The Good: Good detailing, Good balance, Generally affordable, Sound chip works
The Bad: Sound effect is a bit long.
The Basics: A fun ornament, Hallmark's "Mr. Plow" is great for fans of The Simpsons and will keep consumers entertained all through the holiday season.
I tend to be a tough reviewer when it comes to the Christmas ornaments I review. I like to think I have very high standards and I try to rate everything objectively from a strong sense of consistent criteria. So, when I rate an ornament with a ten out of ten, it is truly a rare thing and it means that the ornament is perfect or very close to it. In the case of holiday ornaments, balance, effects, price and realism of the sculpt are all factors I consider. So, it's not just that I like The Simpsons that I recommend enthusiastically the "Mr. Plow" ornament.
For those unfamiliar with "Mr. Plow," in the fourth season of The Simpsons, Homer takes a job plowing in Springfield. Homer takes on the persona of "Mr. Plow," drives his plow truck around and advertises until Barney moves in on his territory. The "Mr. Plow" ornament is not simply Homer Simpson in his jacket (which gets Marge hot), it's Homer in his "Mr. Plow" truck and it is a decent ornament that looks perfectly appropriate, colored brightly as it is. To add extra value to this ornament, Hallmark provided the "Mr. Plow" ornament with a pretty decent sound chip.
The "Mr. Plow" ornament recreates Homer Simpson in his Mr. Plow truck. The ornament includes the truck, with the plow on the front of it, lopsided, with Homer in the driver's seat and a Christmas tree in the bed of the truck. The ornament, released in 2009, is as authentic as it can be considering it is based upon an animated work for the source material. Because everything in The Simpsons is colored in simple solid colors (without human shading or details), the ornament appropriately does not have any coloring depth or shading to it.
Still, Hallmark clearly made an effort on the "Mr. Plow" ornament and almost everything about the ornament looks good and functions well. Homer Simpson has adequate detailing in his eyes and in his jacket. The truck even has the Mr. Plow logos all over it. Measuring twelve and a half centimeters long, seven and a half centimeters wide and five and a half centimeters tall, the "Mr. Plow" ornament is one of the larger Hallmark ornaments this year and with the sound feature, it seems to be almost reasonable that Hallmark charges a little over twenty bucks for it.
The Hallmark "Mr. Plow" ornament is made of a durable plastic, but because it is colored in simple bright colors, it looks a little cheaper, though it is just as strong as other Hallmark ornaments. This ornament remains fairly easy to find at Hallmark stores, so there is no reason (yet) to look for it in the secondary market, despite the fact that The Simpsons and sound chip are pretty popular. This ornament features a battery to power the sound effects.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Mr. Plow" has a sound effect, but no light effect. On the bottom of the truck, there is a well-concealed button. This makes for the only real problem with the ornament; the button is on the bottom and it is very difficult to find. The button, when pressed, activates the sound chip. The sound chip actually contains a single sound clip from The Simpsons. Rather surprisingly, this sound clip is not just the "Mr. Plow" jingle, but rather the whole "Mr. Plow" infomercial. As a result, this ornament begins with Homer speaking - quite clearly - about the potential dangers of shoveling snow before singing the "Mr. Plow" song. Fans of The Simpsons will instantly recognize the song. Those who are not fans will still be amused by the whole preamble Homer gives.
The only other "feature" is the wire Christmas tree in the truck's flatbed. The tree does not come out of the ornament, though, so it is hard to consider this anything other than part of the ornament.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Mr. Plow" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Christmas Tree for The Simpsons, the "Mr. Plow" ornament is a necessary addition and arguably one of the most appropriately Christmas-themed ornaments from the line. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the truck's cab. This is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament.
This is a disarmingly light ornament and for the size it truly seems light. This is a perfectly balanced ornament. When hung from the embedded loop, this hangs flat, like a truck ought to.
Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Within a few years, Fox jumped on the bandwagon and began merchandising The Simpsons in the Christmas ornaments. "Mr. Plow" was the only The Simpsons ornament released last year and fans seem to like it, though it is quite common. Even so, this ornament appears to be more than adequately produced and is not likely to be a great investment piece.
Fans of the The Simpsons franchise, Home Simpson (a.k.a. Mr. Plow), and Hallmark ornaments are likely to find this to be a funny and well-made ornament that is entertaining, even if the sound clip does play a clip that is a bit longer than most.
For other Hallmark ornaments from different genre works, please check out my reviews of:
2009 "Frankly, My Dear" Gone With The Wind ornament
2010 “Gift For Dobby” (Limited Edition!) Harry Potter ornament
2009 Retrieving The Idol Indiana Jones ornament
For other ornament and toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.