Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Quick Review of Fab Faces Kennedy from My Scene Barbie

Oh, man.  I am still giggling over this doll.  This is a very bizarre toy.  Fab Faces dolls are versions of My Scene Barbie that have rubbery faces with changeable expressions.  Their faces actually bend and twist into new shapes.  Sounds pretty interesting, right?   I first learned about the Fab Faces line when they were mentioned in the comments discussion of my Barbie Fashionista review.  The other week, I got an email that reminded me of these dolls and so I went to to see if I could find one for sale.  Indeed, Amazon still has many (if not all) of this line in stock, and there was a Kennedy on clearance for $11.  Sold.  Several of these dolls are expensive on Amazon (Chelsea is $80!), but they can also be found on eBay at more reasonable prices.

My Scene Barbie was introduced by Mattel in 2002 and the Fab Faces line came out in 2006.  I have wanted a My Scene Barbie ever since I saw the episode of Project Runway where the challenge was to design clothes for these dolls (see the winning doll and design here).

Fab Faces Kennedy is not a doll I would have picked for her looks, and she's not anywhere near the prettiest of the My Scene dolls, but she's got significant entertainment value:

My Scene Fab Faces Kennedy
Kennedy comes in a big plastic box with a ton of accessories.  My favorite accessory (or least favorite, I can't decide) is this spinning wheel that determines Kennedy's mood at any given moment.  It actually spins:

What message is this sending?
On the back of the box, through the plastic, you can see a cardboard insert that has elegant pictures of Kennedy and the other Fab Faces dolls.  In addition, the face changing buttons on the doll's back stick out of the box so that you can demo the expressions in the store.

This face, in particular, caught my attention:

What is that?  It's like a sad Muppet face.
Kennedy looks very fancy in the picture:

Scarlett Johansson meets Jessica Rabbit.
She looks slightly different in real life:

 Stiffler's mom.
The plastic casing is actually perforated in the back so that you can easily open the box and pull out the cardboard display.  I'm not crazy about the plastic shell, but I definitely appreciate the perforation.  This is a very clever and consumer friendly idea.

I find this slightly confusing:

Am I being ordered to love it?
It's a little bit too Soup Nazi-ish for me.  Tiara for you!  Take it and be happy!  Besides, that tiara's definitely not going to fit me...maybe it'll fit Felix Charlemagne?

 Here are all of the smaller items that come with Kennedy:

An extra plastic necklace
Lipstick and...a powder puff?
A cell phone that opens and closes that lip liner?

Pink sunglasses:
Safety goggles?
And this:

A 'fro pick.
Here's the tiny tiara (maybe it is meant to go on a ponytail or something?)

Kennedy also comes with an entire extra outfit, which consists of these over designed pink and silver boots:

And also some pink shimmery velour harem pants with a plastic belt and a tank top with painted sparkly jewelry:

The shirt is very poorly made.
This accessory is cute--a little dog in a purse!  Actually, it's just a dog head attached to a purse.  Makes me think of an old-fashioned fox stole or something.  I wish the purse opened and the dog was whole and could come out.  That would be better.

There's not even a bulge in the purse where the dog's body should be.  
I don't think the dog is supposed to have that black spot on her face, either.

Ok, this is weird.  Kennedy's shoes are sandals, but the skin showing through the straps is actually part of the shoes.  Shoes that make her feet seem gigantic.  Look:

Cute little open-toed heels...everything looks fine, right?
Wrong!  There are tiny little feetsies underneath!
 I can picture an advertisement for these shoes:

Buy our cute strappy sandals and your feet will look six sizes larger than they are!

No.  Thank you.  I am already a size 9.5.

Ok, let's take a quick look at Kennedy's outfit before we get to the good part.  She has a lovely peach dress overlain with layers of silver and beige lace.  She's also wearing a fake fur stole...that happens to be white.  Like her dog head.

