Friday, September 24, 2010

Frightful Furby

I present to you: the thing of nightmares. 

I have to start by saying that even as a child, I thought Furby was the creepiest thing ever, and I had NO desire to own one. First of all, because what the hell even WAS it—a radioactive owl? It was the closest thing I could think of, at least. The large, blinking eyes that made a very mechanical sound as they opened and closed were freaky, and the idea that it didn’t speak English to begin with, but learned it, honestly weirded me out too. After all, I was a child of the 90s; I didn’t like these silly advanced notions! In retrospect, Furby might have just been ahead of my time.

(However, looking at the Wikipedia article, they were programmed to learn English automatically no matter what, so really, it wasn’t ‘learning.’ If you spoke Spanish? Tough crap, your Furby was still going to speak English. That soothes my 90s soul a bit, that Furbies weren’t TOO advanced. And eventually, Furbies were made with capabilities for up to 24 languages.)

More likely, however, they were just creepy, creepy toys.
However, my disdain/almost fear of Furby wasn’t something I shared with the world, and so for Christmas one year, my well-meaning and loving grandmother bought my brother and I each our very own Furby.

And so the indoctrination began.

Once I actually had a Furby, I warmed up to it. It was actually kind of…charming, with the songs and the dancing, and okay, maybe this owl-hamster-rodent thing was kind of cute. There were sensors embedded in it that would trigger Furby to ‘wake up’ when you spoke to it, and you could get it to sing and do a little dance. It was kind of like a little pet, one that didn’t shed or poop. Plus, of course there was the element that Furby was the ‘cool toy’ and that only the ‘cool kids’ had it. With my Furby, I had joined the rank of the elite!

Maybe Furbies weren’t so bad after all, I innocently and naively thought.

Furby was a new technology, though—at least the Classic Furbies, which were the ones of our era, were—and they had quite a few bugs. After my cute little Furby lulled me into a false sense of security, it began to act buggy. It would ‘wake up’ and start speaking even when no one was in the room—I would come upstairs to hear it chattering away to itself. It would blink its eyes and click its beak obsessively and then refuse to speak. When it did speak, it reverted to ‘Furbish,’ its original set language.

I probably could have brought Furby to my parents and they probably could have reset/fix him. Instead, I took this as a sign that Furby indeed was a possessed toy bent on taking over the world, I pulled out his batteries, and I stashed him under my bed, where he would live for the next several years before I finally threw him out for good. Never again would Furby threaten the sanctity of sleep by waking up in the middle of the night demanding I sing a song. Furby had been defeated.

Sorry, Mom-Mom!

Looking back, Furby itself was a mediocre toy—as I said, it had a lot of bugs in it. I know many of my Furby-owning friends had similar problems with their toys. However, in retrospect what Furby represents is actually pretty cool. It was the first robot-toy to enjoy commercial success. It opened the door to a whole new kind of toy.

If only it weren’t so freaky looking.

In conclusion? Furby=possibly the creepiest toy to enjoy major popularity in the 90s. The success of Furby=a major impact on the toy industry as a whole.

Next, I’ll look at another one of the biggest collector items of the 90s—the Ty Beanie Babies.

Until then…

Furby’s watching you.


  1. I never had a Furby either. Man, my parents must've sucked!

    I did at least have Ty Beanie Babies, but not because my parents bought them for me.

  2. In the case of Furby, it wasn't that your parents sucked. It was them sparing you the horror.

  3. Both me and my sister had furbies. They were quite disturbing. We hid them in our closets and once in a while we would hear them waking up saying "whoa! It's scary" because they would be in a dark closet alone. Can you say "POSSESSED" one more time lol. And TY beanie babies?, you name it we had it. tons of them things laying around in my childhood. I actually still have a few thinking they would someday be worth something.

  4. I tried posting this video on tgwtg, but failed miserably.

  5. Furby's would have probably taken over the world if they could.. They were about as close to pure evil as possible. They talk and talk, eventually I got so freaked out about them I threw it in the dumpster. NEVER BUY ONE!I don't know what I was thinking when I got one.

  6. Anny, I love that you walked down the street to throw it in a dumpster, instead of just throwing it into the trash. Very smart move, because honestly, I wouldn't put it past Furby to crawl out of the trash can and find its way back to your shelf. Better to disorient it so it can't find its way home again.

  7. Furbies creeped me out and as a child I never had a desire to own one.

  8. Hey furbies are cute and so fluffy but if you hug too hard you just feel plastic.
    The furbies almost are alive. i love the fuzzy birds.

  9. My mom told me she actually had to ask my grandmother to come with her to buy them, because they were only selling one per customer they were so popular. And my sister and I both wanted one. :)

    I just found your blog today, and it made me smile and laugh out loud. And I love it that I actually KNOW what you're talking about, because I grew up in the 90s too!