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Muppet Newsman

The Muppet Show
by yo go re

This is a Muppet News Flash: Before Jon Stewart or Fox News, there was only one fake newsman on TV - the Muppets' own bespectacled plaid pontificator, the otherwise-unnamed Muppet Newsman.

This is a Muppet News Flash! His lot in life was simple: interrupt The Muppet Show with some breaking news, then have bad things befall him. Whether blindsided by a wrecking ball or just buried in falling props, the poor Muppet Newsman always experienced the worst of the news.

Like Lew Zealand or Crazy Harry, the Muppet Newsman falls under the "human" category: he may not look much like a man, but then, neither does Bill O'Reilly. As such, he's 5 1/2" tall, just a little bigger than the felt fish-hurler, and he moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips and knees.

It's good to finally see the Newsman's legs, since he was previously stranded behind a desk in every appearance - he's got a surprisingly cocky stance, not the staid pose of many of the other Muppets. I guess he feels confident behind that big hunk of wood paneling. The legs, never seen before now, are wrapped in tanish-grey trousers, cuffed smartly above the black and white wingtips.

It's been said that the only difference between the '70s and the '90s was the choice of colors used for their respective plaids. The Newsman's blazer is a beautiful disaster of brown, white and red that perfectly suits the typical notion of an outdated newscaster (or a used car salesman). The paint apps are mainly crisp and clear, though there are a few spots of blurry or skipped paint. So far, there's no sign of the paint wearing off on the joints, which is good to see.

Rather than simply being a sculpted element, that terrible, terrible jacket is a separate molded piece that floats above Newsie's white dress shirt. It gives him a nice, realistic layered look.

President Bush is good! The Muppet Newsman has typical "TV news" looks: big huge chin, distinctive nose and a generally paternal look. His "skin" is yellow, and his sharply parted hair is brown. The glasses he wears hide the big bags under his squinty eyes. Befitting a television pundit, his mouth is open. Always open. The glasses are held snugly in place by the flow of the Newsman's hair, without any pegs poking into his head. Clever!

The tax cut is working! No newsman would be complete without his newsroom, so this figure comes with a three-piece set. First is his desk: 3 3/4" wide, 2 3/4" tall and 1 1/2" deep, the desk is paneled and sculpted with wood grain and has several paint apps. It's tall enough to hide the Newsman's legs, and he looks great behind its dark grey surface. To take up a little space on that desk is a Muppet-scaled red phone; lift the receiver and the coiled cord stretches just like it should. Pretty damn impressive little accessory.

To complete your little reporter's mise-en-scene, he comes with a sweet backdrop. 4 1/2" wide and 6 1/2" tall, the backdrop looks just as good as the desk. It's got everything from a chair rail to television screens. Okay, it's only got a chair rail and television screens, but it still looks beautiful. The screens are blank, but eight stickers depicting various Muppety happenings are included in the package. Still, eight stickers and four screens? That's just evil, guys. Evil! It would be cool if you could turn the wall around and use the rest of the stickers on the other side or something.

Palisades is a company on the grow. With every line of their Muppets figures, the quality improves beyond what fans ever expected. We loved Series 1, adored Series 2 and were floored by Series 3. Every single time out of the gate, despite all we know about them, Palisades still manages to surprise their fans. The figures' pricetag may seem a bit high, but when you look at the attention to detail that goes into every aspect of toys like the Muppet Newsman, you'll know the figure is worth it.


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