Bowl-a-Rama with Pin Pal Apu
Posted 05/11/01
Overall score - *
** out of ****

(originally posted at the Comic Book Galaxy)

Simpsons are the hot line right now, and this month there's been an influx of great stuff from Playmates.  First there was the wave 4 figures, then the Android's Dungeon playset, and now the Bowl-a-Rama playset with the special Pin Pal Apu figure.

The Bowl-a-rama ships with the Android's Dungeon, two each to a case.  I didn't find mine though at the same time, and I suspect that both of these playsets are going to be quite a bit more popular than some of the previous ones.  The Android's Dungeon will have huge cross over appeal with the comic book folks, and the Bowl-a-rama works perfectly with the Pin Pal Homer and soon to be released Pin Pal Burns from Toyfare.

Packaging - ***
Same as always.  I'm hoping we see a packaging change for 2002.  I have nothing against the current boxes and cards, but change is good for everyone.

Sculpt - ***1/2
It's Apu!  If you have the Kwik-E-Mart, you've seen this head sculpt.  I find it really odd that the only way to get an Apu figure so far is with a playset.  Fortunately, both playsets he accompanies are great.

There is one problem with this figure's sculpt however.  He is the first I have real problems with standing!  While some of the figures have been a bit top heavy, Apu's legs are set in such a way that he doesn't stand well at all unless he's on the base.

Paint - ***
The paint work is decent, although the pants and shirt aren't perfect.  There's some unevenness and overspray, although it's not terrible.

The sticker looks good, but I would prefer it painted on of course.  I know that's asking a lot, but I'm still asking.

Accessories - **
No too big of a surprise - we end up with a bowling ball and bowling bag, just like Pin Pal Homer.  Bigger surprise - we don't get anything else.  With only two accessories, this playset rivals the Android's Dungeon for least number of extras.  It does have some terrific detail on the playset, but that doesn't make up for the lack of items.

Playset - ***1/2
The playset itself is well done with some nice touches.  The scores on the game show Apu in the lead, with poor Mr. Burns only having a 2.  The colorful wall stickers look great, and the ball return can hold everyone's bowling ball.  The only complaint would be that the three base pegs are awfully close together.  I think it's going to look extremely crowded once Burns joins the set.

The lines are great though - now we get to hear the extra stuff that Homer has to say.  Some of his lines include "If horse racing is the sport of kings then surely bowling is, uh, a very good sport as well", "Ah, c'mon.  If we quit now, we'll never know how badly they're going to beat us", "Woo hoo!  We won!  We won!", "I'm ten pins away from perfection!", and "oh, I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler.  I wanna be a league bowler!".

Apu also has plenty of classic lines, including "At last, I finally have a garment fine enough to be married in", "Oh forget this.  I am far too fragile to withstand an evening of barbs like that", "The Holy Rollers are ahead by one pin and we only have one bowler left...Mr. Burns", "Make this spare - I give you free Gelato!", "They begged me to join their team - begged me!".

Even Lenny now has a decent home, at least until Mr. Burns shows up.  He says a few things, like "Wow - a strike!", "Hey Homer, that's four strikes in a row.  You have a perfect game going.", and "Hey, spare me your gutter mouth."

Articulation - **1/2
Five points - neck, shoulders, waist - same as always.

Value - ***
At twenty bucks, these are a great value.  I think the playsets are what make this line truly stand out, and I suspect that twenty years from now folks will wish they had them all.

Overall - ***
Another great playset.  I hope to see this line continue on past 2002 with more waves of great figures and excellent playsets.  Since they expanded Homer and Apu's vocabulary on this set, I have high hopes for the Church set as well where we should get new lines for the Sunday Best bunch.

Where to get them:
In the real world, these are showing up at Targets and Meijers right now.  They also have them at the Sam Goody owned stores (Sam Goody/Media Play/Suncoast), but they are $27 there.  Don't spend the extra $7 unless you really can't help yourself.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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