Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#0084: The Littlest Pet Shop

Rub your eyelids furiously, kick off the dust, and shoot some heroin into your veins - because we're back, baby!! I can't be held responsible for any enjoyment you may get from this blog entry, nor from any drugs you took on an ill-advised whim. Side note: I always found it funny that heroin and heroine sound so similar. Side side note: I mean, I didn't always find it funny, obviously. It's not like I was an infant in the crib giggling to myself about heroin. At least, I don't think I was. It was a long time ago, after all.

What? Blog? Oh yes.

So 2016 was a year of grim absence - only one blog post to its name, and it wasn't even a proper toy-related entry: instead, it was a way of showing off my amiibo collection! More the pity, no wonder a spambot added a comment linking to a variety of illicit websites. The punishment should fit the crime, and in my case, my punishment was a computer virus and an eyeful of dong.

What of this year, though? What opportunities has it afforded me? Well, I've started writing for a quirky pop culture website known as Nerds4LifeBlog (cheap plug), and I've even gotten some stuff published on Fox Sports, too. It's tucked away in a quiet little corner of the site, but you know what? It's there. It's mine. It's exciting.

But enough about that! Considering I'm the only one who really looks at this blog, this is reading more like a diary entry than anything else (next I want to talk about Charlie Fitzpatrick from chemistry class - he's dreaaaaamy). Fuckers aren't here for exposition. They're here for exhibition. Of toys. And who did I decide would make the perfect hosts for this return? Why, it's the Littlest Pet Shop, that's who!

Before you start pointing digital fingers at me like a surly group of naysayers, I assure you that these were my sister's toys. I was into more masculine things like Ninja Turtles and Sonic the Hedgehog and Murder, She Wrote. I was able to convince my sister that it was time to free these sad animals from the garage, and unleash them on the world. It'll either be a wonderful experience, or they'll spread the deadly T-Virus. Fingers crossed its the latter, I'm sick of this shit already.

The basic concept of TLPS (oh god, that's a horrible acronym) is that you buy a variety of cute little animals in lovely enclosures. As you can see from the header photo, complete with terrible lighting and questionable feng shui, critters range from kitties to puppies to goddamn swans, making me assume that this pet shop has some particularly loose morals. For ninety bucks, they'll give you a puppy! For two hundred, they'll kill a man.

It should come as no surprise, that several of the animal population and their homes are now missing, an eerie form of genocide that my government still hasn't recognised officially. Now there's just a bed, a lonely, empty house, some poop litter and a basket that may or may not actually be part of this collection. It's sad, but not nearly as sad as the former residents of this once great (and yet somehow decidedly little) pet shop. There's fluffy tailed furries and clawing critters that no longer have the scratching posts they once possessed. So now, they look more like they just want to strangle you.

Some of them are actually miniature figurines that came as part of a little playset, suggesting that the aforementioned pet shop was not in fact the littlest, a misnomer that perhaps led to the company's demise.

Here we see little Abigail resting in her cot, watching idly as her bunny friend Amber hops along the rolling fields of grey. Amber's younger sister Wendy observes cautiously from a nearby tree, while Bruce and Betty spin merrily about for hours on end. The evil pink starfish watches unseen from above, because every tale needs a villain, and more importantly, I forgot to include it in the group picture.

My favourites? I'm so glad you asked. There's the fluffy Yorkshire terrier that has long flowing hair that can be pulled from behind to make it into a long flowing tail - just like a real doggie! Then there's the large grey cat with its mouth agape that is perpetually crawling along the floor like some sort of struggling alcoholic. And not to be left out, there's a pair of mice that used to be part of a cute little enclosure. Only the bottom part of this feature remains, a delightful maze in which to test your wits. One of the mice has a magnet in its butt like some sort of test subject, you see. Originally, you would place a magnet on the other side of the plastic, and have it navigate the maze to collect the many pieces of cheese haphazardly stuck to the floor. It has no access to this magnet now, so it can only sit there at the starting line in misery. It could be worse, though - the other mouse doesn't even seem to have a face at all.

The series has continued to this day, relaunched in the mid-2000s with a new art direction that chiefly consisted of REALLY BIG EYES. Like, seriously, those things won't just stare into your soul, they'll look right through it and perv on your wife's soul before you even realise what's going on. Call me a purist (go on, I fucking dare you), but I prefer the more understated appearance of the original series. Especially the drunk cat - seriously, that chick is awesome.

Odds are, as the years go by and I continue to unearth more items from dad's garage, I'll end up finding more and more of these fun friends, so doubtlessly you can look forward to those being arbitrarily shoehorned into other entries when I can't be bothered to make a follow-up post.

For now, though - there's something more exciting to prepare for... A FROG JUMPING CONTEST. That's right, just like we used to do in the old country. Join on in, it'll be a hoot! Or at least, a warble.

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