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Web Animation / Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse

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Three minutes of animated pink. And it is glorious. From L-R 

"Years ago, we were uncomfortable and nervous about defining Barbie too much, but today we can celebrate her role in pop culture, and her more than 40-year love affair with Ken."
Mattel VP Lisa McKnigh

An animated series that ties in with the popular Barbie toyline, Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse is a 2012-2015 web series produced by Mattel. The series follows a Slice of Life look into Barbie's, well, life in her Malibu dream house, with brief Reality Television-esque asides into Barbie and her friends' thoughts. Barbie attends parties, goes to the beach, dates Ken, hangs out with her sisters, and does all of the sort of things you would expect Barbie to do. What's unexpected is the massive helping of Affectionate Self-Parody, Lampshade Hanging, Medium Awareness, and Parental Bonus on display, adding up to a lovingly parodic version of the Barbie universe not completely out of line with her Toy Story 3 depiction.

A major difference between this series and other Barbie stories is that this version stars Barbie the doll. The entire universe is Toy Time incarnate, with all of the characters having visible plastic joints. (In fact, Midge, being an older doll, is portrayed as not being fully articulate). All of the technology runs off toy rules (e.g., the showers are powered by hand pumps; the cars use giant D-cell batteries, etc). The show is entirely aware of this.

Barbie's personality is that of a sparklingly cheerful girl who's done, and is good at, everything, to the point of comedy. Her boyfriend Ken is a good-natured klutz who's almost as perky as Barbie, if nowhere near as skilled. She lives with her three younger sisters, parents nowhere in sight, and her three hyperintelligent pets. Her friends, Nikki, Teresa, Midge and Summer often come over to hang out. Meanwhile, Barbie's "friend" Raquelle is often looking for ways to make her life difficult so that she can be the star for once, occasionally teaming up with her twin brother Ryan, who really just wants in on Barbie. And the whole thing is filled to the brim with nods to Barbie's 50-odd year history, along with plenty of other Parental Bonuses and all-ages rapid-fire humor.

In 2013, a series of TV specials began airing on Nickelodeon. The webseries and the TV specials have become available to stream on Netflix, and select episodes and music videos have made their way to DVD and Blu-Ray as bonus features for some of Barbie's movies. Starting in 2017, Mattel has used actual toys to remake some episodes as Barbie: Live! in the Dreamhouse.

This webseries contains examples of:

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  • Achievements in Ignorance: Somehow, Ken manages to assemble Chelsea's bike into a tennis-playing robot.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode:
    • Episode 12 has the cast scramble to get presents for Barbie, but realize they don't actually know how old she is.
    • Episode 56 has Barbie, Nikki, and Teresa attend Raquelle's half-birthday party. Her age doesn't get revealed, either (the cake only has four candles).
    • Episode 2 averted this by clearly stating that Chelsea turns six years old.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Ken (for some reason) installed an "Evil" switch in Closet. Closet always has a "surly personality," but when the Evil switch is active, he wants to keep Barbie prisoner so that together they can rule the entire fashion world. And he's tied into every system of the Dreamhouse, so he can cause havoc. Luckily, you just have to flip the switch to get him back to normal.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Be they bought, loaned, in the closet, all over the house...
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Taffy, Tawny, and Blissa get their own Unlikely Confession Cam segments, where their barking/neighing/meowing is translated. They seem to be quite erudite.
  • Angels Pose: Barbie, Raquelle, and Chelsea do this in "Ken-Tastic, Hair-Tastic" to kick off a Makeover Montage.
  • Animation Bump: Looks a lot more fluid and clean than some of the Barbie movies, especially during the early seasons. Probably because having your characters be living dolls means it's okay that they look plastic.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: In "Little Bad Dress", Raquelle says of Teresa: "That Teresa is the most self-absorbed, stuck-up, snobnoxious little diva I've ever seen. ...I'm impressed."
  • Art Imitates Art: Barbie's boutique has a mural of the Birth of Venus, with Barbie in the place of Venus. Raquelle's shop has a Sistine Steal with Ryan taking the place of both God and Adam.
  • Aside Glances
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Raquelle at the end of "The Shrinkerator."

