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Weird Barbie Makes Mattel Debut

Weird Barbie Makes Mattel Debut

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If your childhood involved playing with Barbies, chances are you had that one doll designated as the perpetual experiment — the “Weird Barbie”. Adorned with marker scribbles and makeup, sporting a jagged haircut and mismatched attire, weird Barbie stood as an anomaly in the world of seemingly flawless dolls. Despite her visual divergence from doll norms, she held a crucial role in the narrative of Greta Gerwig’s groundbreaking film. Now, Mattel has officially enshrined Weird Barbie as a character.

“In the realm of embracing the unconventional, none surpasses Weird Barbie,” proclaimed Mattel during the unveiling of their distinctive Barbie creation.

This doll dons an ensemble reminiscent of Kate McKinnon’s portrayal in the live-action “Barbie” movie: a pink dress adorned with abstract patterns and a spectrum of hues, accompanied by vibrant green snakeskin boots and a kaleidoscope of choppy hair. And of course, she’s caught mid-splits.

“Her hair, tousled and brief, along with the facial markings, aptly evoke the appearance of a doll that has basked in a touch too much playtime,” details Mattel. The movie’s Instagram account further adds, “It’s time to embrace the weird Barbie.”

Quirky Barbie remained nameless, yet her existence stands as evidence that our collective childhoods shared a common thread. Recently, film director Greta Gerwig brought this concept, along with Quirky Barbie herself, into the mainstream by enlisting Kate McKinnon to portray a universally recognized Quirky Barbie in a multi-million-dollar blockbuster.

Gerwig’s take on Quirky Barbie envisions a doll that has been “excessively played with.” She shared in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that her childhood was marked by “hand-me-down Barbies” that often arrived with haircuts already done by their previous owners. “It was like a necessity,” she explained. “It felt like a spiritual channel to the world of play through Barbie.”

McKinnon brilliantly embodied Gerwig’s vision, complete with a choppy haircut defiantly sticking out in unconventional directions, vibrant doodles adorning her face, a vivid pink dress seemingly splattered with paint and a remarkable talent for performing splits with uncanny consistency.

Breaking the news, Mattel announced that fans of Barbie can finally possess official Quirky Barbies. The toy manufacturer crafted a doll capturing the essence of McKinnon’s on-screen portrayal. Enthusiasts can now pre-order the Quirky Barbie for $50, with the customized dolls set to ship by May 31, 2024.

On their website, Mattel cheerfully proclaimed, “If anyone understands eccentricity, it’s Quirky Barbie.” Their doll version sports an ensemble inspired by the film – a bright pink dress adorned with vibrant artwork and voluminous sleeves, complemented by green snakeskin boots. The doll’s short, tousled hair and facial markings emulate a doll cherished just a tad too enthusiastically.

However, the Quirky Barbie presented by Mattel doesn’t quite capture the full extent of quirkiness. Yes, she’s “Made to Move,” boasting limbs that bend in all directions and showcasing an especially disastrous haircut. But is that all there is?

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Where are the patches of missing hair, revealing the unrealistic rows of holes dotting her scalp? What about her torn pants and mismatched top, culled from years of eclectic ensembles? Why doesn’t she bear tattoos from head to toe, remnants of juvenile doodles? And where are the mud splatters and grass stains from outdoor escapades?

This doll commendably immortalizes McKinnon’s Quirky Barbie, but it falls short in encapsulating the true Quirky Barbie experience. As succinctly put by a Twitter user, “They should’ve simply provided a regular Barbie along with all the necessary tools to transform her into a quirky version.”

Quirky Barbie is less of an end result and more a symbol of innocence and childhood chaos. Thus, presenting her with this slightly polished yet not-quite-polished appearance deprives us of the defining journey of owning and adoring our Quirky Barbies, whose appearances continually evolve according to the capricious fancies of their current owners.

This is why Mattel’s Quirky Barbie falls flat. Quirky Barbie, like each of us, is distinctive and context-bound. She can never be fixed as a single incarnation, irrespective of her appearance, as such rigidity doesn’t align with her essence.

The enchanting aspect of Quirky Barbie – and the reason Gerwig’s interpretation resonated with countless hearts – lies in each doll representing its owners and the lives entwined with her. She evolves into a mentor for other Barbies in her Barbieland, guiding them through the shared realm they inhabit.

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