There's nothing like small-town civic pride. You know, the sort of backwater idiocy that makes longtime residents view new neighbors who move in from another state as "foreigners" or think of a high school football team as the most important thing ever. Yes, hooray for Podunk America.
Given the huge amount of local festivals, holidays and parades designed to distract the joyless citizenry, Springfield is simply drenched in civic pride. Why, they've even got a statue of their founding father in the center of town! Part of the World of Springfield line, the Town Square playset measures 8" wide, 5 1/2" deep, and 7" high. Press any of the three buttons on the ground, and you'll hear sounds from the show.
It's a sunny day in Springfield, so the park-like Town Square is the place to be. Sure, a couple of goons are roughing up the Mayor over by the county court, but you can rest in the shade of a tree or relax momentarily on a park banch. Both are fine places to gaze in wonder upon the gleaming bronze statue of Jebediah Springfield, its base carved with the town motto, "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man."
In 1796, Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jenediah Springfield led a fiercely determined band of pioneers out of Maryland after misinterpreting a passage in the Bible. When they reached the land they intended to call "New Sodom," however, a split between Jebediah and his partner, Shelbyville Manhattan, led to the founding of Springfield, where the settlers could worship freely, govern justly, and grow vast fields of hemp. But not marry their cousins.
Now, unless there's some kind of crazy time-travel thing going on,
the figure included in this set isn't actually Jebediah Springfield, but rather an actor portraying him. In any case, "Jebediah" stands 5" tall and moves, of course, at the Springfield Four. Playmates certainly wasn't going to break any new ground at the end of this line. The figure looks just like the designs seen on the show, from his coonskin cap to his leather shoes. He's got a more dynamic pose than some of the early WoS figures, with one foot slightly in front of the other. Nothing crazy, just a bit of movement.
Jebediah has no accessories, which is a shame. Where's the fife upon which he sounded the sweet note of freedom? Or his hatchet, with which he hacked at the chains of oppression? Or his, uh, chamber pot? The set does include a green backpack, however, which fans will recognize from the episode "The Telltale Head." Yes, just as Bart defaced public property, so too can you. The statue's head is removable, and fits inside the bag.
Like most of the Simpsons figures, Jebediah Springfield talks when you put him on a compatible playset environment. The Town Square, for instance. Press the button, and hear one of five phrases:
"A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man."
"Firstly, I did not tame the legendary buffalo, it was already tame - I merely shot it."
"Why do you dig up the bones of past - why did you disturb the ghosts of history?"
"I have not always been known as Jebediah Springfield. Until 1796, I was Hans Sprungfeld!"
"Well, then we'll form our own town!"
Without any figure in place, you hear birds chirping merrily. It is a park, after all. Since this is the last playset in the line, a lot of figures work with it. Enterprising fans have even found that there's information stored inside for figures we'll never see - the planned but cancelled Series 17. Lindsay Nagle! Sanjay! Sideshow Bob's brother Cecil! Ah, how we'll miss them.
Normally I waited until the WoS playsets were on sale before buying - at $20-25, they were just too expensive for what they offered. But the odds of this set ever even reaching enough stores to get close to clearance are slim. Yes, the line was plagued by problems and eventually tanked severely, but it had an unexpectedly long run. I recommend the Town Square set as I recommend all the other World of Springfield offerings: if you're a fan of the show, or just want to purchase this for someone who is, it's a perfectly cromulent set.
Now that the World of Springfield is no more, what do you think of it as a whole? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.