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The enduring allure of Furby’s cursed DIY cousin, LongFurby

LongFurbies is not a new concept. First coined by Tumblr user furbyfuzz in 2018, LongFurby is a lovely creation in the Frankenstein tradition. But just like the 1998 Tiger Electronics toy that inspired it, this subculture has outlived the novelty and is still active nearly half a decade later – it’s the meme.

While LongFurbies are most easily recognizable by the toy’s classic beaked face atop an elongated snake body, modifications now range from donut-shaped Furbies to lined sculptures. saggy, hairless skin or their faces are implanted into anything. Across TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms, accounts with modified Furbies attract hundreds of thousands of followers, who can’t get enough of their ridiculous, sometimes grotesque, sometimes ridiculous content. healthy. Constantly reinventing this nostalgic toy has helped LongFurby find new fans. As the Furby modifiers community continues to grow, it will receive advertisements from the periphery.

“Do you want to be a cult leader,” a monstrous voice asked as a glitch video zoomed in on a LongFurby horned red-black demon named Kampe. “Since the death of God, there is still a vacancy. You can fill that void. Here’s how to do it. ”

The TikTok clips related to other creatures, including Furby, Levi’s account. (Featured sound is from Captain Murphy’s “Disciples.”) @levithefurbyking, which has over 57k followers, has surreal, dreamlike posts dedicated to different LongFurbies. Subjects are placed in multiple locations, with powerful edits and aggressive filters marking out existential or completely absurd captions. It’s a perfect example of what LongFurby embodies: childhood idealism transformed by young adult perspectives, tied together by a DIY ethos.

The creator, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the combination of the familiar and unsettling LongFurbies was what first attracted them. Along with Kampe and Levi, they created seven other Furbies: Jorgy, Elphaba, Omen, Argus, Erik, Steve, and Bonzo. Each Furby is a repeating character on the account.

“A lot of the people I follow and my followers are LGBTQ+, artists, puns, professionals,” they said. “I think the Furby community is another place for people on the outskirts of what is considered ‘normal’ to find each other, be encouraged and just have space. Being here has helped me feel less alone and more comfortable with myself and being creative. ”

LongFurbies were also part of a growing nostalgia movement in the early 2000s. This was true of Bobby Diddle, moderator. @longfurbs on Instagram. The account has more than 26,000 followers, includes various pictures and memes, starring a modified family of Furbies. Fluffy feathers have been a part of Diddle’s life since childhood. In a family portrait of her at the age of six, she held a Furby covering her face because she didn’t like being photographed. For those in their 20s and 30s who have grown up with the toy, Diddle says the nostalgia factor is a huge part of what makes their modified partners so appealing.

Diddle’s current crew includes four LongFurbs and a wheel boy named Ollie – with two additional Furbies currently being built. Flip through her Instagram feed and you’ll find pictures of her Furbies hanging out at bars, on vacation, and up to naughty around Diddle’s home in Cincinnati. When she started posting her LongFurbs, she didn’t realize that the community would grow this big or that fast. “I thought it was going to die by now but it kept going,” she said, laughing.

Devin Gardner, moderator @longfurbyfam on TikTok and Instagram, also note that Y2K nostalgia plays an important role. But a large portion of the fandom these days, he says, are people in their late teens, who likely didn’t live when the toy was at its peak. Both Gardner and Diddle say that people are often fascinated by modified Furbies simply because of their eternal weirdness.

“Furbies fits into a sweet spot because, given the way customisable people have made Furbies, it really fits the DIY crowd, the custom stuff crowd,” says Gardner. “I think the consumers of content on these platforms are really excited to see something new come out of a very strange and sometimes terrifying creature.”

Gardner also quickly caught on to the trend in late 2018. After seeing an article, he was inspired to sew on his own despite having no previous sewing experience. Now he runs a etsy shop where he sells modified Furbies that he creates in a personal studio. Over the years, his content has become increasingly surreal. A recent TikTok, for example, has an omelet with glass eyes flipped over in a pan as his blue LongFurby, Cookie, stares in surprise. Some TikToks feature scenes of Gardner wearing a round, white Furby suit, doing unsettling things like cutting a toy worm with a pizza cutter, breaking an egg filled with goo – the list could go on.

“A lot of meme topics will peak very quickly, then die and disappear forever,” he said. “But I think part of the reason why modified LongFurbies and Furbies have lasted so long is because they’re a blank canvas.”

The revised Furby art community is increasingly leaning towards the surrealist and irrationalist of classic children’s toys. Artist Sophie G. Stark caught the attention of Furby fans through her grotesque silicon sculptures. Her first creation was the Skinby, which was shaped like a Furby fur but classic sans. Made from a type of mold – including its eyes and beak – its fleshy pink skin sags as gray tufts protrude from its ears and head. Stark started working on her modified Furby knowing almost nothing about the community. It wasn’t until her work started selling well thanks to being posted in a Furby fandom on Facebook that she realized how big the subculture was.

After Skinby, Stark began experimenting with other grotesque textures she could recreate with silicone, including baked beans, moldy bread, spaghetti-Os, worms, shrimp, and an Arby’s Beef and Cheddar bagel. . TikToks Revealing the creatures has attracted millions of views.

“If you’re doing things that are absurd or weird, you’re asking viewers to rage a little bit,” she said of the modified Furbies’ popularity on social media. “And I think some people –– it is a very mild level of discomfort, they are not really very upset –– but some people care about it even though it is disturbing, and then people Others feel insecure about it.”

A strangely modified variety of Furbies, with skin that looks like beans or lunch meat, among others.

Photo: Sophie G. Stark

As her work revolves around clone, nostalgia, and bodily horror, Furbies’ grotesque and macabre world draws parallels with the banal surrealism found in much of her art. aunt. She’s starting to revolve around experimenting with other themes, including a project that involves turning on the Tamagotchi, another nostalgic toy from the late ’90s.

Diddle describes the community as “welcoming, loving, and quaint.” People create everything from brand new creatures to jewelry, hats and memes, she said. LongFurby’s world is, perhaps, infinite. And Diddle says they can last as long as ’90s kids are involved on social media.

“(The fan base has) definitely grown a lot. But I think the message behind the community remains the same,” said Gardner. “From the very beginning, it’s really about, in an abstract way, accepting and loving these creatures for their uniqueness.”

https://www.polygon.com/22905138/longfurby-tiktok-cursed-diy-furby-tumblr The enduring allure of Furby’s cursed DIY cousin, LongFurby

Aila Slisco

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