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Bret Hart

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary
by yo go re

Usually when we do WWEdnesday, the toy's a bit more flexible than this.

Professional wrestling's legendary "Hit Man" hit Mr. Burns where it hurt the most in Season 8's "The Old Man and the Lisa" when he bought the suddenly-broke tycoon's mansion and, to add real insult to fake injury, called him a "pitiful pencil-neck geek."

Yes he did, which was a really weird thing to say - it sounds "wrestler-y" (thanks to Classy Freddie Blassie) but it doen't really fit with Hitman's usual persona, which suggests that it was what the writers came up with, and he (being Canadian) was too polite to suggest something better. Also, it's kind of funny that April 20, 1997 - the night that "The Old Man and the Lisa" aired - was the same night as WWF's "In Your House 14" pay-per-view event, where Bret Hart was fighting Steve Austin in the main event. That means, depending on the vagaries of timezones and PPV running times, Bret Hart may have been appearing on two different channels at the same time.

The likeness is very good - which is to say, it looks very close to the design seen on the cartoon, not that it looks exactly like the real Bret Hart. Of course, not even Jakks' toy of the real Bret Hart looked like the real Bret Hart, so everything is relative, I guess. One really weird thing, though? His mouth is open, but he's got no detailing in there.

[Correction: he has a tongue, but it's not painted --ed.]

The Hitman is wearing his ring attire, which is a perfectly oddball choice. It's almost a throwback to the 1980s mindset, where wrestling was real and kayfabe had to be maintained at all times. Back then, sure, it made perfect sense that these guys would still wear the same stupid stuff and still act the same stupid ways on their day off. Going house-shopping? A pink singlet and black stretch pants, with knee-high boots, wristbands, and elbow pads make for a totally normal outfit. He's also wearing non-removable purple sunglasses, which should really be shiny and metallic, but the intention is clear.

Like all the Simpsons figures, Bret moves at the Springfield Four, but his long, stringy hair keeps the head from turning very far. Also, the sculpt of his arms is very weird: they're permanently bent at the elbows, and they seem incredibly small for his body. Yes, the pose allows you to re-create his excitement when he learned that the Shrieking Sheik lived three doors away, but the sculpt just looks wrong.

Even with the weird arms, Bret Hart is a fun Simpsons figure. The variety of personalities NECA is getting into this line is a bit mind-boggling - how many other times can you reasonably expect to get James Brown, Tom Hanks, and Bret "The Hitman" Hart together in one place?

-- 09/24/14

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