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the yay to the nay

Furby: The Yay to the Nay

By Ilana Wiles

the yay to the nayOur Furby arrived three weeks ago and like an unexpected houseguest, was initially unwelcome. However, over time I have watched my daughter’s love for the talking yellow fur ball grow, causing me to begin to appreciate its presence. Well, at least, I no longer want to rip its batteries out and throw it over our 12 story balcony. But I would still be thrilled if it packed up its stuff and went back to Hasbro.

Furby 2012 is the rebooted version of the toy that took the world by storm in the year 1998. If you are not already familiar with Furby, it is basically an electronic stuffed animal that is supposed to be viewed as a pet. You must care for it, love it and feed it. Although, if my memory serves correctly, the new version requires much less upkeep than the original. For instance, if you do not feed it, it might get cranky but it will not starve.

The all-new Furby displays many emotions with its LCD eyes and its extensive vocabulary, but like a crying baby, it’s up to you whether you want to try to interpret its feelings or just let it work it out for itself.

It’s also supposed to be THE HOT TOY this holiday season, so I’m sure many of you will have children who are begging for a Furby addition to the family. Beware— pink is already hard to get your hands on and often more expensive if you resort to sites like eBay. We settled on yellow.

When we first inserted Furby’s batteries, it immediately sprang to life and began speaking Furbish, which I have determined, is the most annoying language on earth. It eclipses both gibberish and pig latin, as well as any language you made up with your sibling when you were ten so you could talk about things behind your mother’s back. Adding to the annoyingness, our Furby has speech inflections like a Valley Girl (I think each Furby speaks a little differently) so in addition to not being able to understand what it is saying, you don’t really want to.

The more you talk to Furby, the more it begins to speak English, but you must suffer through a significant amount of Furbish in the process. I spent 0.5 seconds talking to Furby and wanted to drown it in a bath before shoving it down the garbage chute (the drowning part just as a nice gesture for whomever collected our garbage).

Did I mention YOU CAN’T TURN FURBY OFF????

You can take out its batteries but that requires a screwdriver. Otherwise, you  just have to ignore Furby until it goes to sleep. Which takes way longer than you would think and Furby talks the whole time saying things like, “Kah-toh-loo-oo-nye” (me like you!), “Dah ay-loh oo-tye” (Good Morning!) and “Dah noh-lah” (party time!).  Furby comes with a handy glossary to decipher its speech but most of the things our Furby was saying were no where to be found on that piece of paper. Including “Noo-Noo-Koh-Koh” which it says about twelve times in succession every two minutes.

Once Furby falls asleep (the sound of it snoring is now up there with chocolate and hot stone massages, in terms of things that make me happy), then you have to pray you or child doesn’t wake it by accident, because then it will be another half hour for Furby to settle down and go back to bed. Currently, Furby is sitting on the highest shelf in our house, facing the wall (it is activated if touched or spoken to and thrives on eye contact) so it will be less likely to engage with anyone accidentally.

To be honest, after my first day with Furby, I emailed Isabel at Alphamom and told her I didn’t think I was the best person for this review. My tolerance level for annoying toys is apparently really low. But she said she wanted my thorough opinion, so I stuck it out.

It was on the second day of the Furby experience that I downloaded the app, which allows you to do things like feed your Furby food. There is a deli option where you can create multi-layered sandwiches and a pantry with tons of food items from eggs to gummy worms. Your child can flick the food in Furby’s general direction and then it will make a chomping sound. This provided a long period of entertainment for my soon-to-be-three-year-old, which was a big positive moment in the whole experience.

Over the next week, it was also somewhat of a pleasure to watch my daughter interact with Furby. She is genuinely excited to wake it up and talk to it. And, as it surprised her with more English and more interactive responses, I loved seeing their interaction.

It occurred to me that if Mazzy were older and she didn’t need my assistance to play with the toy at the beginning, Furby might be much more tolerable. Also, if I lived in a large house, instead of a two bedroom apartment, where Furby could be placed at the opposite end that would work in its favor too. (There will be a couple of more reviews from other AlphaMom contributors with older children being published soon. Stay tuned.)

Still, I would not recommend getting this toy for your child. The eventual pay-off is not nearly as great as the upfront annoyance. And it still takes way too long to put Furby to bed.

I’ve already got one child that won’t shut up and go to sleep, thank you very much.


Looking for additional perspectives on Furby? Wendi Aaron’s two boys (ages 9 & 11) have been taking care of a Furby as well. Here are Wendi and her family’s thoughts on Furby. And, here’s Amalah’s review of Furby. Trust us, you’ll want to read both for the humor alone.

About the Author

Ilana Wiles

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertisin...

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertising for the past 15 years. She lives in the East Village of NYC with her husband, her two-year-old daughter and a rapidly growing pile of stuffed animals.

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