  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • Raquelle in "Day at the Beach," though no one acknowledges it.
    • Raquelle and Ryan win Doll vs. Dessert, due to competitor Teresa eating hers and Barbie's cupcakes before the judge can.
  • Bag of Holding: Ken manages to pull two chairs, a table, a vase of flowers, a chandelier, and a fireplace out of a giant pink picnic basket, in addition to standard picnic supplies (tablecloth, plates, utensils, sandwiches, sherbet).
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Played straight seeing as the characters are actual dolls:
    • Ken and Ryan have featureless chests whenever they go shirtless.
    • Barbie's doctor office has a chart of a doll's body, showing no nipples, no body hair, and no genitals.
  • Beach Episode: "Day at the Beach," of course, as well as "Sisters Ahoy" and "Another Day at the Beach".
  • Beary Friendly: A friendly bear sometimes appears, to the lack of surprise from Barbie's sisters. She became friends with one of them in "Oh, How Campy Too", when she helped Stacie earn a merit badge, so that she herself could earn one for helping a human.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In "Bizarro Barbie," Raquelle stumbles into an alternate version of Malibu, where she, and not the bland Blarbie, is the constant center of attention. Everyone she meets praises her, and she opens a boutique that becomes extremely successful, but she quickly grows bored of not having Barbie to compete with. In her own words:
    Raquelle: It's everything I've ever wanted! why aren't I satisfied?
  • Belly Buttonless: When Game Show Host Skipper quizzes Barbie's friends on how long Barbie has had a belly button for, Teresa admits she doesn't even know what a belly button is, and Barbie confesses that she can't remember when she got it.
  • Big Eater: In the season four episode "The Ken Den", Barbie is checking out Ken's new guys-only club when she spies a giant rack of barbecue ribs, the next shot is of her eating the ribs, while covered in barbecue sauce, while sitting next to a rib-eating-contest trophy.
    • When Summer lives in the Dreamhouse for a couple days, she eats all of the food in the Dreamhouse...for breakfast!
  • Bigger on the Inside: The dreamhouse itself, of course, but there's also her palatial camper. And her closet...
    • Apparently the neighborhood plumbing can fit dolphins.
  • Big "NO!": "I mean, yay!"
    • Also played straight sometimes.
  • Bizarre Seasons: Midge claims that she and Barbie endured some of these. "Back in Wisconsin, we had rain, hail, tornados, and snowstorms. We never let it ruin our Fourth of July!"
  • Bizarro Universe: "Bizarro Barbie" sends Raquelle to an alternate version of Malibu. While there, she effortlessly steals the spotlight of their Barbie (gloomy Blarbie), and makes friends with their Nikki and Teresa (agreeable Vicki and Clarrisa, respectively).
  • Black and Nerdy: Grace, introduced in "New Girl in Town", loves performing science experiments.
  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: In that order: Barbie, Nikki, and Teresa, at least initially. This arrangement gets pretty much blown out of the water as the cast expands, although it's worth nothing that the three girls added to the cast during the first four seasons fit this, too (Summer, Raquelle, and Midge, respectively). Chelsea and her friends, seen in "Dream a Little Dreamhouse", also form this kind of trio.
  • Break the Cutie: Barbie fails to retain her composure during a city-wide shortage of glitter. Notably, she cries right after a TV broadcast crew finishes filming her telling the others This Is No Time to Panic, and eventually becomes so desperate for shiny clothing, she wraps herself in tin foil.
  • Brand X: "Generic Flying Disc". Oddly, in the episode "Cringing in the Rain", this name is used alongside "Hacky Sack" despite both it and Frisbee being trademarks of the same company.
  • Broken Record: The robot Barbie in "Send in the Clones" can only say three sentences before Ken grants her Artificial Intelligence: "Hi, there. I'm Barbie! What's up?" Ryan somehow still manages to have a happy date with one of the robots that doesn't have artificial intelligence.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Ryan and Raquelle...sometimes.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Teresa and Nikki slide through a dark passageway in one scene of "Closet Princess", they look like eyeballs floating against a dark backdrop.

