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Toys No Child Could Love #2: Baxter Stockman

Rich Cerow

Scientists are usually here to make our lives better - they help purify our water, give us a steady stream of cool new gadgets to play with, and make sure the white lab coat industry stays afloat, especially when they buy them with their names monogrammed onto the breast (that's where the real money in lab coats is). Except, of course, when all they're doing is making our lives a lot worse - nuclear weapons, those creepy robot puppies, and mutagen. Mutagen gave us the Ninja Turtles, so it's not all bad, I suppose, but it also gave us this lamewad, Baxter Stockman. Baxter started out as a scientist working for the Shredder or the company that makes mutagen or whatever, until he spilled some of his own dastardly creation on himself and was transformed into a hideous half-man, half-fly, all-nerd. His nerdiness can be clearly attested by the one glaring problem with this doll which instantly turns him from a decent mold into a toy a kid wouldn't want if his face was gonna be melted off by the Ark of the Covenant just as the Nazis open it and he needs something exactly Baxter Stockman-sized to block the Lord's Holy Laser Beams from obliterating his skull. All right, maybe he'd want one then, but not otherwise. And it's all because Baxter Stockman wears a bowtie.
Why didn't his hands change to purple muta-claws?

Bowties are for nerds, and even nerdy kids don't want to be nerds in their imaginations. Tucker Carlson - political pundit nerd. The Penguin - stylin' and profilin' criminal mastermind nerd (he was always the Screech to the Joker's Zack. I guess that means the Riddler is AC Slater, Catwoman is Kelly Kapowski, and Mr. Belding, being Zack's arch-nemesis, is Batman). Winston Churchill - keeping Europe together during World War II nerd (big time!). No kid wants to wear a bowtie and help forge NATO - kids want to run wild and free, not have their necks constricted and look like they just stepped out of a 19th-century oil painting. I mean, how tight did Stockman have that thing on, if he turned into a giant mutant fly and the thing barely loosened? That bowtie should have ripped off as the beast within him arose, shaking off the confines of human society and all its accoutrements. Instead, even with the beast unleashed, his total dorkdom shines through. Explain to me what kid didn't want to just let l oose and rip off his Catholic school uniform and run wild in the streets, but wanted to stay buttoned up even when he went on a maniacal crime spree that could only be stopped by non-fatal katana and sai blows (and perhaps an invention that covers city blocks in fly paper). Also, why is Baxter carrying that amplified flyswatter as a weapon? Who's that going to be effective against, himself? He must be some kind of masochist, and we all know that kids don't want to be the abused, they want to exercise their power fantasies and be completely sadistic with their action figures. Baxter Stockman, please, no kid would ever want you.
He's even wearing spectacles. At least a monocle would be slightly cooler.

Baxter Stockman is also totally useless because he is clearly modeled on the Jeff Goldblum movie The Fly, a movie that no kid even cared about, and no kid was definitely a big Jeff Goldblum fan back in the day (at least, not until he was in Jurassic Park). I mean, where there kids out there who couldn't get enough of Earth Girls Are Easy? And, besides, they didn't even do hunkalicious 1980's Jeff Goldblum justice - before his transformation, Baxter looks like third runner-up at the Annual MIT Albert Einsten Look-a-Like Contest, not the 45-gallons of pure testosterone that is Jeff "Transylvania 6-5000" Goldblum. It's just shameful to ask that already Jeff Goldblum-related action figure-deprived segment of your audience to accept this geekazoid replacement for his quirky charms. No way Geena Davis would have anything to do with Baxter Stockman, and the kids who were into Jeff Goldblum because they loved his turn in The Big Chill would most definitely know what Geena Davis liked in a man. I doubt this dweeb, even in his annoying fly-buzz voice form, could ever muster the nerve to talk to a bodacious babe like Ms. Davis, especially at the time, the height of her Beetlejuice-fueled power. She'd probably go all Dottie on him and hurl him her heater - you know there's no way a half-fly can swing a bat.

Baxter Stockman should have been replaced with... Bono during the Zoo TV phase.

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