Thank You for the Belly Laughs, Marie Osmond

You’ll have to forgive us. We’ve never watched QVC before as a family, with all the exponential reinforcement of scorn and hilarity that implies, and none of us have any desire to live in Collector Doll Land. There are, of course, fan sites devoted to Marie Osmond and her dolls. These people will hate us.

Picture this, if you will (although we’ll certainly understand if you’d rather not):

Dolls—a parade of dolls—each one more frightening than the last, with names possibly created by choosing one item each from lists of first names, floral references, colors, and cutesy actions.

Names like Suzie Rose Bouquet, Arabella Catching Butterflies, Summer Sunset. Adora My Sweetheart Belle. Candy Corn Too Sweets Tot. Butterfly Kissy Tiny Tot. Pardon me while I step out to my dentist’s office for treatment of dental caries.

“Get a load of those NAMES!” shouts The Boy, who is 11 years old and thus primed to mock frilly fou-fou dolls.

The first doll appears on the screen. An odd sensation creeps (a word you’ll see a lot on this page) over you, akin to that experienced when you see Chucky previews.

“What’s WONG with them?” asks 8-year-old Littlest (who hasn’t quite gotten her Rs nailed down).

We begin to figure out the creep factor when they go to a tight close-up on the creepy eyes and mouths held in strange positions, some of them suggestive of pornography (pouting lips, mouth half open in eager expectation).

The eyes don’t quite match. While this is true of humans, it just looks wrong on a doll, which we all expect to be symmetrical. The spokes of color in the irises are wrong somehow—too stark? Too something. “Creepy!” we all shout in unison.

Butterfly Kissy is like Raggedy Ann with antennae and clown make-up. It’s sculpted to have a little dot by the eye that matches the one Marie has in real life. She demonstrates that it says Kissy on Kissy’s butt, which is supposed to make us feel even better about having Butterfly Kissy in our lives. Littlest asks, “Is it a cat-uh-piw-oh?” because of the antennae.

The babies are all chubby—more of America’s obesity problem on parade. The parade of dolls continues: first a full-body shot that just lets you catch a glimpse of the off-kilter facial oddity and the astoundingly poufy clothing and accessories to accompany the cutesy name, then a close-up that lets us criticize in far greater detail. Each name and outfit inspires whoops of derisive laughter. Then it gets worse.

She has little Ewok-like babies in fur suits to make them look like wolves or something. They’re so overfed they have creases next to the mouth, and eyes that almost fill the socket like those of an animal, dark and sinister with no white of the eye showing.

Marie fondles the fur, with a tight close-up on her artificial fingernails. The hands lift the hat off to reveal that the baby is bald, with lines drawn on its head to suggest hair.

“Buddha Baby!” my by now screaming, writhing, shrieking, giggling family dubs this one. (Some of us are actual Buddhists; this is not a religious comment.)

It has paws on its little footies. These fat babies are not infants at all; they are elderly men from the Mongol steppes, but with animal features รก la The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Marie plays with the baby some more, flapping its arms to show that they’re jointed. This is apparently a big selling point in Creepy Doll Collector Land.

Additional creep factor: She can’t stop playing with the doll, stroking and rearranging the whole time she’s on camera. She suggests buying the Tiny Tots and posing them in the arms of the larger models, writing messages on the bodies of the dolls as if they’re journals so that you can pass down the wisdom you chose to capture on a doll, sending messages to your own future about how deserving you are of love and caring.

If you’re getting all this solely from a porcelain doll, this is very, very sad, and would sober us for a moment, were it not for the creepy animal dolls on screen.

Marie discusses the incredible quality of the porcelain she uses, the eyelashes, and the hair—but these are the Buddha babies we believe have the hair drawn on their heads, and they’re made of vinyl so the porcelain reference doesn’t apply to the doll she’s currently fondling, which goes for $75.

She demonstrates the way she signs the dolls on the backs of their neck, so each doll has its own little Marie Osmond tat. We hear nothing of the discussion Marie has with the show host as we howl and denigrate.

While the nation admired the plucky Marie dancing her fanny off in “Dancing with the Stars,” and of course there’s all that weight loss thanks to whatever product she endorses in full-page ads in the Sunday supplement and the beautiful perfect Osmond teeth, that doesn’t mean we have to love her expensive creepy dolls.
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