Not-so-Amazing Amanda

I was just reading a blog that often makes me chuckle (Mom’s Daily Dose) about the hype surrounding this year’s “must have” toy–some new Tickle Me Elmo extreme edition. The author of the blog asks who is going to run out and buy that toy? As a cautionary tale, I feel compelled to share my story of Christmas 2005, and Amazing Amanda.

Last winter, we had just moved into our house, and for 8 glorious months we had free cable. It was like crack to us, since we’ve never picked up more than four channels (we’re cheap, and take issue with paying for crap on TV, and we still proudly own rabbit ears that get us 3 channels on a clear day for nothin’!). But once we were exposed to 95 clear-as-a-bell channels for free, we couldn’t turn it off! I once caught my husband watching Red Dawn in Spanish (he does not speak that language) and I realized we’d had enough. The cable company caught on and turned off our free cable.

Prior to the cable cut off, our daughter enjoyed at least a good hour a day of Nick Jr, along with the mind numbing barrage of advertisements that come with commercial TV. Once she caught a glimpse of just how amazing Amanda was (“Mom, that doll will really understand me!”), she wanted nothing else. For those who missed her ad campaign, Amazing Amanda is a freaky looking doll of questionable age, who comes with her own potty and a delicious selection of junk food, and in the fantasy world of TV marketing to children, has voice recognition technology that will allow her to really understand everything your child says. I should have known better.

Amanda was delivered on Christmas morning and our daughter was delighted. She ignored her stocking and other goodies and immediately wanted to bond with her new doll. However, Amanda required a bit of “training” in order to understand her new mommy. This was no easy task. Even with my help, it took us over an hour to get Amanda to figure out the day and time and stop telling us she had to pee every 3 minutes, and I have a flippin’ master’s degree! We quickly learned that if Amanda is turned off, she has to be programmed all over again. Otherwise, she’ll speak in this whispery voice and say “You don’t sound like my mommy. I’ll just play alone until my mommy comes back.” Note to toy manufacturers: rejection is not a good method for winning over a child. I kid you not, by 4pm on Christmas day, we found Amanda stuffed in a trash can in our home office. Our child pretty much said “Amanda, you’re dead to me.”

To this day, Amanda rests silently, batteries removed, in a crib full of dolls. She might have cost $85, but she sure doesn’t get any special love or attention. Rest assured, unless the 2006 version of Tickle Me Elmo can run a vacuum cleaner, fold laundry and potty train my son, he won’t be living in our house.

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10 Responses to Not-so-Amazing Amanda

  1. Bethany says:

    Came to you through the Naked Ledger and just have to say I’m going to have to read your archives!

    Though we haven’t gone shopping-free like you have, I’ve been really trying to wean our own material possessions and buy only what we absolutely need. My reasons are financial, but I take pleasure in the environmental impact as well.

    I’ll be back!

  2. Kari says:

    Is it bad that I laughed? Isn’t it always the case the most anticipated things disappoint?

    However, I still wish I could have gotten a class ring in high school (my parents said I wouldn’t want a high school ring while attending college, but I hold more allegiance to my high school than my college!) and I still regret not getting a wedding annoucement put in the local paper. To this day, there is a red wool peacoat I wish I had bought three years ago (my current coats are all from the 80’s, ripped, and dated.)So, sometimes the things I want, I really do want!

  3. BeLinda says:

    I read somewhere that too much technology just causes a kid to become more quickly bored with a toy. It creates and artificial sense of “fun” that wears off more quickly than really learning how to play. All of my daughter’s favorite “buddies” run on imagination while the amazing “fur real” chimp sits in the closet. I have heard a lot of people say that Amazing Amanda is really not all that amazing.

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  6. CYNSHEI says:

    IM A TEENAGER N I WANTED AMAZING AMANDA EVERY SINCE I SEEN HER ON T.V. N I STILL DO {I FIRST SEEN HER LAST YEAR} I THINK I WANT HER SO BADLY BECUZ I LOVE BABIES I LOVE PLAYING WIT THEM N CHAGING THEM N EVERYTHING. ALL THE BAD THINGS PPL SAY ABOUT I STILL WANT HER. I CANT WAIT UNTIL I HAVE ENOGUH BABYSITTING MONEY N IM GOIN STRAIGHT TO WALMART TO GET HER ILL UPDATE U THEN BYE!

  7. Lilly says:

    Every Body That Say’s Amazing Amanda Is So Sacry You Know What I Think You Guy’s Just Think That & Most Of People Say It Could Get A Knife (PS Im 9 Year’s Old)And Cut You To Piece’s That Is Not True Oh And It’s Not My Falt You Guy’s Think It Look’s Like Chucky Y’all Are The 1’s Who Wached The Stupid Movie I Am 9 Year’s Old And I Have Wached Ghost Ship (Scary Movie)I Have Wached Sixth Sence(Stupid Not Scary At All)I Have Been In A Huanted House So Y’all Are Just Crazy Cause If That Scare’s You Then Some Puppy Movie Would Make You Cry

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  9. cable companies are also offering broadband internet these days and the cost is cheap too *,`

  10. I think you people that are so against Amazing Amanda are hunting a excuse to find a fault in anything that is smarter than you are or so close to being a real little girl . I thought that was what the goal was , making a doll as real as possible so children could relate to the doll , give our children some credit our children are smarter than they use to be because of the technology we have now that we use to not have. So I don’t think the doll is scary , and when you made a comment as to not knowing the age really I see children all the time and don’t know there age but since that is a real problem for you she is a toddler which means between the ages 2 thru 4 years old . Now the reason I have taken the time to write this is because all the complaints have caused them to take the dolls off the market and the ones anyone can find on line are few and hard to find.

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