Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Life in the Dreamhouse" Midge and "Happy Family" Midge by Mattel

Midge is one of a series of seven new Barbie dolls based on characters from the Life in the Dreamhouse online computer animated series.  The show is in its fifth season and can be watched free of charge at Barbie.com.  I watched several episodes before I started writing this review.  The frantic pace of the show took a little while for me to get used to, and the plots are hit or miss, but I found the series surprisingly entertaining.  For me, Midge and Raquelle are especially fun to watch (I love Midge's snorting giggle!).  What's funny is that even before I watched any Life in the Dreamhouse webisodes, Midge and Raquelle were the two dolls that appealed to me the most.

Mattel introduced the Midge Hadley character in 1963 as a way to offset Barbie's sexy image and give her a more well-rounded personal life.  Midge is Barbie's best friend from their fictional hometown of Willows, Wisconsin.  The first Midge doll was introduced over 50 years ago, but versions of this character have been relatively scarce through those years.  There were several reproduction vintage Midge dolls made during the last decade, but Life in the Dreamhouse Midge is the first modern version of this character to be offered since the controversial (often pregnant) Happy Family Midge was discontinued 10 years ago.  A fun, picture-heavy history of Midge dolls can be found here.

In this review, I will look at the new Life in the Dreamhouse Midge doll, but I'll also take a trip back in time to de-box the 2003 pregnant Happy Family Midge so that we can see how both the appearance and the backstory of this endearing character have changed.

Life in the Dreamhouse Midge
Life in the Dreamhouse Midge (2013), Happy Family Midge with baby (2003).
I will start by looking at the new Life in the Dreamhouse Midge doll.  I bought my doll at Walmart for $14.99.  I was shopping yesterday and saw the dolls for $17.99 at Target and Toys R Us.  There is also a Barbie and Midge doll set that costs around $25.  This set was on a huge clearance sale at Target after the holidays but I don't think that Midge doll is as attractive as the one that is sold on her own.  There's already a new Midge doll for 2014 and she's called Glam Midge and can be found for $19.99 at Target.

The Life in the Dreamhouse dolls come in distinct pink packages with pictures of the webisode characters prominently displayed around the edges.


Midge's animated character is adorable, with a quirky smile and lots of freckles.  The doll captures the coloring and hairstyle nicely, but she's missing the cute smirk:


The back of the box has a picture of the other main characters in the series and a small amount of text:



Even though these new dolls live in modern-day Malibu, Midge comes from Willows Wisconsin, a town that is (literally) stuck in the 1960s.  In Midge's first Life in the Dreamhouse episode (A Smidge of Midge) Midge shows up at the Dreamhouse to announce that she's moving from Willows to Malibu.  At the beginning of the episode, she's drawn in black and white with a hairstyle that is reminiscent of the earliest Midge dolls.  By the end of the episode, Barbie has given Midge a full-color makeover.  Even after her transformation, Midge retains a special fondness for 1960s style.  This is such a cute episode and a great way to acknowledge the character's roots.

You can see a glimpse of black and white Midge
in this picture.
Midge's box has Raquelle, Summer, Theresa, Nikki, Ken and Barbie peeking out from behind the Dreamhouse's big pink door:  


The box art changes from doll to doll--so the back of Raquelle's box, for example, has Midge peeking out from behind the Dreamhouse door.

Inside the outer package, Midge is attached to a plain blue sheet of cardboard.  Her extra dress is mounted next to her:


Life in the Dreamhouse Midge


Midge is strapped down to a complicated plastic brace that holds her hair and clothes in place.  This seems like packaging overkill.


Midge is attached to the plastic holder with clear rubber bands around her body and two plastic ties anchored into her head:


Even when she's free of the cardboard and the plastic holder, Midge still has several clear rubber bands securing her accessories:


Her purse is solid red vinyl and does not open.



Her necklace is tied to her chest with more rubber bands:


I found the rubber bands around her knees the most difficult to remove.  I had to cut them out of the joints:


Here is Midge with most of her attachments removed (her shoes are still tied to her feet with rubber bands):


It is possible for her to stand on her own, but her small feet and bendable knees make it tricky.

I really like Midge's face, even though it doesn't perfectly match the personality of the TV character.  She has the Steffie face mold:


I think side-glancing eyes would have been great on this character.  I saw the FAO Schwarz 150th anniversary Barbie yesterday at Toys R Us and was amazed by how appealing her face is with those side-glancing eyes.

Midge has forward-facing bright blue eyes with dark, thick applied lashes.  She has ginger colored eyebrows and plain pink lips.  Her freckles are delicate and look great:

Life in the Dreamhouse Midge

Midge has a subtle, broad line of silver eyeshadow above her eyes, with thinner streaks of brown and pink underneath:


Midge's lips are parted, but the uniform application of opaque pink paint de-emphasizes the unique shape of her mouth.  My doll has a small area where the eyebrow paint has run down towards the nose.  You can just barely see the defect in this picture:



Here's a look at Midge's face with her bangs pulled back:

That's a big forehead.
Midge is wearing gold plastic dangle earrings:


Clearly, I have not owned a lot of Barbie dolls in my life, because I was shocked to learn that the earrings are not removable.  I tried for quite a while to pull them out.  It makes total sense that a play doll's earrings would be permanent since earrings are so easily lost.  However, dangling permanent earrings on a doll with long hair is a terrible idea.  I spent way too much time de-tangling Midge's hair from these pesky earrings:


Midge's hair comes out of the box matted down with some large curls at the bottom:


Her bangs are heavily coated in styling gel and hang in big clumps.  I have observed a lot of variability in the bangs of the Midge dolls in the stores.  My doll's bangs are quite good compared to some:


The hair brushes out easily, and even the bangs can be relaxed with just a little manipulation.


Midge's hair is a beautiful red color, and the hair fiber feels soft and silky.  It gets a little coarser at the ends where the hair has some curl, but overall this is very nice play doll hair. 


Midge is wearing a two piece outfit that consists of a polka dot cardigan and a mini skirt dress:


The cardigan is made out of a simple knit fabric.  It feels stiff, as do many Barbie clothes.  I think the style is frumpy and it ages Midge's appearance considerably.


I prefer Midge in just the mini dress:


This dress has a red, glittery tank top bodice with blue stitched decorations.  The fabric is stiff with a little bit of stretch.  The decorative seams are a little crooked on my doll's dress:


There are also a few areas of loose stitching:


The dress has a wide strip of plastic velcro down the back and is easy to get on and off:


The tiered skirt is made out of a denim-like fabric and has a bold rose print:



The skirt's ruffles do not continue to the back of the dress:


Midge's shoes are unremarkable black high heeled clogs:


Barbie dolls have ridiculously small feet.  This is from a girl who wears size 9 shoes, though.


Midge is also wearing a thick gold bracelet (that falls off really easily...) and a matching necklace.


The picture of animated Midge shows the necklace with some color.  This reminds me of Bakelite jewelry from the 40s:


The doll's necklace is plain gold, but it has the same pattern as the necklace in the picture:


Midge's second dress has a blue polka dot knit top and a coordinating plaid skirt.  The seams are all stitched in pink, which brings out the hints of pink in the skirt.


I like the ruffled sleeves, but they tend to stick up when the dress is first put on the doll.  Also, my doll's dress has a ripping seam under her left arm:




This is a very simple dress, but I like it better than the red dress.  

Life in the Dreamhouse Midge

As a bit of an aside, I was looking forward to comparing Midge to Poppy Parker, my other 1960s inspired doll.  I thought that Midge might be a fun alternative to the more expensive and hard-to-obtain Poppy.  The two dolls have some similarities, like the shape of their mouths and their level of articulation, but Poppy is a much higher quality doll.

