Tuxedo Gonzo and Bernice


One thing there's no shortage of is Gonzo figures in the Palisade's Muppets line.  There's the original version, who actually has three variations - the Electronics Boutique exclusive, the PBM Express store exclusive, and the general European version that has a stronger cannon.  (I'm assuming you don't count the goofy Wizard World limited edition version in the lunchbox).

Then there's the next regular release Gonzo wearing a suit, and coming with his favorite chick, Camilla.  He's been repainted since then, in a gold tux for Toy Fair, and even blown up mega size.

Why stop a good thing?  Palisades resculpted the torso, and resculpted Camilla's head, to develop the Wizard World East exclusive set of Tuxedo Gonzo and Bernice.  He sold at the show for $15 each.  The tux version of Gonzo goes nicely with the other tux versions in the Muppets series, and he's even been repainted now in a blue version for the Maryland Small Business 2004 event.

If you missed WWE, there's a couple alternatives short of paying ebay prices.  I have a couple listed at the end of the review.

Packaging - ****
I like these boxes as much as I like clamshells.  Actually, I like these better.  They have all the qualities of the clamshells, but are even easier to store and display.

Sculpting - ****
The original tux was pretty cool - now we get tails! The only aspect of Gonzo that's changed is his torso, where the buttoned up tux has been replaced with a more traditional tails style jacket, vest and shirt sculpt. It's fitted perfectly for prom or wedding - clearly not a rental!

Gonzo's expression was great the first time around, and it's still great. The soft hair, the wide eyed innocence, it's all on target.

Bernice is 90% Camilla sculpt, but there have been changes, and all are improvements. The waddle has more detail, and the comb has a little tilt to it, giving it a much more realistic and less toy-like appearance.

Originally this figure was referred to as "steppin' out" Gonzo, similar to the Steppin' Out Bunsen and Beaker. Of course, in their case, the term stepping out referred to going out on the town, dressed to the nines. But I always assumed that since Camilla was Gonzo's main squeeze, and this time around he was with Bernice, that "steppin' out" referred to a lack of fidelity...perhaps he requested a name change to keep his chicks from finding out!

Therefore the changes in Camilla's sculpt (and paint, mentioned below) are very welcome. They could have simply gone with Camilla again and called her Bernice, but then what would be the point of steppin' out?

Both figures also stand great on their own, although you might need to mess around a tad with Bernice's legs to get her in just the right position. There are about a million possible jokes that you could insert here, but I'll let you fill in your own.

Paint - ***1/2
The perfect look for Gonzo's nose is a matter of extreme debate. You'd think that wouldn't be so, but it's far trickier to get right than you'd imagine, and everyone seems to take it very seriously.

This time around, Palisades skipped any sort of shading, variation or just plain messing around with it, and went with a straight color. I think it looks fine, but I'm not a Gonzo purist.

All the important detail work is clean, and there's one major improvement for Bernice. Camilla had HUGE pupils. Perhaps that's an attractive feature in chickens, I don't know. But Bernice has much more reasonably sized pupils, free of any sort of cosmetic enhancements. I like this quite a bit better, but I'm not sure what Gonzo prefers.

Articulation - ****
Are there other figures out there more articulated? Sure, but I can't come up with a way that THESE could be more articulated due to the style of the license.

Gonzo has neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, elbows, wrists, hips and knees. I suppose you could do something about the ankles, but I'm not sure how useful that would be.

Bernice has neck, and each leg at the body. One of the nice features of the Muppets line is that 90% of the articulation is very useful, and yet it's also very well hidden and flows with the design and sculpt.

Accessories - ****
Is Bernice an accessory or a second figure? How you judge that effects this score. I'm considering her an accessory, just like Camilla. She's the 'trophy chicken'.

Obviously, she's done very well, and is an improvement over Camilla from my perspective. There are two more accessories as well, just in case that's not enough for you.

One of those is a record, a collection of Gonzo's love songs, that includes both the vinyl and the album cover. This is a re-use of course, from the Johnny Fiama figure(s). It's been printed with a more appropriate album cover, but it's the same accessory otherwise. The record fits a tad tight, but it looks good and makes sense.

The second is an old tire, with a big bite mark. I'm pretty sure this came from a specific episode in which Gonzo was eating a tire...

All the accessories sport the usual great sculpting and paint ops that we've gotten used to with this line.

Fun Factor - ***
Do your kids like the Muppets? Then they'll love Gonzo. He's one of those lovable Muppets that appeal to kids of all ages, and who can pass up a chicken? While the Mega Camilla wasn't something many kids were going to play with, this pair will be a lot of fun.

Value - **1/2
As a show exclusive, these are $15. That's not surprising, and is pretty much the norm for exclusives - especially show exclusives - across the industry. While you won't be happy as Scrooge McDuck finding a penny on the sidewalk, you won't feel ripped either.

Overall - ***
As an exclusive, Tux Gonzo falls into that middle ground for me. He's not as weak as the Ghost of Sam Arrow, but he's certainly no Adventure Kermit. The collector who picks up figures here and there can skip him without losing sleep, but the big Gonzo fans don't want to miss out on another cool version. Also, this Tux fits in better with the rest of the Tuxedo line (Beaker, Kermit, Rowlf, Bunsen, and others to come) than the previous tux did.

Where to Buy - 
Your big chance was at the Wizard World Philly show.  However, don't despair - there's some on-line options:

- Killer Toys has him in stock for $17.95 each.

- members of the Palisades Collector's Club can pick him up for $15 each, and they will have all the other show exclusives available there as well.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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