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World of Springfield
by yo go re

Part of The Simpsons' strength is that, despite its two-dimensional reality, it takes place in a three-dimensional world. The show has the largest cast ever assembled on television, from the big stars to background players. And the strength of Playmates' Simpsons line is that they give fans figures of both ends of the Springfield spectrum.

With Series 11, Playmates has redesigned their Simpsons packaging, making it more graphic and less plain blocks of color. It still shows other figures and lets you know on which playsets the included figure will talk, but the card looks better now. Good choice on their part.

Gil here is one of those supporting characters that give Springfield its life. He's never had more than a few lines in any episode, and he's never a part of the big story. He just shows up, does his job (whatever it may be that week) and disappears.

Patterned after Jack Lemmon's pathetic Shelley "the Machine" Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross, Gil is an aging and unsuccessful salesman who's on his way down without ever getting a lick of that big brass ring. Fittingly, he first showed up in "Realty Bites" working for Lionel Hutz at Red Blazer Realty. He's apparenly been fired repeatedly, since we've never seen him in the same role twice. He's been a shoe salesman, used car dealer (twice), computer technician, bodyguard-in-training, doorbell salesman, telemarketer, mop boy and Amway huckster. So far.

Like every other World of Springfield toy ever, Gil doesn't have enough articulation to qualify as an action figure; he moves only at the neck, shoulders, and waist. We call it the Springfield Four, because they all have it. The sculpting is great, from his loose necktie and receeding hairline to the pained and terrified look on is face. He's seen here wearing the infamous red blazer from his first appearence. Put him on a compatible playset environment, and he'll speak.

  • "How many can I put you down for? A lot?"
  • "Please say a lot, I need this!"
  • "Shut up, Gil. Close the deal! Close the deal!"

Right now, it's only in one environment, and only from one episode, but in time, maybe there will be more.

Gil comes with a fine selection of accessories from his various jobs: a 1981 Doleco computer, some poker chips, a bottle of Promo Seltzer, a "Branrock" device (the foot-measuring tool is actually a "Brannock" device) and a pair of tongs holding that disgusting store sock. A sticker on the back of the Doleco's cabinet lists its specifications, such as the impressive .3 mhz speed, 64k of RAM (expandable to 144), 32k of ROM and its impressive interfaces (a paper clip hole). All this in only 57 pounds of the finest technology Springfield Elementary can afford!

Gil is quickly moving his way up from third tier guest to B-level character. Everybody loves seeing good ol' Gil, loves laughing at his luckless life, and it can't be too long before he turns up as a real part of the story.

-- 03/01/03

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