Manhattan vs. Willows
Midge has the same body as articulated Fashionista dolls like my In the Spotlight Artsy.  I have included a few other popular dolls in this lineup just for fun:

Bratzillaz Meygana, Monster High Clawdeen, Midge, Artsy, Ever After High Apple.
Midge's body is made out of lightweight hard plastic.  It feels especially light after handling Tonner's 
Déjà Vu doll, Penelope Brewster.  

However, this body sports 12 fantastic points of articulation.  Midge's head can look up and down a little bit.  It can also tip to either side and swivel all of the way around her neck.  She has rotational movement in her shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees.  She can sit in a chair better than most dolls I own--she can even cross her legs to some degree:


She can almost sit cross-legged on the ground, too:


And kneel:


Her chest joint has an excellent range of motion:


About the only thing this doll can't do is touch her face.  Her arm mobility is limited for a doll with so many joints.  This is only really a problem when she's trying to hold something (as we'll see later).


Overall, Midge's articulation is wonderful.


Before I move on to look at Happy Family Midge, let me summarize some of my thoughts about Life in the Dreamhouse Midge.

Midge has a great backstory in the Life in the Dreamhouse online series.  Her quirky, enthusiastic, (slightly clueless) persona is fun and endearing.  Midge's retro style is a wonderful reference to the history of the character.  The doll has a sweet, approachable look, but is missing some of the appealing goofiness of the animated Midge.

There are an impressive number of clothing pieces and accessories with this set.  The quality of the clothing is not great, with some loose stitching here and there and a lot of stiff, synthetic fabrics.  However, the design of the clothes is nice (except for that dowdy cardigan...) and the pieces offer a lot of play value.

Midge's articulation is wonderful.  She can't stand very well on her own, but she is fun to pose and very expressive.  She also has a well-painted face with pretty eyes and thick, applied eyelashes that give her some extra realism.  Her hair is a beautiful color and is fun to style.  The hair fiber feels soft and silky, although the slightly coarse ends will probably worsen with time.  The stiff bangs can look bad in the box, but they relax nicely after a little bit of play.

Overall, I think Midge is a fantastic doll for her $16 price and I highly recommend her.

Life in the Dreamhouse Midge

The appearance of a new Midge doll last year was a big deal for Barbie collectors.  I love the Midge character because of her red hair and freckles, but I wanted to understand the history of this doll a little better so that I could fully appreciate the significance of her return.

I was particularly interested in the last incarnation of Midge--Happy Family Midge.  This version of Barbie's best friend was not a teenaged Malibu resident, but a young wife and mother.  While Barbie was taking on a startling number of diverse occupations out in the world (a fact that is joked about in Life in the Dreamhouse...) Midge was getting married and starting a family.  The Happy Family doll line features versions of Midge getting married, spending time with her husband Alan, taking care of her toddler Ryan, and being pregnant with her younger children; Nikki and Cassandra.

The pregnant versions of Midge were controversial because some consumers felt she was too young to be a parent and that her presence on the shelves was encouraging teen pregnancy.  I don't agree.  I mean, first of all, in 2000 Barbie was old enough to be president, so I think Midge was old enough for a family.  Also, every time we buy our kids a baby doll, aren't we encouraging them to play mom?  I don't see how this is different.  In any case, the pressure on Mattel was great enough that the pregnant Midge dolls were pulled from the shelves at Walmart and replaced with ultra-skinny Midge dolls that had just given birth.  Because that's so much better than showing a healthy pregnant woman.

The Happy Family pregnant Midge dolls are not super-rare (there are usually 30 or more on eBay), but they can be quite expensive.  I paid $80 for mine:


I was actually not going to spend this crazy amount of money on a Barbie doll, but then I saw that this particular version of pregnant Midge has a baby that could be a boy or a girl!

It's a SURPRISE!!
As you might recall, this type of surprise makes me a little giddy.  The instant I saw that baby and the worlds, "boy or girl?"  I think my finger just clicked the Buy it Now button on its own.  I had to know if it was a boy or a girl!

I should have been paying a little more attention, though, because the rest of the box seems to carelessly give away the gender of this baby.  

On the family scrapbook at the bottom of the box, there's a photo of Midge with Alan, Ryan, the grandparents...and a baby girl:

Wha--?
Noooo!  You ruined my surprise!
(I like those grandparent dolls, though!)
So that's either the "surprise" baby, or maybe this is a picture of the whole family and Midge is pregnant with her third baby?  But that can't be right, because the cutout that sits next to Midge in the box just shows Alan and Ryan--no little girl:

Alan has very...dramatic hair.
Furthermore, the back of the box has a note written by Midge.  The note makes it clear that Midge currently has only one child (Ryan) and that she's expecting her second:


The note says Midge doesn't know what the gender of the baby is, but who else can the baby girl on the scrapbook be?  It doesn't seem like much of a surprise.  What I don't know is if some of these sets actually came with baby boys, or if maybe it was called a "surprise" because the world didn't know the gender of Midge's second baby yet?  I don't think this was the first pregnant Midge doll, though, so that reasoning doesn't make much sense, either.  Hm.

If anyone out there got a pregnant Midge doll with a boy baby, I'd love to know more about it!

So, anyway, the back of the box also has a few more family snapshots, including a portrait from Midge's wedding and a picture of Barbie as the family's obstetrician.  All of these dolls are from other Happy Family playsets that were available in the early 2000s:



The set comes with a lot of accessories, including some nursery furniture, a diaper bag and the scrapbook:


There are some cardboard accessories including a pink birth certificate saying "It's a Girl."  I suppose they could have included blue certificates with the boy babies?


The scrapbook and the small album that come in this set also have gender specific references, making me really start to think that all of these dolls came with baby girls.



The scrapbook has a few pages filled in with moments from the family's past--like when Alan proposed to Midge:

Aw.
And when the baby girl (revealed here as "Nikki") was born. Strangely, there is no reference to Ryan's birth or any of his milestones prior to Nikki's arrival.


The back pages of the scrapbook are left blank to accommodate future memories.


There's a sheet of small stickers to help with the scrapbook decoration:


To keep this review a reasonable length, I am not going to de-box the baby's accessories.  They include a changing table that converts into a crib, a diaper bag, a small shirt, a baby bath and bunch of toys and necessities.



Even though I knew that baby Nikki was a girl, I wanted to get a good look at her and see what her gender-determining characteristics might be.  She's very easy to remove from her cardboard support.  

She comes wrapped in a yellow lightweight fleece swaddling blanket:

Gender neutral blanket.
The blanket has a small square of velcro so that it can be re-folded and held in place:


All babies are cute at some level, but this baby has a couple of strange features.  I think it's mostly that her lips seem very grownup for a newborn, and she has very wide eyes and distinct eyebrows.  Newborns tend to have thin lips, fuzzy eyebrows and squinty eyes.


Baby Nikki has five points of articulation, which is pretty impressive for a tiny toy.  Her head moves back and forth and side-to-side, and each of her limbs has some simple pendulum movement.


She can sit up nicely on her own, which is very precocious for a newborn:


Her diaper is very (very!) faint pink, and I guess this is the final clue that she is a girl.


I think she looks like her dad:


One of the accessories that came with this set is a tiny white tank top shirt with a little bear appliqué.  I had to get this out of the packaging and try it on Nikki:


It also has a square of velcro for easy dressing and undressing:


That's pretty cute.
Midge is harder to get out of the box than Nikki.  She's held in place with several sturdy wire ties. Her hair comes stitched to a piece of clear plastic.



I have to say, Midge is impressively pregnant.  I am glad Mattel did not try to make her unusually trim.

Happy Family pregnant Midge

This Midge shares many basic features with Life in the Dreamhouse Midge.  She has bright red hair, freckles and blue eyes.  This Midge has paler eyes and not as many freckles, though:


The hair on this doll is a similar color and length to the Life in the Dreamhouse Midge, but it is styled differently.  This doll does not have bangs, but rather has hair from the top of her head pulled back and tied into a ponytail.  She also has sections of hair from either side of her face pulled tight and tied at the back of her head. The hair fiber isn't as nice as it is on the other doll.  It doesn't feel as smooth right out of the box, and it's coarser and more prone to tangles.


