3 Musketeers is a candy bar that was first produced in 1932 by the M&M/Mars Company. Currently, the 3 Musketeers candy bar is a bar of chocolate nougat covered in milk chocolate, but originally it debuted M&M/Mars's third original candy creation, consisting of three separate bars, one each of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry nougats. This is why it was given the name of 3 Musketeers. The candy bar switched to its current format of a single bar containing only chocolate flavored nougat in 1945.

3 Musketeers is a delicious and unique taste treat in the American candy universe, being the only candy bar I know of to commit so strongly to the righteous cause of nougat. However, its official website is a garish abomination that inevitably causes insanity in all who gaze upon it. For example, here's one of the questions from the 3 Musketeers FAQ:

What is the history of the 3 MUSKETEERS® Brand Characters?

There were originally four (4) Musketeers, however, M&M/MARS only uses three Musketeers. Aramis, Porthos and Athos were the original Musketeers, but D'Artagnan proved himself worthy and was embraced as the 4th Musketeer. M&M/MARS decided that because of D'Artagnan's courage and worthiness, he would make a fine 3 MUSKETEERS® character, and therefore, we do not use Aramis. The personalities of the 3 MUSKETEERS® characters are as follows:

Porthos- a man of the world. He's smooth and sophisticated and exudes self-confidence and personal style. He's a man of chivalry and honor. He is James Bond with a saber.

Athos- brilliant and brave but also clumsy like a nutty professor. He constantly finds himself in awkward situations because he doesn't watch where he's going. He's a scatterbrained hero with a heart of gold.

D'Artagnan - the leader of the trio. He's young and eager, always the first to charge into the fray. He's courageous, gallant and always wins the day.

Some might notice the fact that these descriptions gloss over the characters a bit, and in many ways don't actually resemble the characters from Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, but that is to be expected to a certain extent in a candy bar marketed to children. After all, Athos being haunted by the shame of marrying a convicted thief whom he subsequently kills doesn't exactly scream "Chocolatey fun!" at you. However, the FAQ goes on:

Where can I buy 3 MUSKETEERS® branded merchandise?

There are currently no retail outlets where 3 MUSKETEERS® branded merchandise is available.

Okay, I call bullshit on this one. There is no way in hell that "Where can I buy 3 MUSKETEERS® branded merchandise" is a frequently asked question. I might believe "Hey, can I get a 3 Musketeers t-shirt?", or perhaps "OH DEAR GOD, IT WON'T STOP BLEEDING, SOMEONE GET A TOURNIQUET," but not "Where can I buy 3 MUSKETEERS® branded merchandise". Even more bizarrely, they have this as a frequently asked question, and yet they provide an answer that would disappoint anyone asking the question in the first place. If this is indeed a frequently asked question, would that not indicate that there is a demand for such merchandise? There's something awfully fishy here.

All that said, this is pretty minor corporate stuff, the kind of shilling that one expects on a company's own website. The truly egregious part is when one sees the renderings of the previously mentioned characters. Porthos is black (I'm sorry, that should be African Frenchman), Athos is Hispanic (and, of course, like all people of Hispanic descent, he sounds like Cheech Marin), and D'Artagnan has blond hair and blue eyes. These aren't characters some marketing exec made up. Hell, they aren't even wholly characters that Alexandre Dumas made up. They're based on real people, real French people. If you want a little racial diversity, call your candy bar Othello.

In another remarkably strange aspect of this creepy candy mythos, there are bios of each of the characters on the site which portray the characters as movie stars, not unlike the Three Amigos!. In addition, the website features two short animated clips with the characters, one entitled "Factory", where they battle the evil Dr. Scandalini, and one entitled "The Chocolaty Awards" where they receive the award for "New Better Tasting Chocolate" at the aforementioned awards show. Here's the script from "Factory":

We open with D'Artagnan, Athos, and Porthos standing near the Choco-Fluffer 3000, admiring the 3 MUSKETEERS® bars on the conveyer belt

D'ARTAGNAN:
Hey, lookin' good!

PORTHOS:
Why, thank you, D'Artagnan.

D'Artagnan notices the candy bars deflating after going through the wrapping machine

D'ARTAGNAN:
Whoa! Something's happening to the fluffy chocolate!

The camera follows a network of pipes to tanks containing said fluffy chocolate, to which a hose is attached. The hose leads out the window of the factory, where two henchmen are filling pillows with the chocolate. Dr. Scandalini stands behind them, rubbing his hands together a la Mr. Burns from The Simpsons

DR. SCANDALINI:
*cackles* My Sweet Dreams Fluffy Pillows will make me millions by stuffing them with 3 MUSKETEERS® fluffy chocolate! *laughs*

D'ARTAGNAN:
Hey fellas, feel like a pillow fight? *slides down the hose* Aha!

D'Artagnan, Athos, and Porthos slide down the hose, knocking over Dr. Scandalini's henchmen in the process. Without the henchman to hold and direct the hose, chocolate is spewed everywhere, coating Scandalini in the process.

ANNOUNCER:
Reward yourself in time with a fluffy whipped-up chocolate on chocolate taste of a 3 MUSKETEERS® bar.

DR. SCANDALINI:
I'm finished!

D'ARTAGNAN:
"Fluffy" is more like it.

From a horrifyingly bad example of grammar to the obvious propaganda inserted by the International Gay Conspiracy, the enormity of this script cannot be overlooked. However, there is one positive aspect. Look at the announcer's sole line in the script. Instead of encouraging children to gorge themselves like so many other foodmongers seem to do, they advise that children reward themselves simply with a taste of a 3 MUSKETEERS® bar. With their advice that recommends eating not a whole bar, nor even a bite, the advertisers encourage moderation in a way that would make Miss Manners proud. You know, maybe I've been too hard on them. Here I am, picking nits over grammar and details about a book written last millennium, when these noble souls are defending our children against the perils of excessive consumption. I feel like such a heel.


Sources:
Food Facts & Trivia: 3 Musketeers Candy Bar. http://www.foodreference.com/html/f3musketeers.html
Candy USA. http://www.candyusa.org/History/timeline.shtml
3 "MUSKETEERS"; Official Fan Site. http://www.3musketeers.com/

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