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  1. #1

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    Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    …Are self-respecting males and adults welcome on this voyage? Should we be? Someone said to me recently that Duffy is truly a character for artists and creators (of all ages), and the only way the mass market can understand him is by crippling his true potential, dumbing him down, and cheapening the brand until all that's left is, "Oooh, cute!" Is this true, and are we glad about it? Do we accept and embrace it? Do we accept and embrace stereotypical limitations about what boys or girls or grown women and men are allowed or not allowed to like just because society says so? Do we accept some things as "creepy" just because they're ingrained? Isn't Duffy fundamentally about fresh perspectives and challenges to traditional perspectives? Isn't he also about a love so universal that it embraces anyone and so positive that anyone who embraces it is someone we respect? Is mass awareness worth the loss of the core elements of the character and the culture of love, thoughtfulness, creativity, playfulness, experimentation, innovation, craftsmanship, integrity, independence, community, celebration and adventure that have driven the Duffy fan community? As Duffy's presence grows, I feel these are questions worth asking and examining. I hope others agree.

    As so often happens, what started as a simple desire to explain myself more clearly in another thread became an essay that would have been off-topic unless it has its own. I hesitated about posting, cos of the length, but woke to find that theead veering off-topic and thought perhaps others are actually interested in such a conversation. Feel free to ignore what follows if you dislike long, thoughtful, or controversial posts. But I would really love to talk about this earnestly with some genuine investment. For me, that's what MiceChat is all about. It should be remembered that everyone here loves the MiceChat community and its members, as well as both Disney and Duffy a great deal, or we would be spending our time otherwise.^^

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    Ok I'm going to go out on a limb here. Not all girls like dolls. I sure didn't. Growing up, I always preferred stuffed animals to dolls and I still do. And I'm sure there are other girls out there who are the same way.

    On the other side, there are boys who prefer dolls. Really. They do. I've even seen grown men in the Magic Kingdom with those soft Precious Moment dolls that are dressed like Disney princesses and they take photos of them all over the park. I personally find THAT a little creepy, but to each their own. I know I get strange looks sometimes when I'm taking photos of Duffy, but I just laugh and ignore them, so I'm really not one to talk.

    I just wish Disney would re-think how they're marketing Duffy overall in the States. But it is a cultural thing. In Japan, he's popular with ALL ages. In the States, stuffed animals are seen as a "kids" thing. I say PHOOEY. I'm pushing 40 and I still play with my stuffed animals, but I'm weird like that. I'm quirky.
    I put quotes around those words in hopes of making my intentions clear, Aimster. I find it nearly impossible to believe with as long as you've known me and as much as you know me that you thought, even for half a second, that I was implying either that all girls like dolls or that boys don't, or shouldn't, or anything of the kind. My guess is that you were just using my quote as a jumping off point, but in context, it may look to some who haven't read a lot of my older posts as if I was "assigning" teddy bears to boys and dolls to girls. Certainly nothing could be further from the truth; I was talking about societal perception and tradition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diznygrl View Post
    I'm not sure I agree with the notion of teddy bears being seen as the boy alternative to dolls. Now of course teddies are a universal toy that can and do delight both boys and girls, but I have to say that there's a reason why you walk into Build A Bear and it's mostly filled with tons of girly clothes and accessories, while the boy stuff is less substantial. And the "Ride Makerz" store (build your own toy car) that they opened in Downtown Disney is considered to be the 'boy' alternative to BaB. Not saying it's right or wrong, just making an observation. It is not surprising to me that they have started to pair Duffy with Minnie Mouse, for this very reason.


    Obviously I don't agree with the US's belief that stuffed animals are just for kids, hehe. But it's hard to fight something that seems so deeply engrained into the culture.

    Growing up, there was no part of me that felt teddy bears were "for girls," even in the mainstream brainwash vision of the order of things. When I look back on the eighties, it seemed that teddy bears, while non-gendered, of course, were push-to-shove, the boys' answer to dolls as a "badge of childhood." Teddy bears and army men and dump trucks. And Transformers. I had them all, but the teddy bear was for us "sensitive" boys. My G.I. Joes negotiated peace treaties and married COBRAs...seriously, literally. I feel that BAB has changed that, but that's very recent. Teddy bears were first and foremost born from political satire and a story of mercy and kindness. They were a cultural phenomenon across all age and gender lines before settling into the child's room. And though they may belong to boys or girls; Christopher Robin and Pooh, Paddington, Teddy Ruxpin, UK Rupert, Stewie's Rupert, Garfield's Pooky, even the recent film TED — all of these are in line with placing the teddy bear as the little boy's symbol of childhood and sugarplum dreams. I cannot think of the same list for girls (though Lancelot from LABYRINTH is memorable, there's no comparison to the above). Keep on mind that for boys, any interest in "girly" things is met with painfully serious scorn, while girls who like cowboys and construction are "tough" and "cool." Certainly all of the teddies I mentioned have been relevant to many females, but Christopher Robin is a boy, as are nearly all teddy bear characters, including the aforementioned Lancelot. This is one of the things that helped ShellieMay establish herself so quickly; iconic female teddies are so hard to think of that I can't think of any others. Also, I think cars and construction sets are iconic in the same way. Of course, these are symbols for boys, too, but the teddy bear is the magical companion, much akin, in my mind, to girls' dolls in numerous stories. Teddy bears are little boy dreams and imagination, fantasy and social play. They don't serve the same function as cars and battle toys; they are soft and safe. The teddy bear is the sensitive side of the male, something powerful and potentially violent made cute and cuddly. They are not only for boys by any means, but the media message has been ingrained fairly clearly and consistently over the past century, though the marketing message is admittedly different.

    I hope that no one imagines even for a moment, though, that I personally think in a "for boys/for girls" paradigm... I'm like a broken record about the damage done by both age and gender pre(mis)conceptions in our societies, and the fact that so few dare to challenge them...and the unfortunate judgments and consequences when they do. What bothers me is that such a paradigm exists for anyone, anywhere. I hope and believe that Duffy is beyond such limitations. In case I did somehow misrepresent my thinking, I just wanted to set the record straight. I'll see you out on the limb where I'm always sitting, relaxing and reading and enjoying the view. Bring snacks!^^

    One other thing you said confused me, Aimster, about the men with the dolls. It feels like you're making two opposing points, so I feel sure I've misunderstood you somehow, which I pre-apologize for. Why is it "creepy" for adult men to take photos of dolls in parks? How is that different from Duffy? You don't think when men take photos of Duffy that's creepy, do you? Is this something that's "ok" for a woman, but not for a man? Or is it that as adult Duffy fans, we know we're likely being perceived as "weirdos" so we point out someone else's hobby that's "actually creepy, not like us?" I can't imagine that you think any of that, so...Idongetit. Cos they're men with dolls? That seems antithetical to the point I thought you were making, so I can only really feel more confuzzled. Please help me understand about the "creepy."