  • The Cameo: He-Man in "The Shrinkerator". It was actually a vintage 1980s He-Man action figure.
  • Camera Abuse: The cameraman gets hit by a beach ball in "Party Foul", a pillow in "A Spooky Sleepover", and Raquelle in "Doll vs. Dessert". In the first case, Nikki apologizes for kicking the ball in his direction.
  • Camp Straight: Both Ryan and Ken, but they'd probably have to be to live in this world. That, and being (based on) a girl's toy and all...
  • Catchphrase:
    Barbie: What in the world?
    Ken: I'm on it!
    Chelsea: Can we [whatever she wants at the moment], Barbie? Can we, can we?
    Skipper: *frustrated groan*
  • Cats Are Mean: Blissa disagrees, but: "It's not being mean, it's building character!"
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Has two of this.
    • "Rhapsody in Buttercream": Teresa bets Lethal Chef Barbie to give her a pedicure if she can't bake a batch of cupcakes without causing a disaster. Barbie tries to use her "Little Miss Cupcake-ilator" to whip up a batch, but since she can't remember how to turn it off (unplug it), she floods her kitchen with cupcakes. Teresa declares herself the winner.
    • "Don't Bet on It": Barbie and her sisters bet each other in giving up what they love for a day, with the losers doing the winner's chores for a week. Naturally, Barbie, Stacie, and Chelsea couldn't last long and, after a while of resisting, gave in to temptations, thus making Skipper the winner. However, Barbie caught Skipper with a PC disguised as sunglasses, which automatically makes Barbie, Stacie, and Chelsea the winners as Skipper has to do all of their chores for the entire week.
  • Cheerful Child: You can't bring Chelsea down, even when she doesn't get her tennis ball-firing robot.
  • Child Prodigy: Chelsea is pretty smart for a six-year-old.
  • Childhood Friends: Barbie and Midge, the latter of whom moved from Willows, Wisconsin to Malibu in season three.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: Teresa takes a level in jerkass after borrowing a Little Black Dress from Raquelle.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Teresa. For one example (out of oh, so many), when told it was "raining cats and dogs" outside, she rushes to the window, looking for a Labradoodle.
  • Coconut Meets Cranium: Poor Skipper.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Happens in "Bad Hair Day" and "Gone Glitter Gone".
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Happens to Ken a few times.
  • Companion Cube: Teresa treats her sock monkey, Bananas, as a real animal. All the other dolls try to play along.
  • Compilation Episode: Netflix has some 23-minute collections of shorts.
  • Confession Cam
  • Continuity Nod: The answers to Skipper's questions in "Let's Make a Doll" contain some facts about Barbie that might sound more familiar to older fans than to younger ones, such as her middle name, her parents' names, and her 1980s rock band's name.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • While Barbie and her friends discuss the possibility of opening a boutique, they find an empty store at the strip mall.
    Teresa: It's like it was waiting for us!
    • This happens again when Grace plans on opening a science-themed store.
    Barbie: (confessional) You'd be surprised how often that happens around here.
  • Control Freak: Stacie, at times.
    Chelsea: This has been the bestest day! The yummy cake, the awesome presents, the military-precision scheduling...
  • Cooking Duel: Doll vs. Dessert pits Teresa and Barbie against Raquelle and Ryan in cupcake-baking.
  • Cool Car: Barbie, Skipper, and Stacie make one for Ken in "Primp My Ride".
  • Coordinated Clothes: After Ryan stains Raquelle's new dress, Barbie dresses her in the sparkly pink dress that she wears almost all the time (including during the show's opening).
    Ryan: Cool, sis! You look almost as good as Barbie!
    Raquelle: Does it come in black?
  • Couch Gag: The topiary in the Establishing Shot of the Dreamhouse. It's different every episode.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In "Little Bad Dress," Barbie tells Nikki that she could use the emergency dress in her purse to turn Teresa back to normal. Nikki asks Barbie why she didn't pull out that dress earlier, so Barbie answers, "It's from last season."
  • Crazy-Prepared: Raquelle tricks Barbie and Nikki into wearing casual outfits to a formal dress party, but Barbie's and Nikki's outfits can fortunately transform into ballgowns. And swimsuits. And mermaid tails.
  • Curtain Clothing:
    • At the end "Style Super Squad - Part 2", Raquelle tries to imitate Barbie's quick change, only to wear a shower curtain (complete with rod).
    • In "Little Black Dress", after Raquelle accidentally dumps choco-lemon dip on Teresa's dress, she hands Teresa a shower curtain, and tells her to make herself a new dress with it.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Varying degrees with everyone but special attention goes to Ken as it's even use for a plot device in the 'Plethora of Puppies' episode:
    Ken: I suffer from 'Hyper Cuteness Sensitivity Disorder'. Whenever I'm in close proximity to something adorable I, well....faint. It's quite common.
  • Cyber Cyclops: Closet, Barbie's sometimes Affably Evil closet-controlling AI.

