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The (Taco) Bell Tolls For Gidget: Rest In Peace, Amiga

July 26, 2009

Yesterday I emerged from 3 days of sitting shiva for Gidget, the best-known Taco Bell Chihuahua.  The Orthodox usually do it for 7 days, but I’m anything but orthodox.  Since I was forbidden to prepare heated food, people brought me Crunchwrap Supremes and Mexican Pizzas.  As a human, I’m not technically a first-degree relative of Gidget’s (or Dinky’s or Taco’s, the lesser-known Taco Bell Chihuahuas), so perhaps I shouldn’t be observing her death in such a fashion.  But everyone grieves in his or her own way.  Don’t judge me.

Those of you familiar with my struggle with Taco Bell addiction realize how sad this is for TB lovers.  Had Gidget never become the most recognizable face of Taco Bell, it might have been Kevin Federline.  Every magical bite of Gordita Baja I would have associated with “PopoZão”, and my relationship with “warm, pillowy flatbread filled with seasoned ground beef, creamy Pepper Jack sauce, crisp, shredded lettuce, a blend of three cheeses — cheddar, pepperjack, and mozzarella, and Fiesta Salsa” would have soured.  I would have been left like Little Albert, conditioned to fear something I shouldn’t.  I may still have eaten Gorditas, but I couldn’t have enjoyed them, much as Little Albert never again enjoyed devouring white rats.

While she was most famous for Taco Bell commercials, Gidget also starred as Reese Witherspoon’s Chihuahua’s mother in Legally Blonde II: Red, White and Blonde, and upstaged the difficult-to-work-with Gecko in a 2002 Geico commercial.  It was rumored that Gecko tried to blacklist Gidget after their tumultuous off-screen relationship fell apart.  It may have worked, since Gidget failed to land a starring role in Beverly Hills Chihuahua, though Gidget’s camp claims it was due to fundamental differences in her interpretation of the character.  Late in her career she struggled to compete with younger chihuahuas like Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell.  Gidget decided it was time to quit, stating that it “simply wasn’t worth it” to learn new tricks since Hollywood now prefers even smaller canines like miniature Yorkies and teacup poodles.

But now Gidget’s gone, and I will fill the emotional hole with an order of Nachos Bellgrande and a dozen Volcano Tacos. (I’ll be sitting somewhere after that, and it won’t be shiva.)  My spat years ago with Taco Bell doesn’t matter anymore: I Quiero Taco Bell, I Quiero’d Taco Bell, and I will always Quiero Taco Bell.  Viva Gidget, who dropped the Big Chalupa on July 21, 2009, after a stroke.  She was 15.

3 Comments
  1. Jay St. Orts permalink
    July 27, 2009 1:59 pm

    I tearfully watched the Staples Center Memorial for our dearly departed. Jennifer Hudson and Lil Jon sang a duet medley of his two favorite songs: “My Humps” and “Milkshake.” Spencer Pratt delivered a stirring eulogy, drawing heavily on Shelley’s “Adonais,” and read from Nelson Mandela’s moving tribute.

  2. August 1, 2009 3:01 pm

    Brilliant Article. It is quite stirring that you sat shiva for this magnificent actress. I myself have recited the mourner’s kaddish, Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba, for 17 days straight, only stopping to weakly eat a Big Bellbeefer that I had ceremoniously frozen during the Summer of ’92. (I had feared America’s finest sandwich would be discontinued in response to the turbulent shifting political winds of the era). Gidget was more than a world renoun thespian. She epitomized grace, style, and the eternal promise of fine dining for less than $3.50. I am sure that she delighted St Peter and the angels with a rousing cry of “Drop the Chalupa” in front of the Pearly Gates.

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