LESLIE KNOPE, BEN WYATT, DONNA MEAGLE, APRIL LUDGATE, & BURT MACKLIN
PARKS & RECREATION REACTION FIGURES (SUPER 7)
“Ba ba badadada ba badadada ba badadada ba badabada….”
Parks & Recreation Theme Song (Paraphrased)
The Office gets, like, a lot of attention. So much attention. Absurd amounts of attention. And, the thing is, honestly? It’s kind of overplayed. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very funny bits on The Office. But, for the most part, they can just be boiled down to quippy clips that make just as much sense, if not more, when chopped up and thrown into compilations as when shown in actual context. For my money, the superior workplace comedy by a wide berth is Parks & Recreation, a show that’s also just one of my favorite shows in general. As a show with a lot of pretty normal looking people, there’s not a *ton* in the way of merchandising for Parks & Rec, but there’s more than you might think. Funko of course grabbed the license for Pops a while back, and last year Super 7 also got the license for the purposes of doing a set of ReAction Figures, most of which I’m taking a look at today!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Leslie Knope, Ben Wyatt, Donna Meagle, April Ludgate, and Burt Macklin are five of the six figures (the other being Ron Swanson) that make up the first series of Super 7’s Parks & Recreation ReAction Figures line, which started hitting retail in the fall of last year.
You can’t very well have a line of Parks & Rec figures and not include the main character, so Leslie was always along for the ride. Leslie gets quite a number of looks over the course of the show, but this figure settles on one of her office attire blazer and skirt looks, which feels pretty appropriate for the character. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation. The movement on her neck is a little restricted by the hair, but otherwise it’s a decent basic set-up for movement. Leslie’s sculpt is obviously stylized to be a bit more basic. It’s gets the important details, while dialing back a bit on some of the specifics. The head’s got a passable likeness of Amy Pohler; it’s not spot-on, but at this scale and in this style, it’s hardly expected to be. I’d say she’s probably the best of the likenesses present in the initial line-up. The paint work is, like the sculpt, pretty basic. It does what it needs to, and it looks the part. Leslie is packed with a plate with a waffle on it, undoubtedly one made by JJ’s Diner. There’s honestly nothing more on-brand for Leslie, so it’s definitely nifty. She can’t really hold it, though, which is a shame. Still cool.
Though absent until the end of the show’s second season, Ben’s still very much a signature character for the show. Gonna be honest, there are few fictional characters I identify with more than Ben Wyatt. His absence from the first two rounds of Pops kind of soured me on those, so I’m very excited that he’s here. Ben’s sporting his more dressed-down, getting things solved look, which definitely works well. The figure’s sculpt is one that works better in context than on its own. The head’s an okay Adam Scott, but it could honestly just as easily be Jason Bateman or Jason Sudekis. I don’t hate the smile, but it’s also not quite a quintessential Ben expression. The body doesn’t seem quite skinny enough for Scott’s build; he’s too doughy in the middle, I think. It’s definitely a little bit of a stylistic thing, though. The paint work on Ben is pretty basic, and fairly drab, but that’s all about right. Ben’s packed with a small recreation of the Cones of Dunshire, Ben’s absurdly complicated strategy game he invented. As with Leslie’s waffle, this is a very on-brand piece, so it’s a lot of fun. He does have a little bit more luck actually holding it, so that’s a plus.
Donna may have been in the show from the beginning, but she’s a character who very much grew as the show progressed, going from a glorified extra in the first season to a prominent series regular by the end. Donna also has a lot of looks over the course of the show, but this one goes for her more casual attire. Donna’s sculpt is a little more immediately obvious as to who it’s supposed to be, but it’s still not quite as on the mark as Leslie. The likeness to Rhetta’s not overly there, but at the same time, it’s not like the figure looks *unlike* her. As with Ben, the context of the rest of the figures fills it in pretty quickly. Her sculpt is pretty basic, as expected, but her proportions seem a little more on the mark than Ben’s were. Her paint work adds a little more color to the set, with a nice splash of bright pink, which works well for the set. Donna is packed with a box of baked goods, marked “Treat Yo Self”, which is another very appropriate extra, since the Treat Yo Self antics really helped to cement her character. We’re back to the figure not being able to hold the accessory, unfortunately, but it’s still nifty to have it.
April’s one of the few characters that comes out of the gate more or less fully formed on the show, albeit in a way that still very much allows her to grow as the series progresses. For her figure, she’s another casual attire look, which is again pretty on-the-mark for her character. April’s sculpt winds up being the weakest of the bunch, I find. Something about the head just misses the mark. The hair seems to sit too far back, making her forehead seem far too large, and the proportions on the body seem a bit off. None of it’s terrible, but it’s not super great either. Her paint work is at least pretty bright, so she’s got that going for her. April is packed with a small minifigure of her and Andy’s three-legged dog Champion, which isn’t quite as spot-on for the character as some of the others, but is still a pretty solid inclusion.
Burt Macklin, FBI! Yes, while everyone else in the assortment is just their normal selves, our first version of Chris Pratt’s Andy Dwyer is him using his Burt Macklin persona, which he’d whip out whenever things got “serious.” It makes him the most targeted of these figures in terms of appearance, and also marks him as someone they’re probably looking to do multiple variants on, should the line progress. “Burt” is a pretty decent sculpt as well. The likeness is a little harder to place, since he’s got the glasses sculpted in place, but it seems to land the look pretty alright, and the body gets Pratt’s slightly huskier build down well. “Burt” has a slightly sloppier paint scheme than the others in the set, especially on the hair and beard. Given the scale and style, though, it’s not that bad, and the rest of the figure’s all pretty clean. There are no accessories for this guy, which is a bit of a bummer, but I suppose they’re holding out on the more fun stuff for another Andy variant. Still feels a bit light.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
With Parks & Rec being very high on my list of favorite TV shows, it’s hard for me to justify passing up the chance to own the cast in action figure form. Of course, given the price point on these things, I was initially thinking I might just grab Ben. I wound up being swayed into getting the five of these when my wife Rachel and I found them at Target, and she insisted on buying them for me as an early Christmas gift. They’re definitely expensive for what they are, and they’re not perfect, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be down to pick up whatever else they want to do from the line.