  • Dark Horse Victory: Has two of this.
    • In "Going to the Dogs", the results of the Malibu Surf and Sport Dog show: Ken's labrador, Hudson, places third. Taffy places second. Teresa's sock monkey, Bananas, wins first prize. Raquelle's German shepherd, Brunhilde, doesn't win anything.
    • In "Mayor of Malibu", the elected mayor turns out to be neither Chelsea nor Raquelle. It was Harold Snufflebottom, who won in the reality TV show Who Wants to be Mayor?.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: "I just love being a mentor and helping someone improve, and Raquelle's got so much room for improvement! Wait, that came out wrong. (chuckles)"
  • Did You Get a New Haircut?: "...You know it never grows back."
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Chelsea sings, "Life in my dreeeamhouse!" at the end of "Dream a Little Dreamhouse".
  • Disco Dan: Apparently everyone from Barbie's birthplace of Willows, Wisconsin, including Midge, remains trapped in the late 1950s/early 1960s. "Things are a bit behind the times there. They don't have computers, or cell phones, or...even colors!"
  • Discretion Shot: Ryan doesn't let the viewers the entirety of the Imagine Spot where he and Barbie sit by the fireplace, explaining that it's "...too good to share!"
  • The Ditz: Teresa: "We're famished. And starving!" Everyone to an extent, of course.
  • Ditzy Genius: As part of the Parody Sue package, Barbie can do everything (except when it'd be funnier if she can't) but doesn't seem to be wholly with it.
  • Dolphins, Dolphins Everywhere: "Accidentallly on Porpoise."
  • Doom It Yourself: Ken's attempt to assemble Chelsea's bike himself fails spectacularly enough that he manages to accidentally build a tennis ball-firing robot out of the parts instead. He manages to assemble it correctly in the end... only to learn that Chelsea wanted a tennis-playing robot for her birthday.
  • Double Meaning: When Barbie shows Teresa and Nikki the giant Barbie styling head she keeps in her makeup room, Teresa comments, "I mean this in, like, the best possible way,'ve got a big head."
  • Dramatic Spotlight: Barbie can get one to shine on herself even in the absence of a spotlight machine.
  • Dueling Shows: In universe, Life in the Dreamhouse reportedly creams Doll vs. Dessert in the ratings.
  • E = MC Hammer: Barbie has over 150 careers so finding time to spend with her sisters requires a team of physicists. One is seen working on a very busy chalkboard.
    Physicist: Booyah! We did it! In your face, physics!
  • Eat the Camera: After Chelsea tires of Barbie asking if she wants a unicorn for her birthday, she gives a Big "NO!", and the camera zooms into her mouth. The camera then zooms out of Ken's mouth as he gives a Big "NO!" while facing the tennis-playing robot.
  • Elevator Failure: The Dreamhouse's elevator can only hold one doll at a time. If another doll tries to join the ride, they both get stuck in between the first and second floors.
  • Emo Teen: Whatever it is, Skipper would rather not be involved.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: The Barbie universe clearly runs on this principle, considering Malibu has a "glitter crisis."
  • Everything's Precious with Puppies: "Plethora of Puppies" is all ABOUT this.
  • Evil Phone: A scary story told by Nikki gets interrupted by Raquelle's phone ringing. When Raquelle answers it, she discovers that her hair appointment was cancelled!
  • Exploding Closet:
    • Barbie's trophy room becomes one due to her winning a countless number of awards.
    • "Closet Clothes Out" ends with Ken transferring some contents from Barbie's filled-up closet to one of his own. It then bursts open, and the ensuing mess pushes Ken against the screen.

