Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Things I Thought At the Toy Store

Back when I used to work at the toy store, I used to be bombarded by many images from various Barbie movies and the like. Now, since I actually don't mind Barbie much, have fond memories of childhood games, and even now take a remarkably immature delight in dressing my green barbie in various wonderful things like Captain Kirk's Uniform, this never bothered me much.

Though it did wear me down to the point where I broke down and rented one. (It was Fairytopia, by the by. It was awful, but there were some parts that were unexpectedly amusing to me.)

I've always kind of wondered what all the other fairies, or for that matter, all of Genevieve's sisters in 12 Dancing Princesses (Except the token little blond one played by Kelly who got to save the dad's life with magic water or whatever the hell it was...yeah, I spoiled it. Deal. :-P), or all that sort thought about their roles in the universe.

I would then imagine them sitting around with their small mundane wings fluttering (or straightening their pretty but not remarkably sparkly or poofy skirts) and wonder, "If this were a movie, which of us would be the main character?"*

And then as one they all look over to Elina/Genevieve/Annaliese/Rosella/Mariposa/whoever the heck Barbie's playing this time, with the long flowy blond hair, blue eyes, general sparkliness and big poofy dress and/or HUGE ASS SPARKLY WINGS OF DOOM and go "Gee, I wonder."

The villainesses had the best outfits anyway.

*I have these conversations with friends, general concensus is that I'm the comic relief/smartass sidekick.

3 Comments:

  • At May 06, 2008 10:14 AM, Blogger Ragtime said…

    As a somewhat unofficial (and largely undesired) expert in the Barbie movie genre, I've got to ask:

    Wasn't Fairytopia the one where Barbie was the only fairy WITHOUT wings? Barbie was the star because she had to overcome her "disability" to be the hero -- and get her magic wings at the very end as a reward.

    The girls love the Barbie movies (we just got Barbie as the Island Princess last weekend, which is actually better than most), and I find them largely inoffensive and mildly engaging, if not exactly great works of art. The sort of thing you let the kids watch, but don't really feel the urge to watch with them.

    Personally, I far prefer the Disney Fairies, where when one of the fairies has to cut off her wings to save the village (she had to visit the mermaids, and the wings get water-logged, so have to be cut off to avoid drowning), the sacrifice actually matters, and she goes through the rest of the books in the series without wings -- helping with future water tasks, but a continued liability in the flying department.

    There's not always a "and everything is all better in the end" with magical wings or whatever like in the Barbie ones.

     
  • At May 06, 2008 10:29 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Admittedly, it was, but by the end she had giant billowy wings that just seemed to get fancier each movie.

    So she did *earn* them kind of.

    But by the time I worked there, it was during the Mermaidia -> Magic of the Rainbow period. So there was never any wingless version of the doll, just doll upon doll with bigger and fancier wings. So that's more what tends to wander through my head. You can always tell which characters are "played" by Barbie. :-)

    I do tend to think Fairytopia and its ilk are fairly inoffensive as Barbie movies go (I liked the lack of love interest/defining oneself by having a man for example.)

    I'll grant the Disney Fairy one actually having to mutilate herself was pretty impressive. But throughout most of the book series I found most of the characters unlikeable. (It probably didn't help that the first one I read while bored on lunch break starred the "bad fairy" and I thought nearly all of them were wretched there. :-))

     
  • At May 06, 2008 11:24 AM, Blogger Ragtime said…

    Ah, we never went for the extended toys/games/paraphernalia of Barbie beyond the "Junior Novelization" book versions, so I'm not familiar with the range of range of Barbie dolls themselves -- any Barbies that actually show up in the house tend to last a month, tops, before getting a haircut/ face paint/ otherwise mutilated and unusable.

    See, Vidia's my favorite fairy, because she's such a realistic "bad guy." She's selfish and greedy and doesn't think about others, and only cares about improving herself and her own Talent, but she's not "EVIL!!! Bwaa haa haa," so she can support her story lines and make you sympathize and empathize with her.

    I was think about her, in fact, after we watched "Barbie as the Island Princess," where the bad guy is a Queen who tries to expel and then poison Barbie so that her daughter, the Princess (who is not evil herself) can marry the Prince.

    After the movie, I asked Medium Raggirl is she was afraid of the wicked queen. (She gets scared easily.)

    "No," she said, "She wasn't really wicked."

    "Wasn't wicked! She tried to poison Barbie, and later she tried to poison everyone!"

    "Yes, but she was doing that so her daughter could marry the prince."

    To Medium Raggirl, "wicked" meant "like the Wicked Witch of the West," -- evil because you are evil to the core -- evil without motivation other than to do bad things. If you did a bad thing for a worthy goal, like getting your daughter to marry a Prince, then you were doing a bad thing, but you didn't qualify as "Wicked" or "Evil."

    I was thinking how most stories had a "Wicked" (in her sense of the word) character, and how little opportunity there was to grapple with a character (like Vidia) who was bad, but more mis-guided than evil, the enemy but not rotten-to-the-core.

    I guess I prefer Disney to Barbie specifically because they play up the moral ambiguities more. Is Vidia really evil? What about the airhead mermaids? Lots of characters could be either heroes or villains depending upon the surrounding circumstances.

     

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