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Homer Simpson

World of Springfield
by Shocka

Stealing?! How could you?! Haven't you learnt anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain What's-his-name? We live in a society of laws. Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn't hear anybody laughin', did you?
- Homer Simpson, to Bart after he gets caught stealing

Continuing with our coverage of the popular World of Springfield action figure line by Playmates Toys, I had no choice but to look at the big lug here - undoubtly the most popular character on the entire show, Homer Simpson.

In the beginning, it was thought that young rebel Bart was going to be the "main" character of the new kid's cartoon show, but as people wised up to the adult maturity of the show and lack of a single protagonistic character, Homer's popularity soared. Essentially a sarcastic version of the late '70s television father, the "bumbling idiot" representation, Homer is both a loving, caring father, and also a drunken ignoramus, depending on the time of day. Because of The Simpsons' wonderful way of lampooning everything equally, as well as treating its characters as more than 2D pictures, as a generalisation Homer is rarely scapegoated for his stupidity or drinking problems, or positively emphasised as a father figure. The reasons behind his cult popularity are obvious: he's a hilarious git who gets into all kinds of trouble, often less mature than his children, and he's always funny.

His action figure version is a dead on, 4⅞" version of the man himself - the clothing and details are great. Homer wears his typical white shirt and blue pants, nicely painted without smudges or slips. His face has an enthusiastic expression, his same three hairs, and the nice five o'clock shadow that reappears seconds after he shaves. There's no doubt that this is our Homer, and he looks great.

His movement, on the other hand, isn't as good. Limited to 4 places of articulation - arms, neck and waist - Homer can barely move. He can't sit down and be sluggish, fall asleep at work, or do any of the lazy things that Homer is well known for. This is the biggest issue with the World Of Springfield line; the lack of articulation isn't justified by the ever-rising price. The detail of the characters is just right for the cartoon, but the figures lack the playability to be real "action" figures.

Homer's awesome accessories make up for some of the articulation issues. He features a nicely detailed remote control, which he can hold in his hand for use with the TV in the Living Room playset; a donut with a bite taken out of it; a packet of Salty Snax; and a half crumpled can of his favourite beer, Duff. Homer can hold all of his accessories easily in either hand, and he looks great holding his can of Duff while eating the donut. The can of Duff and the Salty Snax aren't detailed to look like their desired items; instead, they are basically painted, with a sticker of the respective logo completing the accessory to make it look like the product. This works nicely, and is used on all of the World of Springfield accessories.

The gimmick behind the World of Springfield figures is the "Intellitronic" sound feature, in which characters can be placed in their playsets to hear them speak lines from the show and engage in short meaningless conversations. Placing Homer in any WOS playset allows him to say one of his 60 90 different phrases; in the Living Room playset, for example, he'll say:

  • "Boy, everyone is stupid except me."
  • "C'mon TV, gimme some of that sweet, sweet pep!"
  • "D'oh!"
  • "Marge, I ate those fancy soaps you bought for the bathroom."
  • "Woohoo!"
  • "Yeah, you kids gotta go to school, I gotta go to work. The only one who has it easy is Marge."

The sound feature is nicely audible and a neat little gimmick, but once again I feel that more interactivity or less expensive playsets would make the deal a lot sweeter.

Overall, Homer is a decent but unplayable figure. On the whole, I give the entire World of Springfield line 3 out of 5 stars, but Homer gets an extra star because he's Homer, and Homer is awesome. Just about every collector out there would like a Homer for their collection if not more; to date, there have been 13 Homer variants in the WOS line. The original is easily my favourite, but being from the first series in a now-nine-series line, he may be hard to find. However, if you can find him, he's definitely worth buying, and I recommend him.

Homer is a great figure who needs more playability. Overall, he's above average, if just for the great character.

-- 07/24/02

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