    I agree completely with the strategy re-think, though. Duffy had an installed collector appeal before the Disney "debut," due largely in fact to the MiceChat community. Though there were many lurkers, myself and a couple of others were the only people in the English-speaking world who talked positively, publicly, and regularly about the significance of Duffy for both Disney and the world before Disney took him back. We were often ridiculed, even on MiceChat, before the Duffy forum was created. There were only really the three of us for years, before the Disney marketing team started driving out the bandwagon of mediocrity. That wagon, armored in "the real Disney" brand, has forced through a dishearteningly "toddlered-down" version of Duffy that has alienated collectors to the point of, I imagine now, making that market utterly uninterested and unreachable. Not that Disney is really interested in connecting Duffy to that market anyway. If Tokyo Duffy had been in 2008 what global Duffy is now, I would never have been the slightest bit interested. The energy that's fueling Duffy fever is still the heat of the people who are invested in something not offered by the American/global releases, but more and more that energy is becoming the very simple enthusiasm of a trend. Disney's marketing strategy has made it so that the public at large will never see Duffy as a collector's item (though they may someday make "collector's editions" as a cash grab and scalpers will snatch them up to force fans to pay premiums on the secondary market). And now he's headed away from park-exclusivity, which means that to the vast majority of the public, if you are an adult Duffy collector, not only do you not only have what you paid for, but you also get put very quickly into the "creepy" box if you choose to continue to love the character and your collection anyway.

    It's a real shame, too, because Disney could have controlled the message. Even if consumers had stubbornly clung to the notion that a teddy bear is not a collectible premium character object that adults can feel good about because it inspires something good in them, Disney could have limited its marketing to that message anyway and demanded that Duffy be taken seriously, that he mean something. They could have focused on Happiness and Luck, Love and Joy, Sailing and Adventure. Not just as dumbed-down versions of Japanese creative genius, but fully developed concepts filled with the magic, heart and commitment to realization that only Disney is capable of. Duffy could have been a renaissance, a legend. If only someone who really believed was at the helm. They have not done that, and show no signs of intending to do so. They have taken a generic failure crafted by unnamed visionaries into a luxury iconic juggernaut filled with genuine heart and made it into a generic flash in the pan again.

    Instead of pixie dust, what seems to be happening is the gradual roll-out of the dusted off Disney Bear concept, an entire reversal of all the relentless labor undertaken by the Japanese team of unsung heroes whose names we'll never know to birth their superstar. All the while, Dara Trujillo and Monty Maldovan lap up more kudos from press, company, and fans. I won't be surprised if a whole family of multicolored teddy bears will be the global answer to ShellieMay - who needs a "girlfriend" (she is NOT his "girlfriend" ) when you can be a big stud with a whole harem? What was once a failed concept made successful in another land, by another country's artists and supporters is becoming another Disney fad. No different from the Fairies. They are methodically stripping Duffy of every single thing that makes him Duffy except the Disney brand, and it doesn't help that so many Duffy "fans" celebrate these moves and show their support with their wallets and their full-throated defense of Duffy's exploitation for cash...on the cheap.

    It took less than a year for Disney to offer Duffy on the web through the Disney Store site, although they themselves made much to-do of park exclusivity at launch, totally destroying the exclusive premium element of the brand. Then they marketed cheaply constructed clothes with thin fabrics and few elements for barrel-bottom prices, along with a thoroughly gutted retelling of the Tokyo Duffy storybook which, by the way, removed "the Bear of Happiness & Luck" moniker which had historically been OLC's replacement for "the Disney Bear." No mention was made, either, of Cape Cod. A travesty. Now they're moving to go globally local and have Duffy available in your nearest Disney Store, all rifled through and marked way down...no Happiness or Luck, Love or Joy...no finely-crafted clothes...no hand-created art books...no Cape Cod...obliterating the oeuvre meticulously crafted and powerfully established over the past near decade by OLC, and operating on such a large scale that by the time they finally kill and retire the concept - again - most of the Disney fan world will know Duffy fairly well, and will think anyone holding on to that "failed Disney bear-thing" is an idiot at best, or at worst, a "creep." I cannot understand why anyone supports this.

    None of the substance that transformed the failed Disney Bear concept into the astronomic achievement that is authentic Duffy has carried back over to the US or its global rollout. It has been, in every way, on every level, a complete backwards step. The wider they stretch, the less they seem to innovate. The less they seem even interested, because the market they are trying to reach is responding. The "mass" market, the followers, the "this-is-trending-now-and-I've-got-it crowd, the look-at-me's." They are taking Duffy and making him into "the Disney Bear" all over again. But that is not what Duffy is about, and it never has been. No matter how some "fans" may have misunderstood it, Duffy has always had the potential to reconnect Disney to the core of its heart, to its roots, and that path is not being taken. The same as Tokyo DisneySEA would not exist at all, had it not been envisioned, paid for, and managed by the Oriental Land Company. A pity, and a waste.

    The Paris debut we were all so excited about turned out to be just more of the same. I will be truly shocked and eat my words if it turns out that Disney is in with Duffy for the long haul, if someday they aim to genuinely acknowledge the Japanese artists who created Duffy, the Cape Cod birthplace and hometown in the most beautiful theme park on Earth, or the adult fans who have believed and created him into an astounding success; but it seems to me at this point that they are using the energy of people like me and you and Duffeteers everywhere to create buzz for a product they only ever invested in primarily because they didn't like seeing all that money being generated by their licensee, and that they only continue to invest in looking for the big payout.

