Sunday, June 28, 2015

The 17-Inch Freak du Chic "Gooliope Jellington" from Monster High

Mattel seems to wait until my interest in the Monster High line is waning, and then they announce a very cool and unexpected new addition that gets me all enthusiastic again.  The last time this happened was in June of last year, when the centaur Avea Trotter came out.  In one fell swoop, that exceptional equine renewed my awe for the creativity behind the Monster High concept.  My enthusiasm also got a mid-year boost with the release of the Inner Monster dolls. This year, just as I started to skip the Monster High aisle at Toys R Us, or yawn as I scrolled through pictures online, the new 17-inch dolls were announced.  A Monster High doll this large would have been plenty exciting on its own, but these new giants also have an updated style of articulation.  Yay!  Monster High articulation is already so good, the idea of improved and increased joints on these dolls was enough to make me absolutely giddy with curiosity.

I want to thank everyone who emailed me about the appearance of the first super-sized Monster High doll: Gooliope Jellington.  Without your tips, I might not have noticed from the online pictures that Gooliope was any larger than a regular Monster High character.  This doll is scaled up so accurately that when she's photographed alone, she can easily be mistaken for an 11-inch doll:

Freak du Chic "Gooliope Jellington," $29.99.
In fact, even when Gooliope is posed in pictures with other dolls, it's hard to appreciate certain things about her size.  There's just something startling about her that can only be fully experienced in person.  Nevertheless, I will do my best to describe her to you with words and pictures.

Two things surprised me when I first held Gooliope's box.  First, the box is not as big as I expected it to be.  Gooliope is posed inside the box with her knees bent, and so the box is nowhere near as tall as the doll.  The second thing that surprised me is how heavy the box was!  Whoa.

Here's Gooliope's box next to a traditional Monster High box so you can see the size difference (I love this Toralei and have never been able to get myself to de-box her...):

Gooliope's box is mostly plastic--like the newer 11-inch doll boxes.  It has a cardboard back and some red and black-themed cardboard decorations around the edges:

What I like best about Gooliope's packaging is that her hands are posed against the plastic front of the  box as though she is trying to break out.  The plastic even has molded crack marks near where her hands are positioned:

Gooliope Jellington box

The placement here is not perfect, but I get the idea--and it's great:

The other thing I immediately loved about this doll is her shoes.  She has--get this--skeleton carousel horse shoes!  Incredible:

Best.  Shoes.  Ever.
There's a small graphic depiction of Gooliope in the lower corner of the box, along with the Freak du Chic logo:

I like this cartoon version of Gooliope.  In particular, I like Gooliope's pink-tinged complexion and how her golden hair matches the gold accents on her dress:

In contrast, the real Gooliope has bright pink skin and yellow hair.  She also isn't smiling as brightly as the cartoon version:

Pink Monster High dolls are not my favorite variety--nor is this mustard-yellow hair color--but there was a lot more about this doll to keep me excited.

The cardboard back of the box has a repeat of the same graphic, but it takes up the entire width of the box:

Even though I really like this version of Gooliope, I think in such a massive size the cartoon starts to look creepy.  If that's intentional, it's really clever.  It mirrors the idea that the Gooliope doll is too big for her box:

Underneath the huge picture is a summary of Gooliope's biography:

Gooliope describes how she has to piece together her own clothes from Freak du Chic materials, and how she doesn't feel like she fits into the outside world.  This theme of not fitting in is very cohesive throughout the marketing.  I will say, though, that I am really tired of hearing the "I can't possibly choose a pet" line.  Embrace the pets or give up on them, Mattel...don't be wishy-washy.  

Gooliope should either have a circus animal for a pet (an elephant named Elmer, perhaps?) or something with a gooey maybe a jellyfish or a slug.  And the slug could be named Morpheus.

Anyway, I love the little graphic tucked into the corner of the back of the box.  It's very King Kong:

I was also encouraged to see that there's a stand included with this doll.  She certainly won't fit the regular Monster High stands:

The plastic front of the box is attached to the cardboard back with a series of plastic tabs.  These are not taped in place and are easy to undo:

The stand can be accessed by opening the left side of the box (which is also held closed by a series of tabs):

The stand is made out of black plastic and comes in three pieces:

It fits together just like the smaller Monster High waist grip stands:

The base has a molded Monster High logo design:

Large stand base.
Here's Gooliope's stand next to one of the 11-inch stands:

The big stand is a lot straighter.
As you can see, the design on Gooliope's stand is the same as the design on the smaller stands:

Small stand base.
Gooliope herself was secured to the cardboard backdrop with a bit more enthusiasm than the smaller dolls.  I suspect this is for two reasons: her substantial weight is harder to control, and also her arms need to be positioned very accurately in order to make sense of the molded cracks in the plastic part of the box.

