. When it came, I began to shake the pan and my groove thang. A few moments later, the popcorn kernels started exploding and the foil started expanding. This went on for about a minute and then the exploding and expanding suddenly stopped.

Although when it stopped, I kept shaking the pan because Andre 3000’s voice had taken a hold of my soul.

Then about a minute later I began to smell burnt popcorn and I stopped shaking the pan and my ass. I took the pan off of the stove and opened the slightly expanded foil. A cloud of steam and a strong smell of burnt popcorn arose from out of the pan. The bottom of the pan was covered with burnt popped and unpopped kernels.

A few of the popped kernels survived and I ate them. They had a decent buttery taste and a nice crunch.

I don’t know what went wrong, but I have my theories. (1) The stove heat was too high. (2) I am the Grim Reaper of Food and I destroy everything I touch. (3) I picked the wrong song to shake it to.

My money was on the third reason, so I went looking through my iTunes library again and found six possible replacements for the next time I decide to make some stove top popcorn.

1. Metallica’s “One”
2. Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”
3. Britney Spears’ “Toxic”
4. Blur’s “Song 2”
5. Buster Poindexter’s “Hot, Hot, Hot”
6. Black Eyed Peas’ “Hey Mama”

So which of these songs do you think would work best? Or do you have another song in mind?

Item: Jiffy Pop Stove Top Butter Popcorn
Purchase Price: $1.50
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: Decent buttery taste. Nice crunch. Buster Poindexter reference.
Cons: I followed the instructions, but the popcorn still got burnt. “Hey Ya!” might not be a good song to shake stove top popcorn with, but it is a good song to shake it to when there are women flashing dollar bills. I have a Britney Spears song.

REVIEW: Jolly Time Mallow Magic

Jolly Time Mallow Magic

I’m skeptical of things that claim to be “magical.”

For example, Magic Markers. I haven’t found anything “magical” about them, except when I sniff them for too long, which causes me to “magically” prance around naked on all fours, pretending to be a pretty, pretty little pony.

Also, those Magic: The Gathering playing cards, they “magically” give my friend’s little cousins the ability to totally kick my ass at something.

Finally, there’s David Blaine, who claims to be a “magician,” but all the things he does isn’t really magic, like stand on a flagpole for 35 hours, or spend seven days underwater in a see-through coffin, or live in a plastic box suspended over a river for 44 days, or stand at a truck-stop urinal and pee for 3 hours.

So I wasn’t expecting much from the Jolly Time Mallow Magic microwave popcorn.

The concept of Mallow Magic is much like the Orville Redenbacher’s Cinnabon Popcorn I reviewed earlier this month. It’s microwave popcorn with a sweet creamy topping.

Also, like the Cinnabon Popcorn, each box of Mallow Magic comes with two bags of unpopped popcorn and two pouches of creamy marshmallow topping.

I liked the sweet Cinnabon Popcorn, so I was looking forward to trying the sweet marshmallowy taste of the Mallow Magic Popcorn. So I put the flat bag of popcorn into the microwave and set the time for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

I carefully watched the flat bag of popcorn in the microwave. Then suddenly, I heard a pop. Then another. Then another. Then another. I looked at the bag of popcorn and I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“Oh my God! The bag…It’s growing in the microwave!” I yelled.


“I believe!!! I believe!!!”

Yeah, whatever.

After I took the bag out of the microwave, I instantly noticed that it was slightly smaller than all other microwave popcorn bags I’ve seen. I looked at the Cinnabon Popcorn box and the Mallow Magic box, and it turned out that the Mallow Magic bag had about one-fifth less popcorn than the Cinnabon Popcorn bag.

So, of course, this meant less popcorn.

After I added the creamy marshmallow topping, I dug into what turned out to be a nice sweet treat, that I think tasted better than the Cinnabon Popcorn.

However, they were such a nice sweet treat, that I ate an entire bag in one sitting, while trying to NOT watch American Idol.

Item: Jolly Time Mallow Magic
Purchase Price: $2.00 (on sale)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: A nice sweet treat. Like kettle corn, except a lot more messy. Popcorn has fiber.
Cons: Bags are smaller than most popcorn bags. Not magical, just like David Blaine.