Many years ago (twenty-one, if we must nitpick) I had to make a decision. I wanted two expensive, large dolls for Christmas, and I could only pick one. One was an American Girl doll (of course), and the other was Amazing Maddie, a doll who talked, played games, and could kinda, sorta interact with her owner. I made my decision and now have an old, frizzy-haired Felicity Merriman doll to show for it. I REGRET NOTHING!!! In the time since then I forgot about Amazing Maddie...until this past May. This is her before I unboxed her.
When I was a kid I didn't care too much for electronic or battery-operated toys. The way I saw it, the more bells and whistles a toy had, the more items there were on it to break or malfunction. Walkin' Baby was about as mechanized as I wanted a toy to be. But by the time I was eleven interactive dolls were all the rage, and Amazing Ally was particularly all the rage. Even then the blonde, blue-eyed Ally did little to impress me...but her hippie friend Amazing Maddie was another story entirely. Fortunately and unfortunately that was the year that I got my first American Girl doll, and I was so happy to have Felicity in my arms that I forgot about Maddie completely...for awhile, anyway. I never forgot Amazing Ally's catchy commercial though, and while researching her I rediscovered her artsy hippie friend Maddie. These dolls were not cheap in 1999, and they're not cheap now. Without revealing the full price, let's just say that I shelled out some extra bucks for an NRFB Maddie, since these dolls came with a lot of accessories and the only way to guarantee that they're all there is to find one in the box. Why is this important??? If one of these electronic dolls asks for a part and doesn't have it, she asks for it and asks for it and asks for it, and nothing else will satisfy her. This video of Amazing Amy (Amazing Ally's little sister, I assume) shows her asking for her milk, and even though she's offered playtime and cereal she wants that milk. I used to be that way, LOL. Yes, I can remember asking repeatedly for Skittles one afternoon and my mother finally acquiescing with an annoyed sigh and the words "You have a ONE-TRACK MIND!!!" Granted, Amy never asks rudely in the clip, but this blogger notes that she never heard her Amy say either "please" or "thank you." That's not unusual for a toddler, but it's still not great. Anyway, there's a way to reset these dolls to get them to stop asking for the same thing, but sooner or later they'll ask again and then it's either reset again or take out the batteries (or let the doll keep asking until she goes to sleep; apparently that's an option for Amy). So long story short, I coughed up the extra money for an in-box Maddie, and this will allow y'all to see what her box looks like. Oh, and as an added little bonus, when I opened up Maddie's shipping box, this is the sight I was confronted with. Thank goodness they're biodegradable peanuts.
I guess it would be best if I provided y'all with a bit of history on this line first. Amazing Maddie is from the millennial era, and she was part of a laundry list of dolls created around that time by Playmates Toys, the same bunch that brought us Hearts for Hearts Girls and a Strawberry Shortcake revival. The Amazing "family" consisted of preteens Maddie and Ally, babies Ashley and Amy, toddler Amanda, teenager Allysen, and a group of babies that had no special name. They all had the same interactive gimmick, and they all came with the moniker "amazing." There was also a bilingual chick named Remmy, but Bandai made her so I don't know if she counts as a member of the family. Remmy is visually identical to Ally in every way except eye color (Remmy has brown eyes), and she's thunderously hard to find. As far as I know the whole Playmates lot was blonde and blue-eyed except for Maddie and black versions of Ally and Allysen.
Now let's take a closer look at my doll. The front of her box just shows a picture of Maddie's face with her mouth open, probably in the middle of a sentence.
Above her image is her name in huge letters, and her title as Amazing Ally's best friend. I wonder if Maddie and Ally could interact with each other, the way Furby and Shelby could?
"Perfect-O!" exclaims her box. Sounds like one of my favorite interjections, "fabuloso," though usually I use that when a situation isn't so great. Usually it'll involve the fax machine at work; it'll fail catastrophically during an important fax and I'll sardonically huff "Well that's just FABULOSO!!!" The front of the box opens like a book, reminiscent of the old LIV doll boxes, or Little Apple Doll boxes, take your pick. The box even says "Lift 'n' Look."
LOL, reminds me a little of the instructions on the front of The Velvet Underground and Nico: "Peel slowly and see." Opening up the box provides us with our first glimpse of
a pink banana Maddie, and how her paint isn't as vibrant as her stock photo self.
Those eyes, though! I love those eyes! They remind me a little of Li'l Devil's eyes. But before we open the doll up and look closer at her eyes there's still a lot to photograph. The inside flap of the box has plenty of information, but first I want to make note of this.
Inside of the box info discusses Maddie's technical nitty gritties. The first blurb tries to explain how Ally's and Maddie's personalities differ. It describes Maddie's "today" way of talking, but when I described to Mama how she talked Mama replied "She sounds like a sixties kid!" Mama was a sixties kid herself, so she'd know.
No, Maddie. I said "I loathe hip-hop," not "I love hip-hop." But look, she likes the term "fabuloso" too! I haven't even heard her talk and we already have something in common. The next blurb invites the doll's owner to get artsy alongside Maddie, and to my delight she appears to include photography in her interests. Not all art-themed dolls do that.
Do I sound chipper so far??? That's because I hadn't started the deboxing when I wrote that first bunch of stuff. Maddie wasn't thunderously hard to debox, but there was an unnecessary amount of tape holding her and her things in place. Compounding matters was poor Maddie herself. Look at her hair!!!
Finally, here's the first picture I took of Maddie, fresh out of her box with her hair still matted and her face unwashed.
Uh-oh, I think I'd better separate those two before something bad happens. Felicity has spent long enough in the modern day to know how to defend herself, and she was never a shrinking violet to begin with. With my girls safely apart and the steak knives locked up, I can now focus on Maddie's hair. It's waist-length with bangs up front and a partial ponytail in back.
Now the face. Since Maddie's mouth moves as she talks she had to have a rather soft face, and Playmates used the kind of vinyl that gets sticky with time. As a result Maddie's face got pretty dirty in the first twelve hours of her life with me.
Maddie's body is hard plastic all over, and she has a preteen build: slim with long legs, but with a round torso and a flat chest.
The rest of Maddie's arms are stiff plastic and have no adornments. Her shoulders go back and forth...