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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: New Tones, Veggie Stands, and No Driving with Cell Phones: The Summer 2018 AG Release Two Months Late

When you go on a trip, you don't blog.
AG's most recent new stuff came out in mid-June. And new stuff is probably going to come out in a few weeks to cover the holiday spreads. Why am I just now getting to the new clutter? Well let's see.

A week or so after my last blog post, I set my online life down and prepped to head out of town for about three weeks in the Lake Michigan area. I spent those three weeks with family, including a full fledged family reunion--and while I do take my laptop with me for long trips and mess with my social media, I don't really blog there because I'm generally either busy enjoying festivals and fairs or just enjoying spending time with family. Look, I have one living grandparent and one living parent, I get all the time with them I can and I actually half unplug from the internet. I got back mid-August, had to handle some other stuff, then after this weekend of getting my brains rebrained I moved the pics I'd taken off my phone and onto the computer to start this opinionation about AG stuffs. And here we are. August is hot, I can't go outside because the air is hazy1 and so it's a good day to blog.

Before I do, all the AG News that's worth my time and maybe yours: now with opinions from Yours Truly, Me!2

1) That new Molly coming out? She might be a Costco only exclusive; in which case I might end up with a not!Molly just to get that sweet new meet. We'll see. The glasses are apparently plastic. Welcome to the new age.

Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.
2) The news has gone out about modern collection retirements. At the end of 2018, Tenney-Sue is retiring and taking Nogan with her! Good riddance, you two, I'll get what little I need before year's out.

...and also, Gabriela and Z are retiring. Well. Gabriela I knew would eventually: she got two whole years, she's not been in stores much since Luciana came out, and she was due to leave eventually. Z, on the other hand....Z got boned. Outright screwed over by AG. And I have my personal theories why.

Z is a victim of Tenney's Shadow.

AG was planning for Tenney to be the girl of the year in 2017, quietly extending the line of white and white IDing Girls of the Year out even further than they had (with Lea as a little speedbump of ambiguous brownness). They hyped Melody early in 2016 as the new historical after MaryEllen, getting ready to make a big deal about all the good research they'd done for her time period and all the black people they'd consulted. But then there was public media call out in 2016 on CBS which pointed out both the retirements of Cécile and Ivy and how there had never been a black GotY--in fact, that out of the twenty-odd character dolls created only three had ever been black and none of them had been modern. And the company backpedaled. AG snatched #46 out of the moddie line, made her their new GotY and had her first book written in a few months, and tossed together something quickly to get that Black GotY out.

But there they were with a whole collection's worth of a modern white girl, complete with fancy earrings and a big stage to perform on. The stuff was already being made and had been. They weren't going to just let millions of dollars worth of product catch dust for a year, would they? Hell no. They had stories about songwriting girls from Tennessee to get out while people might still remember that Taylor Swift once sang country. They were not going to take that L on Tenney Grant.

So they created the contemporary line as an excuse to get Tenney released anyways. They had Tenney and Nogan--who we were already getting leaks about as early as summer or so 2016--wait six weeks and then released them under their new line to make it like they had totes planned to just make a new line of modern dolls. They created Z from their online Stop-Motion blogs, and got her together a quickie collection they could release a few months after Tenney--see, we're totally just making a non-limited GotY line! They even kept Gabbi out longer, to make that whole Choose Your Character a big deal--and tossed in Felicity and Nanea as well, to make it very clear that they were going gung-ho with pushing out six characters in only eight months.

But now that Tenney's had her little spotlight and all her stuff and Nogan have been out long enough that they can pretend they weren't going to make her a one-year thing, they're pulling her like they planned. And Z? Well, not only was poor Z the named face3 of the permapanties fiasco, but she had done her job of helping push the illusion that Tenney wasn't just GotY 2017 but held back for six weeks. She's gotta go too, or we can't keep this lie up.

Alas poor Z. You were done so wrong.

3) AG opened a new outlet store! It's in Hershey, PA and thus the air smells like Deth Food. AG would put their outlet in the one city I would probably puke my guts out in. Then again, when will I ever be in PA? They sell some old stuff, some exclusives that may show up oneBay or online or something--I only like a shirt or two--and moddie dolls! For full price. Hah you thought outlet stores were cheap always? Nope.

4) There has been some noted changes in production in recent dolls. The most noticable, if you notice doll eyes a lot, is that the eyes have changed their design since Luciana's release. Instead of the large metal weights in the back and a slight hollow behind the eyes, and clear plastic as the base, the eyes are now a different weight style and made of solid white so the white pegs can be visible. The change in weight leads to some dolls having a downcast, off center eye look, more visible eye whites at the sides and when the eyes are closed, and trouble when eye swaps are done. I've only gotten one new doll since the change4--Luciana, who I had to really have the eye whites pointed out to me recently, and had to look in with a flashlight to see the white pegs. So I have no first hand knowledge of the new eyes. I have seen some images of a wig swap gone wrong with vinyl peeled up, with and cracked and "squished" vinyl accompanied with hands pushing so hard the white person's fingertips are white from pressure, so I'm leaning away from that.

Has the production design changed? Yeah. Could parts of it be improved? From sources I know well and trust enough not to throw a fit: sure could. Would I like this to be looked into? Sure.

Is blowing up every IG post with the same four words helping? Hell naw. Cause this is what AG's comments on the official IG account  have looked like for about a month:
AG Official IG account: This month our monthly book is one of Gabby's! Read along with us!
Twenty people in the comments: bring back the quality!!

AG: It's Friendship Day, Tag a friend you're happy to have! 
The same twenty people in the comments: my friend says bring back the quality!!

AG: It's Campfire Day with Maryell--
Hey, kids and kidlike adults? You're not helping. One bit. Take it from someone who used to work for a large corporation who got a lot of correspondence insisting their feedback go right to the CEO: The CEO is not looking at these comments on IG.5 You can scream "we will be HEARD" in the comments until you've basically tripped the spam filters, but Marketing isn't even reading those comments. You're spamming the mentions of a Customer Service rep who, after about the fifteenth comment she's read while trying to ask about National Brownie Day to make her 10 bucks an hour, is wondering if she really can't ask IG for a mute function like Twitter has.

Y'all will not get heavy weighted eyes back this way, even if they do come back. You're just being a ass.6 Customer service can take your feedback, and forward it on, and like the permapanties I suspect that enough complaints are likely to get things fixed on some form even if it's not back to what it was like before. But flooding the IG comments won't change things faster. Send your data once, be clear and polite and articulate your exact problems, then let it be. CS can't change the eyes themselves. They won't port your e-mails or comments to the CEO. They just can forward your feedback and hope that it gets up the chain so they can stop hearing about it and get back to the other parts of the job.

And yes, I know what the complaints about permapanties did to change the lines. I also know that those got a ton of noted media attention. The permapanty controversy made People's website. A change in eye weights and the vinyl being squishier haven't so far. Maybe you should try sounding less like a nine year old who just discovered they could copy paste comments on social media.

Onto the shiny things, with their wonky eyeballs and all. And enjoy long pics until I get a better digital camera. I'm not changing the aspect ratio on my phone for my general blather.