  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "The Fantasticest Journey" revolves around Barbie and ken shrinking and entering Taffy's body to retrieve a gift from Ken she ate before he could even say what it was. Turns out it was a limited edition scented gummy candle.
  • Fashion Show: Barbie of course attends these regularly.
  • The Fashionista: Take a wiiiild guess.
  • Faux Horrific:
    • During "Spooky Sleepover", Raquelle takes a phone call and screams at what she hears. She informs that her hair appointment was cancelled. Cue the rest of the girls following suit.
    • Raquelle mistakes butterflies, daisies, and Blissa for killer bees, poison ivy, and a bear, respectively, while camping with Barbie. Though when she finds a real (plastic) bear in the jacuzzi, she decides not to freak over it.
    • When cage diving, Midge freaks over a guppy wearing a shark fin on its head.
  • Follow the Leader: In universe, Raquelle opens a boutique to compete with Barbie's. However, after Raquelle asks Ryan to fill their store with "irresistible" products, he stocks it with merchandise of himself, instead of clothes.
  • Forced Meme: Raquelle tries to abbreviate "gorgeous" as, "gorg". Teresa and Nikki express belief that It Will Never Catch On, but Clarrisa and Vicki turn it into an Overused Running Gag.
    Raquelle: Am I the only one thinking that the gorg thing is getting a little old?
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: Stacie and Chelsea tried to answer some of Barbie's fan mail, while Comically Missing the Point of the questions asked.
  • Friendly Enemy: Barbie and Raquelle, although the amount depends on the episode. Barbie genuinely seems to consider Raquelle her friend, and to her credit, Raquelle has attended some of Barbie's events, including her sleepover, without plans to sabotage them. She even joined forces with Barbie to help give Ken a makeover.
    • Raquelle even lampshades this in "Bizarro Barbie," when she comments that she needs to "find a more gorg group of frenemies." Of course, the ending proves that deep down, she does care about not only Barbie, but Nikki and Teresa as well.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Barbie hits Ken with one after mistaking him for a zombie.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Chelsea's and Barbie's conversation about getting a new pet makes Taffy, Blissa, and Tawny fear that the girls have gotten tired of them, so they perform a balancing act to try and impress them.
    • An extra gives a V-Sign to the camera while Barbie worries about whether she and Midge can reach the rendezvous point at Malibu Mall in time.

  • G-Rated Drug: The glitter shortage has shades of this.
  • Gadgeteer Genius:
    • Ken...sometimes. He's also a Genius Ditz.
    • Skipper proves herself a competent inventor.
  • Gamer Chick: Skipper is more of a techno-gadget chick, but she's definitely got the female nerdity down.
  • Genius Ditz: Teresa has her moments. In "Stuck with You," Ken is her partner in a game of charades. One of their phrases is eighteen words long. Ken points to his foot, and Teresa immediately knows the answer:
    Teresa: Fall fashion sale at Malibu Mall but they're all sold out of the cool boots in your size!
  • Genki Girl: Summer.
  • Graceful Losers: If Barbie or Chelsea doesn't get first place in a competition, she doesn't seem to have trouble brushing off the defeat. The same can't always be said for Sore Loser Summer, though.
  • Gratuitous German: Raquelle uses this when commanding her disobedient dog, Brunhilde. She still refuses to obey.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Barbie-pedia.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Barbie, of course.
  • Hates Baths: Barbie's pets, Taffy, Blissa, and Tawny. And Stacie.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Skipper, as part of her Emo Teen getup.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Teresa proclaims that she slept for three days straight in preparation for Barbie's Slumber Party.
  • Here We Go Again!:
    • "Sticker It Up" begins and ends with Barbie's sisters ordering an inconveniently high amount of furniture.
    • "Gone Glitter Gone" has Malibu survive the glitter shortage, only to learn that the cupcake bakers have run out of sprinkles.
  • Hopeless Suitors: Raquelle and Ryan constantly try, and fail, to make Ken and Barbie love them more than they love each other. Midge also has a one-sided crush on Ryan.

