That little dessert and gingham loving doll that was so popular during the 80s has received a makeover. Yes, Strawberry Shortcake's manufacturer, American Greetings Properties, felt that her old look wouldn't fly with today's Internet and technology fluent generation of girls. Because childhood obesity is running rampant, she and her friends are also now more into fruit instead of dessrts.
While I'm normally a fan of retro, I must confess that I do like Miss Shortcake's new look, even if she does look a bit like Ariel from "The Little Mermaid." Those bloomers and Jane Austinesque bonnet had to go. In a way, her look is still retro: she has long, straight hair and a newsboy cap, like a 60s go-go girl.
This isn't the first time toy manufacturers have tried to update a character's look to keep up with changing times. However, the results are sometimes less than favorable. In 2005, Warner Brothers pimped the Bugs Bunny characters into the "Loonies", futuristic-looking versions of their older counterparts. Parents hated them. In the 1990s, Mattel tried to upgrade Barbie's boyfriend by introducting "Magic Earring Ken", who wore a leather vest and had highlights in his hair. Consumers thought he looked more like a fellow who'd date one of the Village People, rather than Barbie.
American Greetings is also planning on upgrading another toy line, its Care Bears, for next year. Word is they'll be less pudgy. Who knows, if you have any of the old versions of these toys in your closet or basement, I'd hold onto them...might be worth something after the modern metamorphoses are on the shelves.
What do you think? Should retro toys be updated to keep up with today's trends, or should toy manufacturers keep the retro look?
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