Merry Christmas! You can't return this present - I'm reviewing it so I can say goodbye to one of hundreds of toys I need to clear from my home.
The 1990s were a crazy time. Pop culture straddled kids and adults, with oddities like Dinosaurs pulling from the "edgy" animation world grabbing eyeballs after the success of The Simpsons and the then-recent jumps in technology. Fancy suits and puppets got us some amazing movie special effects, many of which were boiled down for the small screen with characters Baby Sinclair. The character was voiced by Kevin Clash - he of Elmo - and was a catchphrase-spouting ball of ire. He'd throw things, scream, and generally be a little brat - he even got a music video because it was trendy to do such things. Fox got a lot of attention with Michael Jackson and The Simpsons songs, so why not try to cash in with a novelty song of a thing that was popular with little kids? A figure line came and went quietly from Hasbro with little promotion. I only knew it existed because a fellow student saw them, and yes, I was a weird kid collecting toys who took note of such things.
Jointed only at the waist, this is a cheap and pretty good action figure. It sits, and does little else - Hasbro gave it a good sculpt with better-than-average paint, putting it above the kind of quality you would normally get from an Applause! figure of that era. He's molded in a pink hue, seated at about 3 1/2-inches tall. I'm surprised to see things like painted finger and toenails, plus various spots and dots. The mouth has a painted tongue and some black to represent the voids in our souls.
Baby has two accessories - a bottle, and an egg. He can hold neither. They just sit there. The show had a lot of food-based humor thanks to a running gag involving the fridge being stocked with live creatures, and frequent conversations with the food. This also resulted in gags about the environmental impact of said food - ecology and the environment were a big part of 1990s television, and Dinosaurs in particular went from preachy to obvious to the occasionally clever. The show ends with the father coming to terms with the world being destroyed as a result of a wax fruit factory. I haven't seen the episode in a while, but it seems like the kind of thing you could air today and people wouldn't necessarily realize that it was written decades prior. A catchphrase-spewing puppet show about dinosaurs isn't where you expect to get a lecture on the dangers of consumerism and jokes about Dianetics, but there was a lot baked in to the show where nearly everybody was at least partially named for a petroleum company.
Thanks to the figure's limited scope, it's good. It doesn't try to do much, so it turns out that it's utterly fantastic for what it is - a small collectible cash-in from a TV show you probably don't remember and probably would never admit to having watched, despite some clever writing. I defy you to not find a mangy cat demanding a million helicopters and a dollar as ransom as funny.
1990s kiddie tie-in merchandise was practically a given after the life cycle was kicked off to great success in the 1980s. A TV show could spawn trading cards, figures, apparel, home video tapes, and even Happy Meal toys were a requirement for a modest success. The only thing Dinosaurs was missing was an animated Saturday morning spin-off to sell even more toys, or cereal, or an NES game. It's a weird posthumous part of Jim Henson's Muppets legacy, a mix of clever gags and playing to the kids. If nothing else, it gave us news anchor "Howard Handupme," easily the best name for a puppet on television in any year. Baby-the-toy is part of that legacy - a fantastically crafted thing that, just like the show, is something I'm ready to get rid of and never think of again.
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