I noticed while watching the Thanksgiving Day parades (one of the few times I actually watch TV during the year) that Mattel is running a nostalgia ad campaign for Barbie which shows grown women giggling and reminiscing about their favorite childhood memories of the doll.
I personally never got into Barbie because she came with all that pink fru-fru stuff, but my little sister was a huge fan of the dolls, and sometimes roped me into playing with them. That generally never turned out well for Barbie (let's just say I was always thinking up new ways to test her structural integrity.) My favorite childhood doll memories were of stealing my brother's G.I.Joes. To me Joe was far cooler than Barbie because he came with seriously interesting accessories like jeeps and parachutes and automatic weapons.
The ad campaign did make me curious about what sort of Barbies they're selling now -- my daughter never liked the dolls, either -- because after forty years you figure they would have updated her a little, right? So I looked in some of the Black Friday sales fliers in the paper, and here's what they're selling: My Scene Barbie, Totally Hair Barbie, Princess Barbie, Western Barbie and Fashion Forever Barbie (and eerily, immediately thought of the last RWA Nat'l con I attended -- wall to wall Totally Hair writers, Princess writers, Fashion Forever writers...)
Anyway. I think Mattel should come up with some new Barbies for those girls who, like me, aren't into all that pink fru-fru and anatomically incorrect Ken. I'd like to see some alternative Barbies -- Dark Barbies, Goth Barbies, even a couple of Vamp or WereBarbies. Imagine how many dolls Mattel could sell if they based some Barbies on fictional characters, such as:
The Meredith Gentry Barbie: Lovely, glows, can't make up her mind but happily displays herself in her own somewhat worn triple king bed. Comes with 147 semi-naked personal guard Ken accessory dolls (no pun intended) and an enchanted mirror that when you put the Ken dolls in bed with her displays random images of her evil aunt watching, her evil uncle watching, her evil cousin watching, etc.
The Alexandra Keller Barbie: Frowning, cranky and half-starved but still smells great. Dressed in a pristine white lab coat over a dress she didn't pick out for herself. Carries a medical case filled with tiny surgical instruments and syringes filled with play blood that she doesn't have to feel guilty about. Only sold with the Michael doll, who murmurs in French, puts up with all of her crap and still can't keep his hands off her.
The Isabella Swan Barbie: Pale, nondescript, and constantly injuring herself (doll's eyes close for at least thirty seconds after the sight of any blood.) Smells really wonderful, but only to the handsome pale Edward doll, who doesn't want to be sold with her but in the end really has no choice but to get into the bag. May also be sold with Jacob doll, who fits perfectly between her and the Edward doll.
The Mercy Thompson Barbie: Small, tough and determined with lots of cool tattoos. Wears garage overalls spotted with grease or jeans and a T-shirt spotted with grease. Turn her head a certain way and she instantly changes into a coyote. May be sold with alpha Adam doll (who changes into a wolf) or petulant Samuel doll (who changes into a wolf) or both or neither, depending on how fickle she feels this week.
So if you could make an alternative Barbie based on one of your characters, what would she be called, and what accessories would she have? Let us know in comments.