TANGENT It's a big, happy Wonderful family

By Wendy Donahue

Chicago Tribune

Mr. Wonderful has played the novelty-gift field among wives and gal pals for the past year, uttering sweet nothings -- or would that be sweet nevers? -- such as, "The ballgame really isn't that important. I'd rather spend time with you" and "You know, I think it's really important that we talk about our relationship."

Recently, the battery-powered boy toy met his match.

Ms. Wonderful's built-to-please voice box chimes in with such implausibilities as, "I'll finish cleaning out the garage, honey, your friends are waiting for you to play golf!" and "Your new secretary is cute! I'll bet she's smart too!"


Apparently, it was love at first squeeze of the hand. Together, the two dolls have been fruitful -- sales have passed the 3 million mark -- and, this fall, they're multiplying.

Two Wonderful Kids just joined the fantasy family last week, pleading for another helping of vegetables and asking permission to play checkers instead of a video game.

At the same time, an African-American Mr. Wonderful enters the picture, with the same sentiments as the original. ("Aw, cain't your mama stay another week?")

They were conceived by a former divorce lawyer from Canada, after her own argument-prone marriage also fell apart.

"When you see relationships in that state, it's quite sad," Edie Robinson, 40, said from Bermuda, where she now works as general counsel for a group of telecommunications companies. "One of the reasons I did Mr. Wonderful was to make people laugh. If you can get anybody to laugh at their relationship, whether romantic or parent-child, it's going to help."

The dolls are $15.99 each at Walgreens and Bed Bath and Beyond stores.

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