Back in February, we announced the exciting news that Funko Pop would be releasing a series of Muppet vinyl figures, with giant heads and dark, empty eyes.  Lucky for me and for you (but mostly me), the good people at Funko sent us a sample of the Muppet toys to review!  And review we shall!

The figures we received are Animal, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Kermit the Frog, leaving Dr. Teeth, Manha Manha, the Snowth, and Gonzo out of the running.  And that’s probably for the best.  If I got either a Snowth or Manha Manha, I’d be forced to buy two more figures to complete the set.  As it is, I may have to buy two Snowths and Manha Manha anyway, but at least I have the option to save $30.  If one of them was in my apartment, I wouldn’t be able to fight that urge.

Anyway, let’s take a look at these guys and see what all the fuss is about!


Animal

First things first, the Funko Pop packaging is very clever, but very deceptive.  There’s a lot of empty space in that box, but it looks like it’s full with your Muppet toy and whatever’s hiding behind the cardboard label.  But take the figure out, and it’s like 1/5th of the box size (note that I am most definitely wrong about proportions and other math-things).  As disappointing as that may be, you’ll pretty much forget about it immediately after throwing away the box, so whatever.

I’m going to have a few recurring issues as this review goes on, and some of the figures handle it well, some not so much.  The first issue is the dark, black eyes.  (So much for the magic triangle!)  That artistic choice actually works best with Animal, as he’s a bit of an unrelatable monster.  It makes him look a little more menacing, as opposed to the cuddly furball he’s sometimes portrayed as.

The next big, giant issue is the big, giant head.  It works alright with Animal, as I like the contrast to all the details in his body, with the clothes and chains and whatnot.  But the really big, giant issue is that Animal was the only one of the four figures I’m reviewing that couldn’t stand up due to being so top-heavy.  That’s actually a pretty big deal, since these aren’t really “toy box” toys, but the type of toys you want to display on a shelf.  When you have to come up with interesting balancing acts to keep them on their feet, they lose a bit of their allure.


Miss Piggy

I admit, I didn’t think I would like the Miss Piggy figure when I saw the box.  She looked like a generic lady pig, and not specific enough tothe lady pig.  But once I got her out of the packaging, I started to really like her Marilyn Monroe style.  She’s still not perfect, but she makes for a good looking toy.  My one complaint is her bunny ears, which hardly even seem attached to her head.  Those suckers need to be toned way down.

Her dark eyes (and Fozzie’s too, as we’ll see in a minute) don’t work nearly as well.  My guess is it’s because she and Fozzie both have prominent eyelids, making us see empty sockets, as opposed to giant pupils.  The result is an empty, soulless stare, which does not behoove a character such as Piggy at all.

I’m a little torn as to how I feel about the head size.  I’m an advocate of portraying Miss Piggy as a plus-sizer whenever possible, but because of the unnatural proportions, I can’t decide if it makes her body look slimmer in comparison or chubbier in compensation.  My gut says the former, but my imagination says the latter.  And my imagination can take my gut in a fair fight any day.


Fozzie Bear

I really, really like Fozzie’s design.  He’s a pretty simple puppet, so it shouldn’t be too hard to capture his essence, especially when screwing with the proportions like this.  He’s got the same eye problem as Piggy, but the rest of the details make up for it, like the teardrop nose, the sag of his tie, and his well-placed eyebrows.

I also like the way his head is shaped.  I didn’t think I would, but he’s got a pretty strangely shaped head as it is, and I like that the sculptor made his jaw slightly wider than his forehead, as if they’re trying to homage the little point that’s normally at the top of his head.

But for as much as I like this Fozzie toy, there is one glaring problem.

That’s right, “Fozzy Bear”.  Not only is it a terrible misspelling that drives Muppet fanatics like us bonkers, but it’s spelled correctly elsewhere on the packaging!  I can’t even make words to explain the confusion, betrayal, and downright disrespect this typographical error makes me feel!  The rage is boiling in my veins!  I’m blinded by the letter ‘Y’!  Everything tastes like copper!!  Okay, so it’s just a silly mistake, and it’ll probably be fixed if more boxes are printed.  And who knows, maybe it’s there to capture the sales of all those people who think his name is spelled “Fozzy”.  You know they’re out there!


Kermit

And finally we have Kermit.  Unlike most Muppet characters, you can slap a pair of Saturn eyes with a green background on anything and people will be able to recognize it.  So I find it hard to review an out-of-proportion toy like this, since he could have five arms, forks for legs, and be sitting in a carrot car and everyone would still accept it as Kermit the Frog.  So a giant head doesn’t even come close to making Kermit look all that strange.

I’m infinitely happy that they didn’t try to give Kermit all-black eyes.  That would’ve been disturbing.  The rounded shiny pupils work really well with his signature eye shape, almost as if the whole point of the toy is to accentuate them.  His oversized head looks a little strange being so square, but I kinda like it.  It’s a lot better than when a toy manufacturer tries to mimic the shape of the puppet and fails miserably.  The biggest downside to the giant head/tiny body is that his collar kinda gets lost in the fold.  But rest assured, it’s still there, causing all sorts of trouble under Kermit’s chin.

Of the four, my favorites are definitely Kermit and Fozzie.  They look really good next to each other, and that’s exactly how I’ll be displaying them.  I’ve seen the rest of the set in stores, and the design work looks pretty great.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up seeing a few more pop up on my shelves eventually.

The best part, of course, is seeing more affordable, quality Muppet stuff in stores.  Good work, Funko Pop and Disney Licensing, for helping to fulfill my dreams of getting people to buy pieces of plastic in the (almost, but not quite) shapes of Muppets.

Click here to look deep into my dark, soulless eyes on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com

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