    The global Duffy venture, despite my brightest initial hopes (and in line with my darkest initial misgivings and fears), has never looked and does not look to me now to be charged with Happiness, Luck, Love or Joy. It seems totally money-fueled, and once the money runs out, Duffy will be gone again...at least outside Japan. When they build something as detailed and permanent as the Village Greeting Place outside Japan, or even mention Cape Cod, or when the Japanese design team who actually created and continue to develop the character of Duffy are openly acknowledged and celebrated, and their work is the gold standard for Duffy around the world, I'll believe in Disney's commitment. Until then, I just wish this whole thing would hurry up and they'd get all the money they can, and leave Duffy back to the people who actually understand and genuinely love the character.

    I have said it many times, but it has never been more true -

    I would rather have people never be exposed to Duffy and have the chance to discover him someday, than see some pale shadow and be so certain of the accuracy of their perception that they feel nothing but derision or aversion for it and those who love it, and never have even a hope of glimpsing the real deal.

    Here's an article from Canadian Business, from round the time of Duffy's Disney rollout. Underline, bold and blue mine:

    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Business
    Disney's high hopes for Duffy
    By James Cowan | April 08, 2011

    A new teddy bear arrived on the shelves of a Disney World toy store in Florida in 2002, jostling for attention with more famous mice and fairy-tale princesses. The brown bear was run-of-the-mill, only distinguished from its non-Disney kin by silhouettes of Mickey Mouse on its face and paws. It sold well but not spectacularly, so the company had no idea that when it put Duffy the Disney Bear on sale at Tokyo DisneySea in 2004, that the toy would become a juggernaut. Yet today, Duffy accounts for 40% of the park's merchandise revenue; bear-related sales are rationed, and visitors wait two hours to have photos taken with Duffy.

    Could that success be recreated here? Disney, with its merchandise line flagging in the U.S., is about to find out. Eight years since his forgettable first appearance, Duffy is back. "We looked to Tokyo and said, 'How amazing is this experience? We want to bring the entire thing here,'" says Dara Trujillo, Disney's manager of merchandise, synergy and events. "We're kind of welcoming him home, but in an entirely different fashion."
    Duffy actually started out nameless, but as his popularity grew in Japan, he was carefully incorporated into the Disney mythology. Company lore now holds that he was sewn by Minnie Mouse so Mickey wouldn't get lonely while travelling. The marketing story has grown, too: Tokyo DisneySea now offers Duffy clothing, stage shows, restaurants and even popcorn. "It started off as a wonderful piece of product that was unique to the theme park," says Trujillo. "And when, in the Japanese market, people started coming in and wanting everything Duffy, that spurred the product expansion." The bear is also unique in that unlike other characters, who sprang from TV shows or movies, he is a souvenir given a story in the interest of selling more.

    Disney's plans for giving Duffy his own duchy within the U.S. Magic Kingdom start with its California Adventure and Epcot theme parks. Those sites have been revamped to include areas for visitors to pose for photographs with the bear. While Duffy products will only be available at Disney parks initially, analysts say the company will likely eventually offer the merchandise in its 300 retail stores across North America. Disney has closed more than 120 stores in the past two years as it struggled to keep its own merchandise competitive with lower-end retailers. "If I get a Woody [from Toy Story] doll at a Disney Store, it might not be the same Woody doll I can get at Toys 'R' Us, but to a kid it's the same thing," says Sean McGowan, an analyst with Needham & Co. "If the differences are subtle, consumers will go with the lower price."

    Duffy's reintroduction creates a new, exclusive product line that distinguishes Disney's parks and, potentially, stores from its competitors. "By introducing it at just a couple of parks, they can keep the demand high and keep people talking about it," says Jim Silver, an analyst and editor-in-chief of Timetoplay.com. "Then, the next step is to roll it out in the other parks and then the Disney stores and then eventually the mass market. I think this is going to be a slow program."

    But observers also warn that Duffy's Japanese stardom won't necessarily translate to America. "There's no shortage of products that were hot in Japan that never worked here," says McGowan. "They may be leading themselves astray."


    Is there anyone who doubts that the "whole thing" Trujillo is talking about is the HUGE profits? 40% of park merchandise revenue is unbelievable for one merchandise line built around one character available exclusively in the second-gate park; with no movie tie-ins, TV shows or any presence whatsoever outside of being park merchandise. Until I read this, I had understood it to be about 20%, which I thought was amazing. Duffy got bigger than Mickey and now they are castrating him. If they'd really wanted to import the "whole thing," Duffy wouldn't have been available online so soon, his clothes would be more expensive and higher quality and the storybook would not have been rewritten, re"illustrated" and dumbed down. Cape Cod would be his hometown and the "Happiness and Luck" moniker would stand. Perhaps OLC said they'd have to pay to use those elements; who knows the details of that relationship in this regard? And if that's the case, and they refused to pay, thinking they didn't really have to have all that, what does that say about integrity and commitment?

    "It started off as a wonderful piece of product that was unique to the theme park," says Trujillo...and now they're eviscerating that, as they have already done every other element that sets Duffy apart from the Disney Bear. Equally frustrating is the fact that all this history and "company lore" is presented as if the birth of Duffy from the ashes of the Disney Bear was the genesis of some Disney team, which is not at all the case. Duffy was tossed in a dumpster of has-been ideas, lovingly found and nurtured by the OLC and made into a phenomenon. Disney didn't care about the concept anymore at all until they understood how much money they were missing out on.

    Disney's plan was predicted by me, as well as these analyst experts. It's all very "by the book." Jim Silver was wrong about the "slow program," though. They've completely muddied the Duffy brand in the first year. They could have made even more money by doing it right, and probably also doing it more slowly, more carefully. They could have loved Duffy, and Duffy would have lead them back to loving their own legacy as much as you and I do.

    Imagine if the Walt Disney Company had fully embraced Cape Cod and taken us on a sailing, exploring adventure. Imagine if they had embraced the Minnie's Co-op Workshop/every Duffy concept and each individual Duffy had incredible history as so much more than "Mickey's bear." Instead they have underscored that Duffy is MICKEY'S teddy bear every chance they get, to the point of alienating people, to the point of now marketing Duffy with Minnie. Still missing the point that Duffy's identity is his own, and each Duffy belongs to each Tender who loves Duffy...and Disney, from the bottom of our hearts.