Anyone seen the dog head that goes with this stole?
There we go.
The dress has a silver ribbon halter strap and a silver accent along the bodice.  She comes wearing a plastic silver and pink necklace very similar to the extra one.  She has long silver plastic dangle earrings and a lopsided tiara that is sewn into her hair.


The back of her hair is a mess:

I tried to brush her hair with a Liv brush, but I think I just made things worse. This hair is a horrendous mass of curls.  The more you brush it, the more it frizzes and falls out.

The mane of hair hides the buttons that control Kennedy's changing expressions.  If you push a button, it moves a mechanism in Kennedy's head which contorts her rubber face into different shapes.  These buttons are very long and not at all subtle:

Yikes.  I can't help but think of daggers when I look at these long buttons.  That or some strange twist on the movie Alien where creatures come bursting out of someone's torso.

Happy, Mopey, Laughy, 'Fraidy and Sly.
Under the dress, her body is reasonably posable.  She has 6 points of articulation, including the internal clicking knee joints that I like so much.  Her neck does not move, which makes sense given the complicated face mechanism.  Her body is plastic, but her legs and face are rubbery.

Her arms do not bend.

From here, the buttons on her back look like a dog paw print.
Ok, now the part you've been waiting for.  Here's Kennedy's normal face:

If I push this button...

I get this:

Mildly surprised...or maybe yawning.
If I push this button:

I get this:

This face does some very interesting things to her profile:

Is she sprouting horns?  
Ok, what about this button?  I am a little nervous about making Kennedy sad at this point...


Girlfriend is mad.
 The forehead contours are pretty good with this face--much better than the raised brows.

But I want an Oompa loompa now, Daddy!
 Definitely time to cheer her up...

That has got to be the happy button.
Ah!  Hide the children!
Where'd her teeth go?
You and your little dog, too!
This last expression looks really cute on the button--kind of an innocent, beguiling half-smile:

Aw, shucks.
Or, you know, a cheesy pick-up line face.
...with devil horns.
Much to my delight, you can also mix and match faces.  Here's angry with a half smile:

 These shoes make my feet look big.
Surprised mixed with happy:

Kennedy seeing JAMIEshow Lee for the first time.
And my personal favorite, angry mixed with happy:

Oh, I've got you now, sucker. 
That was fun.  I don't know how practical this doll is in terms of everyday play, with all of the buttons coming out of her back and everything, but experimenting with her expressions is awesome.

Her rubber face attracts dust like you wouldn't believe.  This could be a significant problem for a child who had this doll lying around their room most of the time.

So, what are the practical benefits of this doll?  Well, she comes with two outfits and two pairs of shoes, and these can be shared around with several other brands of doll.  Here's the extra outfit on Kennedy:

It is very hard to get the tight-fitting pants on over her rubbery legs.  

She can only wear tops with low backs.
Also--do you notice the shedding hair everywhere?
My Barbie Fashionista can wear all of Kennedy's clothes:

The colors look great on her.
Including the huge shoes.
They look like they're on the wrong feet, but
they look this way no matter how I put them on.
The rose colored pants slide over Barbie's plastic legs much more smoothly than they do over Kennedy's rubbery legs.

Very flattering on her.
Liv dolls can wear the cute dress...

...and the other outfit, too, although the pants are a bit big.  The shoes do not fit Sophie.  Her feet are too big.  Despite looking huge, the shoes actually have tiny openings.

My ITBE doll can wear the dress, too.  I am not going to try the pants on her because she has those same rubbery high-friction legs.

The dress also fits the Stardoll body (which doesn't have a head right now).

The dress fits the Stardoll head's new Obitsu body, too!

Bottom line?  This was a weird, slightly creepy but admittedly fun doll to review.  I got a huge kick out of her unique face changing mechanism (and now I am tempted to do surgery and see how that apparatus works!).  It's a really neat idea.  I don't find any of her faces especially attractive, though.  Her normal face actually borders on offensive to me with the open mouth and over-done makeup.  My favorite expression is probably the angry face, just because it is well done and very unique in the doll world.  I am not sure what kind of imaginary game that face would promote, though.  Kennedy pitching a fit at the mall?  Kennedy breaking up with Ken?