  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: The entire plot of "Gone, Glitter, Gone" may have been about a simple glitter shortage, but it was rather clearly an allegory to drug addiction with characters going insane over obtaining one container of glitter and acting like they were in severe withdrawal because they couldn't apply glitter to their belongings.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: In "Another Day at the Beach", Summer and Midge each reluctantly participate in one of the other's favorite activities. Summer tries to make macramé, and enjoys it so much, she and Midge decide to have a "macramé-off". Midge goes cage diving, but doesn't have fun doing it.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog:
    Ken: I think I left my oven on!
    Ryan: I think I left his oven on, too!
    • In another short:
    Raquelle: Well, I gotta stuff...elsewhere. Bye.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipe: Mostly they're shaped like Barbie's head, but "Oh How Campy" also has pinecone and fish-shaped ones. The Valentine's Day Episode uses transitions with pictures of Cupid.
  • Incredible Shrinking Girls: Barbie and Raquelle are shrunk by Ken's shrink ray in "The Shrinkerator".
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Raquelle and Ryan, full stop. No matter what nasty shenanigans they get up to it's hard to hate them because they fail so hard every time.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Barbie's fashion powers.
  • Insignificant Anniversary: The first episode has Barbie celebrate her and Ken's 43rd anniversary...of the first time they held hands. Whether or not that is measured in years adds to the humor, since the show intentionally keeps Barbie's age vague.
  • Instant Costume Change: Barbie promises that her technical institute can help people change jobs as quickly as she can change her outfit. The camera cuts to Ryan looking excited for a second, then cuts back to Barbie, wearing completely different clothes than at the start of the commercial.
    • Barbie also does this in "Party Foul" and "Catty on the Catwalk", albiet without the camera cutting away from her. Nikki follows her lead in the former of those shorts.
    • Raquelle and her party guests frequently change their clothes in "Party Foul".
  • Internal Homage:
    • "Ken-Tastic, Hair-Tastic" briefly shows Ken sporting a bowl cut made of molded plastic, similar to the "hair" of Ken dolls from The '80s.
    • Episode "Closet Clothes Out" has Barbie dress in a black and white one-piece bathing suit, the first apparel she ever wore since her debut to the world.
    • The dress Midge wears during her first day in Malibu looks not unlike an actual 1960s Barbie/Midge dress.
    • "Doctor Barbie" seems to have a diagram of the first Barbie doll hanging in Barbie's doctor office.
    • "Dream a Little Dreamhouse" has Barbie, Ken, Skipper, and Stacie try to rebuild the original Barbie's Dreamhouse, for Chelsea to use as a playhouse.
  • It's a Costume Party, I Swear!: Inverted when Barbie and Nikki attend Raquelle's "pool party" in swimsuits, only to find everyone dressed as fairies.
  • It's Always Summer: Malibu has so many sunny days, Barbie's friendsnote  have never experienced a rainy day prior to "Cringing in the Rain", a season four episode.
    • Barbie and Ken flash back to building a snowman in one episode, but they apparently did so during a trip to the mountains.
  • Jack of All Trades: Barbie, to the point that she provides the trope image!
  • Keet: Ken. Good God, Ken.