    Can you imagine the incredible merchandise that might have come with a full-on Disney investment? Brass harmonicas with Duffy paws or hidden Mickeys, Cape Cod sheets and towels, gorgeous maps and storybooks, replicas of postcards from the Village Greeting Place, a Jim Shore or Olszewski Cape Cod light-up display... Disney could choose to do all the things Oriental Land Company can't or won't with the character, not just make him mass-market discount and more child-targeted, limited, throwaway. They could have taken him deeper rather than cheaper. Duffy has all the potential magic of any legendary character who has ever captured the hearts and minds of people anywhere, but you have to tell his story honestly, with integrity and sincere commitment. Isn't that what Disney does? Isn't that what defines the magic that defines the company's entire legacy? You might say, "the public would never have gone for that," but Mickey Mouse was not a "child's thing to make money" first. Walt Disney believed the public could be shown great things and respond in ways no one, including themselves, had yet dared imagine. And he was right.^^

    Plus, there was a HUGE opportunity for sincere promotion of the partnership with Oriental Land Company and its creative team on a global stage, and a full acknowledgement of all the honor that Tokyo DisneySEA deserves. Instead they have exploited the energy, hard work and support of the Japanese Duffy creative and fan community and are actively using it to erode the character these same people have built and loved to life. I simply cannot understand why anyone supports this.

    MiceChat is a forum for discussion and I feel it's been too long since we had a lot of people engaging with a topic like this. I passionately believe in what Duffy, done right, represents and inspires. He's so much more than "Mickey's cute bear." Isn't he? Or is that message also becoming accepted and ingrained even among fans?

  2. #2

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    Though the females hardly stand out in any kind of iconic way, two bear families that had plenty of females are, of course, the Care Bears and Disney's own Gummi Bears. These are both also interesting in that, while both were decidedly marketed to both genders in their time, Care Bears seemed more like a "girls'" concept designed to also include boys, while Gummi Bears was more of a "boys'" thing with the potential to also appeal to girls. Care Bears' revival now seems wholly focused on girls, but that was not always the case. It was "girlier," even then, but the concept had much more in common with the absolutely gender neutral Smurfs back in the day. It's interesting how the Smurfs feel so gender neutral, even now, in spite of only having one (and later one more) token female character.

    Women wear suits and get respect; men don't wear skirts or dresses unless something is "wrong" with them. Women can have short hair without issue and women who play sports are "cool." Men who like baking and fashion and hate football must be gay or something is "wrong" with them, on the off chance that the two are not synonymous. Why is this? And do we really think, "that's just the way it is" is an appropriate response?

  3. #3

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    Lots to think about and write about here. I do agree that it seems that "plush" in general have been heavily skewed toward girls in the last few decades. I remember in the 80's, toy companies really did try to have options for boys and girls. Anybody remember "My Buddy" and "Kid Sister" dolls? Also, Teddy Ruxpin was fun for everyone. Even Cabbage Patch kids had quite a few boy dolls, and despite my dad freaking out about me playing with them, I knew a lot of boys who had boy dolls, and were encouraged to play with them. It was acceptable. Another one was Pound Puppies...I had a ton of those things, as did a few of my childhood friends. They were something boys and girls could share equally.

    DuffyD, I was going to mention how I played with my G.I. Joes in my post in the other thread, but left it out. You and I had similar play styles I think! I never played "war" with them like all the other boys. All of my G.I. Joes were involved in quiet domestic life. Living peacefully in a big commune, sharing beds, having to clean the house, cook, build houses. They did have occasional domestic quarrels, but always settled amicably. I loved to go outside and play in the dirt and create stories for them, and build things from discarded items or just dirt clods and rocks. I was very creative, and really didn't want the "pre-made" fortresses and things for them, because I felt I could make my own, better version that was just right for me.

    I had friends who had every single figure, and playset, and after the initial excitement at seeing them in person, I usually got bored with how limited they were. That's why I loved (and still do) LEGO's. I could make anything.

    Now...about Duffy....

    First thing...I really think that the acknowledgement of Cape Cod will never and was never going to happen. It requires a whole different way of thinking by Disney that I don't think they are capable of. They would have to really start from scratch and get people to understand that there is a theme park in Japan, and there's an area based on Cape Cod there. I know lots of fans know about TDS, but it would require Disney to actually push TDS and the fact that another company owns and operates it. They've not really done much cross-marketing with OLC like that before, and I don't see them starting now. Sure, they've made small consolations and have acknowledged that Duffy -as he currently is- came from Japan. However, on the global scene, I can see why they erased the Cape Cod aspect (not that I like it) and made it more generic. I just wish their generic version had as much charm, and heart that the original Cape Cod story did. They could have just made it a special "Disney" seaside town, which...they kind of did in the storybook, but that was so watered down it was not a special place by any means.

    That's the issue I have with what they've done with Duffy. It's a systematic problem with Disney as a whole though, so I can't limit it to Duffy. It's just the culture there. Ok, there are creative and wonderful things that somehow get through all of the red tape to debut to customers, but overall, it's just about the money. I think the parks are places where some creativity shines, but the company is so large, and so corporate that it just can't create with heart the way it used to. Even if an artist wants to put his/her soul into something wonderful, it usually gets edited or "cost cut" to make the money-guys happy. It's depressing to me, but I don't see Disney ever getting back to it's roots and not caring about money.

    I can compare Duffy to another recent phenomenon. The recent reboot of the "My Little Pony" franchise with the "Friendship is Magic" TV series. Where before, the toy line has been pretty much to sell toys, and the animation has been an afterthought, this time lightning struck and they got it the other way around. Somehow, Hasbro got truly creative people behind the new series (some of the people behind PowerPuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and other quality shows), and they created a true sense of place, and back-stories for the ponies. It wasn't really about the toys anymore, but about telling good stories. What ended up happening is that the series started attracting a totally different fanbase than they expected. Adult men started watching and becoming fans. They formed a fairly large group that got labeled "bronies". It was meant as an epithet, but they embraced it. People make fun of them all the time for liking something "girly", but despite that, there is a fairly large male fanbase that likes My Little Pony now.

    Hasbro noticed these new fans, and has started to acknowledge and cater to them. Instead of marketing to just little girls, they've made sure to include these adults too. Sure, there are toys still, and they are there to make money, but there is a sense that this series wouldn't be as successful without the new adult fans.

    Duffy could have been the same, but Disney doesn't care to figure it out, and they would rather focus on the bottom line than about crafting something truly magical and unique. It's much harder to do this, and maybe that's why they don't want to. Fear of trying something new and failing...again. I'm just not even sure that if there was a real "Duffy Team" that was just as motivated as the OLC team, that Disney would let them do what they do without interference.

