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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday review: Hasbro Maxie

Today is another stroll down Memory Lane.  During my childhood, in addition to my ponies and a couple of other dolls, there were three fashion dolls that joined in on my little dolly games.  I thought it was two, but now that I look back on it there were three.  One was Cool Times Midge, another was a red-haired Cut 'n' Style Barbie, and the third was Beachy Keen Maxie.  I wouldn't remember Maxie at all except that my mother had an adult-flavored nickname for her ("Maxie Pad").  There were also Maxie's adorable green triangle earrings.  How I loved those!  I could've sworn that Midge wore those, but I've not found a Midge with green triangle earrings so my memory had to have been flawed.  What fun I had with these dolls, though!  I distinctly remember playing in the bathtub with them, swirling their hair around in the water and making them look like mermaids.  I also clearly remember Mama and Daddy trying to get her swimsuit on right!  It was surprisingly easy to get the swimsuit turned the wrong way.  All this time I thought it was a Barbie, but Mama insisted that the box said "Maxie."  I did a little research and discovered that Maxie was indeed a member of my small childhood doll clique.

Twenty-four-or-so years later, I'm working to replace these lost relics of my childhood.  I've got a red-haired Cut 'n' Style Barbie (whom I've named "Marie"), and Cool Times Midge recently arrived too.  I didn't have to buy Maxie though; one just fell into my lap!  And danged if she isn't a Beachy Keen Maxie!
Maxie is another product of Hasbro, presumably created to pick up the slack when Jem and the Holograms were canceled.  Like Jem, Maxie's world focused heavily on friends and fashions.  Unlike Jem, Maxie was 100% ordinary child.  There WAS a music themed line planned for Maxie and her friends but the line got canceled before Hasbro could release it, planting Maxie firmly in the "normal" zone.  No fancy storylines, no double lives, no rivalries between bands or groups of friends.  Maxie was just an ordinary high school girl with a boyfriend and a couple of girlfriends.  Her storyline is so similar to Mattel's Starr that I thought the two were created to rival one another.  Surprise!  Starr, as you'll see next week, is a lot older than Maxie.  I wasn't too far off the mark, though; Mattel released another line of teen-themed dolls around the time of Maxie's run, and Jazzie happens to share a head mold with Starr's friend Kelley!  Jazzie and Maxie had quite a bit in common, too.  Both had multiple friends, and both had clothes that reflected the styles of the late eighties and early nineties.  Big hair was still in, but praise God, it wasn't stupidly big hair like Jem and her friends sometimes had.  Beachy Keen Maxie came in three different styles, and mine has the biggest hair.  What nice hair, though!
One of Maxie's commercials includes the jingle "Who's that girl with the beautiful hair?" and I have to say it's a very fitting jingle.  My doll's hair is crimped all over and with blunt, even bangs in the front.  It also once had a side ponytail, which I've chosen to recreate at the last minute.  Some pictures will have this ponytail and some won't.
If I had any gripes about Maxie's hair it would be those bangs.  They are nicely cut, but after seeing Jem's beautifully feathered bangs I can't help but find Maxie's a little bland.  That's the only complaint though, and it's a very small one.  The fiber is delightfully soft and smooth, and it's very easy to clean.  Maxie didn't even need a night in THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM.  A round of warm water and Dawn did the trick.

Maxie's makeup is tame compared to Jem's and P. Bo's, but it's fairly appropriate for the beach theme this doll once had.
Hasbro occasionally painted eyebrows too pale, as you saw with Jem.  Maxie fortunately does not have what I've jokingly dubbed "Johnny Winter Syndrome."  Even if they were too light it wouldn't be a huge deal because Maxie's bangs cover them.
Maxie's eyes are pale blue with long eyelashes and white and pink eye shadow.  White and pink eye shadow?  Who wears makeup to the beach???  The eyes aren't painted precisely either; notice that the left eye is missing some paint.  It doesn't show too terribly, especially under normal magnification, but it's there.  Some Maxie dolls have heavy blush in addition to the freckles, but my doll just has freckles and pink lips...and a scuff on her chin.
I'm glad my doll's blush is light, because the ones with heavy blush look sunburned.  Fitting for a beach-themed doll, yes, but hardly stylish.  In retrospect Maxie's makeup may not be as exciting as that of her Hasbro predecessors, but in this case less is definitely more.  As a side note, only the three Beachy Keen variations had freckles.  Again, fitting for a beach-themed theme; folks who don't burn or tan tend to freckle under the sun.  As an aside, Maxie's ears are pierced, but unfortunately her cute little earrings are MIA.
I loved those earrings when I was a little kid and I hope someday to replace them.  In the meantime I do have other dolls with detachable earrings.  Jenny's earrings (left) fit Maxie just fine, but Bratzillaz Jade J'adore's pretty bangles (right) are too loose.
I only own one pair of Ever After High earrings, those being Mira Shards' black dangle-bangles (left).  These are a bit loose like Jade's are, but not loose enough that Maxie would lose them if she wore them.  First-wave Spectra Vondergeist's earrings (right) fit perfectly...
...as do Moonlight Dance Daniela's earrings (left) and Sunflower Burst Cyanne's.
I wanted to try some Fashionista earrings, but China's blue dangles won't come out.  To make up for that I tried some Barbie Basics earrings, and despite their slim posts these fit Maxie with no trouble.
Even though Maxie doesn't have her cute green triangles, she won't have any problems finding other trinkets to wear.  The only earrings I tried that didn't work were Jade's, and I may very well have other Bratz/Bratzillaz earrings that do work.  The length of the post appears to matter just as much as the width does, thus why the Barbie Basics hoops fit.

