In the vast anthropological catalog of contemporary humanity that is YouTube, there’s an entire universe of videos where cute little kids bug out their eyes, gag and make hideous faces while trying not to spit out distressingly sour or disgustingly flavored candy. Videos with titles like “Extreme Sour Candy Challenge” and “Extreme SOUR SMOOTHIE Challenge!!!! Warheads, Toxic Waste (DANGEROUS!!!)” have millions or even tens of millions of views.
Candy agony videos are not just for kids, but for (alleged) grown-ups too. When YouTuber “Furious Pete” took the “150 Warheads Challenge,” he made sure to lean into the camera for close-ups of his livid, candy-discolored tongue and gums. “This is easily the most painful challenge ever,” he belches, and you almost believe him.
Candy is supposed to be sweet and delicious, right? So why does it seem like so many candies are trending toward the mouth-manglingly sour and the exuberantly repulsive, with names like Sour Smog Balls, gummy brains and oozing eyeballs, rotten egg or barf-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans? In fact, extreme and novelty candy is one of the fastest-growing categories in the confectionery business, according to the National Confectionery Association.