My Deja Vu by The Tonner Doll Company

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Last summer, the Tonner Doll Company launched a new line of dolls called Deja Vu. The Deja Vu line consists of ten dolls representing three different women, each from a different era: the 18th century, the Roaring Twenties, and the present. The kicker is that each of these women are reincarnations of the same person! Penelope Brewster is a Production Assistant in Los Angeles who starts to recall past lives after accidentally getting hit on the head. (How? I don’t know, but you can find out by purchasing Robert Tonner’s novel based on the Deja Vu line when it comes out this spring). Penelope starts to recall her past lives as Anne de Leger, an 18th-century French courtesan, and Emma Jean McGowen, a flapper in 1920s New York. Unfortunately, both Anne and Emma met tragic ends. Should we be worried about Penelope?

The box with the Deja Vu logo, Very Dali-esqe.

The box with the Deja Vu logo, Very Dali-esqe.

One thing I love about the Tonner Doll Company is that it’s very easy to get their dolls out of the box. You just untie the ribbon around the neck and the ribbon around the feet. No plastic wires or those annoying plastic tags in the back of the head.

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My Deja Vu was the premiere doll in the Deja Vu line. It is limited to 225 dolls and was launched at the Tonner Summer Launch Party, with the rest of the Deja Vu line released later. My Deja Vu Penelope has long blonde hair with bangs. She’s dressed in a flirty black and silver cocktail dress that features a short, full skirt trimmed with black tulle. Her waist is accented with a black ribbon offset by a little faux-amethyst brooch pinned on the hip. She wears strappy high-heeled sandals and black sparkly tights.

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The Tonner Doll Company makes very high quality doll clothing. Penelope’s dress has real snaps in the back – no velcro – and the quality of the fabric is very nice.

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Her shoes are also very well made. They use realistic-looking faux leather, and the attention to detail is amazing. For shoes that look so complicated, they slip on fairly easily due to the panel of elasticized fabric in the back of the heel.

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These are the things I really like about My Deja Vu Penelope Brewster. Unfortunately, I have a few criticisms as well. First of all, one leg on my doll is shorter than the other. I noticed it when the doll was still in the box but I thought maybe that was how it was placed in the box, and that I could even the legs out when I removed the doll from the box. But no, one leg really is shorter than the other. I tried pulling it down and pulling the other leg up to even it out but it didn’t work. This problem also makes the doll look bowl-legged when it stands up.

You can see how the right foot is higher than the left, and that the right kneecap is also higher than the left one.

You can see how the right foot is higher than the left, and that the right kneecap is also higher than the left one.

I also feel that the doll’s articulation is somewhat limited. It has articulated arms, wrists, and knees, but because of its size (16″), it’s kind of clumsy. To be fair, I prefer 12″ dolls because they’re easier to manipulate, and maybe I’ve been spoiled by the level of articulation of Monster High and Integrity dolls. But I do buy 16″ dolls that I find really cool or pretty, even if they’re not as poseable as smaller dolls. With My Deja Vu, I can almost make her put her hands on her hips. I can almost make her put her hands over her mouth. I have other Tonner dolls in the 1:4 scale (Imperium Park, Antoinette, and Agnes Dreary), and I also find the articulation to be somewhat limited compared to 12″ (1:6 scale) dolls.

Another issue I have with My Deja Vu is the size of her hands. They are, in a word, ginormous! Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s date had “man hands”? My Deja Vu looks like she could crack open crab legs with her well-manicured mitts, too.

Man hands!

Man hands!

And last but not least, there’s her facial expression. When I saw the online photos of the doll, I could see that Tonner was going for something different. I find the faces on some of Tonner’s other fashion lines, like Tyler Wentworth, to be a little too conventional (i.e. boring). The Deja Vu line has a new face sculpt that’s more stylized, in keeping with the pouty expressions of other fashion dolls. I like that Tonner is going in a new direction with the Deja Vu line. The Deja Vu line also features a new body sculpt that is thinner than other Tonner dolls. But seeing My Deja Vu in person, she doesn’t look pouty as much as she looks vapid. Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s pretty, but if I stare at her long enough she starts to look like “the lights are on but nobody’s home.” What do you think?

You're so pretty, oh so pretty, vacant

You’re so pretty, oh so pretty, vacant

Her hair also suffers from a serious case of flyaways. I’ve heard of some doll collectors using dryer sheets to control the static electricity, so maybe I’ll try that. I like that she has rooted eyelashes. She looks less vapid from a three-quarter profile.

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But another issue that I have, and I know, I’m being picky, is that there is a small black mark in the white of her left eye. It’s a minor complaint, I know, but for an expensive collectible doll, this shouldn’t have happened.

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

In short, I don’t know if I’d buy another doll from the Deja Vu line. I did have my eye on the Penelope Brewster, Production Assistant doll because she has red hair, but now I think I’m going to hold off for a bit. I have collected several dolls from other lines from Tonner, but maybe the Deja Vu line is so new and different that they need to work out the kinks. Or maybe I just got a wonky doll. It happens. I’m presently waiting for two 16″ Tulabelle dolls from Integrity Toys to arrive. I have several of their 12″ dolls but these will be my first 16″ dolls from Integrity. I’m anxious to compare them to My Deja Vu in terms of articulation and quality.

Do you like the Deja Vu line? Which dolls do you want/have?

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