Kennedy comes with a nice dress, a stole and some pants that can be shared around with lots of other dolls.  The tank top is poorly made and not very useful.  While Kennedy's shoes are fashionably designed and can be shared by other Barbies, I am not sure that any other Barbies want to wear these foot-magnifying clodhoppers.  

To me, all of the little plastic items that come with Kennedy (and there are a lot of them!) are pretty useless, although I can see how they might appeal to someone with a Barbie house or diorama.  I'd have rather seen her come with better articulation or more manageable hair.

It just comes down to the novelty of the face and how much that is worth to you.  For me, the laughter in the house, my satisfied curiosity and the versatile little outfits all made this purchase worth $11.  If you enjoy collecting strange and unique dolls, particularly if you leave them mint in their boxes (to avoid this doll's easily tangled hair and dust-magnet face), a Fab Faces doll is probably something you want to consider.  If you're shopping for your child, or are just curious about the changing face, I'd steer away from paying much more than $20 for one of these strange characters.  

Oh yeah?  Wanna say that to my angry face?


  1. Omg I can't stop laughing. :)))))) Your comments are beyond funny. My husband is sleeping and I had to use a pillow so he could not hear me laugh myself to tears. :))

    1. Thank you, Ada! This doll is excellent entertainment. She had my whole family in stitches! :D

  2. Ok this has got to be one of the strangest fashion dolls out there!!! (Although the clothes and accessories do make her a decent deal at $11) But seriously who actually thought those faces looked anything like they were 'meant' too!

    Another fabulous review!!! =D

    1. Thank you so much, Deborah! :) I know, it is such a strange doll, isn't it? The expressions are crazy.

      I find that I enjoy strange dolls, though. I guess if I had to choose, I'd rather see a doll company try something daring and get it wrong than not try anything new at all.

  3. I could not stop laughing!!! Best review ever!!!!! (^_^) Thank you!!!

  4. Every one of those faces almost made me pee myself!!! That doll would be fun just to scare people with or bring them to tears laughing. The fashions are great thought. I like that little top even though it does look a bit cheap. Those shoes and the purse are really dumb though.

    Great review. I bet you had a ton of fun with this doll. :D

    1. Thank you, April! I should totally save the doll for next Halloween--she would terrify all of my teenage son's friends. Hee hee. ;)

  5. What a crazy looking doll! I can't believe stuff like this gets past prototype phase when only one of her expressions is at all realistic! And her makeup is horrible

    1. My theory? The prototype team was laughing so hard they forgot what they were supposed to do. ;)

  6. If just the mouth shapes were all well done - i.e., several look more or less the same to me - they could have dispensed with the forehead/eyebrows movement, I think and still have an interestingly expressive face. Maybe with a Botox forehead .... I don't like her makeup either much, but that could be addressed with a repaint. Do you think her head could be put onto a body with more articulation, such as the Fashionista body? Or would the mechanics in the head make that impossible to do?

    1. Hi Barb, I don't think you could do a body swap and preserve the face mechanism--at least not easily. I am not sure exactly how it works, but something must go up through the neck. The neck is very stiff and unmovable.
      I like the angry forehead shape--it's exaggerated, but very expressive. The "raised eyebrows" are crazy, though. Not at all realistic.
      I can't decide if I should take her apart or not. Kinda torn. I really want to see what's behind the scenes!
      I like your repaint idea. I wonder if more carefully placed features would make the expressions more realistic?