Gooliope's arms were held in place with plastic braces and rubber bands:

Gooliope's heavy head was plastic-tied to the backdrop in three places, but actually two of these three ties had already pulled out of the cardboard with my doll:

I hate to say this, but I guess she really did need all three of those ties!
 The backdrop is a black and red scene from the Freak du Chic:

I love the little cardboard figures along the side of the box, all looking up at where Gooliope was standing:

I also like how each side of the backdrop shows silhouetted advertisements for the other Freak du Chic acts:

Jinafire and Toralei?
The diary is tucked into two slots in the cardboard and has to be removed through the open edge where the stand was stored:

With Honey Swamp and Frankie in the background, I think.
Gooliope's diary has a fancy cover with a repeat of the same graphic that appeared several times on the box:

The diary gives some insight into Gooliope's background.  She travels with the Freak du Chic circus, and she seems to have been grown in a jar as part of experiment #816.  She was then abandoned because "R.S." did not feel he/she could give her the unlife she deserved.  

Also, I think she's made out of goo.

Ok, so the goo thing makes me want to address Gooliope's name.  It's kinda cool--like the gooey version of Calliope--but it's so similar to Ghoulia (for me) that I struggle a bit when I'm saying it out loud, and even sometimes when I'm trying to type it.  Oh, well.  There have been so many Monster High characters at this point, it's no wonder that a few of them sound similar.  Maybe "Goobriela" instead?  Hm.

The About Me section does not have too much more to say about Gooliope than what was on the back of the box:

Still no pet.
Ok, wait, so I figured out what the perfect pet for Gooliope is.  This little guy:

A gummy worm.
He even matches the color scheme!  I think I'll name him Moby.  There.  I feel better now--I like it best when Monster High dolls have pet companions.  They can really add to the creativity and fun.

Now, back to business: I was really happy to see that despite her huge size, Gooliope can balance without her stand (if she's wearing her shoes):

She doesn't balance anywhere near as well as the smaller Monster High dolls, but at least she can stand on her own.

I was a little disappointed to see that Gooliope has the lightweight mohair-textured hair fiber--like first wave Lagoona and Ever After High's Apple White.  I feel like this type of hair tends to look poofy or messy and does not hold up well over time.

Gooliope fits well into her stand, though, and I used this stand quite a bit throughout the review.  It's a reasonably solid stand.  As usual, I would have been happier if it had been a saddle stand because those are so much easier to use and look better in photographs.

Gooliope's dress is fairly simple, but there's a lot going on around her her head.  She has an asymmetrical hairstyle with an organ-shaped headband, huge gear-like earrings, and a collar/epaulette decoration around her neck:

Gooliope's hair has a side part, and a section of hair from the left side of her head is combed across her forehead and ends in a little curl just above her ear on the right side:

The hair behind the curl is mostly yellow and is pulled back by the headband.  This section has a lot of visible roots and looks thin:

When I first looked at Gooliope, I assumed that her side part was just in the very front of her hair and didn't extend past the headband:

The headband has two holes in it and was attached to Gooliope's head with plastic ties running through these holes:

Here's the removed headband:

I love the organ decoration on this headband.  The piano keys look like jagged teeth and the pipes look like spiky hair!

With the headband removed, it was possible to see that Gooliope's hairstyle was held in place with a single clear rubber band acting as a second headband and holding the curl in place over the right ear:

I removed the rubber band and the hair at the front of Gooliope's head relaxed a little:

I tried to brush the hair out, but the three plastic ties at the back of Gooliope's head were still in place and the hair surrounding them was badly tangled:

It took a while for me to untangle the hair and figure out what it was supposed to be doing.  I cut the plastic ties and did some brushing and realized that the side part extends all of the way to the back of Gooliope's head:

The part itself is densely rooted, but the back of the head has a lot of exposed yellow scalp:

When the hair is fully brushed, though, the texture of the fiber puffs out and covers these bare patches:

The texture and color of Gooliope's hair makes me think of clowns.  This is definitely appropriate for a circus theme, but since Gooliope is meant to be made out of goo, I'd say that a slick, shiny, smooth hairstyle would be more fitting.  Or even vinyl hair like the Create-a-Monster blob girl.

I decided to contain Gooliope's clowny cloud of hair into a single ponytail so that I could get a better look at her accessories:

Her earrings hang almost to her shoulders, but they stick out at an angle--perhaps to avoid hitting the shoulders of her neck ornament.

The earrings have a heart-shaped Skullette stud and a large dangling gear:

The gear has molded decorations on both sides:

With the earring removed, the dripping edges of Gooliope's ears are easier to appreciate:

Gooliope's eyes are the standout feature of her face.  She has swirls behind her eyelashes and swirled patterns in her baby blue irises:

Her eyebrows are a somewhat unremarkable dark pink, but she has bright orange eyeshadow and dotted details around her eyelashes that more than make up for that.  She also has radiation symbol reflective marks in her eyes, which is very cool given her gooey laboratory origins:

In the up-close picture, above, you can also see that Gooliope's pink vinyl has a glittery sheen to it that is difficult to see from far away.

Gooliope's mouth is closed and she has shimmery dark red lips.  I really love the color of these lips.

The face paint on this doll reminds me a little of the wacky Sweet Screams Frankie Stein doll I reviewed a while ago, but I find Gooliope's swirly features much more relatable.