Midge has a simple face with pale blue eyes and detailed eyebrows.  Her lips are large and are painted a nice dark pink color.  She has a serene smile on her face:

Happy Family pregnant Midge

Midge's pink stud earrings are more more practical than those silly golden dangle earrings:


This Midge does not have applied eyelashes, but she does have a nice amount of painted detail around her eyes.  She shares the shimmery silver eyeshadow of the Life in the Dreamhouse Midge, but has another band of brown paint over it.


Midge is wearing a pink knit maternity dress.  It looks like a separate shirt and skirt outfit, but although the shirt section lifts up to reveal a white liner, it is attached to the rest of the dress in the back and cannot be removed separately.




There's a gathered, elasticized neckline with a small pink satin bow accent:


Midge comes with very simple slip-on pink wedge sandals.


I was most excited to see the pregnant belly on this doll.  The belly comes strapped to the doll with several clear rubber bands:


Notice how the painted underwear continues onto the pregnant belly.
I was worried that the belly would fall off when the rubber bands were removed, but it's actually held in place with two magnets:



The magnets are not very strong, so it's easy to remove the belly:


The magnets were coated with some silver paint, but this is peeling off on my doll:


Underneath the belly, Midge does not have a cavity in her stomach for the baby, she just has a regular Barbie torso (with some black smudges where the magnets were sitting):


The baby fits right into the belly:


If the baby isn't positioned in the belly just right, the belly doesn't lay flat against Midge's regular stomach:

Whoa.
Fortunately, there are instructions showing exactly the right way to fold the baby so that everything fits together nicely:

Find the typo.
With this positioning, the belly with baby fits on Midge perfectly:


Midge's body has nine points of articulation, including internal knee joints. 


Her elbows have hinged and rotational movement, but the lack of wrist articulation can make her look a little robotic:


The elbow joints have visible metal hinge pins:


She does not sit anywhere near as nicely as Life in the Dreamhouse Midge:


Midge has a silver wedding band painted onto her left hand:


The ring does not wrap around the whole finger, though:


Here are the two Midge dolls together:


Life in the Dreamhouse Midge has a larger head.  Happy Family Midge has a solid body with rubbery legs, while Life in the Dreamhouse Midge's body is hollow plastic.  The dolls have very similar body proportions:



Life in the Dreamhouse Midge can wear Happy Family Midge's belly, but since she does not have internal magnets, the belly has to be strapped on:


With the belly in place, Happy Family Midge's maternity dress fits Life in the Dreamhouse Midge:


Without her pregnant belly, Happy Family Midge can wear Life in the Dreamhouse Midge's clothes (and shoes!):


Happy Family pregnant Midge

 Here are a few picture of Happy Family Midge pregnant, and back in her own outfit:


Happy Family pregnant Midge

The belly makes it hard for Midge to sit...which is pretty realistic.
Without the belly.
Happy Family pregnant Midge

Midge can't hold baby Nikki very naturally.  Her lack of wrist articulation is part of the problem, but it's also that her elbows don't bend past 90 degrees.

I always want to position babies on their parent's shoulder, like this:


But Midge's hands can't reach up to hold the baby when she's in this position:


Even with her articulated wrists, Life in the Dreamhouse Midge can't hold the baby on her shoulder any better:


She does have a slightly easier time holding Nikki in other positions, though:


To me, the most compelling thing about Happy Family Midge is her family.  Everything from her wedding to Alan (and the dolls associated with that event) to her pregnancies and her three children would have been absolutely irresistible to me as a child.  I use to love thinking about babies and baby names and families-- I still do, in fact.  Don't get me wrong, I also liked that Barbie could be an astronaut, a president or a doctor...but there's something comforting about having a character whose family life is featured.  I really enjoyed reading and learning more about Midge's husband and kids.

Midge's pregnancy belly is a very unique feature and I think it makes this doll quite special.  Few other doll lines have attempted this.  The magnets aren't quite strong enough to hold the belly securely in place during rapid dressing and undressing, but they work fine.  I like that the doll doesn't have a big baby-holding cavity in her torso, but rather has a regular body under the belly so that the character doesn't always have to be pregnant.  I also appreciate that Midge's pregnancy belly is realistically sized.

Midge's outfit is carefully constructed with no obvious flaws.  It is a practical, attractive maternity dress.  I wish this doll had come with an extra outfit for after the baby is born.

This doll doesn't have fantastic articulation, but she has a pleasant, serene face and her red hair and freckles make her appealingly different from most other Barbie dolls.  As much as I love the color of her hair, the fiber seems a little coarse and will probably tangle easily.


I'll end by sharing a few more pictures of the two dolls wearing the Life in the Dreamhouse outfits.  



First here's Life in the Dreamhouse Midge:


Life in the Dreamhouse Midge


Life in the Dreamhouse Midge

And here's Happy Family Midge:




Happy Family Midge

And both of them together again:



Bottom line?  I found both of these dolls very appealing.  My appreciation for them was significantly enhanced by their backstories, which is odd considering how strikingly different these stories are.  I like how Midge is portrayed in the entertaining Life in the Dreamhouse series.  She's goofy and funny and refreshingly naive.  The episode where Midge appears in black and white and has to be updated for life in 21st century Malibu was very well done and memorable.  I was even more fascinated to research Happy Family Midge's life as it played out in a series of family-oriented dolls and playsets.  I think this doll, more than the modern version, would have appealed to me as a child.  I can imagine waiting for the wedding dolls to be released--planning the details of Midge's big day.  I can also picture being beside myself waiting for Midge's babies to be born, wondering what gender they would be and what names Midge would pick.  

If I ignore the backstories and Happy Family Midge's unique pregnancy feature, the newer Life in the Dreamhouse Midge is clearly the superior doll.  Her hair quality, facial screening and articulation are all wonderful for a play doll that costs under $20.  I think she's cute, versatile and fun, and the only thing I would improve is the quality of her wardrobe.  I really enjoy this lovely doll and her young, modern personality...but she makes me a little sad.  I feel like I have gotten to know the older Midge pretty well this past week.  As I looked at pictures of the Happy Family dolls and tried to piece together all of the elements of Midge's life, I grew attached to her growing family and got caught up in her story.  I can only imagine how much more attached I would have become if I had been following Midge closely for over a decade.  It would have been neat to see if there were any more kids added to her clan, what those kids looked like as they grew older, or even what outlandish careers they chose as adults.  Instead, the family seems to have been completely erased.  

This is a great new Midge doll, but the older Midge was special, and it's sad that we had to lose her in order to bring this enchanting new character to life.

Life in the Dreamhouse Midge

90 comments:

  1. Wonderful review, as always!! :) Midge has always been my favorite Barbie character ever since I was a little girl. I was so thrilled when they came out with a new fully jointed Midge doll in the LitD line! I didn't know about the new Glam Midge doll - I'll have to keep an eye out for that one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Astroasis! Glam Midge has the same face, but isn't as redheaded as the Dreamhouse Midge. This is probably a smart move on Mattel's part--to make the doll significantly different from the first release. I also like the color of the new Midge's lips, if the promos are accurate. Can't wait to see what the real doll looks like! :)

      Delete
  2. I really, really dislike facemold they used for Happy Family Midge. Her face expresion looks really mean to me and her forehead is huge.

    I do like Dreamhouse Midge. She's one of my favourite dolls from this line. (I also like Summer and maybe Raquelle) She have cute face, that doesn't look like she staring on you. (That's my first dislike dislike about Dreamhouse Barbie) I only hate about her, that she can't touch face - I was spoiled by Monster High, so I got used to dolls, that can touch face.