    Poor Mickey Mouse gets treated the same way. With the odd exception, has he really escaped the "corporate symbol" and generic character he's become? He is usually in the same poses on merchandise and not really allowed to go too "off model"...Barney's "Electric Holiday" campaign notwithstanding. Duffy has been relegated to a prop. Unlike his interactions at TDS, and his solo merchandise line. In the US. he's a teddy bear only allowed to be held by another character. Notice, he's not without the mice on most everything, and then he's in one of their arms. He's not allowed to be his own character, always "Mickey's" or "Minnie's".

    If they isolated him from the mice and tried to do something unique with him, maybe that would get people interested in him as a character. Right now, he's a prop, and he's that way in a lot of people's homes too, I'm sure. He's there to sit there and look cute. Not to be something with a real spark of creativity or magic, but just to sit there with other stuffed toys and blend in. I do think lots of people now just buy Duffy because he's "cute" and he's available. There is no thought as to who he is, or his possible origins, or a sense of real quality. Disney has conditioned us to just "buy stuff". The Japanese also "buy stuff", but it's from a different point of view, I think. It's consumerism at it's best, but there is something different there. A sense of purpose for the mundane, a real aesthetic sense. The fact that you can buy themed toilet paper means something. It's an everyday, literally throwaway, object, but someone decided that it needed to have characters on it. Not for any real reason other than because they could. You might sell more rolls too, if you have Hello Kitty on your paper. If there's a household product in Japan, you can bet there is some limited character themed version somewhere. And, usually, it's done thoughtfully. Not always, but moreso than in the US. Maybe it's strictly a cultural thing, but I do know that people here also respond to "cute" things, or at least "unique" things.

    I could go on, and on, and then start repeating my thoughts, so I'll stop here and pick up discussion again when there are more posts in here.

  4. #4

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    My littlest cousin was really into the Ponies. We never played with them together; I just didn't get it. But I'm totally gonna look into this now. I actually had no idea the franchise was even rebooted. Thanks for such a thoughtful post. Like you, I hope more people wanna join this discussion. I feel talks like these really ignite my passion for this character. I hope lots of us feel the same way about the discussion, even if we don't all agree. I hope it's more than just a "rant," but a real community forum. There's much more to say about your post, too, but I'll also wait to see if more voices join in.^^

  5. #5

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    I've always loved My Little Pony, just from a cute, pretty colors, aspect. I've always been drawn to colorful, sparkly, pretty things. However, I never really liked the old cartoons. I played with my friend's ponies, but was not allowed to have my own. Although, I did have Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Again, to say that I got mixed messages about what was acceptable to play with as a kid is an understatement.

    I really was an "equal opportunity" kid though, because I really loved my Transformers, G.I. Joes, Tonka trucks, playing in the dirt and climbing trees. But, I loved sitting with the girls and brushing Barbie's or My Little Pony's hair and playing house with them. I loved it all.

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    Oh wow…what an interesting topic.

    I will comment from my own experiences. I am female. I grew up with Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch dolls. I didn’t have to many stuffed animals. My sister loved her Pound Puppy (a stuffed little dark brown dog). I didn’t have many Barbies. I liked video games, Game Boy, Atari, Radio Shack Computers…I was a weird girl.

    But my son, he’s 8. He has a LARGE collection of BAB stuffed animals. As you all know, he has a Duffy that we even take to our Hockey games but lately, I’m the one holding Duffy at said games. But sometimes he can be cuddly with Duffy and he NEVER goes to bed without Duffy and/or Chocolate Mousse (a light brown Reindeer I got from Kohl’s pictured below).

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    My mother says…”you treat him like a girl..”


    To this I laugh and this is why:

    1. I believe males SHOULD recognize their feminine side and since “dollies” are a bit on the feminine side in this society, I believe it helps them to understand females later in life.
    2. My son is a BOY by every means of the term. The kid is such a boy I can’t get him enough Hot Wheels and racing games and he’s crazy! Now I know some girls can be crazy to but my kid is a boy. I don’t believe the introduction of a few stuffed animals from BAB or anywhere has deterred that.
    3. Lastly, I’d like to introduce a little thing called BALANCE. My philosophy is to enjoy all things in life but in a balance. I was denied so much balance in my youth and told to only do this or that and NEVER stray. I think that is wrong. I’m 36…I’m a semi-gamer. I used to be more hard core but I’m a mother and life got in the way. However, I still play my Wizard 101 (love my Life Wizard) and enjoy my 3DS. My point is…I do it in a balance. I still work, pay my bills, take care of my kid. But in my free time, I will play.


    I believe the fact that I’ve introduced stuffed animals and teddy bears and that my son has a wall full of BAB animals and has a shelf full of Dumbo’s and Tiggers and Winnie the Pooh…that gives him balance. He is still a crazy car racing, learning to play Ice Hockey, boy, but when its time to cuddle with a Teddy for the night..he should.

    I’m sure eventually he will want to not be near his stuffed animals but will keep them somewhere. Toy Story 3 made that point well enough.

    Oh and P.S., I was VERY glad I had a boy and not a girl. I remember what my relationship was like with my mother and how we would square off with our drama and moodiness. I think to have had a relationship like that with my daughter would have sucked me completely dry. My son gives his fair share of drama (he is part of me) but definantly not as much as if had been a girl. I'm very happy to have had a boy.
    Last edited by clara; 12-06-2012 at 10:23 AM.

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    I'll start with my own life, I grew up loving and playing with all different types of toys, I too loved the pound puppies, care bears, gummi bears and many other things. As I grew up I loved different dolls such as the old iconic american girl dolls that had a hint of history to them, (I will get back to that in a little bit). My grandparents at an early age introduced me to musicals and the love of dance.

    I agree with you DuffyD there are many things that we as people look at as gender specific (as well as cultural differences, in how we look at toys and other hobbies and interests) and maybe we don't see how it effects others around us in our lives. I remember when I was growing up one of my close friends of mine and I loved playing with our American girl dolls, her little brother always joined us in playing as well so much so one Christmas when he was I believe 9 or 10 asked his parents to get him a doll of his very own so that he could join in even more. It was such a wonderful time and his parents were fine with it, my friend and I didn't think anything about it until one day we were over at my house and they both came over with their dolls to play, my parents didn't really know what to think about it, they didn't say anything to either of them, but sadly they did tell my own brother not to play with us whenever they came over with their dolls. I hate to think of what that told my brother and how it effected me.

