There’s got to be a way that The Vintage Collection collecting community can get into Hasbro’s good graces that it inspires them to produce the best action figure line possible. As you all know well, it’s been a torturous uphill battle, and it often feels like they bother with us because they “have” to, not because they “want” to. I recently came across a clip of the season 1 finale of 2000’s Malcolm in the Middle television show (some of the greatest TV ever produced by the way), and I thought it was the perfect metaphor of the relationship between The Vintage Collection, The Vintage Collection collecting community, and Hasbro. And what metaphor would be complete without injecting Bea Arthur, ABBA, and buttons? Click through if you dare.
We’ll get to the four-minute clip in a couple of moments, but let me first distill what’s taking place in what you’ll soon watch.
Dewey, the young blonde-haired boy, has to stay home from a water park vacation, while the rest of his family attends, because of chronic ear infections. Desperate to find a babysitter, since the family’s badly-behaved sons scared off all former caregivers, a previously utilized agency found Mrs. White, played by the indomitable Bea Arthur, to watch Dewey while the family vacations at the water park and he stays behind.
In this metaphor, the TVC collecting community is Dewey. And Hasbro is Mrs. White.
After Dewey’s family leaves, Dewey attempts to converse with Mrs. White without success. They sit on the couch silent and without any interaction. With palpable feelings of awkwardness and discomfort, Dewey asks Mrs. White if he can play, if he can watch television, or if he can play video games. Mrs. White responds negatively to all of Dewey’s requests. Frustrated, Dewey asks what he can do, and Mrs. White says, “something quiet.” Desperate to do something, Dewey begins softly rolling a car bad and forth on the coffee table, to which Mrs. White immediately verbally disciplines with “quieter.” There is nothing Dewey can do to get Mrs. White’s approval. Yet he is still willing to try.
In other words, we’re never going to gain Hasbro’s “approval,” and they’ll never “meet our expectations” because they treat the line like a grumpy babysitter annoyed they have to entertain the “babies.” But we still don’t give up on them. And they probably take advantage of the fact we still hang around no matter how we’re treated. Doesn’t this feel so much like the relationship TVC collectors have with Hasbro (and also retail, for that matter)? We want to engage Hasbro. We want them to be in our pocket and our best interests for The Vintage Collection. We want to “play” with Hasbro in The Vintage Collection game. But we’re consistently told “no,” both directly and indirectly. Yet Hasbro keeps the line over our heads, hoards the license, and does very little with it. We consistently have to sit quietly, waiting for Hasbro to do the next thing for us.
Then something happens.
Out of sheer boredom, Mrs. White begins to organize her button collection.
Dewey is sitting beside her, and Mrs. White notices Dewey has something in his mouth. After Aggravated by his actions, she demands why he is eating one of her buttons, and he replies that he wasn’t eating it but “saving” it because it was his favorite. With hundreds of loose buttons on the table, Mrs. White is shocked to learn that Dewey’s favorite button is her favorite button. She then tests him on another button, whether it was beautiful or ugly. He provides the correct answer to her and a genuine and loving relationship blossoms. Mrs. White went from “Ice Queen” to “loving nanny” via button and finds out she has more in common with Dewey than first realized.
They soon enjoy cookies, dancing, and ABBA together…. until something unexpected happens. Now is a good time to watch this four-minute clip. It’s worth your time. (More to follow after watching the video….)
After Dewey and Mrs. White find common ground, their relationship changes for the better. And aside from an emergency, it probably would have grown further. Isn’t this a testament to the relationship Hasbro could have with The Vintage Collection community? How does The Vintage Collection collecting community find Hasbro’s favorite button, which forces them to foster a healthy relationship with collectors and the line? What can be done to get The Vintage Collection on track and a major focus for Hasbro? When will we see characters like realistically-styled Asajj Ventress, The Bad Batch, and countless other 6” characters not yet realized in super-articulated 3.75” scale? We could go on, and on, and on (that’s another ABBA reference).
Hasbro, please let’s find that missing common ground before your license “ends up in the ambulance,” and leaves the Star Wars 3.75” collecting community all alone.
We shouldn’t be pushing each other’s buttons. We should be admiring them.
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