Gooliope is wearing a sundress decorated with a gold vinyl neckpiece.

The neckpiece comes strapped to Gooliope's chest with clear rubber bands.  As we'll see later, the neckpiece doesn't stay in place very well without these rubber bands:

This piece is made out of bendable gold vinyl.  It has epaulettes on each shoulder that are decorated with a cushion-like spider web pattern:

The edges of the epaulettes have tiered sections that hang down over Gooliope's shoulders.  These sections have bead-like borders with spider web decorations inside:

The middle of the neckpiece has a more industrial-looking collar section with the number 816 printed on it:

This seems like an identification collar from her lab rat days that's been repurposed as jewelry.

The underside of the neckpiece is hollow and free of decoration:

This is a neat-looking accessory, but I find it hard to use because it will not stay in place and it tends to get in the way of the doll's earrings and arm movement.

Gooliope's dress has a very simple design, with a spaghetti-strapped stretch bodice and a two-layered   skirt:

Gooliope's outfit is meant to look like it's made from material found laying around the Freak du Chic, and this is certainly believable to some extent.  The dress is made out of four different fabrics that all have a convincing circus theme:

The bodice is made out of a stretch jersey print that is black and red/pink with gold embellishments.  It is shaped in the front with a somewhat crude stitch of pinkish-red thread:

The belt-like waistline of the dress is made out of a black fabric with stiff white stripes painted on it. It mirrors the keyboard in the organ headband:

The top layer of the skirt has the most elaborate print, and also deviates the most from the idea that Gooliope made this dress from circus scraps.  The print is certainly circus-oriented, but it tries to incorporate all of the ideas behind Gooliope's theme rather than look like a circus leftover.

The fabric on this part of the skirt is stiff and has a bit of a shine to it.  Parts of the print (in the skirt and the bodice) look very red in my pictures, but they're actually dark pink.  I almost wish they were true red (like Gooliope's lips), but it's fine.

The underskirt is a sheer black and white print that coordinates with the waistline of the dress:

Both of the skirt's layers have unfinished jagged hems.

I am a little conflicted about this dress.  I really like the circus theme and the color scheme, but it's a very simple design for such a large doll.  While I think this dress would look amazing scaled down for the 11-inch dolls, it seems a little scant for such a huge doll.  The solution is not necessarily complicated--I actually think a little jacket and some cropped leggings would have made a big difference in filling out this look. Such an impressively-sized doll should have an impressive outfit.

I have no such mixed emotions about the shoes, though.  They are completely awesome:

Part of what amazes me abut the 11-inch Monster High shoes is that there's often so much detail packed into such a tiny shoe--and I would have predicted that this effect would be very hard to replicate in a larger size.  Not so.  I love Gooliope's shoes just as much (if not more) than some of the best shoes in the smaller scale.  The detail in the little skeleton carousel horse is especially impressive:

Another great thing about these shoes is how easy they are to get on and off.  Given how ridiculously hard it is to wrangle some of the smaller Monster High shoes (ahem, Headmistress Bloodgood, Miss Clawdeen...) these shoes are an absolute dream.

The body of the shoe is made out of pink vinyl and is decorated with molded ornamentation and a painted black Skullette.

The wedge soles on these shoes have especially fancy decorations, with tiny little Skullettes and swirls:

There are no hidden secrets on the bottoms of these shoes--just a hollow toe:

My favorite part of the shoe is by far the skeleton horse heel, though.  The horses have tiny molded bones in their bodies, a saddle, a bridle, and even a twisted carousel pole.  They're decorated with a neat grey painting technique that makes them look old--and also adds some depth and definition to their features:

Here's a close-up of the head on one of the horses--there's a bit in the mouth and even a hint of some teeth!

Because the white horses are painted onto the pink vinyl of the shoe, the very inside of the mouth shows some of the pink color.  Kind of like the horse has a pink tongue...which is a little weird for a skeleton.

I just can't get enough of these shoes.  They are so fun to look at and photograph!

Now, let's take a look at the body and the new articulation on this doll!  

I mentioned that in a photograph with no size reference point, it's difficult to tell Gooliope from an ordinary 11-inch Monster High character.  However, if you look closely at her articulation, you can start to see that she is definitely not a regular Monster High doll:

Gooliope has 20 points of articulation (that's if you count each of her double joints as two joints--if not, she "only" has 16 points), including a torso joint.

Her pink body is covered with a molded gooey droplet pattern.  This is done very well, I think--enough drops to get the idea across, but not so many that it gets disgusting:

Like regular-sized Monster High dolls, Gooliope's head has a full range of motion.  It can look up and down and also from side to side:

Below the neck, though, there are very few things about Gooliope's articulation that are the same as a regular Monster High doll.

Her shoulders have hinged rotational movement, which is not a change.  This means that she can lift her arms away from her body...

...and spin them around:

However, Gooliope has an additional joint just below her shoulder that has simple rotational movement:

This joint allows her to spin her arm around while her shoulder, elbow and wrist joints remain untouched:

Gooliope's elbow joint is a double joint and can hinge in two different areas.  There is no rotation in this joint, though, which probably explains why the extra rotating joint was added to the top of the arm.

