#‎AGDoCGotY
American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Out With the Old, In With the Tru(ly Me)

AG but not Seattle.
Another new release of AG stuff, this past Thursday. Tiny in items--only about ten or so overall--but big in impact. Not to mention two other big BeForever Announcements that came through but, since I don't do short dinky posts I'll just bring them up here. Blog smarter, not harder.

Normally, I would haul buns to AG Seattle and take copious pictures of everything, and then blog crazy about it with said pictures. But I actually happen to be out of town, so I can't go to my local AG place. So I had to do the next best thing: go to AG Houston. I've been there a fair few times since it opened in 2012 since my mom and sister live nearby. So when I take my yearly trip to visit them, I go out there. My mom likes AG, and it's a nice trip for us. I went and took pictures, got a few things, and am ready to add my own opinions since y'all are here for that and I'm pretty good at it.

Jump below the cuts for hellos, good byes, and buttercream bookie goodness.1

BeForever: Soon to have 100% Less Caroline and 100% more Maryellen

Sailing into the Archives, skiff and all.
First, let's get the BeForever news announcements out of the way, since that's what I care for most.  On May the Fourth,2 AG announced formally on various social media that Caroline Abbot from the War of 1812 was going to be archived, leaving only her books and mini-doll left when the dollies hit the floor and the dust settles. Caroline, I know you lost the BeForever Launch with that blue shiny Elsa dress and a banquet table and got boned over by the design during Project Runway, but that was no reason to kick you out. I'm rather sad to see her go unlike with Molly and Emily, where I had some wibble but actually don't mind them hustling out the door cause I just can't stand Molly.

Really, though, Caroline had many issues that tripped her up and likely put her on the docket for archival. Lots of larger ticket items like her skiff and parlor, a lot of people getting her but not her collection and modding her out, and the difficulty of dealing with her loose, lanky curls when down. I suspected she was out the door when she was left out of the Limited Edition releases.3 Plus, there's the whole matter that the same people mewling that her retirement is destroying the AG BeForever line, if they were around about three years ago, were complaining that she couldn't hold a candlestick to Precious Perfect Felicity and that the war of 1812 wasn't even an era to care about, blah blah blah bloo bloo.

She has a story that I won't even lie, was much better than Cécile and Marie-Grace's split level half story, filled with lots of actual plot and engaging stories. Some heroines wear pink dresses, and Caroline is our pink dressed embroidering, boat sailing, aqua eyed, ice skating, life saving one in this line. Even when she's gone, her stories will remain--and unlike those before her, her books have already been updated so they won't get kicked likely. So go read books, get her while the getting's good, and when she's gone have fun fighting for her on eBay. I'll miss her uniqueness. Welcome to the Three Year Club, Caroline.4

I actually picked up "Caroline" the weekend or so before she was announced to be heading out the door, so I'm not worried that she won't be part of my Gang ever. But she's not to stay Caroline; she's the exact look of Charlotte Tinsley's stepsister, Amelia Dinning, and so that's who she's going to be. There'll be times she dresses in Mama's childhood clothes, but Amelia is her own girl, and she'll look the part once I make her some nice outfits.

AG's rationale is that there's only so much space for Historicals, and if new ones come in then old one are going to go out. So who's coming in?
Bring on the 50s. Sigh.
On May the Eleventh--exactly a week after dropping the Caroline Bomb--AG formally announced the upcoming release of Maryellen Larkin, who will be from 1950s Florida. She'll be out by August (so Caroline will likely be formally retired the day she arrives) and there are prototypes floating all over the internet that I refuse to ever allow on the AG wiki since we don't do leaks. Officially, we know that she's going to have red hair; comparisons by people on AGC have suspected classic mold face and brown eyes. There's been leaks about her since 2014, and I've seen them. I'm not even going to turn my nose up and claim AG intellectual property and scold others for looking at them, because prototypes are rarely finals.

