Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Ugly Dolls, a toy review - April 7, 2004

Ugly Dolls
Toy Review
Mary Lee Pappas

Matt Booher, assistant manager of Comic Carnival’s Westside location.

Forget Kestner, Kewpie and Madame Alexander, the Ugly Dolls are the cuddly wuddly antidoll dolly of today. And they are soooo cute even though they are soooo ugly. “That’s the mentality,” Matt Booher, assistant manager of Comic Carnival’s Westside location, said about their uncommon irresistibility.

Ugly Dolls are adorable dorky alien creatures made of baby soft polyester fleece. They aren’t jointed or multidimensional, but rather flat and pillowy, with appliqued perfect circle felt eyes with itty-bitty pupils. Their simplistic facial features and linear body design give these plush stuffed Martians a charming vulnerability that make them practically spontaneously huggable. Couple that with a few involuntary simpering, “Ahhhhs,” and other loving coos and you’ve got a typical tender reaction to the cartoonish Ugly Dolls.

Though well-suited for a little baby, adults are the primary consumers of Ugly Dolls. “I don’t know why they haven’t caught on with kids. They’re a lot cuter than Beanie Babies,” Booher said. Comic Carnival has been selling out of the dolls at their four Indianapolis locations since they started carrying them six months ago. “They’ve been pretty good for us,” Booher added, saying that both men and women have been charmed to bits by these freaky cuties. “It’s been a mixture. Guys have probably been buying them as gifts.”

People across the country have been buying them, from the artsy-fartsy likes of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the MOCAs in Cleveland and L.A. The success of their design is unquestionable. To learn more about Ugly Dolls visit Ugly Dolls are available at Comic Carnival’s four locations: North, 253-8882; South, 889-8899; East, 898-5010; and West, 293-4386. Dolls are $19.99.

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