Monday, November 21, 2016

Awful Animated Look: The Sound Feature Is All That Sells The Big Bang Theory Ornament!

The Good: Neat sound clip
The Bad: Overproduced, Incredibly animated look, Awful sculpt, Expensive, Right-heavy
The Basics: The 2016 Hallmark Keepsake The Big Bang Theory ornament is ridiculous in almost every way.

One of the oddest television series's to get merchandised excessively in the last few years is The Big Bang Theory. Unlike most television comedies, The Big Bang Theory has not had spin-offs, but has led to a series of merchandise opportunities for collectors that other, similar, shows like How I Met Your Mother and New Girl have not. There are bobbleheads, trading cards and board games centered around The Big Bang Theory and Hallmark is getting in on the action for the second year in a row with a holiday ornament.

Sadly, it sucks.

Yes, we want to be sophisticated in our analysis, but sometimes, it pays to just call it like it is and the 2016 The Big Bang Theory ornament is just overpriced garbage. If it did not have the sound clip in it, no one would take this collectible seriously.

For those unfamiliar with the series, The Big Bang Theory (season 1 is reviewed here!) follows the lives of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a genius physicist who is socially awkward, Dr. Leonard Hoffstader (his roommate) and their friends, most notably their neighbor Penny, whom Leonard has the hots for. Sheldon Cooper is difficult to live and work with, but has an endearing bluntness and moments of unpredictable energy that make him fun to watch.

The The Big Bang Theory ornament is the molecule symbol from the opening credits with head shots of the five main characters from the series, along with the series logo in one giant, surprisingly ugly ornament.


The The Big Bang Theory ornament vaguely recreates the appearances of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, Dr. Koothrappali, Wolowitz and Penny, each in a different corner segment of the atom symbol from the opening credits to The Big Bang Theory. The show's title in its distinctive typeface occupies the top segment of the symbol. Measuring four inches tall and wide and three-quarters of an inch thick, the The Big Bang Theory ornament is one of several ornaments released by Hallmark for 2016 that is based on an obscure television or film property. The The Big Bang Theory ornament came with an original retail price of $19.95 and given its lack of detailing, it is an impossible sell to collectors at that price.

The Hallmark The Big Bang Theory ornament is made of durable plastic and is cast in a way that looks cheap and all of the characters look animated. There is no sophistication to the sculpt, so each of the characters is off in some way; from Leonard's head being too narrow at the top to Penny's hair looking uncharacteristically curly and fluffy, none of the characters look quite like the actors who portray them. Were it not for the Green Lantern t-shirt and the ornament's labeling, Sheldon Cooper would be entirely unrecognizable.

Just as the sculpted faces and busts are virtually unrecognizable renditions of the popular characters from The Big Bang Theory, so too are the colors on the 2016 The Big Bang Theory entirely indistinct, simplistic and lacking in any realistic subtlety or depth. The skin tones are colored in monotones similar to the pieces of costumes that are visible on the ornament and the hair on each character is colored in such a way that each person looks like they are basically wearing a helmet of varying sizes! None of the characters in the The Big Bang Theory are sculpted or colored to do justice to the actor they are supposed to represent.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the 2016 The Big Bang Theory ornament has a sound chip. When the button on the ornament is pressed, the ornament plays the theme song from The Big Bang Theory. Fans of the Barenaked Ladies get a loud rendition of "History Of Everything" and the batteries that the ornament comes with power the ornament through at least fifty button pushes.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake The Big Bang Theory ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree and for those creating the ultimate television nostalgia tree, The Big Bang Theory is a solid theoretical choice, but one whose execution undermines it. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top of the atom symbol. From there, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, hangs with a slight right bias, probably because of the electron in the symbol weighing the ornament just slightly more on the right side than the symbols that would balance it on the left.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The 2016 The Big Bang Theory ornament did not sell out in its first weekend from any of the many Hallmark stores I visited. In fact, the response so far to the ornament has been chilly; the cool sound clip is not overwhelming consumers with the urge to buy this cheap-looking ornament.

The net result is that the common-release ornament is likely to be overproduced for the fanbase demand. There are a lot of The Big Bang Theory products on the market now and investors in such merchandise should be able to hold off on the ornament and find it at a deal at the end of the season. At full price, it is unlikely to be a good investment as it is hard to bank on this ornament appreciating in value in the near term. Given that fan demand will easily be met by the quantities produced, it is unlikely that it will sell out right away and there should be some at the end of the season put on clearance. Even at half price, though, the quality of the 2016 The Big Bang Theory ornament is so low that it is unlikely to ever be considered worth investing in.


Fans of The Big Bang Theory are likely to be much more disappointed than impressed by every aspect of the 2016 The Big Bang Theory ornament.

For other Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2016 "Under The Sea" The Little Mermaid ornament
2016 Supergirl DC SuperHero Girls ornament
2016 Death Trooper Rogue One ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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