The bikes from big box stores like Target won't blow up the instant you sit on them. They will probably get you to where you need to go. The thing is, they are much less fixable (without buying expensive new parts to replace what's on there). They are more or less designed to be disposable. In that you ride it for a year or so until something breaks, and then you toss it and buy a new one. The single speed ones they sell have less cheap moving parts and are less subject to this and there are people who have stories about making their Target or Walmart bike last for years and tens of thousands of miles. The thing about those people that people don't often mention is that few, if any, of the parts on those bikes are stock by this point and they've probably spent as much replacing those parts as they would have buying a newer bike. They spread the cost out longer and have a bike uniquely tailored to themselves, but didn't end up saving much/any money.
So, to me, it really comes down to what you want. If you're in your last year of college and want something to get around on short 1-5 mile rides for the next 6-8 months and then toss sell as you move away somewhere to a nice job where you'll need a car to get to work every day and don't plan on riding again, the target bike will probably do what you need. If you're in an early stage of college (or just want something that you won't have to replace every year or two), spending that money on a higher quality used bike off Craigslist (this will require some research), or spending twice that money on a bike at a reputable local bike shop that comes with a year of free tune ups or whatever, is probably a better long term value (if you're at all mechanically minded, I'd probably put something like bikes direct in here too).