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Invasion Of The LOL Dolls
For the uninitiated, of which I was a member until my grand daughters introduced me to - nay, immersed me into - the phenomenon,
LOL's are 3" dolls that resemble miniature pot-bellied aliens and come in a variety of skin tones and hair colors, along with the even tinier LOL L'il Sisters,
The LOL Doll's shtick is a relatively recent concept in the toy world - as explained to me by a sales associate in a Barnes & Noble where I had the wildly unexpected luck of finding one of the dolls - known as the Blind Bag, which involves the child opening layers of surprises hidden in little bags before finding the main surprise, in the case of the LOL this being the doll.
The LOL Dolls - and their companion L'il Sisters and LOL Pets - are marketed as collectibles and sold in colorful spheres,
Each doll has a special trait, the possibilities being that the doll is capable of either spitting, crying, tinkling, or changing color when wet. One discovers of which trait one’s new doll is possessed by submerging the doll in water.
2.) The Narrative
A feat of marketing genius, there have been created for the LOL Dolls a number of companion Youtube videos, each about twenty minutes long.
The videos generally begin with The Narrator, as I’m calling her – an anonymous young lady one never sees but with a sweet, energetic voice – opening an LOL sphere step by step and voicing much excitement over each discovery.
My granddaughters, having watched numerous times this engaging video demonstration on opening the LOL sphere, now imitate the The Narrator's ritual when opening a new LOL Doll, including her vocal inflections and ebullience over each surprise discovery.
The opening of an LOL Doll sphere is, then, a highly stylized and time-consuming process, not to be pursued in haste.
After the opening - opening – scene, there ensues a little live-action feature in which The Narrator moves the LOL dolls around and speaks the part of each character.
From time to time there is a cameo appearance by a Barbie doll in the roll of the mother, the teacher, the doctor, or some other authority figure.
The videos, sometimes off-beat as the subject matter may be, are entertaining and somehow highly relatable for young children. They’re also rather hilarious.
But more importantly, the videos serve as wellsprings of ideas for play,
For example, during a hotel stay en route to our trip to Legoland (see post from 4/18/2018 ) my four-year-old granddaughter, while stepping into the elevator, dropped her much-loved, much-prized LOL L’il Sister,* which then bounced into the elevator shaft via the small space at the opening of the elevator door. After a brief bout frantic crying my granddaughter was calmed and soon seemed to have forgotten about the lost doll.
But a few days later I overheard my granddaughters playing with their LOL Dolls.
“Our baby sister died,” said the four-year-old in her doll’s voice, “she fell down a crack in the elevator.” Her older sister’s doll offered some words of consolation. The younger one then added in the saddest of doll voices, “We really miss our baby sister.”
*At the time of my visit the wildly popular LOL Dolls were hard to come by in California, and if one happened to find one or two on a store shelf – as I did, one time at a Walgreens in Monterey and once at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan Beach – it was only by amazing luck and happenstance. L’il Sisters were even harder to come in by in Los Angeles and I searched to no avail around the Manhattan Beach area for a replacement for my granddaughter’s lost L’il Sister.
However since my return to Columbus I’ve seen LOL Dolls in the toy departments of several stores, and by asking around even managed to procure two L’il Sisters, which I sent to my thoroughly delighted granddaughters in Los Angeles