It’s more than just a TV show. It’s part of your daily or weekly routine that reaches beyond the small screen. It’s a piece of pop culture you want to experience even when you’re not watching it.
You, my friend, are a merchandiser’s dream, and you’ve contributed to the growing cache of TV-inspired swag that’s never more in demand than at the holidays. Today’s choices are nearly endless, including “Cougar Town’s” “40 is the new 20" throw pillow, Animal Planet’s pet beds and a temporary tattoo of the “Sons of Anarchy” grim reaper logo big enough to cover a grown man’s back. A life-size cardboard stand-up of Kurt from “Glee” or Abby, the goth crime solver on “NCIS?” In stock!
So what better time than the holidays to give yourself and all those TV addicts on your list a little piece of the zeitgeist? Check out some highlights here:
For the fantasy fiend
Profess your undying love for that special “Vampire Diaries” fan with an antique-looking signet necklace inspired by (but not a copy of) the one Elena Gilbert wears on the drama. The locket bears a fancy letter “S” for hunky vampire Stefan Salvatore, but it could double as a talisman for his bad-boy brother, Damon, in a pinch. Vervain, the ultimate vampire repellent, not included. https://www.wbshop.com
What true “Boardwalk Empire” fan can watch the HBO drama without wetting his or her whistle? That’s just unnatural when the Prohibition-era drama is soaked to the gills in booze. Try a stainless steel engraved hip flask (hint: it’s never the wrong size) and throw in a Nucky Thompson hat straight from the politician-mobster’s favored haberdashery for period-perfect detail. Hooch sold separately. store.hbo.com
Comfort the agonized “Game of Thrones” fan (who has to wait until April for Season 2) with a bold Targaryen statement ring. The three-headed dragon pattern will be a constant reminder that mythical creatures can rise from the ashes. store.hbo.com
For the comedy nerd
What “Community” fan wouldn’t be thrilled with a talking Jeff Winger bobblehead? The 8-inch figure wears a skintight T-shirt — the better to display his tiny six-pack — and spouts phrases like, “Tell the drama club their tears will be real today.” And though the Christmas-themed “Community” figurines depicting Winger’s on-screen cohorts can’t talk, their pint-sized likenesses speak volumes about the NBC show that draws a small but fervent audience. Based on last holiday’s psychedelic Claymation head trip of an episode, the products include “Snowman Chang,” “Britta Bot” and “Troy Soldier.” https://www.nbcuniversalstore.com
“How I Met Your Mother’s” resident womanizer, Barney Stinson, has published a new book, “Bro on the Go.” It’s a sequel to his earlier, bestselling tome, “The Bro Code,” where he (via CBS show writer Matt Kuhn) gives advice on stalking the fairer sex. Among the pearls of wisdom: “A watched bikini top never malfunctions.” Complete the gift with Barney-inspired “suitjamas,” black silk jammies that look like a business suit. Wrap it up in awesomeness. cbs.seenon.com
For the drama queen/king
Spotted: Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf look-alikes traipsing around L.A. in glamorous clothes. Or they will be, if you outfit the “Gossip Girl” fan on your list in gauzy boho layers (for the Serena devotee) or upscale preppy chic (for the Queen B wannabe). The latest line of “Gossip Girl"-inspired cocktail dresses, chiffon blouses and hot pants, ranging from $80 to $200, are available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Kitson.
But beauty like this is only skin deep. How about a look inward — or rather, at innards — for the “CSI” fan with a trip to “CSI: The Experience”? It opened recently in New York’s Discovery Times Square, where it will operate until March; there’s also a permanent location at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Those who know a thing or two about bullet trajectories, blood spatter and DNA analysis will have a field day solving staged crimes. Armed with a pencil, clipboard, evidence sheet and TV-honed investigative skills, fans go from forensics lab to autopsy to — Eureka! — crime solved in about 30 minutes. That’s even quicker than on the show. https://www.mgmgrand.com/entertainment/csi-the-experience.aspx; https://www.discoverytsx.com/exhibitions/csi
For the reality TV realist
Fans of “The Real Housewives” series readily admit that the shows, based in Orange County, Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey and Atlanta are guilty pleasures. So don’t judge. Just fork over a companion product or two that will keep that special someone you love from going all NeNe on you. How about a copy of “Skinny Italian,” a cookbook from Jersey girl Teresa Giudice? Or there’s a smooth R&B CD, “Kandi Koated,” which Atlanta housewife Kandi Burruss “almost completely wrote,” according to the description. For a catty overview of all the series, you could pick “The Real Housewives Get Personal,” a paperback in which the women hold forth on topics such as plastic surgery, personal growth, shopping, styling, travel, fitness and real estate. And keep the withering stare to yourself — it’s the holidays, after all. https://www.shopbybravo.com
The outdoorsy reality fan who enjoys peace and quiet may be hankering for fishing gear based on Animal Planet’s highest-rated series, “River Monsters.” You can send your favorite adventurer onto the water with enough show-branded rods, reels, lures and tackle to land the Big One, just like star Jeremy Wade. Exotic location not required. https://www.south-bend.com/introducing-river-monsters
For the young TV addict
On the off chance that the young boy in your life doesn’t already have a boatload of toys, video games and other tchotchkes based on the top-rated Cartoon Network show “Ben 10,” prepare yourself for the inevitable. Or just go fight the crowds now at Toys R Us for this season’s newest action figures, vehicles and play sets and be ahead of the curve. But if you really want to score major points with this kid, snag the “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien” Ultimate Ultimatrix. It’s a transparent gadget with lights and sound effects that he’ll wear on his wrist while searching for clues about somebody named Azmuth. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to know who that is.)
If, by chance, that young boy’s older sister hasn’t yet caught on to Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up,” again, you’ve been warned. The live-action buddy comedy has a devout following of tween girls who love all its song-and-dance story lines. Swag was sure to follow. Payless has a branded shoe line, better to imitate the fancy footwork, and Target, Sears and other retailers have stylish, age-appropriate outfits. Newest in the line: VIP dolls inspired by the lead characters, CeCe and Rocky. (They join their strong-selling sisters from Disney Channel shows like “Hannah Montana,” “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “High School Musical.”)
For the animation devotee
Give a warm, meaty skull-hug to your “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” fan with a bright red Meatwad knit cap. It’s 100% acrylic, “the sexiest textile,” and doesn’t need to be ironed, according to the product description. It’s perfect for “skiing, gangstering, business meetings — really any time you need to be warm and look your best.” And it comes in a gift box! Add “Robot Chicken” cyborg socks for ultimate coziness. https://www.adultswimshop.com
For directionally challenged “Simpsons” fans, there’s a GPS iPhone app in which Homer J. Simpson plays destination guide and rewards wanderers with a hearty “Woo Hoo!” upon arrival. Guess what happens when a wrong turn is taken? D’oh! The app comes with all the latest TomTom maps and Dan Castellaneta’s voice as the lovable doofus who heads the Fox comedy, now TV’s longest-running scripted series. Remember: Homer can navigate anywhere, but doughnut shops and Quik-E-Marts are his specialty. tomtom.com/en_gb/products/voices/homer-simpson