Simpsons Movie
Itchy and Scratchy - Homer and the pig

I'm really looking forward to the Simpsons movie this weekend, so much so that I'm taking time out from partying at SDCC to go see it. I have high hopes...which is always trouble. But hope springs eternal, and I have faith in Matt if nothing else.

Mcfarlane's figures/dioramas wisely hit stores a couple weeks in advance of the film. I've alread reviewed the 'movie mayhem' family figures and the "What you lookin' at?" diorama with Ned, Bart and their little friend.

Tonight I wrap up my look at this first series with a review of Homer and the pig, as well as the Itchy and Scratchy set. Homer can be found anywhere the other figures are available, as he's part of the regular wave. However, the I&S set is supposed to be 'specialty market only'. I haven't actually seen any of the movie figures hit at Toys R Us yet, but I haven't seen this set at the FYE and Suncoast stores either. It may very well turn out that 'specialty market only' for the I&S set translates to 'online only'.

Packaging - ***
Both of these sets come in the usual clamshells, although the I&S version is just slightly bigger than the rest of the wave. The graphics are decent, and there's some nice text on the back about the characters. There's enough personalization with these to make them interesting visually and to allow them to stand out from one another.

Inside each package is a little Burger King insert showing the 15 toys available there as well. I wonder if the BK toys will advertise the Mcfarlane figures as well? If so, it's a smart move on both of their parts.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Both sets are very well sculpted, with an attention to detail that previous Simpsons figures haven't seen. Small touches like Homer's two strands of hair as separate pieces standing up on his head, the wrinkles in the pig's stomach where Homer is tickling him, or the pockmarked surface of the moon base are all great examples of the amount of detail even in such a simplistic animated design.

The Homer and pig are sculpted to fit together as a single display, although they are separate figures. They line up quite well, although you might have to jockey the pig around a little to get Homer's fingers in just the right spot. This is one of those sets where I'm not sure yet if I love it or couldn't care less - it's going to depend on the movie. This is clearly a very movie dependent scene, and if it's hilarious and memorable, I'll love the set. If it's not, the set will be just as forgettable.

On the other hand, we have Itchy and Scratchy. Any time we get this cat and mouse, we're getting a cool set. I love the space theme, I love the flag piercing Scratchy's heart, and I particularly love his extreme facial expression. These figures are even better in scale with the World of Springfield figures from Playmates than they are with the other Mcfarlane Simpsons, standing at 2 inches and 3 inches tall without the helmets.

The only reason this set fell short of four stars was because of the lack of a key ingredient...the violence. Yes, poor Scratchy is clearly in a world of hurt, but Itchy is just standing there, rather passively. I'm just not feeling enough of the sadism, the violence or the bloodshed that makes Itchy and Scratchy so damn much fun. It's a minor quibble, and I still love the set, but I would have preferred Itchy in a more actively cruel pose.

All the figures stand (or kneel, or lay) fine on their own without the need for the base. That's always a plus in my book, although it's unlikely in this case that you'll display them without the bases.

Paint - ***
I've mentioned this in the past two reviews, and it's worth mentioning again - the paint ops have greatly improved in quality and consistency for the Mcfarlane animated lines, now getting much closer to the paint ops we have known and loved on other more realistic series.

There's very little slop here, with nice clean cuts and no bleed. There's a liberal use of the black outlining, but it works here just fine and in fact, the more I see it the more it grows on me.

There's also some great small detail work, including the thin veins on Scratchy's eyes. Homer's pupils are placed not only straight and even, but at the perfect angle to be peering down at the pig. Considering how much trouble some manufacturers have just getting them straight, it's pretty impressive.

The issues that are here tend to be with the bases more than the figure. For example, the outline around the rug on Homer's base is not completely there - there's a gap of a couple inches on the back side. Still, overall the paint work is well above average, and certainly an improvement over some recent lines.

Articulation - I&S **; Homer/Pig *
These aren't highly articulated diorama's by any stretch of the imagination, but the I&S set actually has more joints than I expected.

Homer gets one - his cut neck. Now, when I reviewed his Mayhem version, I originally thought he only had a cut neck. Upon closer inspection (i.e. a reader pointed it out to me), his arms were also cut at the sleeves. Mine were just painted tight, and took a little effort to break free.

So, I assumed that was true again with this figure. And I tried to get his lower arms to move. Which resulted in getting out the superglue and reattaching his right arm. So that's it for Homer, and the pig isn't articulated at all.

