Gumball Eyes refer to American ice cream desserts manufactured by Blue Bunny that are shaped like the faces of various popular characters, like Spongebob Squarepants or Sonic the Hedgehog. The ice creams use candy gum balls to represent the character's eyes, but due to mistakes in the manufacturing process, the eyeballs are often wildly misaligned, leading to a comedic appearance.
The most notable character featuring gumball eyes is the Sonic the Hedgehog version. The original version of the Sonic treat was released to be in partnership with the planned 1996 Sonic game Sonic X-treme which was officially cancelled in 1997. There have since been several iterations of the ice creams, including a regular Sonic the Hedgehog-branded version. While the Bars in the 90's were known to have mismatched eyes, Sonic fans were first known to record mismatched eyes online at some point around 2009. A blogger at Sonic Gear cataloged the different versions available at that time, noting that the ice cream bars rarely looked much like the actual Sonic character, and often looked "scary."
Both ice cream fans and individual character fans have chronicled gumball eyes in blogs and fanart, especially Sonic. The single topic blog With Gumball Eyes! was created May 18th, 2011, and continued to chronicle examples for about four more months. A reddit user posted in the /r/expectationsvsreality subreddit in July 2012 about his excitement when encountering the misaligned eyeballs on a Scooby Doo pop; the post received 950 points (97% upvoted). On June 16th, 2013, Fox News published an article entitled "8 Seriously Creepy Popsicles" which chronicled the phenomenon, and Dorkly created a similar list on September 10th, 2014. On DeviantArt, there are over 1,400 results for "gumball eyes," many of which are typical fanart style drawings with misaligned green eyes, in deference to the original Sonic popsicles.
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