    I couldn't aggre more about FAO Schwarz 150th anniversary Barbie. I like her mostly because of side glancing eyes and I would love to get her. (She would be perfect for a base for custom doll I have in mind) Sadly, she didn't make to Poland and I refuse to pay insane prices on ebay... (Plus, often shipping to Poland costs almost as much as doll itself)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, dear! A mean Mommy Midge? That's not good at all! ;) Her forehead is huge, I agree. Dreamhouse has a big head, too, but the bangs do a nice job of minimizing it.

      You are exactly right--Monster High has spoiled all of us, I think. Those dolls have such excellent and expressive limb articulation, everything else falls a little short.

      I keep thinking about that FAO doll. She was special. I don't even know how much she costs here--she was on the shelf by herself with no price. She's around $40 at Amazon, which is a lot for an unarticulated doll (for me, at least). Still, what a charming face! It must be very frustrating when certain dolls don't show up in Poland, especially if you have a neat project in mind for them. We need a mainline Barbie with articulation and side-glancing eyes. That would be great!

      Delete
    2. You have to get used to such things, when you live at 'end of the world' like Poland. We always either not getting dolls at all (especially when it comes to confectioner's dolls like FAO) or have to wait realllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly long for them to hit the stores and then they cost twice as much as in US... Could you believe, that we still don't have Ever After High dolls?

      Delete
    3. Not all the Happy Family Midges looked mean. I think this particular one does because the corners of her lip paint don't match up with the corners of her sculpted mouth.
      -Nikki

      Delete
    4. Monster high dolls always break. I've noticed in their new ones are being built better.

      Delete
  3. Hello from Spain: in my country is very expensive and difficult to purchase a pregnant Midge. I have the Midge Dream House. She is fabulous. I like your comparison. Awesome pics with the baby. Keep in touch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marta! I am glad you are enjoying your Dreamhouse Midge, too. She's a great doll! :)

      Delete
  4. I also have the Dreamhouse Midge. I adore her and will now have to find the Glam Midge. I think they did a good job on the face of the pregnant Midge -- she does look pregnant (and I would guess she would be having a girl. Thanks so much for the review. All of your reviews are excellent -- after reading them, I search for the doll in my local store and I can look at them with a more critical eye. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you so much for your nice words about the blog! Dreamhouse Midge is a treat for her price, and I am so glad that you are enjoying yours, too! I'm excited to see Glam Midge--I think she'll be different enough from the Dreamhouse dolls that she could be a fun one to add to the collection. I hope she has freckles--it's hard to see in the promo pictures. We'll find out soon... :D

      Delete
  5. Wonderful review. I have always had a soft spot for Midge as I received the wedding day Midge for Christmas when I was a child. I love how they updated her in the Life in the Dreamhouse series, and I'm hoping Alan will eventually make an appearance. Thanks again for another great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be really great--if Alan showed up (with better hair) and we could imagine that Midge's story had just been rewound and started over again? Brilliant! I hope that's what will happen, then I don't have to be sad about losing the old Midge's story and family. We could have the best of both worlds! ;)

      Delete
  6. i have the happy family midge. my set had a purple dress, like in the scrapbook. i also had the doctor with dark skin and the grandma.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I saw the one with the purple dress! I think she was the original pregnant Midge. Did yours have a wedding ring? I love those grandparent dolls, too. In fact, I like the whole Happy Family line of dolls and wish I had been collecting them when they came out!

      Delete
  7. Oh well now i'm mad at Mattel for erasing that lovely ( unique ) story. What's wrong with being a mom with nice family? Oh well...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes--exactly! I think it's a sweet, wholesome story and I can't understand the controversy. :/

      Delete
  8. Great review as always! I had heard about Happy Family Midge but never really payed attention to her, how neat to hear about her life. I personally could imagine a series of barbie growing up being successful. You could buy barbies mom with barbie as a babie, then barbie as Chelsea/Kelly size, the Stacie size, then Skipper size, then regular barbie and then barbie as a parent! Those i would definitely buy! Looking forward to your next review!

    ~Pabu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's a wonderful idea, Pabu! To have a special series of dolls that follows Barbie's early life? I'd buy that whole line, too--especially if there were younger Midge dolls to play Barbie's childhood best friend! :D Very clever. You should write to Mattel!

      Delete
    2. Haha, I actually might (although I doubt they would use the idea) I still think it would be cool though :)
      Yeah, they could even separate them as special moments growing up: like first birthday, a training-wheel bike set, Barbie's first day of High-school, graduation, the possibilities are endless! I also like the idea of Midge as barbies friend! they could make a whole other house that is more realistic (less pink) and have it be Barbie's childhood home in Willows Wisconsin!

      ~Pabu

      Delete
  9. Excellent review as always in my country the pregnant Midge dolls are prized even used are expensive, the dreamhouse Midge has an adorable face

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Pregnant Midge is fairly expensive here, too, but there are some used ones at good prices. I like how Dreamhouse Midge's expression can look like a couple of different emotions--happy, serious, thoughtful. I agree--it's a nice face. :)

      Delete
  10. Pregnant Midge was one of my favorite toys when I was little. I had Alan, the grandparents, and the doll house that went along with them. I had to buy Life in the Dreamhouse Midge a couple of months ago for nostalgia's sake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see why, Heather! I would have loved having that whole series of dolls as a kid. Reminds me of the Sunshine Family that I played with a lot--that line had a family with grandparents, babies, a farm house...even a cow that I could "milk." Good times. :)

      Delete
  11. I have Happy Family Midge!!! Well, actually, I just have her...naked...she was found at a yard sale when I was 6, without any clothes on, BUT they were selling her accessories too! My mom wouldn't let me get them (I don't think she approved of them) but get this, they were those exact ones only BLUE!!! And the baby was a boy with brown hair and a blue diaper!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NO WAY!!!! There actually is a baby boy? I'm so glad you posted! This was driving me a little nuts. But how did they work that into the rest of Midge's story, I wonder? Was the baby meant to be Ryan when he was younger? Just an extra baby that wasn't part of Midge's story? I have to admit that I really wanted my Midge's baby to be a boy. The dolls with boys must be quite rare. I am going to do some more internet research and see if I can figure this out....
      Thank you again for sharing this! I was really hoping someone would know more about the babies. :)

      Delete
    2. No problem! Maybe he was Ryan when he was younger!!!

      Delete
    3. I find it rather bizarre that they were trying to sell the pregnant Midge doll and her accessories separate, instead of together, at that rummage sale.

      Delete
    4. It is strange, but they probably just didn't remember who the accessories were supposed to go with.

      Delete
  12. Glad I'm not the only one who thought of Poppy Parker when I saw Life in the Dreamhouse Midge! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A ha! You thought of that, too! Cool! :D I was actually hoping for more parallels between the two dolls--Midge's style is not as obviously 1960s as Poppy's, I don't think. Still, given how popular Poppy is, I wonder if that played any role in Mattel's selection of the Steffie mold for the new Midge? I think there are some resemblances--especially the mouth.

      Delete
    2. It may have, Emily, but I believe the Steffie mold has been used for many of the more modern Midges, after they abandoned the original Midge mold.

      Delete
  13. Great review Emily! This is a very random question that has nothing to do with the post but i've always wanted a Liv doll and toysrus has Hayden's House on clearance for 17$! Should i convince my parents to buy her? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh! $17? It's been stuck at $24 here for AGES. I adore the Liv line, and Hayden is especially nice. If you have any interest in the house at all, I'd say go for it! Check Hayden's eyes, though, and make sure they're not wonky. That's actually a great question to have under this review, because Midge costs $17 at TRU, too. I love Midge, but Hayden plus her house is a much better deal! Good find! :D

      Delete
    2. emily on your blog has a review of the home hayden very good I recommend it

      Delete
    3. $17 for the Liv Hayden doll and house set strikes me as a pretty good deal, especially since the Liv line has been discontinued (like the previous poster said, Emily has an excellent review of it, here on the blog, if you want to read all about it):

      http://www.toyboxphilosopher.com/2012/05/review-of-haydens-houseas-last-of-liv.html

      If you don't want to spend that much, they're not especially common, at least, not compared to Barbies and Bratz, but Liv dolls do pop up at thrift stores every now and then (albeit sometimes without their wigs). I've gotten all of my secondhand Liv dolls for $0.50-$2.00 each, depending on their condition, and the whims of the thrift store staff's pricing gun. The 2011 McDonald's Liv mini dolls and styling heads are fun too (those usually run twenty-five to fifty cents a piece here)--I only need the Alexis doll and Sophie styling head to complete my set.

