Tuesday, February 1, 2011

#0007: Fi-Do

Back in the 90’s, Beanie Babies were hot property. I don’t seem to recall any sort of favouritsm among most collectors; it didn’t matter if it was a frog, a bear or an elephant, if it was retired, it was considered golden.

Me personally, I was a cat collector. I went to great lengths to collect every single variation of cat (in the early stages, they all looked the same other than fur colour, which made my multitude of purchases even sadder), until it struck me: those bigwigs at Ty Inc. would never stop producing them.

Where I would once feel glorious pride for finally nabbing that elusive white Flip, I would later feel cheated and bewildered how quickly a Bently or Frisco would hit the market. It was like a zombie movie; no matter how many I picked off, four more would surface in their place.

That being said, if I had to choose between fending off hoards of zombies or collecting stuffed animals, I would much prefer the latter. So really, I lucked out, I suppose.

There was an inexplicable excitement whenever you saw that a store stocked Beanie Babies. You’d run over to them (well no, you’d walk, but running sounds more animated) and sift through them for a goodie, inspecting each thoroughly for authenticity.

Could the same be said for 1997’s Teenie Weenie Beanie Meanies? Would you hoist a flatulent Bart elephant to the air with the same elation you would had you found the legendary dragon Magic?

…The short answer is no. The reasons are plentiful, and let’s explore some with my friend, Fi-Do the Dalmutation.

In case it isn’t strikingly obvious yet, Meanies were an attempt to cash in on Ty’s stuffed craze by creating their own line of gross, unusual toys. They would theoretically become collectibles like the Babies, each model going out of production like their prolific cousin, but tragically, it seems as though the whole line drying up in 2000 has done nothing to increase their value.

I can’t remember where it was that I got my first and only Meanie, but I do remember being faced with a decision that day: Which one would I choose? I could only get one, and I had narrowed the contenders down to either Fi-Do, or Boris the Mucousaurus. Two-headed dog or dinosaur with a runny nose? If only all choices in my life were so simple and inconsequential. If only all choices on Earth were as mundane. World problems, solved on a basis of which stupid stuffed toy you would buy.

In the end, I went with Fi-Do for the reason that he was less gross. Perhaps then, I really needn’t have gotten a Meanie at all. When one of the product features is of its being ‘Totally gross!’, you have to realise that its ability to be repugnant might be of mild importance. The significance of Meanies was clearly lost on me that day.

Retrospectively, I made the right choice. Boris looked like shit; at least Fi-Do was aesthetically pleasing. He’s a two-headed dog with his eyes and ears all mixed up. Hehe he’s fun.

But really, Fi-Do offers little else other than some jumbled features. He’s just a sad little sack of beans, and I can’t picture him making anyone’s day. Just imagine the look of chagrin on a little girl’s face when she unwraps her present, and out comes Fi-Do?

Christ, I’m disappointed for her, and she doesn’t even exist.

Look, the Meanies idea is nothing that hasn’t been done before, and done much better. Remember the Garbage Pail Kids? Originally Cabbage Patch-esque collectible cards (before copyright infringement opted them to decrease the similarity) with grotesque qualities. Pimply Acne Amy, multi-eyed Starin’ Darren, Max Axe the executor, or my personal favourite, Adam Bomb, who simply exploded.

These characters were legitimately disgusting, or in some cases even frightening. I mean, shit, Brady Back Ribs was a baby that was eating his own ribs. People bitch about Ricky Gervais praising his atheism, when we once had a self-cannibalising toddler appearing as stickers on children’s textbooks. If it helps raise your concern at all, I’m fairly sure Brady is an atheist, too.

By comparison, Meanies are just mildly quirky. Boris is nothing more than a dinosaur with some glue on its nostrils. Snake Eyes Jake is a snake with a pair of dice for eyes. Otis Octopunk on the other hand, he looked pretty cool. They should have just released a shitload of Otises. I’d be down with that.

Without having really done a lot to describe the toy itself, I feel as though I’ve limited your scope of appreciation for Fi-Do. The only thing I can really offer is that he’s proportionately awkward. Which seems like a really obvious statement to make on a two-headed dog, but like, his body is so tiny, but his legs are remarkably long.

Why for, Fi-Do? Doth thy seek’st a lengthy trek? This is an appropriate thing, because I fear as though he will change hands many more times from here on before he finds a good home. Let’s put it this way; if this doggie went to the pound, I wouldn’t like his chances.

Also worth mentioning is that there is a section of Ty Inc’s website called ‘Ty Girlz’.

…I certainly hope they’re not retired…

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