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Mabel Pines & Waddles

Gravity Falls
by yo go re

"When are you going to learn? I'm always right about everything!"

The text on the back of all the Gravity Falls toys is identical, so rather than repeat what you already read in Dipper's review, here are some interesting facts about Mabel. She's Dipper's twin sister, but was born five minutes sooner - a fact she exploits when she drives Dipper nuts by keeping secrets under the guise of "I'll tell you when you're older." During her brief summer in Gravity Falls, Oregon, Mabel has fallen in love with a merboy, a zombie, a gnome, and a couple of cute vampires. She also had a crush on "the man on the $10 bill." Despite her age, she is an official US congresswoman, having been appointed by Quentin Trembley, the 8½th President of the United States (he won in a landslide).

Dipper is based on show creator Alex Hirsch, so no surprise that Mabel is based on Alex's real-life twin sister Ariel. Mabel is jealous of Dipper's smarts, but she's more outgoing and social. She's not really the Scully to Dipper's Mulder - it's not that she doesn't believe in the craziness going on around them, just that she's so much of a cloudcuckoolander that she genuinely just shrugs it all off as acceptable.

The sculpt of this figure is good. Mabel is perpetually cheerful, so she's got a hige smile on her face. Despite being nothing more than thin black lines, her brows and eyelashes are sculpted on, rather than just being painted! Unfortunately, her braces are painted dark blue when they should be lighter, and the rosy circles on her cheeks are inexplicably painted the same brown as her hair, so it looks like she has two giant moles. Plus, the white of her eyes doesn't cover the entire eyeball, so Mabel really needs a customizer's touch.

And speaking of paint, Jazwares really missed an opportunity here. Mabel's standard outfit involves little black shoes, ankle socks, a skirt, and a turtleneck sweater. Yes, a sweater, despite the show taking place in the summer. Girls be cold! This one is bright pink with a rainbow shooting star, which is definitely her default look, but she's worn 101 different sweaters so far through the course of the show. Jazwares could have done tons of variants of this figure, each with a different pattern painted on. The figure's articulation is crap (balljointed head, swivel shoulders, swivel waist, and every single one of them was stuck tight), so at least that would have added a little bit of fun to her.

Mabel's preference for crazy sweaters apparently came about because her inspiration, Ariel, wore similar things as a kid. But that's not the only connection! When she was little, Ariel desperately wanted a pet pig. She even had a pig shrine in her room. She never got her pig, but because Alex is a good brother, Mabel does get hers.

In the ninth episode, "The Time Traveler's Pig," Dipper and Mabel attend the Mystery Fair, where she enters a contest to win a pig - all she has to do is guess its weight. Originally named "Ol' 15-Poundy," he was renamed "Waddles" after Mabel won him (and turned down the knife and fork the man running the game offered her). This is a solid, unarticulated piece of plastic, but its sculpt is perfect. Waddles is soft pink, with darker pink spots on his rump and around his left eye, black hooves, and a snout that's the same color as Mabel's sweater. He's very cute, and in his case the lack of articulation isn't a drawback.

The set also includes a scroll, designed to look like a page from Dipper's journal, and has a bit of gibberish on the back of the card - every episode ended with a cryptogram in the end credits, so it makes sense to include one here. It's a simple Caesar cipher, reading RLQN! RLQN! RLQN!, which isn't exactly the most creative thing ever, but you can't deny it relates to the figures in the set.

As said before, Gravity Falls is an excellent cartoon, burdened by crappy toys - they're more for looking at than playing with, which is fine for us, but has to suck for kids. But it's not like Mabel is agressively terrible, just completely mediocre. She may not move well, but she stands fine on her own and she comes with a giant pig. That'll have to be good enough.

-- 01/31/16

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