    (My friends parents were from a different cultural background and were both very accepting people)

    I own both build a bear items and ridemakers from down town disney (I made my own 'Mater!)

    Now grown up (in age at least) I work as a teacher's aid in an elementary school (I'm also working on obtaining my degree in psychology) I also work after school in a program for children, over the past few years I've seen a lot of things some very good and others very discouraging, from my views and observations many people have very finite ideals about gender roles and what behaviors, hobbies, interests is acceptable and what is not acceptable, and we as children of course learn from our parents and society what behaviors we should emulate and what behaviors we should extinguish within ourselves.

    I have seen many parents accept and embrace their children for who they are and allowing them to grow into who they would like to be. I have however seen some parents call their own children 'over sensitive'; all of the time when it is a boy, I've never heard it once for a girl. I find this title very depressing to hear in context I think we should be accepted and celebrated for who we are as people.

    Awhile I had a class where where we were allowed to show movies (g or pg, and most all the times it was disney or dreamworks) I had a parent complain and yell at me for showing the Tinkerbell movie, to their son; the mothers argument was it was not a movie meant for boys. At that time in my class I had I believe 17 boys and 8 girls, we always watch the movie with the majority vote (most of the boys had voted on that movie to my surprise and delight)

    On to disney, I've also been an ap holder for many years for DLR (on and off for a majority of my life) over the past year or so it has taken a direction of nightmarish qualities, the first thing is the disney store has starting carrying a lot of the product that is found within the parks, I understand for those that are not able to go it is a wonderful way to reach out and find a magical way to travel to the happiest place on earth. The problem I have with this is the quality of the merchandise that they are selling, we went from having items of pretty good to okay quality in the parks now to having substandard, to the question of how did the employees let this get out on the sales floor; all of this has happened with the integration of 'disneyparks'.

    I really am sorry to say this but I really do hope that disney here lets go of Duffy, not that I don't love him (I really do) but I am so sad each time I pass the store on Paradise Pier, the bears they sell don't look like the bear I know and love. They don't keep to the quality that was established by the OLC, and I think they are doing Duffy and his fans a disservice not keeping to the love and magic that brought a bear without a name to the status and love that he is known for today.

    I am lucky I was able to have DuffyD pick me out two bears (Duffy and Shellie May) from Disney Sea, I was also able to get a bear (Duffy) from Paris via a friend who was traveling, and one from here within DLR my self. I am truly amazed about the quality differences within all four bears. The two bears originating from Disney Sea are of amazing quality, even after more than half a year of constant cuddling travel and clothing changes, they are in almost new condition. My bear from Paris is between the bear from Disney Sea and DLR his fur wasn't as soft when he was new, his eyes might not be perfectly lined up but he is a wonderful bear none the less. My Duffy from DLR is sadly of the lowest quality (I've also had him the longest) his fur gets matted very easily, the thread from his smile is starting to fray on the side, and he has had to have a bath or two.

    The only reason I am saying this is because I truly think disney has to step up their game, if they want to keep a wonderful character and creation like Duffy around.I think disney is learning this if the PJ set is anything to go by (it had tippy blue on it!) We will see how this new product line goes with the release of the new costumes (mad hatter and peter pan) I would love to see the wonderful products from Disney Sea brought over here but only if it retains its quality other wise I would rather it remain within Disney Sea and go through the love that is Duffy Post.

    I would hope that Duffy is loved by both boys and girls, men and woman he was made that way and intended to spread love and joy to all. Duffy is unique as you make him (or her in some cases) and is inviting to all as you can make him into his own bear, no two Duffy's are alike. Case and point I have three Duffy's each has their own individual personality, likes, dislikes and qualities, and I love each Duffy for who they are. However I will share a secret I renamed them all to reflect where they were gotten as well as develop their personalities.

    At the parks many people may look at me weird for carrying around my Duffy I have gotten both positive and negative comments some from other guests, some from CMs. I also have carried my Duffy's traveling from place to place and I love to take them with me wherever I go to enjoy my travels with me maybe we will open some minds along the way and take Duffy's love and luck with us wherever we go. No matter the influence of others he always helps bring a smile to my face whenever I see him or hold him. I know for me personally Duffy helps me bring home the magic with me, as my ap is about to expire and I can not renew he will help me keep that childish magic alive and see just what love can bring to the world.

  8. #8

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    TippyBlue is a good example of the gap between the US and Japanese Duffy development teams. Like DuffyD said in his first post, the Japanese team really is an enigma, we have no idea who they are and how much control they have. However, I'm guessing someone in there designed and developed TippyBlue. They took a generic seagull and used a very "Disney" character design on him to create a character that could easily fit in with any of the classic characters. He even looks like he could be related to Scuttle from The Little Mermaid. He looks like he belongs. He might have a grating personality in the My Friend Duffy show, but he's been slowly integrated into the Cape Cod mythos, and given a job, and a perfect one at that.
    Here is what he looks like:

    Now...compare him to what Monty Maldovan says is TippyBlue that he's proud to introduce to the US.


    See the big difference? This is an example of...I don't want to say laziness, but maybe a lack of attention to detail, or at worst, not caring at all. This generic TippyBlue has black dots for eyes that have absolutely NO expression. Everything about him is generic, and even the seagulls from Finding Nemo look more interesting that this guy. The only thing that could be considered the same is the hat...and that they are both technically seagulls. But to proclaim that you've "brought" TippyBlue from Japan to introduce him into the Duffy story...why not, you know, actually USE the real TippyBlue? It's not like it costs more money to use different artwork. Unless OLC does have some creative control over their character. If that's the case, then don't mention the link at all.

    This is my issue with what Disney has been doing with Duffy ever since his debut. It's like "Tah-dah! Here's this wonderful stuff we made, now buy it, isn't it so amazing! We did this all just for you and it's not just a token effort, no, not at all, we put our hearts into it...seriously, we did (please don't go look at what Japan does)." It's just not even close to the same. I get that there are budget issues, but things can still be done with those constraints. There is NO excuse for the 17" t-shirt Duffies, like "mother's day" and "Brazil". Come on, how is that not cheap, minimal effort? Build-a-Bear somehow makes clothes that are affordable and must be cheap to make, otherwise they wouldn't be affordable. But, they manage to get quality in there, and have some truly unique and wonderful clothes. Disney doesn't seem to even bother to follow that model at all. It all seems rushed and half-baked. Now, there are a few cute things, but they really could be doing so much better. Also, like Bebs said, they've now lowered the quality on the plush. How is that supposed to say anything other than "we want money"?