The double joint in this area allows Gooliope to fold her arms really, really well:

These joints also make it trivial for Gooliope's hands to reach her face--in a number of different ways.

Gooliope's hands and arms can be removed from her body, but all of her other parts are permanently attached.

The attachment pegs look really thin to me, but they seem to do the trick, at least for now:

Like the rest of Gooliope's body, the hands and arms are decorated with a raised droplet pattern:

Gooliope also has a torso joint that moves incredibly well.  This joint tips forwards and backwards...

...but it also tips from side-to-side...

...AND can even rotate around!  This is fantastic.

Gooliope's hips have hinged rotational movement, but (like regular Monster High dolls) they cannot move from side to side into full splits:

These joints do have excellent front-to-back motion, though, and so Gooliope can sit on the ground and also do full front-back splits:

Gooliope has rotating joints just below her hips that are similar to the extra joints we saw in her arms.  These joints allow her to rotate her legs inwards and outwards above the knee:

Gooliope's knees are just like her elbows--with double-hinged joints that allow a great deal of flexion, but do not rotate:

This means that Gooliope can kneel beautifully:

The knee piece is darker than the rest of Gooliope's leg.  I think it is made out of hard vinyl rather than the hard plastic of the larger leg pieces.

Another awesome doll with double-hinged knees is Liv.  Here's Gooliope next to Liv Alexis so that you can see the small differences in these two dolls' knee articulation:

They can both kneel really well, but Gooliope has a better range of movement in her knees and can sit closer to the ground.  The rotation Gooliope has in her thigh also allows her to sit with both feet rotated out, like this:

Gooliope's thigh rotation also allows her to sit with both of her legs tucked off to the side (sort-of).  Liv dolls have some rotation in their hips, but this isn't enough to allow Alexis to copy Gooliope's pose:

Alexis trumps Gooliope when it comes to sitting on just one knee, though.  Liv dolls can do this pose like pros, but Gooliope has a very hard time balancing in this position because of the disproportionate length of her lower legs:

Given a little creative license, though, Gooliope can rock this pose, too:

She can't quite pull off a cross-legged pose, though, or at least not with much elegance:

This can't be right...
Here are a few more shots of some of the things Gooliope can do with her 20 joints:

The biggest articulation differences between Gooliope and the 11-inch Monster High dolls are the substitution of double joints at the knees and elbows, the loss of rotation at these joints, and the necessary addition of rotation in the thighs and upper arms to compensate.  The torso joint also makes a pretty big difference.

The result of these changes is that Gooliope can do some things that normal Monster High dolls can't do.  Most notably, she can bend her elbows and knees more, giving her a better range of arm positions and a more solid, low-sitting kneel.  

Gooliope's torso movement is also a neat addition, allowing her to extend the already swayed back typical of Monster High dolls, and also to lean forwards and twist around.

I had a lot of fun with the torso joint, but it also gave me moments of frustration.  This joint tends to tip under the weight of Gooliope's heavy head, and so it adds some instability to Gooliope that isn't present in the smaller dolls.

Gooliope's knee joints are also very prone to collapse and have a hard time holding certain positions. For example, Gooliope can achieve a deeper kneel than a normal Monster High doll, but she actually can't hold the more upright kneeling pose of the smaller dolls because her upper knee joint collapses under the strain of this pose.

Here's another example of the knee instability: when I pose Gooliope like this...'s what usually (but not always) happens before I can snap a fifth picture:

So, overall the new articulation is extremely fun and amazing, but it comes at the price of a small decrease in stability.

You've already seen a few shots of Gooliope with Clawdeen, but I'll also show you some more formal comparisons with the differently-sized Monster High shorties.

Until now, the 11.5-inch Headless Headmistress Bloodgood was my tallest Monster High doll.  Hard to believe!

And here's Clawdeen--an original 11-inch doll.

And last (also terms of inches) is Lorna McNessie who is one of the shortest dolls at only 10 inches tall:

The small differences between these three sizes are ridiculously dwarfed by Gooliope's impressive height. 

I find Gooliope's head to be the most startling thing about her size.  It's a huge (and heavy) head, although I really think it's scaled proportionately to the rest of her body.

For fun, here's a comparison of just Clawdeen and Gooliope's hands:

And here's Gooliope's awesome shoe next to another one of my favorite Monster High shoes--Vandala Doubloons' single treasure chest pump:

I really struggled to find other dolls that would come close to Gooliope's size and proportions.  The first doll who leapt to mind was my Penelope Brewster from Tonner Doll's Deja Vu line. You might recall that when I first reviewed this doll, I was struck by how her slender proportions and splay-fingered hands reminded me of Monster High dolls:

As a bit of an aside, I think it would be amazing to see a Deja Vu doll repainted to look like a realistic version of a Monster High character...if that makes any sense.  I can totally picture my Penelope as a real-life Lagoona, with scales and maybe even gills.  Sigh.  I wish I had some repainting skills.

