Barbie is supposed to be a very accomplished woman. Although she still looks like she’s in her early 20s, Barbie has allegedly been elected president, been a scientist, an army ranger, even a doctor and a veterinarian and a nurse. But when it comes times for Barbie to show that she is a competent, trained professional, she can’t manage to do things that even most, regular adults do.
In the episode, Licensed to Drive in season 1, Barbie is sitting reading a fashion magazine with what has to be her untold hours of downtime. She suddenly hears a crash and realizes that it’s the mail. She jumps up and sorts through a pile of mail that is as tall as she is. She mentions as she shifts through it, “Fan mail, gala invites, marriage proposals.” Then she comes across a large envelope that must have cost at least $20 to mail and squeals.
Skipper runs into the living room, coming at the sound of Barbie’s squeal. Barbie opens the envelope and pulls out a driver’s license that is about 100 times larger than a real license. The photo on the comedy-sized license is a glamour shot that was in no way taken by the apathetic slackers at the DMV.
As Barbie looks over her new license Skipper asks her why she doesn’t already have it, considering that she was a race car driver. But like so many of Barbie’s other “careers” she seems to have retrained no abilities or skills from the profession, just the pink, coordinated outfit she allegedly wore when she performed them.
There’s a short diary room scene where Barbie confesses that she can’t keep track of all of her 135 careers. This immediately cuts to Teresa and Nikki calling Barbie telling her that they heard her squeal and they want to know if she got her license. When she confirms that she has, they ask her to take them to the beach to go surfing.
In another diary room confession, Barbie admits that she doesn’t know how to drive. No one seems to really make a big deal of this and it just passes off as a joke, but seriously, why doesn’t Barbie know how to drive? She is supposed to be taking care of three children, one of them is 6 years old. How is she getting them to school and doctor’s appointments and after-school activities and all of the various bullshit that kids need to do? Moreover, how can she be this super, powerful, career woman and a RACE CAR DRIVER if she doesn’t know how to drive? No one seems to care.
Just then, Ken shows up. He squeals at the sight of Barbie’s license and he says that he’s been waiting a while, but now it’s time for him to give her something. He presents Barbie with a small pink box that holds a pink key. Outside, it turns out that the key is to a car. But the car is not assembled.
For some reason, Barbie decides to be proactive for once, and while Ken is looking over the complicated directions and asking if the muffler is a Schlond Poofa. Barbie effortlessly assembles the car herself in only a few seconds. While the little scene is supposed to be cute, no one can even begin to explain how Barbie can’t drive a car, but can assemble one without instructions.
Also, the Schlond Poofa thing gets annoying after a while. It’s a running gag throughout the show, but just one example of the times when the show has to put a girly name on something and paint it pink in order to make it appeal to girls. The Barbie viewers might be terrified of the word “muffler” because mufflers are boy things and they can’t have that! But how can a girl possibly resist a pink, friendly Schlond Poofa?
In a camping episode, Stacie is searching for a schnoggin wrench to finish her tent when she pulls another Schlond Poofa out of her backpack. Putting a mention of Schlond Poofas right beside a pinkified wrench. Can’t just call it a wrench and it can’t just be metal. It has to be pink. For girls!
Anyway, there’s a brief diary room scene where Ken says that it doesn’t bother him at all that Barbie showed him up by putting the car together by herself. This, of course, is all said while he certainly looks annoyed. He ends the scene by saying, “Can Barbie do this?” he then jumps up and flexes and says something unintelligible.
With the car together, Barbie and Ken start off. Barbie drives jerkily, moving the car forward in spurts, then backwards as well. There’s then a cut to a scene where Barbie is driving incredibly show. Chelsea on her bike is passing the car. Realizing how slowly she’s going, Barbie stops in the middle of the road and pines, “I’ll never learn to drive!” Thinking that something is wrong with the car, Ken hops out to go look at the Schlond Poofa.
Meanwhile, Teresa and Nikki arrive and pile into the back of the car with their surf boards. They instruct Barbie to drive. But Barbie admits that she’s not a really good driver yet. Undeterred, the girls encourage her to drive anyway. Barbie speeds into the road, going entirely too fast for a residential area. She also leaves Ken, still looking at the Schlond Poofa.
Barbie quickly adjusts to the faster pace. Perhaps her race car driving days came back to her? She takes her terrified passengers straight to the beach. Just as Barbie and her friends pull into the beach, the car slows down then just stops running. Unconcerned with the fact that her car doesn’t seem to be working anymore, the girls get out and start heading towards the waves.
Just then, Ken catches up, running into the back of the car. He realizes what’s wrong with the vehicle and replaces the car’s single D battery. He gets behind the driver’s seat and tries to drive off, only succeeding in driving off screen, with a crash following it.
The casual attitudes towards driving aside, it seems strange that Barbie, who is supposed to be so so competent and so amazing, can’t do such a simple thing that the vast majority of adults do every day. Even despite the fact that she was supposed to be employed driving cars. But anyway, driving is not the only thing that Barbie is adept at. She also can’t manage to get herself out of most of the insane scenarios that she finds herself in and is content to sit and wait until Ken can figure out how to rescue her.