  9. #9

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    Its like a walk down memory lane withall these childhood toys being talked about.


    I just dont understand why society cantjust let kids play with the toys they want too. If they are safe forchildren then let them play. I dont see what its okay for a girl tohave a plush bear and not a boy. We don't think its odd when we seea man holding a baby. Yes a baby and plush doll or animal isdifferent. Little girls play that their dolls or animals are theirbabies. Why cant little boys? Are males not suppose to wantchildren? When should and how should males learn how to take care ofa baby? Im not saying that every child who plays with a doll orplush wants a child when they are older and that is fine. Myfavorite plushs have always been bears doesn’t mean I want a realbear!


    For me growing up, I was the girl howloved Bears and animals and other then cabbage patch dolls, I didn'tlike dolls. I have two bears that went with me everywhere. Georgeand PJ. I still have them today. They look very very very loved. And my grandmother made them new clothes as they ones they came withware out. I still have George and PJ and always will. I loved hotwheels and legos. I had the hot wheel city and I was such a girl asI my hot wheels were families. lol


    Im beginning to think that Duffy in thestates gets lesser quality and design because it is designed for justchildren. Where in Japan its for everyone regardless of age. (Istill say that WDI is putting less quality stuff out for sale in allareas not just Duffy) I dont see this changing, sad. Its justthey way things are. I am thankful that Japan designing great thingswith great quality.

    D
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  10. #10

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    Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    One other thing you said confused me, Aimster, about the men with the dolls. It feels like you're making two opposing points, so I feel sure I've misunderstood you somehow, which I pre-apologize for. Why is it "creepy" for adult men to take photos of dolls in parks? How is that different from Duffy? You don't think when men take photos of Duffy that's creepy, do you? Is this something that's "ok" for a woman, but not for a man? Or is it that as adult Duffy fans, we know we're likely being perceived as "weirdos" so we point out someone else's hobby that's "actually creepy, not like us?" I can't imagine that you think any of that, so...Idongetit. Cos they're men with dolls? That seems antithetical to the point I thought you were making, so I can only really feel more confuzzled. Please help me understand about the "creepy."
    It probably goes back to the boy/girl thing. If I saw a guy taking photos of Duffy or another stuffed animal,I probably wouldn't even think twice about it. I was raised thinking teddy bears/stuffed animals were UNIVERSAL... for boys AND girls. But to see a guy carrying around a very "girly girl" doll, especially those Precious Moments ones dressed like a princess, and taking photos of them... that just hits the weird button on me. I don't know it just does and comes off as a little creepy to me. But like I said in my post in the other thread, to each their own. If that's how they get their kicks, then more power to them.

    I know people probably think I'm nuts for taking Duffy lots of places. For each friend who thinks he's awesome, I'll have another friend who doesn't get it and will mock me about it. Most of my friends know I'm quirky and it's one of the reasons they like me. I keep things interesting.

  11. #11

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    Thumbs up Re: Where is Duffy sailing off to, and is it really the best course?

    Lots to reply to here...

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    ... I remember in the 80's, toy companies really did try to have options for boys and girls... They were something boys and girls could share equally.
    I wonder what happened to this mentality? It seems like a backwards step, no? Cos it's true, BAB clothes are heavily weighted on the feminine side. There's not even a ninja!

    My (male) cousin had every figure, both Star Wars and G.I. Joe. I had lots, too, but they were loaded. Their parents opened a video store chain when VHS was new. We played hard, and battled a lot. We rolled over battleships and tanks and super-expensive playsets in ways that made our parents cringe. BUT...we, well I, really, also took the Joes apart with tiny screwdrivers and made custom hair out of marker-dyed cotton soaked in super glue (it hardens^^) to include the girls in the neighborhood. I wrote file cards for all of our original characters and because the girls played, too, we had weddings and time travel and lives of intense romantic destiny. Sometimes the same characters would crossover between our G.I. Joe play, fashion dolls and live-action in forts we built both outdoors and in our houses. Had we or our families had a "boys do this" or "girls do that" mentality, not only would we have missed out on playing together or dominated each other in order to play together, we'd also have been less creative and learned far less about both compromise and creative critical thinking. We were very lucky.^^

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    Now...about Duffy....
    Hehe...that's where I'd like to focus this conversation, too, going forward. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    First thing...I really think that the acknowledgement of Cape Cod will never and was never going to happen. It requires a whole different way of thinking by Disney that I don't think they are capable of. They would have to really start from scratch and get people to understand that there is a theme park in Japan, and there's an area based on Cape Cod there. I know lots of fans know about TDS, but it would require Disney to actually push TDS and the fact that another company owns and operates it.
    I see what you're saying here, completely, but precisely this fact is one of the things that I find completely wrong and kind of offensive about the Duffy rollout outside Japan. After the cursory info about Japan, nothing permanent even mentions that connection anymore. Just as I always feared and expected, it is being set up so that the vast majority of people who know Duffy will believe he is the brainchild of Monty Maldovan, which is so extremely not the case in any fashion. I had hoped, vainly it seems now, that the collaboration with OLC in the development of Shanghai Disneyland would lead to a more genuine acknowledgement of their history, their partnership, and the pride that Disney Imagineers have about working with the Japanese parks. Instead, the story was told in a way that sounded like Disney moved the Disney Bear to Japan and Disney renamed it Duffy and Disney developed the Cape Cod concept and Disney was test marketing him there and Disney had planned for "Duffy" to return "home" all along. And all of that is just, in the illustrious words of our American vice-president, " a bunch of STUFF!" It's not right that the artists, writers, and designers who created and continue to create the Cape Cod Duffy that successfully defined and continues to define the brand have never been and are never credited while Monty Maldovan gets praised time and time again, even when all he's doing is imitating what they've already done. It's nothing against him personally, necessarily, but it is absolutely not right. I also wonder if any of the members of the Japanese Duffy team are US Imagineers. I've heard that all Duffy marketing, illustration, planning, etc was done in-house at OLC by a dedicated team until a year or two ago. Now they are, I've heard, rolled up into the larger product planning division...or maybe that was just for Spring Voyage. My memory fails me now, and it's all hearsay from fans anyway. Even Japanese fans don't seem to know for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    I think the parks are places where some creativity shines, but the company is so large, and so corporate that it just can't create with heart the way it used to... It's depressing to me, but I don't see Disney ever getting back to it's roots and not caring about money.
    This last part is no doubt true, Disney cares a LOT about money. But anyone who thinks the OLC is some kind of altruistic benevolent force in the world or that they don't see Duffy as a total goldmine is just kidding themselves. Duffy makes more money than anything there has ever made. Ever. Duffy probably makes more, relative to his audience and availability, than any Disney product or character has ever made, ever. Duffy, done right, makes boatloads of money and people are heartbreakingly disappointed when you sell out and they can't give their money to you. I just don't understand why Disney doesn't go after the strategy that makes Duffy work.