Itchy has a cut neck, and that's it. He's stuck in that stiff pose, which is too bad. But Scratchy has the cut neck and more - cut shoulders AND cut wrists. That allows you to get the head, arms and hands into several great 'screaming in pain and agony' poses.

Accessories - I&S ***1/2; Homer/Pig **
As usual, how many accessories these sets have depend on how you define accessories. I'm only leaving out the figures themselves - Homer, the pig, Itchy and Scratchy - when considering what to include as an accessory.

That means that the removable helmets on the cat and mouse, along with the American flag and moon base, are all accessories. And they're all well done, adding quite a bit to the overall look of the diorama.

The helmets come off and on easily enough, but the little pegs fit tightly enough that they don't fall off at the drop of a hat. Scratchy's is cracked open on top as well, attributing to the appearance of having his eyeballs sucked out of his head.

The flag is a completely separate pieced that can be removed from his chest, and with one of those little clear rubber bands as a stop, you can put it into his chest at any length. The moon base looks excellent, with pock marking and craters, and the speaker and button are nicely integrated.

Homer and his pig don't have nearly the set up that I&S do, but there is his base. It's from the OFF living room, with the trademark throw rug in the center. It works, but doesn't do much to add to the scene.

Talking Feature - I&S ***; Homer/Pig **
The I&S set has quite a number of lines, similar to the "What you lookin' at?" set or some of the single figures. But the Homer/Pig set only has one, albeit a very long, drawn out one. Homer says "Who's a good pig? Pfffbbttt.... who's a good pig? Pffffbbbtt...I'll give you a hint! I'm talking to him! That's right!" The "Pfffbbtt" noises are him blowing on the pig's stomach. The line clearly fits the scene exactly.

The I&S set includes: Itchy laughing; a long clip of Itchy and Scratchy both screaming in attack/pain; Itchy saying "we come in peace, for cats and mice every where."; and Itchy saying "I'm killing".

The I&S set is fairly clear, but the Homer set isn't nearly as clear as the other sets. It's quite loud, and that contributes to some of the issues around being able to understand it. And while the one sound bite is long, it's not as interesting without having seen the movie. I would have loved a Spider-pig line, personally.

Value - I&S ***; Homer/Pig **
The cost of the movie line has been high, at least for the regular figures. But the I&S set is selling as cheaply as $14 at some online stores, and that's a solid value considering the size of the base and the coolness factor. Homer and the pig? Not so much, especially at $12 to $15.

Fun Factor - **
These aren't really designed to be toys - there's not much your average 8 year old is going to do with these, once they've pushed the button a few times. It does help that they work without the display bases, since that means they could be played with separately, but these aren't really characters that lend themselves to that.

However, if your friends at the office may have more fun with these than you do, especially when you're not around.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Be very careful when putting the batteries in. I didn't have this issue with the smaller bases, but on both of these I had trouble with the small screw head wanting to strip.

Overall - I&S ***1/2; Homer/Pig ***
The I&S set is my favorite of the overall line so far. It can fit in with your WOS figures quite easily, and I just love the basic mayhem and violence that Itchy and Scratchy stand for. If you're only going to buy one, make it this set.

The Homer set is so movie specific, that whether it stays on display in my collection long term or not will depend on how funny it is on screen. The voice feature is a little weaker here too, making it pretty much on par with the "What you lookin' at?" set.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt -   ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - I&S **; Homer/Pig *
Accessories - I&S ***1/2; Homer/Pig **
Talking Feature - I&S ***; Homer/Pig **
Fun Factor - **
Value -  I&S ***; Homer/Pig **
Overall - I&S ***1/2; Homer/Pig ***

Where to Buy -
Online is a cheaper option than FYE or Suncoast right now. Actually, I haven't found this particular set at a Suncoast or FYE yet, so you're only option may be online:

- Canadian online shop Toys and Cool Stuff have these in stock for about $15 each (Canadian), including the I&S set.

- Amazing Toyz has them in stock with most of the regular figures at $12 (I&S run $14) and the dioramas at $16.

- CornerStoreComics has the singles at $12, but the only way to get I&S is to order the full set of 6 figures for $68. They also have the dioramas at $16.

- Clark Toys has most of the regular figures at $12 and the playsets at $18. For some reason they have Marge and Lisa at $30...?

Related Links -
I've covered an awful lot of Simpsons merchandise over the years. Hit this link for links to just about all of them!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour