Muppet Labs Playset (2002)
Figure & Set:

Produced by Palisades


Asking Price: US$24.99

My Advice: Own It.

Giant emu chick not included It's no secret. The loonies here at the Institute are huge fans of the Muppets. And we'll take just about anything Muppet-related. However, it's when you get into the high quality stuff that we get really excited and start muttering around like...well, Beaker, really.

Enter this playset from Palisades. First up, you get the Beaker action figure. And let's face it: no Muppet collection is complete without him. And the figure is so cool, it's almost worth the price of admission all on its own. First up, it's a great sculpt. But because it's so good, at initial glance, it looks like you might get maybe five points of articulation if you're lucky. Guess what, you're better than lucky. Howzabout ten? Neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, and ankles. Just when I thought I was dealing with a slightly poseable statue, I kept finding more points to pose with. Not only that, but the lab coat is made from a soft plastic at the bottom, which means it can flap a teensy amount...and the plaid stylish pants go all the way up, as far as I can see. Very impressive. What's nuts is that there was only one point of articulation that might have made the figure better than perfect--the eyes. His line of sight is tilted slightly upwards, whereas my sadistic self wants to have harm coming from all directions. But that's a nit, so we're going to pretend I didn't bring it up. If you haven't figured it out, this is a choice Beaker figure.

Bonus: we haven't even gotten to the actual playset yet. The labs are specially designed for the hapless lab assistant to get into all kinds of trouble. The pressure chamber that is up center stage is perfect for sticking Beaker in. The experiment table comes with adjustable soft plastic straps and a helmet that can fit just snugly enough on the figure's head to stay put. The table's loose, so it can go wherever you like in relation to the rest of the goodies. You also have working levers wherever there are some to work. So the labs about as functional as you can get. Very nicely done.

You also get a gorilla detector with the playset, which is nice in case you just sprayed for gorillas and want to see how well your gorilla repellant is working.

For those concerned with packaging, there's nothing too traumatic to have to deal with--just the general array of plastics and ties. Those collectors who are anal about keeping their packaging in one piece will probably need to spend a lot more time carving the playset out than I did, but hey, that's what they get for being such sticklers. Suffer.

As trumpeted throughout, this is a brillantly designed and sculpted set, with a great eye for detail. If you need something to snag for a muppet enthusiast on your list, then this should be selection number one. Or treat yourself to it. It's worth it.

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