  7. Oh boy, this doll. THIS doll. A Fab Faces My Scene doll has found her way into my house before by complete accident (via an inseparable lot in the thrift store I believe) and I pretty much spent the whole day giggling like an idiot mix and matching every possible two expressions.
    My doll (I think it was Chelsea, I don't know, either way she was pretty much identical, save for having brown hair) had the same issues as yours with the hair, in fact she had a receding hairline, I guess because the hair couldn't handle being in the vincinity of the very tacky material on her face too well. I was VERY tempted to pull off the thin rubber mask that constitutes her face and see what's under :) That would probably be quite the nightmare fuel.
    Fun fact about the creepy shoe-feet: in some older editions of My Scene dolls their designers ambitiously attempted to make some open-toe shoes with "realistic" feet attached to them instead of the Bratz-esque smooth nub you see. GIGANTIC, square shaped, "realistic" looking feet. With 5 toes visible, finely sculpted toenails, the works. To say the result was grotesque would be an understatement. A closet full of severed feet (taken from men who just happened to be wearing fabulous shoes, judging by the feet shape and size) is every little girl's dream apparently :)
    (I don't have a good picture of them but you can see a pair in this ebay listing: )

    1. LOL!! Those feet with toes are something else. Wow! So, do all of the My Scene dolls have these fake feet in their shoes? It's really an odd invention. Maybe those feet make it easier to have complex, detailed shoes? I guess I can imagine that strappy sandals would be much easier to manufacture this way.

      I am so glad you got to experience the zany fun of mix and match faces with Chelsea. Kennedy is still making me laugh days later, which is pretty great. :) Despite the nightmares that will surely ensue, I am going to HAVE to see what's under that face some day....

    2. The gigantic feet were copied from Bratzs' proportions, I believe. IMHO, this was a lovely bit of laziness on the Mattel team's part (not making a whole new leg/foot type, I mean), because now the My Scenes can share shoes with other Barbie etc dolls, whereas going "the full Bratz" would've meant having basically stubs that you attach shoes to... And trust me, these freaky huge feet are a field trip of loveliness compared to what that looks like :P

  8. Hello from Spain: I did not know all sides of this doll. What a laugh! I had not seen before. What I like is all the clothes she brings. At Barbie's clothes fit better. A text very ironic ... keep in touch.

    1. Thank you, Marta! I hadn't see this doll until recently, either. What a funny surprise she was! I like her clothes, too. Especially that dress--it looks good on everyone.

  9. Oh wow, those faced are hilarious!!! I missed this doll when it was sold in stores so your review is especially fun. For some reason the little faces on the back knobs crack me up too. I don't blame you for wanting to see the mechanism inside her head.

    The default face is bad but Mattel has done much worse with their Birthday Party Barbie from 1998. They modified a Steffie face to allow Barbie to blow up a little balloon and noise maker...
    (I linked to images that didn't have comments stating the obvious)

    About 10 years ago I'd see one in a thrift store every so often and just couldn't bring myself to buy it, even though I was collecting at least one of every face sculpt back then. :O

    1. Wow. I I appreciate your discretion in choosing images, Kristi! I can only imagine the comments. You're right--that is a worse face than poor Kennedy's.

      I love the faces on Kennedy's buttons, too. I especially love it when they don't match the actual face at all. This doll definitely falls under the heading of "so bad it's good." :)

  10. OMG - you actually got one! *wipes tears from eyes* I laughed so hard reading this review that my ribs hurt! I remember going into Woolworths and pressing all the buttons on these dolls to look at their bizarre expressions but I didn't even remember them being quite this hilarious! So glad you bought one and I really like that dress!

    1. I did! Thank you for telling me about them! :) They are every bit as freaky as you said. I wish I had noticed them when they were in the stores. I'd have liked to see all of the different versions, and I'd also have liked to hide in the aisle and watch people interact with them!!

  11. I am reading this review during my lunch...luckily, I was starving today, so I ate my lunch earlier, as I'm sure I would have choked or my monitor would be decorated! I collected a lot of the My Scene dolls, but avoided these. My mistake!! These would have been a lot of fun. Even though I've steered away from Mattel products, I think I'll have to cruise the thrift stores for them. As for the shoes, my theory is that they wanted to balance (what was at that time) the huge heads with huge feet, but wanted the dolls to still be able to share "regular" Barbie shoes as well (which is what we did at my house). The My Scene guys had the same thing...huge monster shoes and teeny tiny Ken feet.
    Thank you for the laugh!

