After growing up and living in the area for 30 years I can tell you without a doubt that the staple of any true Fishtowner’s diet, is Artic Splash. I myself drank more than my fair share of it growing up in all forms too, mini cartons, pints and even at home in a glass from the elusive and now almost extinct, gallon jug. Believe it or not, its taste varies slightly depending on the container and depending on whether you drink it straight from the cardboard receptacle or through the preferred method, a straw. But no matter how you consumed it, there’s no denying the most popular breakfast throughout the neighborhood is a pint of Artic Splash and a soft pretzel sold at every mom and pop corner shop in the 19125 zip code.
Being a staple in the Fishtown culture for so long, with so many containers finding their way into every nook and cranny in the area, it’s interesting to wonder what they’ve been witness too and it’s this idea of “if these cartons could talk,” that the web series, Artic Trash Talk, intends to explore. No matter the type of Fishtown resident you are, you have more than likely come across one of these discarded cartons and whether they have been flattened by traffic or left half full on a newspaper rack with a hint of lipstick at the tip of its straw, Artic Trash Talk is intent on giving them a voice.
Webisode #1 opens with a theme song that sounds like an opening of an 80’s sitcom. However most of the nostalgia is delivered by the song and cartons themselves with most of the shots focused on much newer establishments and traditions in the area. We see cartons meeting a crushing fate underneath a barrage of bicycles, held captive under tables only to witness only to be stuck as a third wheel on an awkward first date, and hanging out at Frankford Hall with its mini version in a parody of the old school and strange habit found in local bars scattered in the River Wards, bringing your kids to the bar. Of course these bars usually offer food as well, which I always gathered as being the reason it seemed so widely acceptable. I and many of my friends spent evenings in corner bars eating some form of fried bar food while my parents had an adult beverage and possibly played shuffleboard or darts. At the time I never thought twice about it. Most of them had an area designated for sitting and eating and it was usually too early to see a more youthful or rowdy crowd in there however with the landscape and population of the area changing, that’s not the case as much anymore and it definitely makes for a strange mix.
The funniest bit of the webisode was the carton acknowledging yet another pizza shop opening and wondering where they could get a slice in the meantime. Let me assure you that finding a slice in Fishtown is as easy as finding a carton of Artic Splash. A list of local pizza joints scrolls across the scene and had me cracking up as I realized just how many there are in such a small area, probably a big contributing factor to my fat kid eating habits. I actually thought the list felt somewhat short but then again, a few old timers have recently closed. But never fear Fishtown residents, chances are you can still get a slice of pizza within at least 5 blocks of your house and of course the perfect way to wash down that slice, why with an Artic Splash of course. I wonder if my tea can direct me to the best pizza in 19125, hmmmm…episode 2 perhaps.
The show is original, clever, and laced with just enough sarcasm and dry humor. Poking fun at the hipster culture that has invaded the area more than likely will have the transplants in the neighborhood laughing along as well as giving OG residents the vindication they long for making fun of the hipsters, too. Whether you’ve grown up in Fishtown or found yourself a more recent resident drawn to its “up and coming” je ne sais quoi, Artic Trash Talk is the perfect common bond to feel like you’re connected through an inside joke that only those in the area know about but not so much of an inside joke that people completely unfamiliar with the Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms infamous iced tea, will still find the humor relevant and be able to laugh as long as well.