Anyway--here are the two together, trying to mimic each other's poses:

The hands on these two dolls make an even more interesting comparison than what I showed with the original Penelope review, because they are now very similar in size:

(At first I forgot that Penelope's hands come off, too...)

Anyway, despite their neat similarities, these two dolls cannot share clothes.  Gooliope's dress looks ok from the front, but it does not close in back:

I think my skinniest 16-inch fashion doll is Integrity's Avant Guard girl, On Edge:

The waist and hip measurements are pretty close on these two, but Gooliope's tiny chest makes clothes sharing unsatisfying here, too.

On Edge's wonderful black dress fits through the hips but gapes horribly in the front:

I even wondered if despite the height difference, perhaps Gooliope and Barbie would be able to share clothes.  They are a little harder to compare torso-to-torso...

But unfortunately Barbie is much shorter in the waist and slimmer in the hips than Gooliope:

Maybe that's easier to see with a different kind of shot:

And so Barbie's dresses are too tight for Gooliope's hips...and too short in length as well.

I even wondered if the 16-inch Disney Store dolls might have enough in common with Gooliope that they could share some clothes, but these girls are (again) much wider in the chest:

For one last size reference, here's Gooliope with my American Gil doll, Keira.  I was so surprised to see that these two are the same height!  Actually, if anything, Gooliope is taller (that could just be the stand, though):

I played around a little bit with Gooliope's accessories to see which combination of things I like best. I really like the organ headband, and it stays in place pretty well even without the plastic ties:

I feel like Gooliope's earrings, though--while fun--do not mix well with her voluminous and frizzy hair.

The hair can be fluffed out of the way of the earrings and will hold its position long enough for a few pictures, though:

As I mentioned briefly before, the epaulette neckpiece is really frustrating after those clear rubber bands are removed.  It spins around Gooliope's neck like a helicopter rotor and simply will not stay in place.  I also think it looks too busy with the big hair and long earrings.

I decided that I like Gooliope best without the neckpiece and without the earrings.  

The headband looks great, but I also like Gooliope without it because I can play with her hair a bit more when it's loose:

Even though I enjoy playing with this hair for photographs (because it stays where I put it...) I'm not very happy with the texture in general.  It just always seems to look messy and disheveled. usual, I decided to see what a quick boil wash could do for the hair.

The hair looks really nice when it's wet--much more appropriate for a goo-girl.  It has a cute curl at the ends and is soft, smooth and easy to brush.

Now that's gootiful hair.
The top of the hair is really smooth when it's wet, but the hairs underneath somehow retained their scraggly curl even after being soaked in boiling water:

Gooliope's hair definitely looked better and felt better while it was still a little bit wet.

By the time it was completely dry, though, I don't think I could tell much of a difference between the hair before and after the wash--except perhaps that it was more thoroughly brushed out and a little softer afterwards.

I call this next picture "The moment Gooliope discovered that she has dead horses on her shoes."

Goo on earth killed my horses!?

I ended up putting Gooliope's hair back into a simple ponytail and decided to end the review by introducing her to a few of my other unconventional Monster High dolls, like my Clawdeen Wolf pen:

Clawdeen is almost doll-sized for Gooliope!
And my favorite Monster High doll of all time (yes, still...) Avea Trotter:

I have taken a lot of pictures of Goolliope over the past week, and while part of this is certainly because she is super flexible and fun to play with, another big part of it is that I was trying in vain to capture the full effect of her size.

Of course I knew Gooliope was big when I bought her, but certain things about her size still felt unexpected when I finally held her in my hands--and somehow I hoped this kind of thing would come through in pictures.  It really doesn't.  To fully appreciate this doll, you have to hold her and feel her weight and move her around.  It is a very different experience from holding and posing a smaller Monster High doll.

One thing in particular that doesn't come across in pictures is that there's something slightly unnerving about this doll's size--much like the huge cartoon on the back of her box.  I think the effect is similar to how insects can be super-cute and appealing when they're tiny, but they get downright terrifying if they're over a certain size.  And there are some very insect-like features in Gooliope's spindly, segmented body....

In any case, let me show you just a few more of the pictures I took of this giant before I wrap things up--I'll include Moby, too, because he pointed out to me that he'd been left out of practically the entire review.  I think it was starting to hurt his feelings.

After I took those three pictures, though, something mysterious happened to Moby.  It was weird.  He was there as I was posing Gooliope--right next to me on the table--and then he was gone.  I swear I know absolutely nothing about it.

Bottom line?  Gooliope Jellington is a perfectly scaled-up version of a regular Monster High doll...but with better articulation.  I am someone who gets a huge kick out of seeing things replicated in different sizes, and also someone who is passionate about articulation.  So for me, liking this doll was almost inevitable.  She's extremely cool, and offers a perfectly-timed, distinctive addition to a lineup that was starting to feel very repetitive.

