blonde fall. Of all the Flavas produced, that first Happy D was the only one I ever wanted, because I knew a lot of work had to have gone into braiding all that hair. I had been calling my particular doll "Domino" due to her own unusual hair, so it's good to know her proper name. I can always pretend that the "D" in Happy D stands for "Domino." The name "Happy D" throws me off a little, though; being a NASCAR fan it makes me think of my favorite driver, Happy Harvick! LOL, I'm getting bad about tangents!
Flavas were a fairly large group of streetwise friends hailing from multiple races. Liam and Tre were the boys of the group, while the girls were Happy D, P. Bo, Tika, and Kiyoni Brown. The Biker Date lines appear to imply that Tre and Kiyoni were an item, as were Happy and Liam. One line replaced Kiyoni Brown with a new character, Tawny. I wasn't aware of Miss Tawny when she was available so thanks to D7ana for that little tidbit. The line did very little for me as a tween; I hated most of the names, and I didn't like the dolls themselves much either. They reminded me too much of rap music, which I was forced to listen to at school and despised. Even at the age of eleven I was choosing Chicago and the Who over Diddy and Bow Wow...or whoever was trendy at the time. Anyway, consumers apparently weren't sold on these dolls either, because the Flavas weren't around very long. The Chicago Tribune accused the dolls of being stereotypical, and somewhat dated stereotypes at that, as each doll came with an old-school "ghetto blaster" boom box. The same article singled Tre and Kiyoni Brown as being particularly bad, attesting that Tre looked like a "drug-dealing pimp," while Kiyoni Brown's blonde locks and white makeup looked ridiculous. I give them that second one; Kiyoni was rendered in a lovely dark brown shade of plastic and had the potential to be a gorgeous black doll, but the first wave's paint job and the hair made her look cheap instead of hip and stylish. Later waves were kinder to Miss Kiyoni, making her the pretty girl that she could always have been, but again I digress. The dolls were around for about a year (give or take a few months) before fading from toy shelves. While I wasn't too sad at the time, I can't help thinking now if the dolls would've caught on had they been left to their own devices. One writer thinks the Flavas would've eventually found a niche market, and I have to say I agree. Hip hop became more popular with children as the decade progressed, and those children likely would've been attracted to the Flavas. Perhaps the dolls were simply a bit ahead of their time, or maybe they were outshone by the Bratz, which made an appearance shortly after Flavas' release. Maybe it was both. I myself have warmed to the unusual crew; the worst criticism I can muster now (besides my continued hatred for rap music) is that Tre and Liam were a bit effeminate looking. Mattel had a better boy doll when they released Blaine with the Generation Girls. The old Blaine head would've been great for Liam...OR for Tre!
Alrighty, so I've given you more information than you ever wanted to know about another obscure doll line. Since this IS Throwback Thursday a review comes next. I can't review Happy D properly because her old body is gone. Too bad too, because the joints were great. No, in order to find an all-original Flavas doll I had to browse eBay, and they came through. Small wonder I'm broke! Anyway, here's good ol' P. Bo. I got the sports version, one of the first waves to come out.
T-Boz (LOL). I like the idea of picking this doll's name myself, but for now I'll just stick with a simple "Bo." I almost hate deboxing this gal since I got her NRFB, but dolls are for playing with. Right? Right! Out you come, Bo!
Kyoko Sakura with that hairstyle, but there's someone else. I can't put my finger on it. Anyway, Bo's hair is ginger red with blonde highlights and bangs up front. It mostly hangs loose, but there are two sections that are done up in braids...
gray or brown eyes. Changes in hair color I can understand, but I wonder why her eye color changed from doll to doll? Oh well, doesn't matter much. Mine has blue eyes, and that's what matters. They're also the best eyes in my opinion, as the other two P. Bo dolls are huge and look vacant. Bo's eyes are highly made up, by the way. She's got brown, blue, and copper eye shadow, plus dark eyeliner and thick lashes. Her eyebrows are thick and have hairs painted in, which is more detail than I'm used to seeing on dolls this size.
Bo's mouth is a riot. It's got a subtle asymmetry so that when you view her from certain angles, she appears to be smirking. See?
Generation Girl Mari was like that, and as far as I know so were the Flavas. I think that's silly, as all the Flavas' heads made great dolls when properly painted. Unfortunately in Bo's case, the paint job does her image more harm than good. Look at the size of those lips!I've looked at group pictures of all the Flavas, and I think I happened to get the one with the biggest danged lips. This doll looks like she went a little overboard with collagen injections. Collagen already, Bo? You're only 13! Haha, I couldn't resist. In all seriousness this mouth makes Bo look like a murder victim that I saw once. So I don't care for the shape of Bo's mouth much, but she's painted fairly well. The shade is dark bronze with a slight shimmer, not unlike a Bratz doll's lips. There are no paint gaffes anywhere near Bo's mouth (or her eyes either, for that matter), which is good because Happy D didn't fare as well in the paint department. See her chin?
