While Kumail and I were walking around Edinburgh yesterday, something made me remember Jill, my favorite talking doll toy from childhood, and started singing her theme song to Kumail. I came home, ready to find endless Tumblrs devoted to her, but instead I found barely anything- Jezebel did a post making fun of her commercial two years ago, and she’s not even mentioned on two of the big 80s toy sites.
Jill was an animatronic doll, in the style of Teddy Ruxpin, who was essentially paraplegic- her arms, head, and face moved, but the rest of her did not, so you had to set her up securely. She had a hole in her back where you would put in audio cassettes that were the different activities you and Jill could do- there was a general, babysitting, a slumber party- and all of them came with matching outfits. She was just large enough to be slightly creepy. I played with her for probably a full year before I got bored of her, and then I started giving her haircuts.
Jill was a good friend and a good philosopher, because when you chose one of the three topics she presented you to discuss, if you listened closely, you could actually hear the other two conversations going on too. Just three parallel lives, all of them having fun talking about hair and snacks!
If Jill was a real friend, she would have taught girls how to smoke and helped them look up sex in the dictionary, but alas, she was just a doll.