      Delete
  14. Oh Emily! I must admit that I am a little envious that you have Happy Family Midge! She has been sitting on my wish list since my mother in law mentioned her about two years ago. She had been to a Barbie exhibition in Prague and was a little shocked and totally blown away by the "pregnant Barbie" that she saw. Intrigued, I Googled her and found Midge. I think that she is absolutely fantastic. She is much more expensive to buy from the UK but I might keep an eye out on ebay just in case. Thanks for the brilliant review. I was so excited to see more of the Happy Family Midge... even if it means that I want her even more now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so sorry to make you envious, Nat Kat! I felt bad paying $80 at first, but she's such an interesting doll, and she evokes all of these thoughts of Midge's story now, so I'd say it was worth it! Keep an eye out--my particular doll was underpriced, I think. I just happened to be checking the listings when she came up. There were also some nice looking used dolls for even better prices. I can help you try to find a good one, if you want! :D

      Delete
  15. I saw pregnant Midge in a catalogue when I got my first Barbie. I remember the boy/girl thing, but I have to check the picture again to see if I can find clues about any box differences. I didn't know she had a normal belly. I once played with a pregnant doll where part of the belly was pushed back by the baby and sprung forward when it was free (it was creepy). The face is so sweet too. I don't care for Dreamhouse Midge at all. The lower lip is too weird and she looks 50. It doesn't help me that she's a doll clone of a terrible old singer. I think they should have kept the family theme. Of the many Barbie characters, she was the only one with an actual family. Why should a mother doll be controversial? After all, more little girls will become mothers than fashion models, ballerinas or presidents. It's very relatable and wholesome. In spite of the articulation, I can't see any progress with the newest doll. Maybe I'll change my mind when I see the Style series. As always, thanks for the thorough review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree about the controversy, BlackKitty. It makes absolutely no sense to me. If you can shed any more light on the boy/girl baby issue, that would be amazing! I really want to find a Midge with a boy baby now, for some crazy reason. I mean, did they change the scrapbook and everything? Nikki is the established second child in all of the Midge references, so I'm ultra-curious about that boy!
      A tummy that springs forward when the baby is removed sounds hysterical--and definitely a little creepy! I like how Mattel handled Midge's belly. The baby is small, but it's worth it to have a regular doll body underneath!
      Dreamhouse Midge kept reminding me of someone as I was reviewing her, but I couldn't pin down who it was. Which old singer do you mean? Now I'm curious. ;)

      Delete
    2. I don't think you know her - it's a Soviet singer, Alla Pugacheva (this is she: http://static2.aif.ru/public/article/big/838/f83869ae77689067777b6006d67b1fc1.0.jpg). I may suggest Midge reminded you of Elizabeth Taylor? The eyes and the long face.
      I'll comment again when I get that catalogue. It's at mom's. I actually saw those dolls when they were in stores but I can't remember any box details if my life depended on it...

      Delete
    3. Sorry - nothing new in the catalogue. Just the baby in a pink blanket and more photos of the accessories.

      Delete
    4. Thank you so much for checking! I am piecing together that certainly some of the Midge dolls had boy babies, but those don't seem to have been given a name or been worked into the story.

      Delete
  16. Your review is wonderfully informative and entertaining as usual. I live in Australia (Suzy, I emailed you once) and we don't get anywhere near as many dolls in the shops as you do in the US. (We haven't even seen Ever After High yet!) When I saw that Midge existed I just HAD to have her, and bought her for $30 AUS, or thereabouts, on fishpond.com.au. I LOVE HER, but like you very disappointed that I can't remove her earrings. I've since gotten Raquelle (with the wonderfully quirky mouth), Summer and Nikki for my daughter and I. The only one we don't like is Barbie herself, she's usually too glitzy and fake looking. One thing my daughter pointed out is that the backs of the LITDH dolls and Fashionista dresses are always plain in comparison to the front, sometimes even a totally different fabric. Maybe preserving the dress shape for packaging? Maybe cutting down costs because little girls don't care what the back looks like? (My little girl does.)

    I'm so glad you reviewed Midge as I usually don't have the doll you review and sometimes buy her afterwards.... like most of the Disney Store Princess dolls (2012 versions with the hinged knee). I LOVE THEM. I would never have know about them if not for you. I've even devised a method of straightening their legs so that they sit more "ladylike", though their knees will never touch, and certainly nowhere near as feminine as darling Midge. My Midge can touch her face a tiny bit. It must be the luck of the draw. A bit of paring down with a sharp knife at the elbow hinge might improve the mobility, but then your risk making an unsightly mess, meaning poor Midge is stuck in that frumpy cardi to cover it up.

    Thanks for enabling my doll habit by showing me new and wonderful creatures to track down on Ebay, but this time I pipped you at the post by having the doll first. Yay me! Thankyou again Emily, keep up the excellent work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzy! Your daughter is very observant! There is definitely a trend with minimizing the backs of Barbie outfits, but I had never really connected the dots on this myself. I find it frustrating, too. It's funny that Barbie herself is the least appealing of the dolls (and of the characters in the animated series, too, I think). For me, part of the disinterest in Barbie herself is that there are SO MANY versions of that character! She's everywhere. The first Barbie I've been tempted to buy is the FAO soldier girl I mentioned in this review. She's a cutie.

      I'd never considered tinkering with the elbow joints on these dolls...that's interesting. With my luck, I'd hack the arm clean off, but maybe I will give it a try at some point? Thank you for the tip! I would like to know your trick for getting the hinge-kneed princesses to sit nicely! I am a huge fan of the Disney Store dolls, too, but the knee joints need some work. :)

      Congratulations on getting lovely Midge...and Raquelle! You got her before me, too! ;D And thank you so much for your nice comments about the blog. I am delighted that it has helped you find some great dolls!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your reply :D The trick to getting the hinged disney girls to sit nicely is to scrape away with a paring knife the front part of the upper thigh, the part which slides into the hip joint. (You can see where by looking at how the legs splay out as you lift them.) You might want to cover the underwear with masking tape, as I've scratched the hell out of my girls knickers.

      At best I've only gotten them to about an inch/2.5cm gap between the knees.

      You can also straighten bowed lower legs by dipping them in boiling water, securing them in place with 2 hair ties - one over the knee, one under - then running the legs under cold water to set in place. Be extra careful with the knee hinges as you could easily pull the whole thing out. I'll post a picture of my darling Snow on your facebook, so you can see the result. As I said, it's better but by no means perfect.

      PS. I just received in the mail this morning, the 12" Tangled Wedding doll with the short brown hair. Her face is soooooo adorable. She will be my only disney girl with the clicky knees, I couldn't resist her gorgeous face.

      Delete
  17. Ever after high arrives in South Africa in Aug 2014. So perhaps Australia will also get them then. We have pregnant Steffi, but Steffi's clothes are so low cost and if she has ankle joints she barely stands. Give me a Liv doll anyday... I would buy any Livs. I love Midge for her freckles and her mouth. But sadly want to buy Ever after high dolls, so need to win the Lotto. Meg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Meg, wow, no Ever After High in S. Africa until this summer? That's a painfully long wait. I hope you get them in Australia soon and can add one to your collection. Do you still have Liv dolls on the shelves there? Sadly, those dolls are all but gone here.

      Oh, my goodness--I had to search for a picture of pregnant Steffi! She has the big cavity in her torso for the baby (creepy!), but I still find her fascinating! She would be a neat comparison to Midge if I could get my hands on one. Thank you for mentioning her!

