Pop Dream #1: Barbie
I’m going to try something a little different today. This is the first installment of a new mini-series type of segment that I’ve been working on. Inspired by DiGi Valentine’s Who Dat?, I wanted to make a series of entries spotlighting some of my favorite animated characters. You may be thinking, “Don’t you already do that with Why (Blank) is Awesome!?” This segment will differ from W_IA! in 2 distinct ways: First, unlike W_IA!, I’ll be giving more detailed descriptions of the characters profiled and why I like them, as opposed to just making a short list; I’ll be tackling the big questions like why can’t Snake Eyes of G.I. Joe talk?
Second, unlike W_IA!, which can spotlight any character from any show, studio or franchise and whose assemblage is random for the most part, in this segment I’ll be spotlighting a finite list of my favorite characters from one particular show, franchise or studio. I’m calling this mini-series Pop Dream; the name has that laid-back, easy-breezy, sparkly vibe to it, but with a sense of fun. As the name implies (to me, anyway), the shows and franchises spotlighted on Pop Dream will be either a) comedic, b) toyetic or c) both. No drama or action shows will be featured here. Comedy/adventure hybrids are permissible, but I’d only focus on the comedy aspects of said show, not the action elements.
Here’s how this will work: I’ll be profiling my favorite characters from a specific show (NOTE: I won’t be doing every character from that show, just my favorite ones, so no need to flood the comments with “You didn’t do So-and-So” or “You forgot Such-and-Such”. If I skip a particular character, then that character lacks that extra something which puts characters on my top tier list), in the following categories:
- Funnier Moments
All mixed in with our usual jokes, quips and nonsense of course. Also, no, this won’t be all that I’ll be doing here or all that you’ll be reading here for a while; since this is a finite list, I won’t be doing every Pop Dream installment in a row; the Ad Nausea, Beyond the Background, Cartoon Country segments and the like will still continue as always, and the Pop Dreams will just run alongside of them. I’ll do a Pop Dream, then take a break and work on one of the other ongoing segments while working on the next Pop Dream until it’s ready, then that’ll be presented, and so on in that fashion, until they’re all done. If this set is successful, then I may be spotlighting another set of characters sometime in the future.
The set of characters which I’ll be focusing on for this Pop Dream are: Barbie and her Fab Sisters.
We’ll be starting at the top of the Roberts totem pole and profiling Barbie first, then each sister in descending order. Some ground rules: One, the Barbie franchise has had multiple continuities over the years, so to keep things simple, I will only be focusing on the versions of the characters depicted in the web series Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse (one of my guilty pleasures) and to a lesser extent, the Barbie and her Sisters videos, so these profiles will be more or less a mash-up of those. I will not be delving into any of the Barbie role play videos (Starlight Adventure, Three Musketeers, Princess & the Pop Star, etc.); there’s too many of them to try and comb through and none of those are canon anyway. Two, I won’t reviewing any of these episodes/videos; I’ll only be referencing certain episodes as they pertain to the character(s) being spotlighted. Otherwise, these would be the length of War and Peace.
Phew! Now that we’ve established what Pop Dream is, on to the Pop Dreaming!
She’s the Queen of Malibu (and was once its’ Mayor), she’s had over 137 careers (and counting), she’s been to the moon, is an ambassador to a space alien culture, drives a cool car and if she were an ice cream flavor, she’d be pink. Our first Pop Dream is all about…Barbie Roberts.
Barbara Millicent “Barbie” Roberts is pretty, perky, peppy, popular and practically perfect (that’s a lot of p’s) young adult fashion doll. How old is she? Who can say? In “Gifts, Goofs, Galore”, even her friends aren’t sure of Barbie’s age. She’s run for President, and you have to be at least 35 to do that, and one of her friends, Midge, seems to have been lifted straight from the late 1950’s….so…..
…You know, she looks to be about 18 or 20 years of age, so let’s just say she’s a young adult, and leave it at that.
Born in humble Willows, Wisconsin, Barbie currently resides in THE most palatial doll house in the world, simply known as the Dreamhouse.
Said Dreamhouse, in addition to being very pink, is almost as much a character as the people who inhabit it, being fully state-of-the-art and automated with the latest technology, boasting a convertible disco room, a Labyrintian closet which people have been known to get lost in, a chocolate fountain in the foyer and full of multiple rooms and areas many of which its’ residents are still discovering. Barbie is a full-blown celebrity, for doing seemingly nothing except being attractive.
