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June 16, 2016

Review: Muppet Minimates Series 2 and More

Filed under: Feature,Reviews — Tags: — Joe Hennes @ 11:10 am

Assuming you’re a regular ToughPigs reader, you probably saw our review of the new Diamond Select Muppet action figures a few days ago.  And if you didn’t, then shame on you.  A pox on your house!  (You can fix that by just reading the dang article.) Today, we’re continuing our exploration into to Diamond’s Muppet catalogue with the second series of Muppet Minimates (and I’m sure you already read our review of the first series, right???) and their line of Muppet-inspired drinkware.

We gave you a sneak peek at the Minimates in their packaging earlier this month, and what’s strange about them is the doubling-up of characters.  If you wanted to buy one of each character, there’s no way to avoid doubles.  Thankfully, these guys are cheap enough to justify the extra cost, but as a collector, it’s a slight bit frustrating.

Anyway, let’s take a look at those tiny plastic frogs and pigs and dogs and grumpy old men!

minmate-kermitsKermit is represented not once, not thrice, but twice in this series.  We already got naked Kermit in series 1, and now we get to see Reporter Kermit and the Kermit that’s either waiting tables at a fancy restaurant or going to his high school prom.  Personally, I love that Kermit’s reporter outfit makes occasional appearances in merchandise, as it’s likely his second-most recognizable outfit (after “nothing”).  It’s a bit of a shame that the tuxedoed Kermit doesn’t come paired with a wedding dress Miss Piggy, although I’m sure he’d argue the opposite.  And Reporter Kermit comes equipped with a microphone, perfect for interviewing his doppelganger for his podcast.

minmate-pigsinspaceThe Pigs in Space crew makes their Minimates debut, along with a nameless pig crewmember.  (I’m not sure if I would’ve included him in this series.  I might’ve replaced him with some Koozebanians or Dearth Nadir or Loretta Swit.)  It’s so great to have a full set of characters for one of the recurring Muppet Show sketches.  Maybe series 3 will have the Vet’s Hospital gang, or Floyd, Zoot, and Janice to round out the Electric Mayhem?  Despite the tiny stature, there’s some great attention to detail in these figures.  Notice how all three of the main crewmembers’ costumes are slightly different.  Strangepork’s lack of skirt, Link’s cape, Piggy’s shoulder pads, and a very slight color variation.  They very easily could have used the same body three times, but they didn’t, and that’s what really makes these great.

minmate-rowlf2Rowlf the Dog!  He’s huge!  But so happy.  Yeah, I guess the baggier puppets don’t translate as well (Fozzie had a similar body, but slightly slimmer).  I appreciate that there’s a variety of different character shapes in the cast, and that Diamond made the effort to represent them all.  But Rowlf’s size is definitely the first thing anyone notices about him, when it should really be his ivory-tickling abilities.

minmate-animalAnimal is the most accessory-laden character of the set, coming with two drumsticks and a chain that’s connected to his mane of hair.  The hair definitely gives him a swollen head, but it seems to work.  The chain does get a little annoying if you’re playing with the toy, but it’s totally worth it for how cool it looks.  Plus, it give you something to tie to the radiator so Animal doesn’t run amok.

minmate-drteethDr. Teeth wins the award for best hat, which isn’t just cool for its gaudiness, but it’s also attached to his hair and beard.  I mean, my beard is attached to a hat too, but it’s a tiny hat that rests on my chin, so it’s not nearly as interesting.

minmate-statlerwaldorfStatler and Waldorf somehow made their way past the censors and into this set.  The Minimates style actually lends itself to these guys pretty well, giving them some cartoony faces and dapper suits.  Unfortunately, they don’t have any thumbs, so they have one less way to show their disapproval of the Muppets.

minmate-mahnaMahna Mahna looks fantastic, especially with his green caveman torso.  Still, it’s insane to imagine a world with him and no Snowths.  I can only assume that they’re coming in a later pack, but he feels far too incomplete to appreciate just yet.

minmate-harryCrazy Harry loses a bit of his personality when his face is reduced to two dimensions.  Still, I think he works well, even if it makes him a little less recognizable to casual Muppet fans.  But he is also missing an important add-on: He doesn’t have anything to blow up!  No cannon, no TNT, no plunger box, no cartoon bomb with the fuse lit, no nothing.  And without any of that, he’s just a hobo with a beard and no mustache.

minmate-switcherooAs we discovered from the last series, all of the pieces are removable and customizable.  In just a few minutes, I made these freaks of nature, swapping out heads and legs and hats and hair.  I hate to say it, but I may have actually improved on some of the original designs.

minmate-swswitchThe world has often asked: What if Statler and Waldorf switched jackets?  Well prepare to have your mind blown, because the impossible has just been made possible and photographed for proof of existence.  Oh man, we’re totally going to get shut down for this.

minmate-manhaharryswitchI noticed that Mahna Mahna, Crazy Harry, Dr. Teeth, and Animal all had similar hairstyles, and I wanted to swap them all.  Unfortunately, it seems that Animal and Dr. Teeth have differently sized heads than the others, and Animal’s chain got in the way of any character with a puffy torso.  So I guess not every piece can be assigned to any character, but hey, at least we got to swap Mahna Mahna and Crazy Harry’s wigs, so it’s not a total loss.

So now we’ve covered the Diamond Select figures as well as the Minimates, so that must be it from Diamond, right?  Wrong!  So very, very wrong!  They also provided us with some samples of their new Muppet-themed drinkware.  Let’s take a sip!

IMG_6796Above, you’ll see the packaging for the new Muppet pint glasses.  Pretty straightforward until you take them out of the cardboard and then…

IMG_6798…Kablam!  Look at these babies!  The idea is so simple, yet so effective.  Just put a Muppet logo on a glass, and then I throw my money at you.  It’s hard to decide which is my favorite.  The Muppet Show logo is so classic, while the Pigs in Space one is just obscure enough to work on another level.  The Electric Mayhem glass feels so appropriate, depending on what you put in the glass.  The Muppet Labs one is my least favorite, if only because Bunsen and Beaker never really used that logo on the old show, but it still looks as cool as anything you have in your kitchen cupboard.  Somehow, I believe these glasses will make your beverages taste better.

IMG_6823Diamond has one other Muppet-related thing you can drink out of: The Up Late with Miss Piggy mug!  As seen on the recently canceled The Muppets, this may be the only piece of merchandise related to the show that we’ll ever see.  At least until Disney starts making those Gloria Estefan plush penguins.    Up above is the packaging, and if you scroll down a touch…

IMG_6818…This here is the mug itself.  The quality of the mug is solid, and the print looks good.  There’s not much else to it, but I still love the fact that it exists.  It’s as if I was a guest on Miss Piggy’s show and stole this out of the green room.  Or that I have a real piece of Muppet history in my kitchen.  I’m almost afraid to drink out of it, lest it drops and shatters.

All of the Diamond Muppet merchandise can be found on their website or at a toy or comic store near you.  Now go and spend some money on the only Muppet merchandise out there!

IMG_6822

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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com



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