/// 25 July 2009 ///

D7ana at A Philly Collector posted about some new So In Style® dolls that tie into the Rocawear clothing line. It's old news, but I missed it...

It isn't clear from the original post at JimmyJazz.com whether these dolls are actually going to be available for sale (my guess is they will) or if they're just for promotion. It also doesn't indicate where they would be available if they were for sale. (Since they're a tie-in to a clothing line, they might have limited availability.)

The person who wrote the JimmyJazz blog probably isn't a collector, and they didn't get any of the information collector-types want to know. That leaves us with mysteries.... (Which is more fun anyway.)

First, there are four female dolls rather than three. Presumably the one with curly hair is Trichelle®, the light-brunette is Kara®, and doll with bangs is Grace®. The fourth doll (the one with black hair and a darker skintone) doesn't look like any of the existing characters, so she could possibly be a new one. (I hope that's the darker brown skintone they stopped using around the time the playline dolls' heads were enlarged in 2005... )

Also, the doll I think is Grace has last year's articulated arms with joined wrists, rather than the standard tragically clunky SIS arms the other dolls use. I didn't get a chance to bemoan this aspect of the SIS line yet, but check out the way they're holding their purses... This doesn't necessarily mean she'll be produced with those arms, though. (It wouldn't be the first time a switch-a-roo like that has happened.)

And, of course, there's also a male doll.

And now, the complaining part!

It's discouraging to see the face-recycling theme continuing in this line - the mystery female doll once again uses the 2001 "Mbili®" head, just like the other three girls. (Seriously? Seriously? )

The male doll doesn't rock the boat either - he has the same modified-for-the-900th-time 1991 Jamal® head that's currently in its 12th year of being being used for Barbie's friend Steven® (and which was originally created for the male character in the Shani® line all the way back in 1991 - oh, the irony ).

Don't get me wrong - the Jamal head is one of my all-time favorites. (One of my three perpetual finger-crossing wishes is that Steven won't get a new head for a long time ). However - unless this guy is Steven (I hope not...), it would have been nice to see a new black male head sculpt - or, if not a new one, why not Tré®'s head from the Flavas® line? (It can look a lot better than it did on most of the Tré dolls... )

The lack of diversity in hair textures unfortunately also continues. Trichelle retains her (lightly-)curly hair, but Grace, Kara, and the new fourth female all sport "silky", straight hair. Come on.

BTW, I want to write some more stuff about the initial So In Style assortment, but I was waiting to see the dolls in person first and they still haven't shown up where I live. (I've been stalking Target to no avail.)

Completely Off-Topic: I noticed another story on JimmyJazz.com about Jay-Z's new song, "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)". Auto-Tune is the digital music software plugin responsible for the "Cher effect" - that sinus-clearing vocal effect used on her 1998 song "Believe", which was beaten into the ground in the early 2000's, mercifully put to rest for a while, then revived and beaten even further into the ground by r&b and hip-hop producers over the last few years. (It's less-famously used to correct pitch errors in musical recordings, often to make it sound like people who can't sing very well can. )

I don't think the "Cher effect" is the musical disease people make it out to be (it can be very effective), but I totally understand where Jay-Z's coming from (I think): People shouldn't rely on the same production techniques over and over and over. It gets boring and repetitive. Along the same line, I'm hoping in the near future someone will release a song called "Death of Building-an-Entire-Song-Over-an-Infinite-Loop-of-the-Same-4-Bar-Sample", a technique that's over-used much more than the "Cher effect" and which Jay-Z is especially guilty of relying on well-known for using.

(I told you it was off-topic.)

Doll Diary 25 July 2009