Barbie’s Weirdo Dolls: All About Midge, Earring Magic Ken, and More

Alas, you cannot buy a Weird Barbie doll who looks like Kate McKinnon—you’ll just have to chop off a regular doll’s hair and scribble on her face yourself. But you can buy a version of the pooping Barbie dog that Weird Barbie lives with in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. The plastic pet comes packaged with a Barbie wearing a striped sweater and sporty sneakers; its officially sanctioned name is the Barbie Walk and Potty Pup. “When it’s time for a potty break, push on the puppy’s tail,” the ad copy reads. “Barbie doll can clean up using the broom and scooper.” Congratulations, kid. Here’s a pile of crap!

Barbie is a merchandiser’s dream, a generally well-received, endearingly subversive product that’s still, at heart, a glorified two-hour toy commercial. But to the film’s credit, it doesn’t shy away from referencing some of Mattel’s odder offerings. According to a New Yorker article, the defecating dog is actually based on Tanner, a Barbie accessory from the aughts that ate its own poop—yes!—and was eventually recalled not for being disgusting, but because the magnet inside Barbie’s pooper scooper could come loose and be swallowed by a child. (The Walk and Potty Pup appears to be essentially the same toy, minus magnets.) 

Below, we take stock of more toys like Tanner: the real-life Weird Barbies that drew complaints, derision, and celebration as accidental gay icons. Proust Barbie is not among them—at least, not yet.

Courtesy of Mattel, Inc.


Emerald Fennell has a glorified cameo in Barbie as Midge, a redheaded doll with a bun in the oven. Yes, that’s right: Midge is Pregnant. That differentiates the movie’s version of the doll from her original incarnation, launched in 1963 as Barbie’s more approachable best pal. She was discontinued in 1967, then reintroduced in 1987, again in the ’90s, and, most famously, one more time in the aughts, as part of the “Happy Family” set—which gave Midge a tiny doll baby that could be placed either in a bulging stomach (which girls could magnetically attach and detach from Midge’s middle) or “born” out of that same plastic dome. Her husband and three-year-old son were sold separately.

Ginger Gaetz, wife of Matt, announced Tuesday that she had seen the Barbie movie, and was disappointed by it in part due to the film’s “unfair treatment of pregnant Barbie Midge.” Ironic, since conservative ire was instrumental in getting Happy Family Midge canceled. “It’s a bad idea. It promotes teenage Pregnancy. What would an 8-year-old or 12-year-old get out of that doll baby?” one mother asked the Associated Press in 2002. The doll was pulled from Wal-Mart due to complaints; just as narrator Helen Mirren tells us in Barbie, she was eventually axed from the Mattel lineup altogether for being “too weird.” But perhaps Midge gets the last laugh: according to at least one collector, she’s now worth up to $400 in mint condition.

Courtesy of Mattel, Inc.


Remember how Midge had a husband? That would be Allan, played in the movie by a very game Michael Cera. Originally introduced in 1964, he was created to be Ken’s best buddy. (Barbie was named for creator Ruth Handler’s daughter, and Ken for her son; Allan was named for her then-son-in-law, Allen Segal.) Ken and Allan are very close; as Cera tells us in the movie, “all his clothes fit me” (a line straight out of the commercials). 

Like Midge, Allan’s been in and out of the Barbie universe for nearly 60 years—mostly out. Mattel hasn’t yet released an Allan Barbie tie-in doll, but given how funny Cera is in the film, they really should.

Kids & Teens stay free at Moon Palace in Cancun or Jamaica. Book now!

Source link