  12. Oh my gosh, that is so funny! XD XD LOL!

    Great review, and that doll is so funny!

  13. LOL, I JUST found your blog and I was Seriously LOL'ing ...omg. I am dying. Love your blog, sooo glad I found ya!

  14. Hey there!
    I just found this blog by Googling Tonner dolls. I've read the three previous reviews on here and when I got to this one, well- I am in tears of laughter!!! HAHAHA! I have now put this blog into my favorites- you are very helpful and the information you provide is priceless :-)
    (And this is coming from a person who rarely ever writes comments!)

  15. Lol, I really wanted to ask you to do a review on one of these dolls and what do I see?
    I find your review very funny, but now I feel ashamed xD
    I actually own four of these dolls, I bought three of them on a Dutch second hand stuff website (I live in the Netherlands) for only 15 euros! That isn't a lot for 3 my scene fab faces dolls, although they're missing a lot of stuff, almost everything.
    I later bought a fourth fab faces doll (Nolee) at a second hand shop. I already had her but she was really cheap (she only came with a dress, some shoes and a stole I think)I'm only missing Madison now.
    Overall, I love the idea of the fab faces dolls and I think they look really funny.
    I'm happy I have them in my doll collection.

  16. This is too funny! How did this doll get past the prototype stage? did they not learn from Kissing Barbie or Winking Barbie?

  17. I found one today at a thrift store & had to get her just because she is different. I never heard of these dolls but if I run across another I definitely will not hesitate to buy her!!!!!! Thanks for the great review-too funny!!!!! Just like the doll!!!!!!!

  18. Been reading all your reviews, its outstanding how you get to the core of every doll, this by far was the funniest but not most interesting, loved the review for Morgayne. Your reviews really help for would be purchases, thanks...

  19. I love the creative and outift. I need it but no more... Cry and crazy face hahaha

  20. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA this is the funniest doll review I have ever read. Your little captions are perfect!

  21. What Would The Face Look Like If You Pressed All The Buttons At The Same Time!

    I Bet It Would Be Crazy!

  22. I bought a big box of used dolls and one of these was in it. Some of the face paint had rubbed off and she looked downright scary. I have to say, the paint being complete doesn't help so much ;-)

    Thank you for yet another wonderful review! There's nobody else out there who produces such thorough and funny doll reviews. I hope you'll keep doing this for a long time!

  23. i saw one of these in the carboot sale today! it had brown hair
    not really sure who it was
    i was going to get it but it was nekkid and the leg was covered in some sort of black stuff but the woman wouldnt lower the price to 50p or anything because she insisted it was a real old barbie

  24. When I was younger I had a red head one of these dolls I got from a charity shop! When I was playing dollies she was always an irresponsible mum who had botox and a really bad fake American accents. :D I remember when she was angry with the kid's always using the angry face with the happy face and making her chase the kids out of the house. I also remember having a pantomime dress she used to wear a lot.

  25. My little sister got this exact doll for Christmas one year and the two of us spent most of the day taking turns with her, my mom went out and got one for me a few days later because we had such a blast with it! I don't think we ever really played with them as you're supposed to with dolls, but the faces they could make never failed to crack us up. We recently found one of them while cleaning our old toys out of her closet and it didn't get any less amusing over the years!

  26. I have a 1999 changing faces Barbie that I bought a year ago at a thrift store. Didn't know until recently that each button would change facial expression. Lol


    Great review, I may never stop laughing!

  28. I actually had like a "first time" with this doll before I came here. Second hand market, of course, saw her, pushed a button, and I was all like "what the heck am I looking at??!!"

    So I took her home.

    After some experimentation, I realized her face vinyl was a bit broken, so I picked my scissors and my green and black pens, and made a fantastic zombie out of her.
    No, really, she looks more beautiful now as a zombie than before. I mean, at least I can look at her and not feel terrifyed.