I don't know how I feel really about The Fifties. The era was huge nostalgia in the 70s and 80s, much like the 80s and 90s for people my age. There are a lot of movies set in that time that came out when I was a kid--a good part of Back to the Future,5 for one--and in the early years of Nick at Night, a lot of the shows shown there were from the 50s like I Love Lucy.6 And we know that the 50s wasn't perfect suburban life, Father Knows Best, June Cleaver pearls and pretty--that's just Baby Boomer nostalgia issues. The Fifties in the US was a time of prosperity for white families, since the US was one of the few countries post WWII that wasn't fucked up by the war and thus had the space and room to innovate. Post WWII is also when the world shifted in a large part from England as the Center of Culture to the US. There was the McCarthy Red Scare--which led to the forcing in of Under God into the Pledge of Allegiance; the rise of the Civil Rights Movement and the fight for equality instead of everything just being White and Right, no matter what the old as balls politicians keep telling you. Also, TV--while it had been out for a while--really penetrated the social consciousness and led to the widespread of what we now call pop culture, since for the first time data could be disseminated nationwide not only audibly, but visually. So I guess my position is "...that happened, and it certainly is an era."

Her books are written by Valerie Tripp, and this hella annoys me more than her being. I just don't like Valerie Tripp's writing, and she's all over AG books. She's the one that was directed to take the teeth out of Samantha's books and wrote all of Felicity and Elizabeth's, Kit and Ruthie's, Molly and Emily's, and Josefina's books. That's a lot of books in the line by just her, and it just feels like they default to her because she's been there so long. Also, I'm really worried--given her book descriptions--that her books will be very milquetoast, playing it safe, don't rock the boat with too much controversy. Since I'm all about historical books, I'll get them regardless and jack her clothes for my gang. But I'm not likely to get her directly at all. Either way, nothing is a big deal until August.

Vanilla ButterCream Bookies: Grace Makes It Great

Book Three.
Grace--our little ButterCream Baby--only had one thing come out for her: Book three, Grace Makes it Great. With this, the whole story of her year is told. I picked it up since I finished book one and two. They were actually very refreshing. Not only are her books not about Paris like her collection is trying to be but they actually have a decent plot and arc. She'll get her next outfit--the one on the cover of the book, probably--and whatever little thing comes with it by either summer or fall, and her movie is coming soon. Hopefully it won't suck as hard as WonderBread's.

Still, AG. Doll of Color for Girl of the Year. Stop this nonsense.

Truly Me: Moddie Change Arounds and the Summer of the Flamingo

Complete with logos and changes and shiny things.
The modern line has been through four name changes since its launch twenty years ago in 1995. First was the American Girl of Today, which was to get girls to think of history being part of the time they were in too--"you're part of history too!" This was shorted to American Girl Today by 1996, and this name carried over the first few Girls of the Year. After that was Just Like You in 2006 which was more along the line of the doll actually being like the girl in characterization rather than anything directly customizable like MyTwinn dolls are, despite what people keep goddamn saying in their terribad doll articles on web mags without doing their motherfucking research. 2010 changed the name to My American Girl--again, a companion to the target audience. And now, in 2015, we have Truly Me: because of of all the things  to be, the best is to be truly me. (You. Whatever.) My True Me for years has been a radical Social Justice Bard that don't got time to brook people's bullshit. Greatly amused that the line now has my maiden initials. Hee.

Truly Me has done a change in meet outfit and three new moddie girls, but other than that has been a small release. Girls first, then the outfits.

Why are you so precious, pretty girl?
#62: The Sonali mold arrives in medium skin tone for the first time outside of the bald dolls you had to call in for, with straight dark brown hair and amber-brown eyes--the same shade that Otters has, and for the first time other than her. Damn damn DAMN I want this doll like burning. Sweet fucking Mama Mew of us all, she's gorgeous. That skin tone! Those eyes! The hair is average but I can work with it. She is the precious pure Cinnamon Roll10 we have all deserved for years. If I hadn't just gotten Amelia and wasn't saving up for Grace parts, I'd snatch her up right now. But she'll be around for a while. She will be part of the Gang, no lies at all. I'm thinking mixed with black when she does show up. We need more of this, AG, and less of blond blue eyed classic molds that don't look any different than the others around her.

