My son stumbled upon Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse on Netflix and I am here to tell you that it is amazing.
So, it’s not Barbie-as-person; the characters are literally all dolls — their skin has a plastic sheen and you can see their joint seams — who live in Barbie-Malibu where everything is pink and the only extant industry is fashion. It’s ridiculously self-aware and meta and I swear every frame has a gag tucked in there somewhere. For example:
– Barbie and her friends are trapped in the Dreamhouse by her closet-organizing computer (yup). They need to find the CPU to shut it down, so they go to the room where Barbie keeps her own Barbie dreamhouse (she owns all of her own toys) and use the Barbie Staff of Ra to find the CPU’s location a la Raiders of the Lost Ark. Similarly, later they have to outrun a giant, rolling Barbie hairdressing head that has come loose.
– Since Barbie has been basically every career at some point, she can summon past lives in order to solve problems. E.g., her friends get stuck in a giant clothes dryer, so she says, “Wait, I used to be an electrical engineer!” and then rewires the dryer to shut it off. Or, someone marvels that Barbie has been to the moon. She replies, “Oh, you haven’t?”
– Ken is a doofus and has literally nothing else to do in life other than being around Barbie. He’ll stare at his phone and concentrate really hard hoping to make Barbie call him, and he carries Dreamhouse blueprints with him at all times.
– It’s set up like a reality show, so characters do confessionals. A character cuts to one in the middle of spraying on bronzer, and so, in the confessional, has one leg that is bright orange. Oh, Barbie’s horse gets to do confessionals, too.
Extra bonuses include: that most of the characters are women so the Bechdel test gets passed easily, Barbie always rescues herself, and the show is written almost entirely by women.
I’m posting this in my SF collection instead of Parenting because while the show is zany enough to entertain children (my son was laughing hysterically), it is so meta and subverts Barbie-dom so hard that it feels targeted at adults.