A typical day for Barbie involves her hobnobbing with A-List stars, negotiations with diplomats and world leaders and advising NASA, as well as the important things, like coasting through Malibu in her awesome car, hanging with her attractive friends, who literally compete with one another for the coveted title of Barbie’s B.F.F.; obsessing over the color pink and lots of shopping. Barbie shares the Dreamhouse with her 3 younger sisters Skipper, Stacie and Chelsea and their pets Blissa the cat, Taffy the dog and Tawny the palomino horse. Nobody’s sure of the whereabouts of the Roberts’ parents, George and Martha. Maybe they’re on their fifth honeymoon or off buying His and Hers islands in the tropics, who can say?
Barbie has herself become an archetype: she’s your basic Malibu Barbie blond hottie. She’s always dressed to the nines….
…Even while just lounging around the house.
It would be impossible to try and list all of Barbie’s various outfits she’s worn throughout her numerous appearances, but they’re all basically…
Let’s face it — Barbie is the doll who has it all. She’s a fashion icon who has a fab home, the best friends and the perfect guy who’s nuts about her. She’s great at everything, while remaining humble and kind, and is always there to cheer on her friends no matter the challenges. That’s why everyone loves her. She’s like that popular girl in school who’s head cheerleader, dating the quarterback, is homecoming queen and on the honor roll, drives a cool car, her family’s clearly not hurting for money, every guy loves her, every girl wants to be her. You want to hate her for having such a cake life, but you can’t because she’s also super-nice.
As the oldest sister, Barbie seems to be the prime mover among the Fab Sisters. (It also doesn’t hurt that she’s got all the vehicles, accessories and hookups and is the only licensed driver among them.)
Whether it’s making over the house for the umptee-seventh time, weathering a crisis (like running out chocolate croissants) or anchoring great adventures involving puppies…
…Barbie’s usually the one at the helm, that is when she isn’t hanging with her boyfriend Ken Carson.
“Doctor Barbie”: Barbie breaks off negotiations between rival world leaders to tend to her sister Chelsea’s plastic pox.
She then pauses to reveal that (among dozens of other careers) that she’s a doctor, but only after Skipper nearly misses her cue to ask, “Aren’t YOU a doctor??”
“Cringing in the Rain”: Barbie reveals that she loves to walk in the rain, and sometimes does so with The Prince of England, mumbling under her breath that the prince is a bit of an umbrella hog.
“Rhapsody in Buttercream”: Barbie recalls the time Stacie and Chelsea “assisted” her in the kitchen on Spaghetti Night.
“Mission Impawsible”: While on a date with Ken, Barbie devours a giant hot dog bigger than her head, in one gulp (off-screen of course). How she manages to eat like that and stay thin, now that’s a talent.
“Sisters Ahoy”: Barbie, paired with the hyperactive Stacie for the beach scavenger hunt, asks how they’re going to get out to the coral reef to obtain a oyster’s pearl, and then we cut to Stacie driving a jet ski, dragging Barbie along in the back on a small inner tube, clinging on for dear life.
This gag is repeated at the end of the episode, with the same jet ski being the girls’ 2nd place prize. Again, Barbie gets the worst of it. This particular gag stands out to me, since it’s rare when a character like Barbie slips on the banana peel.
Barbie is like Mario in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, in that while she arguably may not be the best character, you have to deal with her. Similarly, Barbie’s not my favorite Barbie sister (I don’t hate the character or even dislike her, I just like the others more), but there wouldn’t be a franchise without her. Given that part of her character is how she’s pretty and popular, seemingly infinitely rich and has got it goin’ on, it would be too, too easy to portray her as cocky, show-offish and full of herself…
…Her general niceness, upbeat attitude and helpfulness keeps her from being unlikable, even though she basically lives in a bubble. A pink bubble with lots of unicorns and glitter.
It’s also worth mentioning that, like Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, she inhabits an artificial (mostly plastic) universe which was designed specifically for her to inhabit; she is therefore the most important person in said universe, as evidenced by a constellation in the sky in “Ooh, How Campy Too” which is shaped like Barbie’s logo. It truly is a Barbie world, the others just live in it.
And because I know you’re all expecting it, here it is:
Next up is Skipper. Stay tooned.