Maxie has a body that's different from Barbie and Jem.  She moves like Barbie, with joints at the hips, shoulders, neck, and inside the knees, but that's where the similarities end.  She's about half an inch shorter than Gretchen (Hip 2 Be Square Barbie, left), and a full inch shorter than Jem.
Strangely, Maxie's hands are bigger than both Gretchen's AND Jem's.
Her feet are medium-sized, being bigger than Gretchen's...
...smaller than Jem's...
...and close in size to P. Bo's.
To my delight Maxie can wear Bo's shoes, though they're a bit tough to get on and off.
Aaaaand my woes with child-mangled dolls continue!  Happy D's body was broken, Rio's hair got cut and his hand broken off, and it looks like some little kid took scissors to Maxie's right foot.
I said this during Jem's review but I'll say it again:  if I'd ever cut, chewed, marked on, or deliberately broken my childhood dolls, then my rear would've been a bright shade of red and the victimized doll would've been confiscated.  Thus I've never understood why some kids are allowed to do this to their dolls.  Maybe they DIDN'T get away with it!  Maybe they did get their butts beat for such a shenanigan.  I'll never know, and it doesn't really matter whether the kid got punished or not because the damage is done.  It could be worse though; at least Maxie has her foot!  If you will recall, not all my dolls have their body parts!

In spite of the difference in size Maxie can wear some other dolls' clothes.  Key word:  SOME.  Jem clothes are too big and in most cases too long, Barbie's pants are too long, and Bo's things are too tight.  But Barbie dresses are a different story entirely.  Find a piece of TNT-sized clothing and make sure the armholes are big enough for Maxie's hands to go through, and it should fit just fine.  This vintage dress fits Maxie like a dream, and it looks pretty good on her too!
The trippy pink dress that Maxie wore at the beginning of the review is a Barbie dress as well.  This came in one of those multi-dress packs that Mattel used to release, and it fits Maxie better than it does Barbie!
As an aside, notice that this dress isn't printed on the back either.  Apparently this trick of Mattel's has been going on awhile.
I also tried Maxie in Gretchen's Hip 2 Be Square dress.
Gretchen's dress would be a two-piece job if it weren't for the plastic chain link that connects the two parts.  The skirt fits Maxie just fine, but the top is big.  It's not ridiculously big, but big enough that it slides around quite a bit.  The armholes are very large so they fit over Maxie's hands without any problems.

To round out the nineties era I tried Marie's Cut 'n' Style dress on Maxie.
The poor fit of the top is a little more obvious here; one can see how it gaps around Maxie's shoulders.  The skirt, surprisingly, was almost too tight to fasten.  I got the job done, but it was a little snug.  Once again, these armholes were big enough for Maxie's paws to fit through.  So nineties Barbie dresses are a little hit and miss in Maxie, but for the most part they're a good enough fit.  I like the pink dress best, but the two green dresses work well enough that I'd put them on Maxie in a pinch.

I doubt that many post-millenium clothing will fit Maxie since Barbie shrank during that time, but one of the Fashion Avenue outfits I tried on P. Bo might work.  It's got a loose top and elastic sleeves so I might be able to maneuver Maxie's paws in.
Indeed, I was able to maneuver Maxie's paws into the sleeves.  The problem is that the sleeves fit Maxie's arms very tightly and do not slide freely up and down like they do on a Barbie's slimmer arms.  This in turn caused the loosely cut bodice to bunch up and look unattractive.  I was only able to get the picture above after a lengthy battle to get said bodice to lie flat.  The Velcro closes in back and the skirt fits, but it was such a chore to get the blouse looking nice that I doubt Maxie will wear this again.

There's also this cute pink Fashionista dress that I picked up at Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago.
I got that dress with the intention of putting it on Billie Jean, but Maxie may not be willing to give it back!  This fits Maxie reasonably well; it's a little loose, but not too loose for her to look presentable.  I've also got this cute orange and green jungle-print dress, also a Fashionista number.
This one is a little tight across the chest, but it's an acceptable length and fastens without a lot of fuss.  I love the colors with Maxie's sandy hair too.

The packaging said that those Fashionista dresses will fit all four body types, and since they fit Maxie so well I started wondering if Billie Jean's other outfits will work.  I've got that cute polka-dot outfit, and I've also got Billie Jean's stock outfit.
Unfortunately Billie Jean's skirt is way too loose for Maxie, while the top is ironically a teensy bit too tight.  The polka-dot outfit is loose all over as well, especially in the waist of the skirt.  It does stay on Maxie, however, and it looks pretty darn cute too.

At the last minute I added a LIV dress and a What's Her Face! dress to the lineup.  The LIV dress almost fits but is a little tight across the shoulders...
...and the What's Her Face! dress...well, I couldn't get it on Maxie at all.
I can't give a good review of Maxie's original clothes because she didn't come with any of her own.  She came in a frilly pink dress that fit her nicely but isn't on the website I found that helps identify Maxie clothes.
It looks nice on Maxie, but the bodice is a tiny bit big.  It isn't tagged so I have no idea who made this dress.  Maybe it's a Hasbro product and maybe it isn't, but it fits Maxie and makes her look presentable so that's really all that matters.  If Maxie's original clothes are anything like Jem's clothes they'll likely be well-made but with bits and bobs that either could get lost or wouldn't age well.  My old doll's swimsuit took a fair amount of punishment as children's toys often do, but as far as I can remember it held up well except for a little fading.

That's plenty to think about.  Maxie's pros and cons now.

BAD
*Not terribly original.  The doll world is crawling with beach-themed dolls.
*Hands are large, meaning it's a little tricky to dress this doll at times.
*Can't wear Barbie's shoes at all.
*Doll's overall measurements make clothes sharing a little hit and miss.
*My particular doll is missing part of one foot, though that's just a problem with my particular doll.

GOOD
*Lovely hair.  This doll was advertised as "the girl with the beautiful hair," and I agree.
*My particular doll is well painted, being neither overly blushed like other Maxie dolls nor too pale.  The tiny streak of missing paint in one eye is barely visible.
*Sturdy.  I can't illustrate the way a doll feels in my hands, but this doll feels very well constructed.  She doesn't feel like she'd break at the drop of a hat like some of my other dolls.
*Can wear some of Barbie's clothes, and some other dolls' earrings.
*Can wear Flavas shoes.  I'm hoping this may mean that P. Bo can wear Maxie's (if I ever find any Maxie shoes).

My childhood memories unfortunately bias my overall opinion of Maxie.  In my eyes she can do no wrong.  But in all fairness I feel like this review is incomplete, as I have no items of clothing to review.  The doll herself is great; she has pretty hair and a pretty face.  She's got all of Barbie's beauty but with some innocence added in.  The few problems she does have can either be rectified or blamed on something besides the doll.  Thus I'm a little bemused as to why Maxie was only around for three years.  She does have a lot of similarities to Skipper and to Jazzie, both of whom are relatives of the anointed one, Barbie. 
I don't have a Jazzie doll to show y'all, but she bears a passing resemblance to Maxie.  I don't recall how popular either doll was in the nineties, but since they were both in Barbie's family that might mean that they outperformed Maxie and her sun-loving friends.  Or maybe fans of Jem and the Holograms were underwhelmed by her girl-next-door image.  Hasbro did have a music-themed wave in the works, but the line got canceled before Maxie and her friends could hit the recording studio.  Kind of a shame too, because that music theme was cute.

Much love,
RagingMoon1987

2 comments:

  1. Speaking of Maxie, did you know that there were animated "Maxie's World" vhs tapes 'back in the day'. I don't remember much about them. I'm not sure if they were direct to video products or if there was an actual cartoon tv series. The reason I remember them is that there were promos for them on the "Seabert The Seal" vhs tapes that my siblings watched ad nauseum during that time period. I can still remember part of the "Maxie's World" theme song from those promos. "Maxie, Maxie, a girl on the go. Maxie, Maxie, her own tv show. Good times are happenin', in Maxie's World!"
    Signed, Treesa

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    1. LOL, I had no idea that there was a TV show, but I'm not really surprised. That's an interesting piece of information! Thank you for sharing that.

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