My overall opinion of this doll is positive, but I do have a few small critiques--most of them stemming from the fact that certain Monster High features don't scale up as well as I'd hoped.  First of all, the weight of Gooliope's body (especially her head) is such that she can't balance or hold poses as well as the smaller dolls.  This means that even though her new articulation style allows her to bend her limbs spectacularly well (and move her torso), her joints can't always support the weight of these new poses.  Second, Gooliope's outfit seems plain.  The epaulette neckpiece is dismissible because it will not stay in place, and the remaining dress is relatively simple.  It takes fewer details to make a small garment look fancy, and yet Golliope's large dress has less detail than many of my regular Monster High outfits.  I think a pair of leggings or a bolero jacket would have really enhanced the impact of Gooliope's outfit--and upped the "wow" factor of the doll as a whole.  The hair scales up reasonably well, although it does seem a little thin in the back.  Most of my problem with the hair is that I just don't like the hair fiber.  The hair is very clown-like when I feel it should have been slick and smooth--more gooey-looking.  Last, there's just something a little weird that starts to happen with the exaggerated Monster High features when they get this big.  Gooliope's long spindly (segmented) limbs and huge eyes have an insect-like quality.  I really enjoy tiny little insects, but start to get uncomfortable when these critters reach a certain size.

There are some wonderful things about Gooliope's larger size, too.  First of all, she's easier to dress and pose than the smaller dolls.  Her body has a substantial weight and her joints feel very sturdy (with the possible exception of her knees).  There's no fiddling around to tie tiny straps or fasten minuscule vinyl buttons on the outfit.  Also, some of Gooliope's accessories, like her headband, her stand, and her shoes scaled up better than I expected.  The stand is very secure and the shoes and headband have a wonderful level of detail.  In fact, the shoes are probably my favorite Monster High shoes of all time.  They're really easy to get on and off, they stay on well, and they have these incredible little skeleton carousel horses decorating the heels.  Last, I am very pleased that Mattel managed to deliver a doll this large and this well-articulated while keeping her price under $30.  Given the cost of dolls like Headless Headmistress Bloodgood and the Freaky Fusion line, I assumed Gooliope would be closer to $40.  She seems very well-priced to me.

I am absolutely thrilled to have Gooliope in my collection, and love that Mattel plans to make a few more of these oversized characters.  I'm excited to see what other amazing details can be incorporated into the dolls (and their shoes) when they are this large.  I am also eager to find a 17-inch doll with a color palette that is slightly more my style.  However, I think it would be a mistake for Mattel to make too many of these behemoths.  While I don't mind having a shelf overrun by the traditional 11-inch cuties, I think any more than two or three of the larger dolls could start to interfere with my sleep.


  1. Another great review, as always! :) I didn't realize how much bigger she was until you compared her to the normal Monster High dolls.


  2. Gooliope certainly seems to be a good doll to add to the collection, I'm glad you like her, my monster high personal favorites are; clawdeen, howleen, Abbey, and Venus.
    Gooliope is very cute and pretty, and very huge, I'm curious to see the next bigger monster high dolls.

  3. I hadn't realized that they were planning to expand the line into larger scale dolls, so this was interesting to see. I'm not sure that they're ones that I'll pick up myself, but it's still brilliant to see such an in-dept review of one of them.

    And I love that final photo of her towering over the standard-sized dolls, so I can definitely see some fun potential for the size!

  4. A great review & photos, I enjoyed it very much! What a cool doll, again an original idea in the Monster High range. Her shoes are awesome! Mmm... what did happen to Moby ... LOL! It's great that Mattel plans more giants, although it would add to this lady's coolness if she stayed the only one!

  5. Another doll who can kneel. Ahhh the satisfaction!

  6. Wonderful review - I own Gooliope too and even I didn't know she could go through some of these poses, so I'm excited to keep playing with her!

    I'm very surprised that the hair hardly holds any shape whatsoever - I really liked what they were going for straight out of the box and wanted the curls to remain, but after curling, setting ,and as good a boil as I could muster, the curls fell out after a few days.

  7. Awesome review, with beautiful pictures of Gooliope (and Moby, lol)! I'd love to see a male doll in this scale.

  8. I found out that gooliope actually does fit barbie clothes. old style ones from the 80s and 90s. they are a great fit! except a little difference in the bust, but it's barely noticeable. And i totally do love her articulation, it's amazing.

  9. Thank you for letting us know she is available! I've been waiting for her to come out, but she wasn't available when I was in TRU and other stores just last week. I immediately "ran" over to Amazon and placed her on order, as well as the Boo York dolls that I also found. Can't wait to see her in person after your review!

  10. Oh man...those shoes! :) I love the idea of Gooliope being a giant and that is what makes her unique and desirable to me. I agree about hoping they don't make too many more of this size as I feel like that would take the "magic" away from her, in a sense. I'd rather they just mimic that articulation on the 11 inchers
    Loved the gummy worm pet. :)

  11. Would 23inch lollipop Girl clothes fit gooliope? I was reading Neenas review and Neena is quite skinny so maybe you should try then on?

    1. I don't think Lolliopop clothes would work; not only are those dolls skinny but their proportions are no where near like Gooliope's. They're pretty up and down straight, I think.

  12. I love this review and can't wait to get mine very soon. I ordered mine from cause Mattel Switzerland told me that the new lines will be out here in november and Gooliope will cost around 70 Dollar (!).

