|Desperate Housewife on the Verge of a Doll Collecting Breakdown|
Late on Sunday nightsâafter the kids are sound asleep and the hubby has retreated to the bedroom to read Popular Science magazineâI settle down on the couch with my loyal cat, Annie, and my trusted remote control in hand. I DVR âDesperate Housewivesâ faithfully, and I love being able to sit and unwind for 45 minutes as I watch all the over-the-top goings-on, gloriously commercial free! Usually, itâs a source of amusement and occasional nail-biting cliffhangers. This week, it was an affront for all collectors who have ever held a doll in their arms!
In case youâve never watched the primetime soap (though the producers claim itâs a parody of a soap), it centers on the loves and losses of four central housewives, and then a visiting neighborhood minx or a villain pops into the picture for a year or two as well.
The main quartet of sensational-looking hausfraus are Susan (Teri Hatcher), Lynette (Felicity Huffman), Bree (Marcia Cross), and Gaby (Eva Longoria). Over timeâthe show has been running for seven seasons nowâGaby has become my favorite character. She has a mammoth ego, and no moral compass whatsoever. She is materialistic, jealous, petty, hypocritical, and calculating. Youâd never want her as a pal in real life, but on TV she is a welcome shot of pure, uncalculated energy and entertainment.
However, the petite spitfire (it always makes me chuckle that she is supposed to be a former runway model, when the fashion industry considers 5â 8â to be the minimum height allowable) has had a bad run of luck lately. Having discovered that the baby she birthed seven years ago was switched at the hospital and sheâs been raising another womanâs child, Gaby has become understandably perturbed.
Being on a television series not known for its restraint, sheâs allowed this discovery to turn her into a completely loopy nutcase. Evidence that sheâs become more unhinged than a farmhouseâs screen door flapping in a Kansas twister? Well, sheâs tracked down who her birth daughter is, learned that the girl, now called Grace, is being raised by illegal immigrants, and plotted to have them picked up by immigration so she could be reunited with her ârealâ child! Of course, she sees the errors of her way at the last possible minute, and masterminds the escape of Grace and her parents. They are now fugitives from the federal government. (Thanks a lot, Gaby!)
Left with a hole in her heart, and ignoring the two daughters she has at home, Gaby is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And this is where the producers show their misunderstanding of the doll experience. Gaby, in a truly desperate move to hang on to the biological daughter she canât have, buys . . . a . . . doll!
Back in the 1960s, when spoiled former fashion models got a case of the blues or the red meanies (like Audrey Hepburn in âBreakfast at Tiffanyâsâ), theyâd reach for a handful of prescription pick-me-uppers. Famously nicknamed âdollsâ by Jackie Susann in her scandalous novel, âValley of the Dolls,â the barbiturates and painkillers were a necessity for getting to bed and for getting up in the morning.
In the brave new world of 2011, the âdollâ that is comforting the growing-ever-more-screwy Gaby is a real doll. When her frienemy Bree (none of these women are purely friends or enemies) discovers Gabyâs secret surrogate, she is horrified. Mind you, these are women who have cheated on their husbands, committed manslaughter, been facedown in the gutter drunk, covered up crimes, and have formed lynch mobs, BUT the notion of a woman with a dull is beyond the pale to them! That made me roar with laughter, and then it made me roar with anger.
The mature doll collector has been given a bad rap in popular culture. Itâs one of the last bastions of unadulterated bigotry. Way back in âMurphy Brown,â the kookiness of Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) was further driven home by having Corky shown as a collector of Madame Alexanderâs First Lady dolls. (âPat Nixon is my favorite,â she candidly opined.) On âWill & Grace,â the politically correct roomies decide to become friendlier toward other residents in their high-rise. They meet someone who seems fairly decent, until they discover heâs a doll and bear collectorâa double whammy. Same with âSex and the City,â when Carrieâs hapless gay pal, Stanford, finds a potential lover. However, he has to bid a hasty adieu when the prospective paramour is revealed to be a Madame Alexander fanatic.
Oh, itâs been a hard road for us adult collectors. Weâve been portrayed as psychos, sociopaths, misfits, and emotionally damaged goods. In my humble opinion, one of the most touching moments this entire year on âDesperate Housewivesâ was the exchange between Miss Charlotte, the owner of the shop where the doll was purchased, and Gaby. Gaby has returned with the doll to the âAcademyââthatâs what the store is calledâbecause the poor plaything was mauled by her daughters, who beat it up pretty bad with rough horseplay. She confesses that she wants the doll for herself, and is there something wrong with her?
Miss Charlotte shows Gaby her own personal talismanâan antique doll found in France. She calls this doll âMrs. Humphriesâ and explains how the doll has a fascinating backstory. Mrs. Humphries has been Miss Charlotteâs companion for decades, and they both opened their businesses at the same time, and they both lost their sisters at the same time.
Gaby is confused, and asks tentatively, âDid the doll tell you that?â And then Miss Charlotte speaks pure pearls of wisdom. Iâll paraphrase as best I can here: âDolls canât talk, Gaby, but they tell their stories to you nevertheless. Dolls are great friends, because they donât change, and they never leave you. What is your dollâs story, Gaby?â
And as the camera pans back to Wisteria Lane, and we see Gaby returning to her oversize home and oversize life, stepping out of her car with an oversize box, her voiceover tells us: âMy doll is named Princess Valerie. And she was born a princess. But she didnât always know she was one. She was switched at birth. And now she has returned to the castle, and her mommy is never going to let her go away again. She will remain a princess forever now.â
As that last line is delivered, we see Gaby hiding the doll in the box in her closet, on a high shelf away from prying little girl hands, and she shuts off the closetâs light.
How sad that Gaby canât display her dollâthat she canât give it a place of honor on her dresser or on her bed. If that would seem too presumptuous, then why not let it sit on a rocker in her changing room, or perch upon a shelf in the family room. Itâs awful that Gabyâs inappropriate obsession with her firstborn has been transferred to this secreting away of a doll likeness.
It makes all of us doll collectors seem just one Skipper and Skooter away from commitment. Iâve watched the ladies of Wisteria Lane behave very unladylike. Iâve watched them beg, borrow, and stealâbefore the credits have even rolled. I never thought the one unmentionable and tucked-away action would be doll collecting!
What do you think? Iâd love to hear your take on the forbidden nature of being an adult collector in the mind-set of the media!
Gaby has committed lots of questionable acts on âDesperate Housewife,â but none are as secretive as her love of âPrincess Valerie,â her brand-new doll. [Middle]
Bearing an uncanny likeness to a daughter she canât raise, âPrincess Valerieâ marks Gabyâs fall from grace. Is this the nutty action that will get her tossed off Wisteria Lane? [Bottom]
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The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industryâs Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.
Without further ado, here are the winners of this year's Industry's Choice Diamond Awards!
The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2010 Helen Kish
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
2015 Kaye Wiggs
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You havenât seen a toy show until youâve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and childrenâs playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 â 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.