...what did I just SAY.
#63: ...speaking of which. #63 has short blond hair blue eyes, and Classic mold. How very dull. We could have Not!Nani and this is what we get. AG get your shit together, no one needs this many variations of blonde. The only difference between her and her other blonde blue eyed Classic Face sisters is hairstyle.  Ugh. What's next...

Not the Ivy! Or the Jess.
#64: We return to the Jess Mold, with straight black hair and brown eyes. But unlike the others before her, she has the same eye modifications--shaping and paint--that Ivy had. Good for you, AG! Not letting that leave us. Still, the line could use a lot more skin tone variation and hair difference in the Jess Mold. Like a Not!Kanani. Any day now, punks. East Asians don't come in just straight black hair and dark eyes. She's very pretty, but I don't feel her as much as I feel #62 needing to be mine like NOW and BURNING.

She will be part of the new cool kids too.
Retirements and Changes: #12, after spending 2009 moonlighting as Gwen, has finally skipped out of the line altogether and only leaving #13, #16, and #19 left of the original 20. I'm only sorry to see her leave because she is who Naomi resembled before her remake, but that's about it. #34 with brown eyes and auburn hair also leaves the line up, which I didn't even really notice much to begin with, and #38 who had straight hair, hazel eyes, and freckles. Goodbye, girls.  Also, #54 now has the eye socket change like #64, so no more of that.

The Meet Outfits are getting less mix and match on the baseline.
Lilac Dress: The meet outfit change anticipated for some time now is here: a heather lilac jersey dress with a silver yarn sash, blue sparkly ballet flats, and pink panties. And...wow. Like, as an outfit it's fairly okay--a nice color and with some cute trims, though we can't get away from the proliferation of everyone wearing ballet flats. But as a meet outfit? I've been into modern AG in one form or another since the days of the Mix and Match outfit, and this new meet just comes with three parts. Not much to do with it at all. Kinda pushing us to buy more now, ain't you? My favorite still remains the Ready For Fun outfit, since I can swap that one around everywhere, followed by the Urban Outfit and the Star Hoodie. The meet dress can be bought separately for $28, if you're not me and just want that cutie pie #62 and will get the dress then. This is the first outfit in some time that can be purchased separately, since there's no tie in to Innerstar University.

I will also take this time to point out that come November 5th of this year, Innerstar University will be shutting down--likely to be replaced with other online activities. The new meet set doesn't come with codes for that very reason, and the Innerstar University books and outfits are generally not available anymore. So long. I have/had an account that came with Shanna, but I never really played around on it. I will probably go in to get some screenshots before it all closes off for the Wiki, but that's about it.

Activitation.
Now instead of the online bits, you have a box with a spinning wheel suggesting creative play and craft. Pick a color and activity, and get to enjoyment. I'll explore more when I get Cinnamon.

Here's the mixy matchy.
Love to Layer Accessories: Ah, here's the accessories. No more purses and money and magazines--buy your purses separately. Instead we have add ons to the outfit: a zip front fleece vest with applied patches, a pink tulle skirt with a silver elastic waistband and bow, three star hair clips, several ponytail holders, and a gold sparkly bow headband. I really like the vest and the skirt; the headband is okay, and clips and ponytail holders are useful if not particularly intriguing for me. Either way, the lay of the layers really brings the 80s looks in. I think the vest would look cute over jeans and a t-shirt, and the skirt is fluffy but can be worked with. Over the dress it makes it look more like a t-shirt.

Girl Sized.
And if your girl wants the dress and vest, they come in her size. The dress has pockets! You'll have to find your own tulle skirt. 

Matching is for earlier eras.
Shimmer Doodle Outfit: Add to the Truly Me release with a purple star tee, floaty silver skirt, and purple fabric boots. I like the mix and match potential but all together like this it's very busy and non matching. Still, them some cute as shit boots. Gonna get this later.

First in the Summer of the Flamingo. 

Flamingo Beach Dress: I am not and will not be a fan of halter necks on dolls with cloth bodies so much visible. It's a mehish dress and I can do without. Hell, I could probably make something like it.

