Hollywood — McDonald’s on Monday reported that sales have skyrocketed since action figures from “Sicko,” the new Michael Moore film assailing the U.S. health care system, were included in Happy Meals. Children have been forcing their parents to make repeat trips to try to collect all 10 action figures from the popular documentary.
“My favorite toy from ‘Sicko’ is Tarsha Harris,” said five year-old Evan Sotan. “Tarsha was denied coverage by her HMO because she once had a yeast infection. The action figure looks just like the real lady in the movie.”
“Did you know that the United States has sunk to No. 37 on the World Health Organization’s ranking of health systems?” asked six year-old customer Dana Herlow as she opened her Happy Meal to find the Linda Peeno action figure, a former medical reviewer for Humana featured in the film. The figure’s right arm moves up and down and can stamp the word “denied” on small pieces of paper that say “insurance claims.”
Many observers were surprised to see Moore partner with a huge corporation like McDonalds. But the filmmaker said it was necessary to spread his message beyond his core fans.
“I can reach out to my liberal audience pretty well, but I need to connect with the next generation,” Moore told Dateline Hollywood. “If children can learn about the complexities and deficiencies of our healthcare system, then there’s a good chance they will play a role later in life in changing healthcare in this country. Plus, as part of the agreement, I get free Big Macs for life.”
One of the most popular figures in the Happy Meal collection is John Graham, an EMT and rescue technician who was on the job on Sept. 11, 2001. His private health insurance did not cover illnesses he says resulted from months of 9/11 recovery work.
“My son loves the Graham toy,” said librarian and mother Heather Collette. “He is always playing with the little oxygen tank that lets John Graham breathe.”
“Graham is my favorite,” confirmed Collette’s seven year-old son Trevor. “Graham has esophageal burns from his work at ground zero. If you push the button on his back, the toy coughs up phlegm. It isn’t really phlegm but a yummy Vanilla milkshake.”
The most popular action figure in the Happy Meal is Michael Moore, which is the toughest one to find.
“We didn’t make too many Michael Moores because they are four times the size of the other action figures which meant a lot more plastic in the toy making process,” explained Derek Crowley, a spokesman for McDonald’s.
The Michael Moore figure comes with its own wicker chair that collapses whenever the character sits on it. Kids
can then snap the chair back together again, making for hours of fun.