Who says you can't choose your parents?
Zim created the parent decoys in order to seem like an ordinary skool child. Most of their time is spent locked in the closet and they are only brought out when needed.
Zim's robot parents are kind of... not good. Not because of some error on Palisades' part, but because Zim has no concept of what humans should really look like.
Dad is nearly bald, with a tuft of hair on one side. He's got two big seams running down his face and behind his glasses, and a pipe jutting out the corner of his mouth. He's wearing a grayish vest over his lavender shirt, and has brown pants. His "hands" are more metal clamps than true appendages, he's got a bit of exposed spine at his waist, and his feet are actually just shoes attached to bicycle pedals - Robo-Dad gets around via a single, tiny wheel.
Mom is a real fashion plate, wearing a pink belly shirt, blue overalls and a pink tutu. She's got a big, crazy, blue hairdo and fake eyelashes welded above her mis-aligned eyes. Though her neck and midsection are metal, she's got pink arms. She's wearing yellow rubber gloves, but seems to only have two fingers on each hand. The cuffs of her pants are rolled up to reveal a pair of tiny wheels.
Palisades did a great job on the sculpts: the parents are designed to be a mish-mash of parts, and that's just what they look like. Dad is arched back slightly, while Mom leans forward. Awww! Sadly, their wheels don't turn, but considering the quality control problems Palisades has been having lately, that might be a good thing.
As previously reported, Gir broke at the neck as soon as he was out of the tray. Robo Dad did the same thing, but he actually managed to break his neck in two spots - one where the neck meets the body, and the other where it enters the head. What the heck, guys? Yes, the neck is thin, but it's a balljoint. A true ball-and-socket balljoint! There's nothing to get stuck, there. It's not the joint that broke, but the plastic attached to it. Yeesh.
Other than that (major) annoyance, the joints are all fine. Zim's folks each move at the waist, shoulders, wrists and neck. Since they couldn't really balance on wheels, they each have a two-piece display stand that plugs into their backside and leaves them hovering slightly above the ground. On the show, the Robo-Parents run on a track that leads them from their storage closets to the front door; the toys have a bit more freedom.
Accessories are light: a toothbrush and a spoon. Before you start bitching, though, take a moment and remember that you're getting two complete, full-sized figures here; it's not like one of them is a solid pvc or anything. And of course, they comes with a huge display base.
Zim Series 1 each came with a character-specific base.
Zim had his lab, Dib had his desk, so forth. Taking a page from Marvel Legends, most of Series 2 comes with a piece of Zim's house. Collect them all and you can build a mighty facade. The Robo-Parents actually come packaged with the living room. There's a circular section of wall with the big-eyed monkey painting, and below it, the couch. The floor has a burgundy and gold foreshortened checkerboard pattern and a little coffee table thing.
A sticker on the packaging encourages you to "add the tv from Hot Topic's Gir to complete the living room!" That's kind of disappointing. With Series 1, the HT exclusive figures had nice accessories, but the mass market figures didn't need them to be complete. And how many stores are going to want to buy a lot of figures that provide free advertising for a competitor right on the front?
Hot Topic's exclusive version
of the Robo-Parents isn't exactly a must-buy, though it is charming. Since Zim built the POS robots himself, they're always falling apart. Representing one of these glitches, Mom's smilling despite missing an eye and Dad has a giant, insane grin on his face. The new faces are nice, but since that's the only difference in the figures (well, that and two bags of flour for accessories), there's just not much to recommend them instead of the standard editions.
The Xbox of androids, the Robo-Parents are second-rate pieces of junk with a poor design and an even poorer performance record. But don't let Zim's lack of design sense dissuade you: Palisades' figures are definitely cool. Just watch out for shoddy plastic.
Time to make your mom cry; if you could choose your own parents, who would you pick? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.