Since Happy's head is intact let's quickly take a look at her. She has long saran hair in black and platinum blonde. Happy has seen hard time as a plaything so her hair isn't as smooth as Bo's, but it's made of the same stuff so it should bounce back after a night in THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM. I positively love Happy's eyes, by the way. I think they're supposed to be brown, but they look golden.
Most of the Flavas weren't the same size as Barbie (Happy was quite a bit smaller), and thus the first wave came with two outfits. They were supposed to be wearing street clothes, but Bo's style also has a bit of an athletic "flava" in addition to the street vibe. She arrived wearing this.
white patches on a mockingbird's wings.
this picture suggests that the star is intended to be a pendant. That would explain why Bo had a silver chain among her accessories...and why the stitch holding the star to the top was so choppy. The star makes a cute necklace.
Oh yes, Bo also came with a purse. It's your basic black plastic purse, colored in a manner similar to the second pair of shoes.
set at an angle. I can only assume that Mattel did this to make the dolls look like they were leaning against something. I used to like Tika a lot and I still do, but having seen her body I'm glad I went with Bo instead. Just looking at Tika's spinal alignment makes my own back ache. On the other hand, these off-kilter shoulders and waists do add a touch of realism to these dolls. The world is crawling with people who either won't or can't stand 100% straight, after all.
Moving on, Bo's feet are flat and much larger than either Barbie's or Sindy's. They're about the size as an old-style jointed Barbie's feet (example is Pele, a Hula Hair Christie)
Generation Girls had these arms, so maybe Mattel had some spares and was trying to use them up? Go figure. These hands are graceful, though. Graceful and delicate like a female's hands usually are.
Regarding clothes sharing, I had at least a rough idea about what my other dolls could wear beforehand, but Bo is an exception. She's the same scale as Barbie so some sharing should be possible, but I don't know how much. Maybe these Fashionista blue jeans will do...
Thank goodness for those wider legs, because Bo can get into these with some effort on my part. I have one other pair of pants like that, but it's currently on another doll. So right now it looks like Bo will be largely confined to skirts and tops unless Mattel decides that bell bottoms need a comeback. I do have some old dress sets that have an urban tone to them, though. These are all Fashion Avenue Beat Street outfits from 2002 and 2003.
*Strange lips!!! All the female Flavas had strange lips, but Bo's are the strangest!
*Arms are an awkward position. It's hard to find a pose that looks natural for Bo.
*Clothes sharing isn't reliable. Bo can wear some of Barbie's things, but not all of them. Shoe sharing is out completely.
*Occasional paint gaffes. Bo is flawless, but Happy is not.
*Maybe a bit fragile? Bo's body is holding strong, but Happy's original body was missing fingers and was cracked at both wrists. I suspect that she may have been abused, but I can't prove that so I'm listing this here.
*Hair is gorgeous. Lovely color, lovely style, lovely quality.
*Face is expressive and well-painted. Eyes are highly detailed and lips are a nice color.
*Body is articulated. It's not as flexible as Sindy's or Jenny's, but it's better than the Fashionistas.
*Clothes are good quality and very versatile. Bo may not be able to wear a lot of Barbie's duds, but the modern Barbie dolls can wear most of hers!
*Clothing has a customization option in the form of those decals.
*Two outfits! That's always a plus!
*Idea was original for the time. It may not have been successful, but it certainly was worth a shot.
I've gained a new appreciation for these Flavas, and I think it's a shame that they didn't get a following. True, I still hate rap music, but I don't guess one has to be a rap fan in order to like a street-themed doll. Bo and Happy both have nice faces and nice hair, and Bo's body and clothes are high quality as well. I'm particularly pleased with the quality of Bo's eyes, hair, and shoes. I'm less enthusiastic about Bo's overblown lips and awkward hands, and Happy's paint spots are a bummer as well. The biggest bummer was Happy's broken body, but I doubt that these dolls are as fragile as I implied above. More likely some kid was simply a destructive little brat or had a sibling that was a destructive little brat. Clothes sharing is not reliable either due to Bo's large feet and particular style, but that's not a huge deal since I've got stuff she can wear. Plus Bo came with two outfits. That's almost always a good thing, especially when the body is more specialized like this. What stands out to me is the originality of this line. Instead of being glamorous like Barbie or trendy and cute like the My Scene line, Bo and Happy are their own selves. They're not dirty or trashy, but they're not 100% innocent either. They're edgy, not unlike the Bratz. Given the Bratz' popularity for that "edginess," I can't help wondering if Mattel was too hasty in pulling the plug on the Flavas.
UPDATE, 5/1/2017: Bo's arms are apparently ballerina arms. If I'd looked more closely at my ballerina Barbies then I would've noticed this.