  • Laugh Track: "A Smidge of Midge" uses one to emulate old sitcoms, but only Skipper and the viewers can hear it.
  • Legacy Character: Raquelle indirectly suggests that Barbie's sisters might become this. See "The Nicknamer" below.
  • Lethal Chef: Barbie may be good at everything, but she's not a great baker. She won't admit to it, though.
    • Subverted with Stacie. She throws an entire carton of eggs, styrofoam container and all, into a bowl, along with the sugar box. She sticks the whole thing into the oven without a pan... and it turns into a perfect, already-decorated cake. "Baking can be hard work."
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Barbie and Raquelle.
  • Living Toys
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Raquelle is this in spades. She's manipulative, pushy, devious, spoiled, and occasionally downright evil, but has, on more than one occasion, shown a softer, kinder side. This is especially true in "Bizarro Barbie," when she reveals that she actually likes Barbie, Nikki, and Teresa, and considers them close friends.
  • Love Triangle: Barbie and Ken are dating, of course, but Ryan wants in on Barbie. The same can be said for his twin Raquelle, who wants Ken for herself.
  • Makeover Montage:
    • Male example with Ken in "Ken-tastic, Hair-tastic".
    • "A Smidge of Midge" includes one when Barbie and her sisters introduce some contemporary fashions to Midge.
  • Meddlesome Patrolman: The security guard of Malibu Mall, who tickets Raquelle and Summer for everything from loitering to walking around without giant sunglasses.
  • Mega Neko: Well, Barbie and Raquelle were shrunk, but Blissa still counted.
  • Merchandise-Driven: It IS a cartoon based on the dolls themselves, so naturally. Though the series also spawned its own toys- dolls based on a cartoon, based on a doll...
  • Mind Screw: After Midge makes a picture frame out of some seashells, she fills the frame with a photo of herself and Barbie taking a selfie, taken from an angle that actually shows Barbie and Midge holding a camera to photograph their faces.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The On the Next segment at the end of "Gone Glitter Gone Part 1" shows Barbie and two of her sisters chasing Skipper through the foyer, after Skipper swipes Chelsea's last jar of glitter.
  • Moment Killer: Skipper performs one in "Primp My Ride":
    Ken: You're the best, Babe!
    Barbie: No, you are!
    Ken: No, you are!
    Barbie: No, you are!
    Ken: No...
    Skipper: You both are. Can we go for a spin?
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Barbie admires the charm bracelet Ken gives her more strongly than she does her more lavish birthday presents because she never owned a charm bracelet before.
  • Musicalis Interruptus:
    • Sometimes Barbie cuts off Ryan's Silly Love Songs.
    • "Happy Birthday Chelsea" seems to start with Chelsea about to sing about how much fun she'll have on her birthday, but Skipper cuts her off by calling her to breakfast. Later on, Barbie asks Chelsea if she'd like to sing a "special birthday song", but Chelsea refuses.
  • Mystery Box: Before Skipper gives Teresa, Nikki, Midge, and Raquelle the final question in her game show, she asks if any of them would like to open Door #3 instead. Raquelle refuses, recalling how many other game shows have lame Consolation Prizes. It later turns out that Door #3 had Ken behind it.
  • Mythology Gag: See ShoutOut.Barbie Life In The Dreamhouse