    A cheap brown-and-tan monogram suitcase is not a Louis Vuitton, and everyone knows it. Even a very well-made knockoff of Louis Vuitton is not a Louis Vuitton and there are people who can recognize it easily. What Disney's done is different, though. A brown paper bag printed with an "LV" logo for a dollar may be cheaper than a Louis Vuitton bag, but it's still substantially overpriced for a brown paper bag...and not that much fun to own or treasure for years, especially when it's produced year round, for years and years, connected to nothing particularly special. The Louis Vuitton costs more, but it's worth more, too. And there is a market that would totally embrace Duffy and see him as a symbol of a turnaround at Disney, and they would gladly pay for that... Well, there was and they would have. That ship has likely sailed.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    I can compare Duffy to another recent phenomenon. The recent reboot of the "My Little Pony" franchise with the "Friendship is Magic" TV series. Where before, the toy line has been pretty much to sell toys, and the animation has been an afterthought, this time lightning struck and they got it the other way around. Somehow, Hasbro got truly creative people behind the new series (some of the people behind PowerPuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and other quality shows), and they created a true sense of place, and back-stories for the ponies. It wasn't really about the toys anymore, but about telling good stories. What ended up happening is that the series started attracting a totally different fanbase than they expected. Adult men started watching and becoming fans. They formed a fairly large group that got labeled "bronies". It was meant as an epithet, but they embraced it. People make fun of them all the time for liking something "girly", but despite that, there is a fairly large male fanbase that likes My Little Pony now.
    This is why I'm glad there's been no Duffy media launch...yet. Although some people clamor for it, I see every indication that the animation would be an afterthought that only existed to sell merchandise, especially as it doesn't seem that it would be set in Cape Cod. If they actually tried to establish Duffy's home as some other place, that would be a heinous crime. And if they just never named the generic "seaside port town," it would be difficult to establish that true sense of place.

    I checked out the Ponies and what seems to have happened is that people who decide to 1) commit to and 2) have fun with whatever they do are involved. They have both the right integrity and the right attitude about the work, and that's probably why they also embrace their fans, whomever they are. Because they have actually worked hard at their craft, and they are duly proud of their work...which is probably why adults bother to care about what they do...and because the adults "get it," too, they are, I imagine, far more likely to be more comfortable spending money and investing playtime to allow that world to be part of their children's formative development, as well as allowing that world to be part of keeping their own hearts and imaginations fertile. That's what happens when the right people do the right jobs. I don't understand why that doesn't always happen. These are not the easiest jobs in the world to get. You'd think if there was someone who was better at it and wanted it more, they'd be doing it...

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    Duffy could have been the same, but Disney doesn't care to figure it out, and they would rather focus on the bottom line than about crafting something truly magical and unique. It's much harder to do this, and maybe that's why they don't want to. Fear of trying something new and failing...again. I'm just not even sure that if there was a real "Duffy Team" that was just as motivated as the OLC team, that Disney would let them do what they do without interference.
    I'm not sure it's even a fear of failing. It feels to me like not wanting to bother to craft something magical and unique because they don't really have to, because Disney fans and TV-nanny parents are just gonna buy it anyway. In fact, the less complex it is, probably the easier time you have reaching that demographic. Disney is not after me as a consumer at all. I find that strange, because I think Walt was absolutely interested in elevating the public's perception of art, rather than dumbing down art and shackling artists in order not to push the boundaries of consumers. I think he would be dismayed, and I think he would have used Duffy to craft a renaissance. There was such an opportunity here.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    Duffy has been relegated to a prop. Unlike his interactions at TDS, and his solo merchandise line. In the US. he's a teddy bear only allowed to be held by another character. Notice, he's not without the mice on most everything, and then he's in one of their arms. He's not allowed to be his own character, always "Mickey's" or "Minnie's".

    If they isolated him from the mice and tried to do something unique with him, maybe that would get people interested in him as a character. Right now, he's a prop, and he's that way in a lot of people's homes too, I'm sure. He's there to sit there and look cute. Not to be something with a real spark of creativity or magic, but just to sit there with other stuffed toys and blend in. I do think lots of people now just buy Duffy because he's "cute" and he's available. There is no thought as to who he is, or his possible origins, or a sense of real quality. Disney has conditioned us to just "buy stuff". The Japanese also "buy stuff", but it's from a different point of view, I think. It's consumerism at it's best, but there is something different there. A sense of purpose for the mundane, a real aesthetic sense...And, usually, it's done thoughtfully. Not always, but moreso than in the US. Maybe it's strictly a cultural thing, but I do know that people here also respond to "cute" things, or at least "unique" things.
    (Bold, italics, underline by DuffyDaisuki)
    Everyone here knows I love the sound of my own voice, but the above quote by Gurgi is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing, on Duffy or otherwise, I've ever read. I see no point in adding to it, but it bears repeating, and real thought from the fandom. Absolutely beautiful, Gurgi. I cannot get over it.

    I had every intention of replying to all the other posts in this thread tonight, too, but it is late and I start work early, first day back after a long vacation, so I think I'm gonna sign off guys. I really do hope more people participate deeply in the discussion of what Duffy means and why Duffy matters, though. Sometimes lately I worry that our forum is becoming all about "cute" "stuff," and I'm not sure that's really where we wanna go. And if it is, let me just take this moment to object.

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