Written by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Sarah Dorio
Ever have one of those grey-hair accelerating weeks for which you badly needed a clone? Well, now you can — kinda. FAO Schwarz created the Muppet Whatnot Workshop allowing people to create their very own Jim Henson-esque mini-me online. Last year I produced my own Muppet Christmas Special by simply clicking through an assortment of noggins, sniffers, peepers and ready-to-wear wardrobe pieces. My entire design process — including checkout — took less than ten minutes.
Regardless of the holiday — albeit birthday, Festivus or Valentine’s Day — unique gifts are the Steven Seagal of gift wrapped ass-kicking. Creativity always guarantees a big finale but in this scenario it comes with a price. Although Whatnots are at a higher price point of $129.99, just ONE thoughtful splurge split a few ways is much more practical than four dog calendars and eight collegiate beer koozies.
Whatnot to wear
To create your own Hensonized version of yourself or your loved one, start online by choosing key features. Monsters are definitely the most fun to create; however, finding out you look like a furry monster kinda kills the ego. FAO Schwarz sends you paper doll style cut-outs with your Whatnot should you want to see what a future addition to your own Muppet family may look like.
Attack of the clones
Whatnots come in clear vinyl drawstring bags upon arrival. No need for wrapping or bows, just simply give up custody of the clone and let the separation anxiety set in. NOTE : beware of freaked out pets during your home’s initial Whatnot welcoming. [I speak from a teeth-baring Terrier experience]
Once you’ve played with your puppet friends and their paper doll counterparts, keep all Whatnot documents safe and organized in their own colorful graphic folder.
My own mini-me strikes up a few key resemblances. First up is the ovular noggin — dead-on as well as the long face — but the green skin tone is a bit of a stretch; however, flesh toned Muppets would be a major snore. Wardrobe options allowed me to sport the TV news anchor look of a plaid jacket/white shirt/tie combo. When it came to accessories, it was great to find the option of retro looking eyeglasses — the key element to creating my own doppelganger.
Little red riding hoodie
In addition to being super fun to look at, Whatnots such as the blueberry-toned fella above, are fully functioning puppets. Facial expressions are created by inserting your arm up the center of the body. Hands and arms are controlled by a thin black wand which hooks into the side of the hand.
Design your own Whatnot for any occasion at FAO Schwarz.