      Delete
  18. Such a sweet review Emily, as a Barbie collector Midge is like a old friend and I am so happy to see her on the shelves again.

    A treat as always, Tina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Tina. Midge does have the feel of a loyal old friend. It has been wonderful to learn more about her!

      Delete
  19. -This comment will be split in separate parts since I get a weird ''Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters'' notification if I try to post it in one-

    Hi there Emily!
    Did you miss me? hahahaha. I'm sorry for my absence on the blog for such a long time. I just lost track of it and I'm quite a bit dissapointed in myself since I love your reviews, your comparisons, etc. and you've been such a good friend to me!
    I'm almost done with catching up on all of the posts I missed, just seven left. Afterwards I was planning on posting one comment on some of your reviews I missed and ask you for some advice. But of course, something had to jump in between. I just wanted to post this reaction quickly. After reading you're Jakks/Witty Toys Bloom review my mind was exploding with Winx information (you know me and my Winx obsession). And so I quickly typed up some info I think you can use in a future Winx review. And, it's always good to learn new stuff about dolls ;)

    Let me just help you a little and break down the entire Winx doll empire based on brands
    1. Giochi Preziosi large dolls (these dolls have very strange bodies, the bottoms and the ''fronts'' are the same hahahaha! I actually found one at the nearby thrift store which is quite unusual since I don't remember them being sold in the Netherlands. Maybe she came from a family that went on holiday to Italy once.
    2. Giochi Preziosi ''small'' dolls. These are the dolls from the flickr link you posted in you Witty Toys/Jakks review. I have two of those and it's the same story as with the larger dolls. The girl that sold them to me at the flea market actually told me that she bought them in Italy on holiday. (She had ALL believix dolls and Daphne -Bloom's sister- but unfortunately my mom only let me buy two and then I never saw that girl again *cry*)
    3. Witty Toys, the Italian Bloom doll you reviewed is from that line. This line is very common in The Netherlands and extremely easy to get (and cheap). I absolutely HATE everything about these dolls. I would trade them voor Jakks dolls any day, ha!
    4. Jakks Pacific, the dolls that are sold in the US and not in Europe *cry again*.

    ReplyDelete
  20. 5. Mattel. Yay! I love Mattel dolls, my favorite Winx dolls by far (and probably the favorite Winx dolls for every fan). There are many extremely rare dolls (Glam Magic Enchantix Musa!!) but luckily, there are also many non-rare dolls. So that's why marktplaats.nl (Dutch e-bay type website) is FULL of them! + they're easy to find at thrift shops and flea markets. I read that you'd like to have a Mattel Bloom doll for a comparison? I have a ton of them. It would be next to impossible to part with one of them (they're like my doll babies haha ,strange, I know). But for you I might make an exception ;) But if I'm going to send you a package with goodies one doll isn't enough.. (Yes that's a hint! I think I found a nice doll for you on marktplaats.nl, I'm just waiting for a response from the seller..)
    6. The final and most complicated one: a Witty/Jakks hybrid (I know!). While I was in Israël for the holiday I saw them for the very first time in real life. I had seen them on the Internet though. They have Witty bodies en Jakks faces! I know that sounds strange.. and it is. Why not make full Jakks dolls for the European market while you're at it? Witty Toys probably noticed they're sales were going down since almost every Witty doll is downright ugly to most collectors. So that's why they must've decided to work together with Jakks and come up with a hybrid. Clever, I guess, but I'd still prefer the all Jakks variant. Here's a picture if you're wondering how they look; http://www.unadinoi-winx.com/sirenix-dolls-witty-or-jakks/

    This short article can be very, very useful for a future Winx review: http://www.unadinoi-winx.com/witty-toys/

    It's very fun to sort out all of these brands and of course, to collect dolls from every brand! Thanks to you I have a Jakks doll :3 I only need a Witty doll (but I really don't want one so I'll just pass up on those) and a Jakks/Witty hybrid. We'll see what lies ahead in my Winx future ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I DID miss you, my friend! It's wonderful to have you back. :D Don't apologize, though! I'm sure you are busy doing wonderful things.

      I really needed you when I was writing that Winx review--it took me hours to try and sort out all of the different varieties of doll, and you have it laid out in a wonderful list! This is helpful beyond words. Maybe you would let me re-print this in my next Winx review? With credit to you, of course!!

      I was completely unaware of the distinction between the Giochi big and small dolls, but now I see what you mean when I go back and look at some of my flickr links.

      I saw what looked like full Jakks dolls on the Italian Amazon....let me see if I can find a link....
      http://www.amazon.it/WINX-FATE-HARMONY-STELLA-CCP21973/dp/B00DEJYCVC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1391959305&sr=8-4&keywords=winx

      ...is this actually a hybrid doll? It's too bad they don't have them in the Netherlands. The Jakks dolls can be SO inexpensive here, not sure if they aren't selling well or what, but many of the older dolls are around $12-14. Great deals--wish I could send them all to you.

      And really...you hate the Witty dolls that much? LOL! I thought the faces were awful at first, but my Bloom really grew on me! The hair is SO nice.

      Don't you dare part with one of your Mattel Bloom dolls for me!!! I will find one--they're not that expensive, and I would feel terrible if you were missing one of your babies, even for a second! You are such a sweetheart to offer, though. :)

      Thank you again for posting all of this information--sorry the blog didn't let you put it all in one comment. I hope you didn't have to re-type the whole thing!

      Again--it's so nice to hear from you! Hope your new year has been fabulous so far. :)

      Delete
    2. Of course you can use my info for your next Winx review! :D
      The doll in the Amazon link looks like a full Jakks doll. It's hard to keep these apart from the hybrids but I'm pretty sure that's a full Jakks doll. Pictures of the hybrids are also not so easy to find on the Internet.
      Ha, that would be amazing! Having all Jakks dolls is a great dream. I really hate Witty yeah. I guess after loving the Mattel dolls for such a long time and then seeing the Witty dolls triggered some kind of hate reaction, lol. It felt like the Witty dolls replaced the lovely and beautiful Mattel dolls. I like the Jakks dolls though but maybe that's because they came after the Witty dolls and looked so much better to me xD
      You sure? I'll make sure I'll find a doll for you though. I saw the name ''Jolina'' come forward in one of your reviews and you said those dolls are rare in the US... luckily, marktplaats.nl is full of Jolina Ballerina dolls and so I'm trying to snag one up for you :3
      Oh and, no I didn't have to re-type the whole thing hahahaha. Nothing else worked but splitting the comment up so that's what I did.

      Also, I'm finished catching up on your blog posts ^^ I actually quite enjoyed reading so many Emily quality reviews and comparisons, hahaha! It was really fun for me to see some of the ''newer'' Cutie Pops. Especially since they're not for sale here and I enjoy Cookie so much. I also liked you're Fairy Tale High and Once Upon a Zombie reviews. One is terrible, the other magnificent. The holiday shopping trips were also very interesting. It was cool to see what's in store in the US. Although you managed to make me incredibly jealous with those Calico Critters, l'il woodzeez, Jane Boolittle and Catty Noir. All of those would be on the top of my wishlist if I was able to purchase them here :D Not to mention the incredible EAH reviews, which brings me to my question for you. At the moment, I have 60 euro's to spend (50 from my birthday, 10 from Hannukah). But I'm torned between the few dolls that are actually sold here. I know I'm going to buy MH Gigi, I just can't leave her. So that's about 40 euro's left of the budget. But what to do next? I'm waiting for MH Honey Swamp to pop up in stores but at the same time the EAH 4 basic dolls are also for sale here. (Just the 4 basics, no other EAH dolls yet). I'm torned between Apple and Raven but I'd also like to keep some money aside in case I dig up some treasures like a long lost Nefera, a C.A. Cupid on marktplaats, or even a Moxie Teenz or NIB Mattel Winx. So, what do you think I should do? I'm getting Gigi but should I also wait for Honey Swamp? Or cave in on an EAH doll? Or maybe keep money aside for other dolls? Please let me know what you think I should do :)
      And one other (on-topic) thing; I actually had a Happy Family play set when I was little! It was a little supermarket with cart, Midge, products, toddler Nikki etc. I had tons of fun with it and still have most of the items in the set.

