Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whatnot Workshop

A few years ago, FAO Schwartz installed a Whatnot Workshop in the corner of their flagship store in New York. My wife and I considered buying one, but we were bothered by two things: first, you select the eyes, hair, and nose you want, and those are then sewed on. Since the actual Whatnots were meant to be modifiable, the parts were attached with pins or velcro on the Muppet Show and Sesame Street. That means the ones at FAO Schwartz aren't really authentic. Secondly, they cost a hundred freaking dollars each.

Well, with the new Muppet movie coming out, FAO Schwartz and their corporate overlords at Toys R Us decided to cash in on the success of the workshop by offering packaged versions with interchangeable parts. Best of all, they're priced at a more reasonable $60.

Okay, that's still a lot. But the toy's pretty cool and it gives you a good sense of what it would be like to operate a Muppet. At this price point, I will say I feel a little cheated on the accessories. There's three noses, eye sets, and wigs, along with a rod to operate his arms. They could have tossed in some costumes and/or extra eyes (I'd like to have gotten more variation). But it wouldn't be too hard to customize these: hell, with a little work, we could probably figure out what size he/she wears and pick up some baby clothes.

The package claims this is an FAO Schwartz exclusive, but that's bunk. When Toys R Us bought FAO's soul, they got access to their exclusives, as well. We picked this up at a Toys R Us on Long Island, and I'm betting they're available all over the country.


  1. They have them at our Toys R' Us down the road from me. I thought they were pretty neat but that price point is a killer. I have a friend Tonya who makes her own puppets/muppets and they look on par if not even better than these i should ask her how much it cost her when making hers vs buying this set.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I will check out ToyRus on my end.

  3. If someone were handmaking puppets that look better than these factory manufactured ones, why would they sell them cheaper than $60?