"Come now, Beaker, this won't hurt a bit!"
Of all the Muppets, Beaker was easily one of my favorites. That big redheaded freak always had the worst luck, and most of it was caused by his partner/boss/whatever, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.
I already got Beaker with the Muppet Labs playset but, as Shocka said in his review, the set just isn't complete without Bunsen around to make life horrible for Beakie.
Bunsen is the Muppets' resident inventor, always willing to put his assistant's life on the line in the name of science. Most of his experiments end with a handy explosion, revealing the twisted fruits of his labors through a cloud of dissipating smoke.
I was really surprised when Palisades chose to make Bunsen in their very first wave of Muppet toys. Sure, I like him, but he's not a star by any stretch of the imagination. Most folks will recognize Bunsen, but ask 'em to recall his name off the top of their heads and, well, let's just say that he needs to invent himself some brand recognition.
He may be a bit player, but Palisades didn't cut any corners on his production. Standing 5" tall, Bunsen moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist and hips. His right elbow is a peg joint, while his left is a pin; this gives him a nice variety of poses, and is perfect for throwing all those switches in the Lab.
Wearing a light gray labcoat that hangs and bunches like real cloth would on his pear-shaped body, Bunsen looks very professional. He's got on a green vest that buttons up to just below his bright red tie. His white shirt sports orange and tan pinstripes, which show off the quality paint apps. Even the laces on his shiny black shoes are painted cleanly.
All that paint just serves to highlight the killer sculpt. They gave him shoelaces, fer cryin' out loud! There is a pen, a pencil and a... green thing in his pocket. His "skin" is all nubbly, just like felt and foam would be. There were some complaints that Bunsen wasn't as yellow as the fans expected, but he really is the sort of melon color you'd expect in (drumroll, please) a honeydew.
Bunsen's face is perfect, from his devilish grin to his flat little nose. His ears stick out on the sides of his head, and his eyes are non-existent. His glasses aren't removable, and will break if you try to force them. Besides, it wouldn't be cool to leave poor myopic Bunsen unable to see.
Bunsen comes with some accessories that are perfect for stocking the Labs. The one you'll notice first is the giant metal rabbit, looking like it was crafted from real steel plates. The sculptors remembered to include every little rivet, and there are colored lights on its chest. The rabbit moves at the neck, ankles, shoulders and hips, and there's a moveable lever on the side of its head. It's nearly as tall as its creator, and technological enough to fit in with even the most advanced gorilla detector.
In addition to the Muppet logo base that all the figures come with, Bunsen has a top secret Muppet Labs notebook with a tic-tac-toe game on one page and a shopping list on the other: gel for Beaker; tweezers; pretzels; anti-itch cream; bleach; and cod-liver oil. Heaven only knows what he's going to do with all that. It's a nice little piece, if a tad flimsy - I don't trust that spine too far.
Palisades Toys keeps turning out top-notch toys with every Muppet line. Unlike Playmates with the World of Springfield, they're varying the selections so that their line will have legs - the Muppets aren't going anywhere any time soon, and as long as they're around, Bunsen's going to be working to improve their lives.
Who's your favorite Muppet? How about your favorite Muppet movie? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.