    I also heard that they will reproduce basic Frankie, Draculaura and Clawdeen as 17" versions (why no Ghoulia or Venus? :()

    And Madeline from "Ever aftee High" will also be available as 17" version.

    Thanks for your review, amazing as always....oh and have a look at the new "Disney Descendants" doll.
    Mal looks very cute :)

    1. OMG, Madeline Hatter in the 17" size, I will go insane!! She's my favorite, thanks for telling us that!

      In fact, one of my new fashions for Gooliope would look Great on Maddy!!

  13. I think I heard that MH Marisol Coxi's shoes are close to the right size for Gooliope. It'd be interesting to know if that's true. How sad that Barbie's clothing won't fit without some serious alterations, though!

    1. I have Gooliope and one of the big sister MH dolls, I can tell you Gooly Ghoul's shoes are WAY bigger than Marisol's or Nefera's!

    2. Whoa, she really IS a big one, then! O.O!

  14. Wait, so she's a giant AND a calliope organ AND some kind of circus tent AND a jelly monster? And possibly radioactive to boot? That's pretty confusing, but on the other hand I love seeing what they come up with now that they've done all the classic monsters. Awesome headpiece, awesome shoes (although to me the horses look like they got splattered with mud!). Awesome package design too - I had forgotten how much the box style has changed! The dots and swirls above her eyes makes me think of mechanical parts, springs and stuff. I think the fluffy hair fiber is kanekalon?

    It's funny, just the other day I was talking to someone about how I'm less likely to find small dolls creepy than larger ones. I think there's definitely a market for Gooliope, but I'm curious to see how large it is and whether there will be more 17'' monsters. MH already had pretty good articulation, and I'm glad Mattel choose to keep improving on it, but most of all I'm hoping it means the future regular-sized monsters will get an upgrade as well.

  15. She's amazing.
    Her size and articulation remind me of the big Moxie Teenz dolls. Maybe their clothes would fit? (They had some great clothes.)

    1. I think that is a great possibility. I have a Moxie Teenz, will have to try to compare and see. Thanks for the suggestion!

  16. Gooliope is gorgeous!!! I actually think her hair is very charming, and I'm a little glad that it breaks away from the goo theme, because that just gets me thinking about the sticky glue hair and... yuck.
    I agree that it's hard to wrap your mind around how big she is just from pictures, even seeing her with the other monsters and your American Girl doll I have a hard time picturing her size.
    I don't actually own a Monster High doll, but I've been debating getting one to make clothes for them to sell, however Gooliope seems to have captured my interests. (Great joints? Huge size? Pretty makeup and hair? Gah!) Out of curiosity, Who is one of your favorite "basic sized" dolls? Again, I'd like to get one that is the same size as the majority of dolls so that any clothing I sold made to fit her would be the size the majority of people are looking for.
    I really do love Gooliope's shoes too! The carousel horses are adorable. Also I think her earrings are meant to be Film rolls for some reason. I guess Circuses play movies too? Or maybe they film some of their acts?
    I love that you added Moby as her pet. He seems to be very comfortable in her hands. (Until he disappeared... DID YOU EAT MOBY?)
    Great review as always. :) Love, Muzzy

    1. Do get a MH for fitting clothes! Sewing clothes for them is super fun and requires very little fabric :) I recommend Cleo, she has no monster traits whatsoever, down to her skin colour. OR you could get a doll with a tail (any of the cats, Jinafire) or wings (Rochelle) to make clothes that accommodate these features. All of these are on the standard body.

  17. I was on the fence about the large dolls but after this review I think I'll keep an eye out for the basics. The most frustrating thing for me about this format is the wardrobe. They can only share each other's clothes and sewing for them would require more material and work. I wonder if they can share shoes with Marisol Coxi though.

    Lastly, a little hair tip from me: to keep the wet look, comb fabric conditioner into the moist hair. Finger-style it into large chunks or leave it combed for thin, wiry strands. You can do this for the bottom half only to keep the plugs hidden. I do this for all my fringes and bobs and they look as neat as if they were gelled :)

  18. Anyone else find that the hair and skin combination reminds them of Monster High's Gigi Grant?

    1. I can see that. Honestly, when I got her I was mostly surprised at how shocking PINK her skin is!! She is a seriously pink doll, and I agree with Emily that I look forward to seeing a more "regular color" ghoul in this size.

  19. Her peanut-styled joints, large size, spindly appendages, and big eyes make me think of Evangeline Ghastly! They probably couldn't share clothes because of EG's bust size, though...

    1. That's what I thought of, too! They're even similar heights-- Evangeline is 19" to Gooliope's 17".
      @Emily, if you still have your Evangeline, would you be willing to take one last comparison shot of her and Gooliope having a pose-off? :) I'm curious to see how they compare.

      Overall, I'm not a huge fan of her super-pinkness, but all of those joints are really intriguing! Thank you to Emily for the great review!

