They had no articulation. They had no accessories. They didn’t do anything but sit there in their various poses, and yet I loved them. PVC characters had captured my heart from the moment I saw my friends collection of Smurf PVCs sitting on a shelf above his bed. I wanted my own pretty badly (especially the one with the surfboard, which could actually be torn out of his hands so that you could make him ride it). Alas, I never got any, but I never stopped wanting, either.
Over the years, I would encounter several other PVC figures. Peanuts. Garfield. The California Raisins. The Muppet Babies. Cap’n Crunch (as cereal premiums). And Care Bears.
I have even managed to collect all the Grumpy Bear PVCs, as you can see in this video:
So what is it about these figures? Why did I love these things that were more knick-knack than toy so much? Hard to tell. Maybe it was because each figure seemed to be telling a story. Or, since it was the 80s, it may have been the mere idea of possession, the irresistible draw of simply owning something cool. Whatever it was, these PVC figures had it. They still do.