      -Also, sorry for this long comment, I just have so many things to say to you AAAAAH

      Delete
    3. Oh! I was just looking at that Midge supermarket set on eBay!! It's so cute...and Midge is holding a baby BOY!! :D It's like $200, though! Yikes. I would have loved that set as a kid--especially the mini shopping cart!

      Anyway, I think Honey Swamp is great. I haven't de-boxed mine yet, but her hair is awesome. As for Ever After High, I like my Apple, but she's not my favorite. I prefer the original Madeline and Briar...and I think I like Cupid best of all! The Ever After High girls are a nice change from Monster High, I think.

      Send me an email about Jolina when you have a chance! ;D

      Delete
    4. Wow, it's a shame the price is so high. It really is a great set.

      Hmm maybe I'll wait for the release of Cupid, if I can hold it that long hahaha! I've reserved a Gigi and I'm going to get her saturday, when the store is having a 30% sale on all MH. I really hope she's all right but I haven't seen any serious factory flaws on the 13 wishes dolls yet.

      I'm still awaiting a response from the seller but if that doesn't work out, I'll buy another one. When I have a deal I'll certainly send you the seller's pictures!

      Delete
  21. somehow i like the happy family midge when i'm not a baby doll person.Its really weird.anyway emily the controversy was about midge NOT wearing a wedding ring when she came out.so she got taken off the shelves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh--interesting, Katrina! My Midge has a ring, obviously, but I did read that the earlier version (with the purple dress, I think) did not have a wedding ring. Wasn't she still advertised as being married to Alan, though? I mean, the wedding dolls came out first. Still, the wedding ring is a great detail, so I'm glad they went back and added it! Thank you for filling in some details here! :)

      Delete
  22. Hi Emily! I did not know about the boy/girl possibilities for the Happy Family Midge, and I have a boxed one, purchased when they were first on the market (more likely, when they were clearing them out). I'm going to have to check mine now! I remember the controversy when the line first came out and decided I would get the doll. I did eventually pick up both sets of grandparent dolls (AA and Caucasian) as well - they come with a ton of accessories too. It was a great line - too bad some people still seem to believe that pregnancy should be hidden!

    As for the earrings, they are a pain. Mattel earrings have a little hook on them, making it impossible to remove the earrings without tearing the doll, but, if you can remove their heads, you can snip the hooks off and remove the earrings (I used to do this a lot). Removing the heads are a challenge because there are hooks on the head post as well...it does take patience and practice, I remember. As a child, it was really easy to remove the doll's heads and earrings (no hooks), but I suppose that manufacturers made the changes for safety reasons.

    I looked at the newer Midge when they arrived here (Canada) in the fall, but I wasn't as impressed with her in person. I don't know if it's because I've been spoiled by Liv dolls or because the screening on the dolls in the store wasn't that great, but, if they are marking them down, I'll take a second look (Midge was always my favourite character, and I love dolls with rooted lashes).

    Anyway, thank you for the comparison! It's made me want to revisit the main Barbie line again (Ever After and Monster High lines are appealing to us more at the moment). As always, I'm looking forward to your future reviews!

    Joette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a chance to find my Midge, and I've discovered that my box tells you that the baby is a girl. Midge is wearing the lavender coloured dress that is shown on the pictures from your box and lilac slip-ons with three straps - the are translucent. She has the same pink earrings though, and I believe that this doll has the "Midge" face mold. My box states that the doll was issued in 2002.

      Delete
    2. Hi Joette! So, you have the original pregnant Midge! 2002 was the first year she came out, I think. Mine is from 2003 and I guess they decided to mix things up and add some boy babies into the mix that year? I have been searching on eBay to try and find the boy, but I have only found boys from the supermarket set and from the Midge with the denim dress (I think).

      I have seen some bad faces on a few Life in the Dreamhouse Midge dolls, too. I'd be very hesitant to order her online. There are a ton of fun Ever After High and Monster High dolls now, though, you're right! The original Madeline Hatter is the one who keeps grabbing my attention when I'm at the store these days. Love her colors!

      Delete
  23. Love your review. Both Midges are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Yeah I just checked the website and the price keeps changing! I was 24 dollars but when I put it in my cart it was 17 now no matter what it's back at 24. I'll definitely try and buy her at the store and check for wonky eyes!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello Emily! Lovely review, as always! When I was a kids, my best friend had Happy Family Midge, and her baby was a boy. I remember cleary her birth certificate was blue, and we used to pretend that the baby was Ryan. Though I don't remember the album, cause the doll wasn't mine. I think she still have the doll, I will ask her in our next meeting!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Dailey_Star! I know you were asking Emily but I just couldn't help but answer. Hmmm.. I have Apple White and she is truly fantastic and I totally recommend her but, in order to keep her hair looking nice you have to spritz her hair with water, gently brush out 1 curl, and then wrap it around your finger. Anyways it really depends if your a royal or a rebel! :D So after that you have 20 euros and I guess you should save them - if you see Honey Swamp and like her in person go for it! If not saving it for a future find seems like a good plan. I have around 40$ to spend and I don't know what to buy either! It's between

    Monster High (I have 6)
    Ever After High (only Apple)
    Mini Lalaloopsy
    Barbie
    Hayden's House (Liv)
    Littlest Pet Shop
    or
    Our Generation clothes for my AG dolls which is what I'm leaning toward unless I divide my money for all of them! :)
    Sorry again for interfering!
    P.S My 2nd best friend just got Gigi yesterday and turns out her hair-do is held together with giant beads! Lol :)


    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks so much for your help Sara! My mom actually called a few stores today and we found a Gigi we can pick up on saturday.. with a 30% discount! :D Which means that I'm left with a little more money than I first thought. After I have Gigi, I'll see what's next. One doll at a time :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Emily, I was wondering if you knew any good places to get Liv wigs. I was trying eBay but they are way overpriced. Please respond! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually the ones on eBay for 5.99 are about as good as you can get right now for a new-in-box wig. That's pretty close to retail. Since they're discontinued, the prices can get ridiculous at some online stores! Used wigs are gong to be a better deal, of course, but I've noticed that sometimes the best deals are for used wigs that come on dolls! So, basically I think you're on the right track with eBay, but it might take some hunting. Sorry I don't have a better tip!

      Delete
    2. I agree with Emily that the best deal you're probably going to get on Liv wigs is to buy a secondhand doll that's wearing one. They don't always have their wigs, but thrift shops are a good place to do some hunting, in my area, I usually find secondhand Liv dolls for $0.50-$2.00, in fact, I just picked up the Target-exclusive Liv in Wonderland White Queen Daniela a few weeks ago and she had her brown wig with white highlights, but not her original outfit.

      Delete
    3. One other tip: if the thrift store has their dolls in a box/bin, make sure to search the bottom, because sometimes the wigs come off on their own (or with the help of children). I found a Liv Katie and a Moxie Teenz Arizona one day, and both were "bald", but, sure enough, Katie's wig was down in the bottom of the box when I looked (someone had cut off the peg inside the wig cap, so it didn't stay on her head anymore).

      Delete
  29. Another great review!

    The sad thing is I am kicking myself right now for getting rid of my Happy Family doll set. I had the first Midge in the purple dress, the set with Alan and Ryan, the Barbie doctor, and one set of outfits. The Midge I had did have the pregnant belly and the wedding ring as well. I am wondering if the ones without the rings were a variant or production error. My mom and I thought it was absurd that people thought she was an unwed teenager mother when all of the dolls at the store we saw had a wedding ring. I got my Midge at Toys R Us shortly after Wal-Mart had pulled them from the shelves.

