The Toy Box on ABC

Early April, ABC’s newest reality series, The Toy Box, hit the airwaves. Hosted by Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet and produced in collaboration with Mattel, this competition show gives toy creators the chance to pitch their idea in hopes of getting their toy produced by Mattel and sold at Toys R Us. In order to win the competition, toy creators need to first pitch their idea to three mentors: Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren, toy guru Jim Silver and Pixar’s creative director of consumer products, Jen Tan. If the contestant can convince two of the three mentors that their idea is solid, creators then move onto four pint sized judges: Sophia Grace, Aalyrah, Toby and Noah. From the looks of it, the show will feature five aspiring creators, three going onto the four kid judges. Of those three, one is chosen to go to the finals, which will air at the end of the series.

Four weeks in and this is my opinion of the series so far. I’m not in love with the overall format of the show. As someone who’d tried to get a reality show about toy production off the ground, I found myself critiquing the production and format a little more than your casual TV viewer! “If I were producing this, I’d…” was definitely something I found myself thinking a few times while watching The Toy Box! The biggest head scratcher for me is to the point of the mentors. Since Mattel will be distributing this product, you would expect one of them to be a Mattel employee, right, like a VP of design or something? But none of them are attached to Mattel, as far as I can tell. Jim Silver, I can sort of understand, being the head of TTPM, a large toy review site, but the other two judges from Dylan’s Candy Bar and Pixar seem out of place. Besides their qualifications, I’m unsure as to if they are really necessary. Unlike Shark Tank, they don’t really seem like long lasting mentors. They are taking no stake in the toy at all. It seems like they’re only going to be in the toy creators life once (to pitch) and then that’s it. Moreover, unless production is cutting out a lot of the discussion between the mentors and the contestant, they don’t seem to be giving good, constructive advice.

I can’t say anything negative about the kid judges, though. They were quite entertaining. (Plus, they’re just kids!) One thing that entertains me is when the adult mentors will throw shade, so to speak, at a toys concept or construction, just to have the kids say that they love that particular element in the three toy face off.

There have been some interesting toy concepts put up for the competition, though so far, none of the dolls have been all that great. One bright note so far is the fact that My Ballerina Dolls, which competed in The Toy Box week 2, won a place in the finals.

At this point, there are many things I would change about The Toy Box. First, I would drop the adult mentors. They’re kind of useless, especially since none of them represent or work for Mattel. Second, I’d theme the weeks to specific types of toys: dolls, games, outdoor… It doesn’t seem like putting a doll against an outdoor water tag game against a parachute toy is fair to the toy inventors. I’d rather see five dolls battle it out and then, a week later, have five outdoor toys duke it out. At the very end of the series, the top toys in their categories could then go head to head in a battle royale. But, alas, they didn’t ask me.

Are you watching The Toy Box? What do you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

April 28, 2017. Uncategorized. 6 comments.

Dolly Review: Wonder Crew James

A month ago, I was sent a Wonder Crew doll for review. Wonder Crew is a line of 15″ dolls that come in a variety of skin tones, including Caucasian (Will), Asian (Erik), African-American (James) and Hispanic (Marco). Unlike most doll lines, the main players in this line are boys, not girls. The Wonder Crew website states that the line was “Inspired by boys but truly meant for any child, Wonder Crew builds emotional intelligence, imagination, confidence, and is 100% fun!”

Wonder Crew

Wonder Crew dolls come dressed as superheroes complete with a vibrant red cape and mask. These dolls are meant to inspire active play right out of the box and come with a matching child sized cape and mask. If you feel like switching up the fun, other outfits are sold separately. Like the basic doll, each outfit comes with a fun child sized accessory! For example, the Snuggler Adventure Pack, green pajama’s with a rocket ship theme, comes with a blanket that is the perfect size for a child and their Wonder Crew to snuggle with! See this outfit in the video review, linked below.

Wonder Crew

The body of Wonder Crew dolls is part vinyl and part cloth. With James, who is pictured in this post, his torso is stuffed, including his shoulders and hips. Three quarters of his arms and legs are vinyl, though. Posing isn’t really a trait these dolls have or need, as they are meant to be huggable playmates. And huggable they are. One thing I wish the Wonder Crew did better was sit. Unfortunately, they don’t sit well, unless propped up by something strong.

Also worth pointing out is this: the cloth body is made of a white fabric with a quilt’y sort of feel to it. With this particular doll, I would have gone with a fabric that matched his skin tone better, but you can always pretend that the white under his clothing is an undershirt.

As far as the sculpt is concerned, I think the Wonder Crew team did a great job on James. The doll, to me, looks like he stepped out of a comic book or cartoon. The molded hair has texture to it and the face is cute. The hands and feet are also sculpted well.

Wonder Crew

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the outfits and extra child sized accessories. More care was put into them than I expected. They are put together well and made with quality fabric.

Wonder Crew

Overall, I think Play Monster’s Wonder Crew dolls are cute. They’re sculpted nicely and have some quality outfits. The extra child sized accessories don’t come off as an afterthought, either, which happens a lot in the industry. Learn more about Wonder Crew on their website. What do you think of Wonder Crew? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

April 28, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 9 comments.

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