Unless you've been hanging on the news 24/7, you may have missed this one: General Mills has agreed to scrap the muted colors of Trix cereal and go back to the original bright colors.

Apparently when people want grain-based nodules industrially formed into crunchy spheres and dusted with sucrose, they want them as lurid as possible.

The news would please the Trix rabbit, but he is so manic he appears incapable of additional happiness. He was part of the menagerie of characters whose lives were built entirely around cereal acquisition:

The Sugar Crisp Bear, who had the laid-back smile and heavy-lidded eyes of the habitual reefer fiend.

Lucky the Leprechaun, a bad sorcerer who couldn't summon the proper response to juvenile delinquency. "The kids are after me Lucky Charms. I'll transport them to a dark dimension of eternal torments! No, I'll make a unicycle so I can cross this rope bridge." How about both, genius?

We never stopped to think that the kids were attempting to steal his possessions, and we were expected to cheer their felonious behavior.

Tony the Tiger, who was utterly predictable — yeah, yeah, they're grrrreat, got it. He shilled for Frosted Flakes, which were shards of grain dipped in shellac, and had to sit in the milk to avoid gum damage.

Cap'n Crunch, a lovably befuddled mariner whose cereal also felt like a handful of screws in your mouth. Every year he puts out "Oops! All Crunchberries" as if we're expected to believe it's an accident. Hey, inventory errors are your problem, Cap. Don't shove them off on us.

The aforementioned Trix Rabbit, who was preyed on by the innate cruelty of children. Here's a cute, friendly rabbit who stands erect and speaks English! Let's deny him the simplest of pleasures. "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" was stated as though it were some immutable law, as if the Supreme Court had ruled 9-0 in the matter of Trix v. Kids.

It was supposed to make kids feel special, perhaps. There were some things that were just for kids, such as Trix and lengthy dental procedures. "Silly rabbit! Trix, and injections of novocaine to allow the application of mercury-amangam substances on the molars, are for kids!"

But who's buying this stuff now? Who cares whether Trix is sufficiently colorful? The boxes often use "throwback" art to look like they did in 1964, as if appealing to people in the senior demographic. I don't think they're buying Trix, as much as they'd like to.

The boomer demo would love some animated spokes­creatures for their boring, grown-up cereals. Like, oh, I don't know, Pruney the Fiber Chicken, who runs around saying, "Bulk! Bulk, bulk, bulk, bullllk!" And then animated old people take away his cereal and say, "Silly chicken, fiber is for grown-ups, who increasingly need assistance to perform the most basic tasks of life."

Or Buster Bran, the branniest of them all! "Ohhhhh, you'll start your day like a bran eater oughter! He'll blow you out like a heavy-gauge augur! Buster Bran! Buster Bran!"

Or just a Big Fat Raisin. "I'm a desiccated grape that hung from a vine, too low-quality to make it into wine. I'll make your day go as right as rain! Have you noticed my name's in the public domain? Always ask for Raisin Bran! Whoever the heck makes it."

Most new cereals now seem to be movie tie-ins. When they made a Noah movie a few years ago, you expected something that stayed crunchy even after 150 days in milk.

The most recent non-movie cereal was General Mill's Tiny Toast, which was aimed at busy moms. You know how it is — you're late, the bus is coming any minute, and you're only halfway through carving up the toast, and you still have to apply the teeny pats of butter. Calgon, take me away!

But Tiny Toast has been folded into the company's Toast Crunch Family now, with its size de-emphasized in favor of the purported flavor. There was no online outrage about the change.

Perhaps we'll have to wait for kids who grew up on Tiny Toast to have a pang of nostalgia, and complain about how things aren't like they were before. Typical irritable adults, looking for something to complain about.

Unless they've had their bran.

james.lileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks