seems to confirm this, so I may have to drag home an original Almond Tea for the heckuvit. The Oriental characters seem to have changed the most from line to line, by the way, especially when compared to other ethnicities. Orange Blossom is the only Afro-American character I can name, and she has been in every line as far as I know (thank goodness she didn't get the treatment that Dot Starlight got). Not so with Strawberry Shortcake's Asian friends; so far there's been Almond Tea (Kenner), Ginger Snap (Bandai), Tea Blossom (Playmates), and Cherry Jam (Hasbro and Bridge Direct). Cherry Jam was the only one to last for more than two waves, while the others saw only the wave they were introduced in. Indeed, my little Tea Blossom appears to have gotten but one release, that being for the rather outrageous-looking Color Swirl wave. With this line Playmates toyed with flavors and colors, creating dolls that were colored and scented one way, but with hair clips and clothing items that were colored and/or scented another way. For example, Frosty Puff (another one-off character) was blackberry-scented and sported a plum clip, and the ever-present Lemon Meringue was lemon-scented with a lime clip. Lemon probably would've been my second choice had I not been dazzled by Tea Blossom's purple hair, since Playmates Lemon is rendered in a happy shade of yellow that matches her smiling little face. But before hair, let's compare Tea to my other Strawberry Shortcake dolls, knockoffs and all. Tea is the tallest of the Strawberry Shortcake crew, at seven inches. I think Gumdrop likes Tea's pigtails.
Miss Emily and Beastsbelle both did a fabulous job of comparing the different Strawberry Shortcake lines, so I knew ahead of time that Tea would be quite different than Lime Chiffon and her knock-off companions. She's taller and thinner, though her face is still quite innocent and sweet and her colors are bright. Regarding other dolly brands, Tea is taller than my little Moondreamers doll Whimzee, and she barely ekes out Cherry Merry Muffin and Emerald the Enchanting Witch as well, though that's hard to see since Cherry and Emerald are both wearing their hats.
Lottie is taller than Tea, but not by much.
Hairdorables Dee Dee and Kat are shorter than Tea by about a head. Notice that they all wear variations of the same hairstyle. I wish Tea could tip her head to interact with her enthusiastic comrades, but (spoiler alert) she can't.
That's a good way to segue into the hair department. My old Lime Chiffon's hair is quite thin per the norm for the Kenner dolls, and I've been told that the Bandai dolls are bad about losing their hair completely over time. Tea is not a Bandai doll OR a Kenner doll, but I'm going to use a little caution when examining her hair anyway. I'd call this color...oh, it looks like good ol' royal purple to me, and the fibers are tied up into two perky pigtails.
Before I move on, it's time for...you guessed it, a tangent! The colors and the style of Tea's hair remind me of a cute line of dolls that used to be available when I was a tween, a trio of Lisa Frank-branded dolls called Fab Friends. Tea's style takes elements from my two favorite dolls in that line, borrowing the style from Lisa and the color from Mara. I never got a Fab Friends doll, by the way, so owning Tea helps make up for that a little. A little...not a lot. I may have to bring home a Fab Friend in the future and see if they were worth all the times I stood in the toy isle admiring their hair (Mara was my favorite, by the way). I wonder if perhaps one of these doll lines took inspiration from the other, maybe? Well okay, maybe not, but it's fun to speculate.
Now, here's this face that I love so dearly.
The mouth is fairly minimalist, but is more detailed than the mouths of the older dolls. Instead of being a spot of paint this mouth is legitimately molded in. I'd call that lip color...oh, it looks like cranberry to me. It has a bit of a metallic shimmer to it.
As I noted last week Strawberry Shortcake dolls usually go for cuteness over style when it comes to clothes...yeah. That rule only applies to the older dolls. The more modern dolls, like the ones from the Bandai era onward, DO attempt to be stylish while staying true to their saccharine roots. The Bandai dolls did this the best, I think, as that era saw Strawberry Shortcake sporting BLUE JEANS!!! Subsequent lines have made less of an attempt to appear in tune with modern styles, as Tea's ensemble will show.
Candy Pop dolls, but the aesthetic is there. The first piece is that accessory common to nearly all Strawberry Shortcake dolls, a hat. Tea can't wear the hat, so my old Sindy doll models it.
wore her ball cap 27/7, even with her prom gown. Norma was her name, if I recall correctly, and like all of Carrie's other tormentors she met a painful and well-deserved death. Not someone that I'd want my sweet little Sindy doll to emulate. Anyway, Tea is not wearing the hat because
A) it won't fit over her pigtails, and
B) I put it in storage and now I can't find it.
It's nicely constructed though, with solid seams and no loose threads on the interior. It once had some elastic that might have helped hold it on Tea's head, but that broke, as aged elastic often does. I figure I tucked it in with the rest of Sindy's stuff. Luckily I do have the rest of Tea's outfit within reach, because she's wearing it! Here's her blouse, complete with half-sleeves. I had thought they were longer, but of course I'm full of baloney.
a heavy coat for Wozzeck expecting to take pictures of him in the snow, and we've had...very little snow until here recently (not that that bothers me much). Anyway, this blouse is made of two of my favorite colors, consisting of a green jersey knit with a purple block at the neck and a sateen ribbon forming the collar. The purple patch isn't just printed on, either. It's a legit separate piece.
Frosty Puff for confirmation; the insignia on her shirt IS a blackberry, and it looks quite a bit like Tea's bunch of grapes. Now that that's out of the way, let's move briefly to the back. The back of this blouse is held shut with our old friend Velcro, and unlike Sweet Orange Pop from last review this Velcro holds Tea's shirt closed.
Technically this COULD work since all the Velcro fastened, but in truth Lottie's clothes are too baggy for Tea to wear. Tea's outfit is a teensy bit tight on Lottie, but that's not my main beef with her wearing it. The skirt and top are both too short and rob Lottie of the wholesome image her makers wanted for her, though the top might look cute when paired with some high-waisted jeans. I'm going to call Lottie clothes a no-no for these Playmates dolls, though they can share shoes with no problems. Now it's Whimzee's turn.
That's about all I've got for clothes sharing, so...time to wrap it up!
*Hair is a slight nightmare, though that's the fault of age, not the doll herself.
*Poseability is not great
*Can't share clothes reliably with any of my dolls
*I LOVE this doll's face! Many dolls don't have smiling eyes, but Tea does.
*Dressed in two of my favorite colors, though I deliberately chose a doll with these colors.
*Still a good toy, even though this line is discontinued
*Looks cute with other Strawberry Shortcake dolls, but still stands out enough to be an individual.
I like Tea Blossom and these Playmates dolls with their happy little expressions, but they differ quite a bit from the original Strawberry Shortcake line, enough so that I could understand why purist collectors would eschew these. But as we established last week I am NOT a purist collector, and while I admit that I best like the simple innocence of the Kenner Strawberry Shortcake dolls, I also enjoy these later newcomers. I do recommend caution if buying one of these for a child, though. They make great toys, but that hair...oh my, that hair can become a living nightmare to deal with, though in Tea's defense the hair of ANY doll can become a living nightmare if abused. These Playmates dolls are cute dolls though, with sweet faces and nicely made clothes, and they suit themselves nicely to dioramas or games of make-believe...which in the long run is what dolls are for! Bottom line, these Playmates dolls are okay for anyone that's not allergic to non-Kenner stuff. And frankly, even if I did exhibit characteristics of a Strawberry purist I'd still like these dolls, because their faces are great. Adding to the charm of these Playmates dolls is the fact that many of them march to the beat of their own drum, as Miss Emily put it. She wisely noted that her Playmates Blueberry Muffin doll (and the Bandai version too) are very different from their predecessors and their successors, and I have noticed that with Tea Blossom. Her hair is a different style from Almond Tea's purple bob and from Cherry Jam's waist-length tresses, and her color scheme is different from Almond's yellow and purple clothes and Cherry's loud combination of pink, purple, and razzmatazz. Yeah, I know Tea's purple and green getup is more to echo the Color Swirl theme than anything, but it still stands out from her counterparts in other Strawberry Shortcake lines. In my eyes that makes the Playmates dolls worth the perusal of any Strawberry Shortcake fan.