The summer hoodie.
Seaside Fun Outfit: The other summer set at present is the Seaside Fun set: an orange striped long sleeved hoodie, white shorts that prepubescent people can freely get away with11 decorated with embroidery, and blue sandals. All right, but not for me.

Straight chilling.
Beach Hammock Set: For doll chillaxing, a hammock with a visor hat, pillow, and the copy of AG Magazine that you don't get in your meet sets. I don't do much in the way of doll furniture, myself, and not much into hammocks at all. So nah.

Summer nomlets.
Beach Blanket Set: For summer snack, we have a sandwich, chips in a bag, a summer drink, watermelon hunk, a plate and napkin, and a blanket so you aren't putting your sandwich on the sand. I kinda like it. Maybe.

Wave surfing!
Summer Sailboard Set: A store exclusive, your gang member can go wave surfing with a sailboard and a life jacket. Since Kanani never got her ice stand, I may get this when I'm back in Seattle.

*~*~*

Along with the launch of Truly Me, a summer long contest allowing girls and other children between eight and thirteen can enter for a chance to win prizes. And no, you grown ass teens on Instagram and mommas with 1 year old babies with no sense of object permanence who don't know how to doll can't enter the contests.  It's not unconstitutional to limit a contest to certain ages. Piss off.

Hopefully I will have time to do a Beforever review soon. Til then, love love love for Cinnamon. Soon, babbu.

Soon.

--Neth

1 Not buttercream cookie goodness. Cookies are delicious, though. Fuck, I want cookies. 
2 Be With You. (and you also.)
3 This makes me worry some for Josefina, who also didn't get a big refresh and was left out of the limited editions, especially with 2016 supposed to give us a Black BeForever.
4 It's like the 27 Club but with a lot less drugs, death and suicide.
5 This year, 2015, is the year Marty McFly comes to visit. We don't have hoverboards and instant pizza, but we have computers in our damn phones and the entire internet so quit bitching.
6 I've been watching several eps at my mom's place. I've always liked it, strange enough. 
7 Yeah, nachos have been around longer than that line in the Pledge.
8 That is a hard bar to crawl under.
9 I get so ANGRY when people say that the modern line has or had customized dolls. They never have. They offer options that might resemble a person, but you cannot get a custom doll. You just have a lot of choices to pick from, that might be like you in looks, but that is not why the line was called that. Because of this perception, we get stupid people claiming that they need to make more girls that look like their precious child, and ugh it's just so damn infuriating STOP IT.
10 In fact, that is what I will name her. I had a teacher in middle school named Cinnamon Peschel, and I thought it was a cool name. So when she gets here, she will be Cinnamon.
 11 Those of us that menstruate know why we don't be wearing white shorts freely. It's called our period.

15 comments:

  1. Actually Neth, Grace's third book is Grace Makes it Great. ;)

    Grace Stirs it Up was book 2.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When I read the synopses for the Maryellen books, I wanted to throw up. There is plenty of material for a good 1950s story line, but it seems like the books will be sanitized fluff.

    If they get rid of Josefina, I'll probably cry. I have most of her collection (at least what's currently offered) but that's not the point. Your relationship with Addy is equivalent to my relationship with Josefina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where can one find these synopses?!

      Delete
    2. http://www.americangirlpublishing.com/characters/maryellen/b.aspx

      Here they are on the publishing site.

      Delete
  3. Blondie almost died at the store at the launch. She was next to 27 in the display case, and the ONLY difference I could see was hair length. (and maybe eye color?) They're the Classic Mold, blonde haired, blue eyes buddies. THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO AREN'T BLONDE. And 62 will be coming home with me ASAP, too. Also, why must AG release another classic molded girl. That's white. History wasn't entirely white people, yanno. BRING IN THE DIVERSITY AG! People are sick of the blinding whiteness, and black dolls DO sell. #AGDoCGotY!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 27 does have different eyes, which I only know because 63 has rather obviously plain blue eyes, and I happen to own a bald 27 (who Neth cleaned up and dewigged! :D) waiting for a wig to be custom historical, where her eyes being in a dark bluish (or blue adjacent) shade was a selling point for me.