    I bought Life in the Dreamhouse Midge today. I was debating on getting her for a while but your review convinced me to get her. I love red headed dolls. She is starting to become hard to find here in Phoenix, so when I saw one with perfect bangs at Target, I had to snap her up. I love both outfits including the sweater. I actually think the sweater looks kind of cute on the blue dress, just the ruffles on the shoulders gives a shoulder pad look. One thing I have noticed is that it seems like both eyes on each doll are not usually the same size. It slightly bugs me.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I had this doll when I was a kid. I loved her! I remember my mom thinking it cute that there was a barbie with a baby, and since I didnt like baby dolls I got her. I don't remember what happened to her but, I do know that she was the only happy family doll I got and I loved her little baby ..mine was a girl too, but I think my midge had a purple outfit. I never knew there were other happy family dolls, if I had known when I was a kid I probably would have gotten more, especially with how I loved playing house with my dolls haha. Plus have you seen the grandparents? They're so adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I've always loved Midge dolls, but I think the Life in the Dreamhouse Midge is my favorite by far. I love her full lips and freckles and sweet face! And now that I know the pregnant belly will fit her, I might just buy a loose belly off of eBay. I'm a big stickler for articulation. (All of my dolls have to be able to 'act' :p )

    ReplyDelete
  32. I was so excited to see this review, because I had the first wave Happy Family Midge when I was little! I actually had two versions of her: pregnant Midge, and Midge on Nikki's second birthday. I lost baby Nikki a while ago, but I was pretty sure we still had both the Midge dolls somewhere…I'm somewhat less sure after searching my little sister's black hole of a bedroom. Anyway, I really enjoyed this review, despite not being too terribly fond of them as of late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops! I'm not too terribly fond of Barbies in general. I think Midge is still pretty cute, though.

      Delete
  33. http://barbielistholland.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/midge-hadley™-1963-present/
    If you scroll down there's some info about pregnant Midge. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I DID own Midge's entire family line in the first series and with Grandma and Grandpa. It was impressive and incomparable I had them marry in my parents' sunroom on June day, awaited "Nikki's" birth, sent ryan to Mattel's daycare and treasured Mattel's attempt at a generational family line. I even had the sounds home where they lived quite happily. I did not grow up to be a wife and mother, but when the line was discontinued, I felt like the story ha been abandoned in the middle and the "real" Midge forgotten about. Midge was a PTA mom, a neighborhood friend, a good wife, and a superb role model. Her pregnancy belly taught, if anything, that when done correctly, is beautiful and I loved that they had rings and were really married. .Oh, how I miss this line.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you for this wonderful review. I am very disappointed Mattel does not try to produce more quality clothing. It's beyond me why they can't improve on their articulation either. Did you know Mattel produced a different version of pregnant Midge? She has a denim dress, red hair, and I believe no freckles. Have you seen her? I have several Happy Family Midges-they are so unique & fun, I want to personally Thank you for this wonderful review especially when you mentioned "every time we buy our kids a baby doll, aren't we encouraging them to play mom? I don't see how this is different." Well said-

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hello Emily.
    Thank you very much for another great review. I never knew about Midge until i read about her here. I went on to find more information on Midge's family and there is what i found on Wikipedia.

    ""Happy Family" line

    The year after Midge and Alan were married, a picture of the couple with twin babies was shown in a pamphlet, but the dolls were never produced.[2] However, in 2003, she and Alan were re-introduced with a family consisting of them and three different kids, three-year-old Ryan, and newborn baby Nikki. This was known as the "Happy Family" line, and was similar to the discontinued Heart Family line of the 1980s. The dolls came in both European American and African American versions. This was the first time an African American Midge was ever produced.[2]
    Midge was sold "pregnant" with Nikki, who was a tiny baby inside Midge's magnetic removable womb. This led to some controversy with some consumers saying that the doll was inappropriate for children, or that it promoted teen pregnancy. Another cause for this controversy was that Midge did not initially have a wedding ring, but this was later fixed. She also was packaged without Alan. Customers complaining about the doll led to Wal-Mart pulling the Happy Family line off their shelves.[7] A new version of this Midge was produced for Wal-Mart, this time not pregnant and with a cardboard cut-out display of Alan and Ryan standing next to her inside the box.[8] The Happy Family Line included everything from a talking house, a backyard swimming pool, neighborhood market, and playground.
    Later, around Nikki's first birthday, Midge was "pregnant" again with another child, who wasn't named or given a specific gender, as the gender was a surprise when the owner opened the doll's box. Midge's new baby was later named Cassandra. Midge has two known parents who are simply called "Grandpa" and "Grandma". At first, the grandparent dolls were sold together as part of a big set consisting of the dolls and a kitchen play set, but for Nikki's first birthday they were sold separately. Midge, Alan, and Ryan gave Nikki a dog for her birthday. They too came in both Caucasian and African American versions. They use different body molds, to reflect their age."

    I hope there will be a relaunch of "Happy Family" line.

    Agnes

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi! When I was a little girl, I remember hearing in the news something about a polemic pregnant doll, but never managed to see them in my country (Spain). I was very shocked to see that Midge's "belly" was attached with magnets, I thought I had seen on the news that her belly opened like a "treasure chest". I kinda like the Happy Family line, and I don't see the point on saying it's a bad influence for little girls and that it "promotes teen pregnancy" (and now there's a TV show called "Teen Mom" and there's not such a big polemic about it). My favourite toy from the "Happy Family" car is that huge family car, I love it!

    I think I have seen another "Happy family" but with a latin couple (similar to the Teresa dolls) but I'm not sure. Here are some pics of the Happy Family playsets http://www.lilfriends.net/happyplaysets.html

    Love your doll, by the way

    ReplyDelete
  38. Your so lucky! You're Happy Family Midge doll is an ultra rare! I only saw one and she cost over 200 dollar.

    ReplyDelete
  39. eu queria compra mais e muito caro d+

    ReplyDelete
  40. podia a Mattel fazer uma edição especial e vede-se todas as boneca antiga da midge no dia do aniverssario da boneca da midge e bom que fazia logo a coleção da boneca midge

    ReplyDelete
  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I discovered your blog by accident and immediately fell in love! I love the way blogging, comparisons dolls and fantastic pictures!
    I added your blog to favorites and I looked here every day, waiting for new entries!
    Greetings from Poland!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I just adore this review! I have recently become more interested in my Alan and Midge dolls (AA version) and their family. I was doing a google image search for wedding photos for the happy couple when I rediscovered this blog post of yours. The photos of Life in the Dream House Midge in the blue polka dotted top holding baby Nikki are strikingly beautiful. Nice job with this review!

    ReplyDelete
  44. hate it when people sell rare items on a huge price :(

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thank you for this beautiful write-up-- I really enjoyed it! : ) I was seven or eight when the original pregnant Midge came out, and I waited and waited for my annual $25 birthday check from my grandparents so that I could buy her. By that time, the controversy had pulled her from the shelves, and when I went to Walmart to buy her, all they had were the Midge dolls without the belly (I think they cost about $16-$18, and this was around 2002). I waited and went to KB Toys where I was able to purchase the pregnant Midge for $22. It was a significant price increase, but totally worth it to me! The doll came with a purple maternity dress, and Baby Nikki had a white diaper and yellow bear shirt. The doll you purchased came out later, and I believe that a third pregnant Midge wearing a denim dress came out even later. I LOVED the Happy Family series and tried hard to collect all of it. There were so many neat playsets and outfits, including extra clothes for the grandparents and the kids, a swingset, a big Happy Family house, and neighbor dolls. Those dolls and sets were some of my favorites, and I still have them. I would totally recommend looking at some of the Happy Family stuff on google-- it was really neat! Anyways, thanks again for your lovely post! I'm glad you were able to find a pregnant Midge, although it's a shame she was so expensive! Take care! : )

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi can one still get these dolls for sale though?

    ReplyDelete

I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.