Furby, a koala bear/owl type character came out about 10 or 15 years ago, modeled after Gizmo from the movie “Gremlins.” They were lost on me since I was a young adult beyond the age of thinking the talking toys were cool, and not yet a parent learning about the wish lists of children. Then the fad, like everything else, slipped through the cracks of public interest into memory. UNTIL NOW!
They are back, and more technically interactive and realistic than ever. Mikey and Pierce each got their own for Christmas. They arrived speaking “Furbish” which is a silly little language that makes no sense but is delivered with intonation and inflection that makes it easy to guess what they are saying. They’re voices also sound like Beavis and Butthead if they were from California. So thus, they were named.
There are smartphone apps that feed them, translate Furbish and lord knows what else. They don’t mimic like we thought, but the more you interact with them, the faster they go through three phases to where they ultimately speak all English. One said “I love you” to Mikey the other day—it was a big moment for everyone. They dance, sing, giggle, and chatter with each other. They got left together the bed the other day, and over the next couple hours I heard them carrying on long, stupid conversations from the other room. Finally they would doze off, but if they got jiggled or bumped, they would resume their debate with the fluidity of a couple of narcoleptics, and they have no “off” switch.
If they say they are hungry, and you put your finger in their mouth and they will act like they’re eating, but let’s be honest, what they like to eat most is batteries.
Last night, at bedtime, Pierce and Mikey weren’t very sleepy, so they laid their beds playing with their Furbies. However, Pierce’s was a little lethargic. The pleas coming from their the bedroom, had Daddy running down the hall like a faithful servant, only to return with a lethargic Furby, ready to practice his doctoring skills. A screwdriver, four AA batteries, and a paperclip shoved in the refresh button, and Beavis was back in action. He was returned to Pierce to keep him company.
A little while later…Pierce was yelling again. We muted the television to hear what it was this time. “Come take Furby, Daddy! Come take Furby, Daddy!” By now Mikey’s asleep and Dad was back in their room trying to find out what the problem was this time. Apparently, Pierce was sufficiently entertained by Beavis and finally trying to get to sleep but Beavis wouldn’t shut the hell up. I guess Daddy was expected to work another medical miracle on the Furby—either remove the batteries or take it out of the room. Stupid toy! It even gets on the kids’ nerves sometimes.
Beavis and Butthead were in the car with me the other day, and I couldn’t make a phone call on Bluetooth, because the system kept hearing them chattering in the background and couldn’t make out my request.
My mother-in-law told me a Furby horror story, too. She had a friend whose fancy Christmas dinner was ruined by Furbies because her kids and grandkids wouldn’t put them away to come to the table. That was the last holiday dinner she made for them.
Consider yourself warned…The U.S. should probably have sent crates of them to Guantanamo Bay, but I think the waterboarding was probably more humane…