Monday, January 9, 2017

Ornament Review: The Electric Mayhem Bus - 2016 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun idea and sound clip
Cons: Just a bus without the usual characters limits nostalgia value
The Bottom Line:
Electric Mayhem
Celebrated with their bus
Lesser Muppet piece

Groovy Idea but Poor Execution

As a relative newcomer to the Muppets, I have missed quite a bit of their stuff, including the initial round of Muppet movies.  I have a feeling that came into play with 2016’s Hallmark offering in their unofficial Muppet ornament series, The Electric Mayhem Bus.  I can see what they were trying to do, but it just doesn’t work.

The ornament is just what it sounds like – the bus of the band from the Muppet Show.  The bus is a deep red with lots of stuff painted all over it.  In the windows, we can see various members of the Muppets including band members Dr. Teeth, Janice, and Animal as well as Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie.

I’m not a car person, so I have very few vehicles for my tree.  Having never seen this bus before, I don’t have a connection to it like I would some other vehicles.  My guess is this bus pops up in one of the early movies.  Certainly not in any of the episodes or movies I have seen.  Without that nostalgia connection, I wasn’t grabbed by it right away.

Unfortunately, the characters in the window don’t help.  The windows are actually so small it’s hard to see them.  Furthermore, they are so dark that it doesn’t help at all.  You have to hold it and really look.

The one thing that ornament does have going for it is the sound.  Like the others in this unofficial series, we have a clip.  This one features the band playing part of “Can You Picture That?”  It’s a groovy 70’s number that is fun.  I don’t recognize it, which also leads me to believe it’s not from something I have seen.  Yet.  At some point I still intend to fill in the gaps in my Muppet viewing.  Anyway, the clip lasts about 30 seconds, and you do need two button batteries for this to work.

The wheels on this bus don’t go round and round.  Because of how they are painted, it would be fun if they did.  But the stationary wheels do provide a nice base if you want to leave this ornament out to display year round.  There is a loop for hanging the ornament on the top of the bus next to the button that starts the sound clip.  Slip a hook through it, and you’ll find that it tips slightly forward and to one side.  It’s noticeable, but not so bad that you can’t easily disguise it with tree branches.

With most of the nostalgia ornaments, you either get it or you don’t.  While I can appreciate the idea behind this one, I don’t find it as good as the other Muppet ornaments, which are helped by loving the characters even if you don’t know the exact scene they are recreating.  The others also have detail since they are sculpts of a character.  This one is just the bus.  Maybe it’d feel better if the characters weren’t so obviously a decal in the windows, but that just seems cheap to me.  It certainly isn’t as good as the others.

So if you are a diehard Muppets fan, you might appreciate The Electric Mayhem Bus.  Most of us can just pass this ornament up and hope we go back to a fun character next year.

Original Price: $19.95

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