      But yeah, she still looks rather entirely like 27. XP

      *tries to rationalize a future where I spend 100-ish dollars for 62 instead of the things I'd been saving up for for a year, which I have already paid for... maybe next year?*

      Delete
  4. White girl for white girl, no prob. I liked Caroline tho, lets hope the new girl has the Marie Grace mold just for the sake of variety. But im not lying, im terrified for Josefina, theres rumors of a new black girl from the 60s for next year, and thats awesome and all but not if they retire Josefina for her. Like no, people of color is not interchangable. Josefina is latina like me Mexican, even. Why isnt she getting new stuff? Im scared.

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    Replies
    1. Josefina's supposed to be receiving new items this fall.

      Delete
  5. I'm with Anonymous (if she MUST BE another white girl, give her Marie Grace's face mold, with maybe Caroline's eye color)... but also think they're missing an opportunity with the new 1950's girl. This was the era when the civil rights movement started to take off. So what better way to highlight that than an African American girl, in the South? Or even keep the location as Florida, and maybe make a Cuban-American girl, because Castro came to power around this time and the Cuban diaspora from Havana to Florida started.

    But until Mattel has a triple minority female (member of the LGBTQ community, ethnic minority, religious minority not Jewish) as the head of design or head of their AG line, we're going to continue to get white bread characters and won't have much, if any, "spice" to the lines.

    AG's clothes, as of late, remind me of clothes growing up in the 80's. Namely, men were designing, and they WEREN'T gay. So fashion was iffy. I haven't seen girls wear any clothes similar to those in the AG world. The Girls of the Year come the closest... but the Truly Me/My AG/Just Like You line has been a relatively epic fail as far as "looking just like you" goes.

    But that's where Pixie Faire comes in ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. The new meet dress is a joke. I mean these dolls cost more than 100 dollars. Where are the jeans? The jackets? The shirts? Why is everything so cheap and doll-like? I get they are dolls but why is everything so pink, purple and pastels? All hearts, stars and ballet flats? Why can't they make cute and realistic clothes?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ooops, my comment didn't go through.

    I was trying to say:

    Dear Neth,
    Thank you so much for teaching me about diversity. I've grown up in a family who is very pro-diversity, and a very diverse city, but your blog has also really helped me learn what is acceptable and what is not, and I'd like to thank you for that. My #AGDoCGotY Pinterest board is actually one of the ones with my most followers, and I'd like to thank you very much for starting that, as I think it's really helped get the message across.

    Thanks!
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi! Found your blog through DollsOnMyMind, this is the first post I've read and love your style. I may disagree on a few points here and there, but that's a-okay we can't all agree 100% or the world would be super boring. [Although, these days I could use a bit of harmonious boredom in the form of actually accepting each other as people not just labels, but I digress.]

    Honestly, I used to be excited about the new catalogs until I started blogging. Well, I still get excited and I still make my wish list, but the sneak peeks kill me and the speculations on what is to come. Yes, I still join in some conversations, but when the "Who's the next GOTY" starts January 2 - I roll my eyes. Let me enjoy this year first, please!

    If you look at my girls, I have 3 blonds (all for very special reasons) and I don't want any more. I would like to get three that resemble my grandmother, mother, and aunt - the first two will be kind of easy (brunette with brown and brunette with blue eyes) but auntie was dark red (read #61) with blue eyes. The red selection keeps getting smaller and smaller. Yes, I'm in favor of the different wigs, but back in the day - even though there was one wig - you could get almost every eye color with that wig. I had high hopes that Maryellen would fit, but nope - she's supposed to be strawberry blond. We need some true gingers in the mix!

    Wow! How's that for an introductory comment?! Thank you very much for your openness. And for allowing similar in your comment section.
    ~Xyra
    Tea Time with Melody Q

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    Replies
    1. I second this! Give me more true gingers!! I also love to read your view and comments on the new releases and such.

      Delete

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