In Closet Princess 2.0, yet another Dreamhouse episode that mostly takes place inside Barbie’s closet, Barbie and her friends Teresa and Nikki are in Barbie’s closet listening to her tell them a boring story. Closet, the AI robot that runs Barbie’s monstrous closet, is introduced. Barbie states that he has cataloged everything she owns. Closet adds that he can determine a mathematically perfect ensemble. Imagine what Closet could do if he was programmed to help a hospital or a non-profit thrift shop or anything more helpful than keeping track of Barbie’s enormous closet.
Closet then scans Barbie’s current outfit and informs her that her Capris are a half centimeter above her mid calf and he can’t let her wear them. Because stuff. He doesn’t really explain. I guess they’re unfashionable? Not in season? Too short? Too long? I don’t know. Anyway, Barbie tells Closet not to be silly and insists on wearing her Capris. So Closet locks the entire Dreamhouse down like it’s martial law.
Cut to a scene with Ken in a park carrying an comedy-sized picnic basket. He sets it down and starts pulling out full-sized furniture from it. Back in the dream house, Barbie is texting on her phone. Nikki asks if she’s calling 911 and Barbie informs her friends to tell Ken that she’ll be late. Because that makes sense. Being trapped in a house by an insane computer is no reason for your punctuality to fail. Barbie adds that she hopes that Ken’s homemade sherbet doesn’t melt.
Back to Ken in the park and, oh no! The sherbet’s melting! Ken gets the text from Barbie and he’s off to go save her. He brings the sherbet with him. Back in the closet, the girls are coming to terms with the captivity. Nikki realizes that there’s no food or water. Teresa adds that there’s no gossip magazines either.
Barbie then tells them not to worry because Ken just installed a smoothie bar in the closet. Because, when your closet can house a small family, why wouldn’t you have a smoothie bar in it? They all sit down to have a cappuccino. Barbie wonders where Ken could be.
Ken shows up outside of the Dreamhouse, ready to rescue his inept girlfriend. He gets there to find Ryan, another young man and a rival for Barbie’s attention, sitting on her front step. Why he is just sitting outside a private home, tuning his guitar is brushed off that he’s “waiting for Barbie”.
Seriously? It’s not okay to just turn up at people’s houses and camp out. Even if you know them. Call them on the phone and set up a time to hang out. If they don’t want to hang out, then leave them alone. It’s not that complicated.
Anyway, Ken tells Ryan that Barbie is trapped in her closet. The scene cuts to a diary room confession where Ken asks, “how could giving the closet artificial intelligence, complete control of the house, and a surly personality backfire? Right?” Of course.
Back in the locked-down closet, the girls are trying to sample some of the desserts that Closet has made when he doesn’t let Teresa taste a scone. He instead offers something that he made fresh that morning. Which makes you wonder, just how much time Barbie spends in her closet if it makes her fresh food. Closet asks Barbie to take off her Capris again and Barbie still, politely refuses. No one seems to notice anything creepy about Barbie’s robot trying to convince her to take off her pants.
Within a few minutes the girls get bored. Barbie asks them if they would like to take a soak. She hits a button and a hot tub folds down from the wall. The girls squeal in excitement and they all go to soak in the tub.
Cut to Ken and Ryan trying to crawl through the heating ducts. Each boy wants to be the one to rescue Barbie. They argue about who is going to be her savior. Eventually, their argument gets so heated that they start wrestling and crash through the ceiling and into the locked down closet. When they hit the floor, Barbie is telling the same insane story that she was in the beginning.
The girls look up from the hot tub and greet the guys. Ryan decides that he’s going to get into the hot tub with the girls and without an invitation, he strips out of his clothes, breakaway style, and reveals red swim trunks. Barbie gets out of the tub and tries to leave with Ken to finally go on their picnic, but Closet sees Barbie heading out in a bathing suit in Autumn and simply can’t let her leave. Sirens go off, immediately.
Just then, Ken realizes that Closet had been set to evil. He flips a button in the closet and the sirens stop right away and Closet apologizes for being so mean. Of course, this was a problem that Barbie, if she would have taken two seconds to think about it, could have solved herself. Closet was acting out of character, something was clearly wrong, why not check the evil button, just out of curiosity, to see if it had been pressed?
Also, who pressed it to begin with? Was Raquelle working behinds the scenes to mess with the occupants of the Dreamhouse? Can this button get tripped accidentally? Maybe Ken pressed it in order to have yet another opportunity to rescue his lady love? Who knows?
Regardless of who pressed the evil button, Barbie was completely unable to get herself out of a simple situation and didn’t even attempt to fix the problem herself. Instead, she had to wait patiently for Ken and his homemade sherbet. She has done so many things and had so many careers and she can’t manage to handle a closet? Barbie is not quite the super heroine for little girls that we were all promised.
To read all of the Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse articles, click here.