Homer and Jango
by Phillip Bailey
“You know the dream where they fly though the window?”
Of all the crap passed off over the years as Simpsons’ merchandise, the last couple of years have almost made up for it as Playmates’ “World of Springfield” toy line just gets better and better.
Upcoming figures and playsets are going to include Burns Manor with a C. Montgomery Burns figure decked out in his night shirt and night cap, which should make your Smithers action figure quite happy.
“Hi everybody, Hi Doctor Nick!”
Another playset coming is Dr. Nick Riviera’s office with none other than Dr. Nick Riviera. This one just has to come with a sound sample of “If you rub it on a piece of paper and the paper turns clear, it’s your ticket to weight gain.”
“Homer stop picking at it.”
There are going to be two more Toys R Us exclusives in September. One is the oft-delayed Springfield Mainstreet set and a really exciting Halloween set with Bart’s not-so-evil-twin Hugo, Marge, Groundskeeper Willy thinly disguised as Freddy Krueger, and (partially eaten) Donut Head Homer. The playset depicts the Ironic Punishment Division of Hell. Hopefully these will not be as ridiculously scarce as last year’s TRU exclusives. The rest of the line seems pretty easy to get but the Halloween stuff…well you better be the kid opening the box or have deep Ebay pockets. I mean I can understand the desire to have exclusives and even making them rare, but they should at least be freaking available at some point. I mean some of these single store exclusives never even make it to the shelves. They go from the truck to Ebay by way of some employee’s car and the toy companies’ answer is to make the toys even scarcer. I know this increases interest in the line but wouldn’t Hasbro or Playmates or whoever benefit more from selling lots of units instead of having all of their “exclusives” only being sold on online auctions. I think if they want to do stuff like this, the offer them though the company’s web site. That makes for a more democratic process for obtaining one. Make the product available through pre purchase and then manufacture enough to fill those orders and cut off the stragglers. That cuts down on unhappy consumers, disappointed kids (remember them?) and of course shady deals in the back rooms of Wal-Mart, Target, and TRU.
“Look Daddy, I’m a Surfer.”
Individual figures coming up are StoneCutter Homer (alas it is not Homer nude with a boulder around his neck), Sunday Best Marge, and Rod and Todd Flanders. Also the celebrity figures continue and the best of the lot is Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio. I already have Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony and can only hope we soon get Leonard Nimoy and Stephen Hawking figures…ahhhh…nerd overload!
“Lack of Force”
Is it just me or does it seem like the air has been let out of the Star Wars toy franchise? Around the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace the toys were flying off the shelves, getting bid up to ridiculous amounts on eBay and there was plenty of nerds buzzing about the next wave of figures and the Battle Droid variants. Episode II: Attack of the Clones would seem to be an even toy friendlier movie. What with all the bounty hunters and Jedi Knights who actually fight as opposed to sitting around in Papasan chairs like they did in Phantom Menace, and far more interesting aliens, monsters, and droids. So what happens? The toys just sit on the shelves. The movie hadn’t even left first run theatres and the toys were being marked down faster than the action figures from A Beautiful Mind. The toys are really nice, too. Some of the figures are amongst the best Star Wars figures out there but people just don’t seem to care. Licensed toys are still hot, and Star Wars is one of the hottest properties out there, but it all seems rather flat. This could be a by-product of a slow economy or perhaps, just perhaps, the franchise has become mortal.