      --Kate :)

  20. EMILY!! So glad you got her and love her! I do, too, and I really love sewing for her, too! If anyone wants some new fashions for their GJ ghoul, I'll be sewing for them :-)

  21. Also, as always, your reviews are superb, and I always always check your page for what's new. Thank you so much for giving these to us in the doll community!!

  22. I prefer Blob Girl than Gooliope, her molded soft vinyl wig is gorgeous, but wished she's paler and has nude makeup. Gooliope looked a bit like a BJD with her joints and size, now those are creepy dolls(glassy eyes freaks me out).

  23. Super review! I love the comparisons you show us. Her hair is much better after you have restyled it. you also know how to photo the dolls to show how lovely they really are and everything they are capable of doing. It's too bad her head is so head is so heavy.

  24. Monster High is planning to release more centaur dolls called "Frightmares" There are 4 of them, "Bay Tidechaser, Aery Evenfall, Pyxis Prepstocking, and Frets Quatzmane."

  25. Hold her! Please take a photo of her while you are holding her. I think that's what missing in reviews of Gooliope. Like you said, it's difficult to capture how enormous she is because her body shape is just a regular MH's body. Even when she stands with other dolls, I just think the other dolls are very tiny and she's regular sized.

    And when she came out, I had a hard time pronouncing her name. I was like, why does her name sound similar to Ghoulia?! It was only in the Freak Du Chic webisode that I heard the correct pronunciation, haha. Her name reminds me of Goliath.

  26. My favorite has always been the original Ghoulia Yelps. I'd love to have a 17 inch version of that Ghoulia. It's interesting that you compared Gooliope to Tonner's deja vu Penelope....I own a couple of his dolls, but I've often had the sense of an insect like quality to the eyes of his dolls like his Betsy McCall, Patsy or the earlier Engelbreit dolls he did. If a 17 inch is produced with a color palette that appeals to me I will definitely bring a 17 inch home. Your mention of the creep factor has made me even more curious about them.

  27. Awesome, in depth review. I just got Gooliope last week (my husband helped me pronounce her name correctly, haha), and I just love her. Last night I just got her hair in curlers after boil washing it, and I plan to make some new, more interesting clothes for her. That's where the fun lies for me with these larger dolls, making clothing for them. I'm hoping they make an Abbey, Operetta, or Spectra, as those three are my personal favorites =)

  28. Incredible review! As close as one can get without buying her! Made me want her a little bit. Let's see, what can I pretend to need from wal-mart?...

  29. Great review. I'm not a Monster High fan, but I can certainly appreciate her mobility. As for switching clothes, I think I would try some Barbie tops, especially longer ones, with skirts from the 16" fashion dolls.

  30. I have found that my Gooliope can fit in Barbie shirts (the kind that open all the way in the back), and Ken pants (just barely), if you're okay with crop tops and capris, that is. It's a bit hard to mix and match that way, but at least there are SOME options, if you want them :)

  31. The design isn't amazing, It's basically a mash up of all the various characters of Monster high.
    But this was just revealed today.

  32. Hi! Loved the review! I just wanted to throw this out there, I think her earrings are wagon wheels as if from old circus caravan wagons? It'd be in keeping with her theme. Her diary really makes me think that Robecca Steam made her in a laboratory. The initials fit R.S. and after all Robecca's dad was a mad scientist that created his daughter in a lab so maybe? Also the gummy worm pet was perfect! :)

  33. I think you did a great job on this review and did cover things I was concerned about while watching a less informative review. This is a brand new Ever After High doll I found on Amazon.

    1. P.S. I loved the gummy worm. I think it was soooo adorable!

  34. Some Barbie and Sparkle Girls clothes will work on Goo. Tops fit her good width wise so it's just a matter of length. Also longer dresses work as long as they are loose past the waist tho you nay need to expand the opening and they do tend to look a little high waisted.

  35. Excellent blog, love all the pics and honest reviews. As a fan of old classic monster movies I think that graphic on the back is a nod to "Attack Of The 50 Ft. Woman"

  36. Finally, after waiting for so long, today I went into a store that had her for 25€ instead of almost 40€!! I didn't hesitate one bit this time, it was my last train for sure.
    But in fact, you're the one who convinced me to get her. I wanted her from the moment I saw her box in a store, but was too expensive for me. Now, I have her, and you were right: photos can't tell how HUGE she is!

    She's amazing. Thanks for the review, amazing as always.

  37. I enjoy Gooliope really more for the novelty than anything, but she's pretty nice.I knew I had to wash out her hair, but the first time, it stayed all coarse and rough in texture. I tried again with warm water another time, and her hair came out much softer and actually seemed to regain some of its curls. Huh.
    Gooliope's getting another doll in the piratey Shriek Wrecked line, which really surprised me.

  38. Gooliope is totally amazing-just like this review. She was released & I had to have her-no doubt-I love her pink skin & hair-she is perfect & fun. In total agreement with her Awesome heels-to die for!

  39. Hello! I realize this post is three years old, but was hoping you might have gotten one of the 17 inch Dreamtopia Barbies to compare the two. I will have a look at your other posts to see if you might have done so already. I might just go out and buy one of these large beauties because I do like the poseability of her.