  • New Job Episode: In the webisode "Occupational Hazards", Ken tries to find a job so he can fully provide for Barbie, only for him to get sidetracked thanks to his Barbie Sense. In the end, Ken finally realized that he already has a job: being Barbie's boyfriend.
  • New Neighbours as the Plot Demands: How Midge, and later Summer, joined the cast.
    Barbie: My BFF is coming to stay with us for a couple of days!
    Skipper: How many BFFs do you have?
  • The Nicknamer: Sort of. Whenever Raquelle refers to any of Barbie's sisters, she adds a "Junior" based on the oldest to youngest sister (e.g., Chelsea is "Barbie Junior Junior Junior").
  • Noodle Implements: "I'm gonna make this Raquelle's best day ever! All I need is duct tape, some pea soup, rubber boots, and a couple of turkey feathers." The viewers never find out what she did with the feathers.
  • Noodle Incident: "I was set to 'evil' once."
  • Not in the Face!: Ryan says this right before Ken does a drop on him.
  • Older Than They Look: In the first episode, Barbie states that she and Ken will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the first time they held hands.
  • Only Six Faces: All the female extras have the same face, body type, and hairstyle.
  • Opening Shout-Out: When Barbie sets up her X-ray machine, she flips through various channels on the monitor. Part of the intro to Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse appears while she does this.
  • Parental Bonus: The shout outs to The Godfather, complete with decapitated horse head.
  • Parodies of Fire: After Raquelle barely scores higher than Barbie in their beach games, she runs and cheers, "I win!" in slow motion. Music that sounds suspiciously similar to the Chariots of Fire theme plays as she does this.
  • Parody Commercial: Sometimes Mattel releases one or two in between seasons.
  • Parody Sue: Barbie herself, natch. The series love to hang lampshades on her ridiculous job history, such as asking how she managed to be a racecar driver once without learning how to drive, or her bafflement when she learns that her friends haven't been to the moon.
  • Phrase Catcher: "That darn Schlond Poofa."
  • Police Code for Everything: When Ken is patrolling the yard for intruders during Barbie's slumber party and runs into Ryan trying to scare the girls with a zombie getup (In the insane belief that they will then leap into his arms because he's the nearest guy), Ken wrestles with Ryan and demands he stop resisting arrest, then later upgrades it to a "10-42", "Resisting arrest while obsessing over hair products".
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title
  • Portmanteau: Nikki comes up with one in "Little Bad Dress":
    I just came here for cake. Teresa wanted to come. So, why is she acting all snotty and obnoxious? She's...snobnoxious!
  • Race Against the Clock: In "Mall Madness", Barbie, Midge, Summer, and Raquelle have to meet at a rendezvous point by 3:00 PM. However, Summer and Raquelle also have to avoid getting ticketed by security, and Midge constantly stops by various stores and stands.
  • Reunion Show: Parodied in the second season premiere.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Blissa temporarily becomes one to Chelsea during the glitter shortage.
  • Robot Me: Ken creates a robot clone of Barbie in the three-part "Send in the Clones", in hopes that she can help Barbie complete her work more quickly. Unfortunately, her Artificial Intelligence motivates her to try and replace Barbie. Even worse, the tennis-playing robot accidentally breaks a control on the cloning machine, unleashing a slew of mindless Barbie robots on Malibu.
  • Running Gag:
    • The Schlond Poofa, the muffler of Barbie's car, has a tendency to become disconnected from the car and turn up in random places.
    • Another gag has Barbie commenting that a professional of some kind is needed, including a vet or a pilot. Skipper inevitably chimes in, "Weren't you a vet/pilot/[insert profession]?" It's lampshaded in "Doctor Barbie"—Barbie says that Chelsea needs a doctor, and nothing happens. She loudly repeats, "I SAID, we DO need to go to a DOCTOR!"...and Skipper comes running in, out of breath, to ask, "Weren't you a doctor?"

  • Sassy Black Woman: Nikki's cast profiles states that she is "Smart, sassy, and totally fun to be around"
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Ken and Skipper do this when operating control panels that are actually stickers. "Boop, Bap, beep, bap, boop."
  • Schmuck Bait
    Ken: How could giving the closet artificial intelligence, absolute control over the dreamhouse, and a surly personality backfire?
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Ken lets out a happy high-pitched scream upon seeing Barbie got her driver's license.
    • When encountering Ryan in zombie makeup, Ken lets out a high pitched scream, which he then tries to cover up with a low pitched scream, which he then tries to cover up by clearing his throat and bravely asking Ryan what he's doing in Barbie's yard.
  • Self-Deprecation: As much as the series celebrates Barbie's long history, it will also poke fun at the franchise, including the fact that while Barbie has had numerous careers, she rarely seems to be very skilled at any of them as well as making the residents of Malibu out to be somewhat dense.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Played with with Ken and Ryan. Despite Ryan wanting to play up the brooding Manly Man part it turns out he's just as sensitive as Ken is.
  • Serial Escalation: Season two has more outlandish storylines than the first one did. The cartoon went from showing Barbie go to the beach, attend parties, and redecorate her house to showing Barbie get trapped in her giant closet, become even smaller than doll-sized, and pursue dolphins that escaped into the sewer.
  • Serious Business: Malibu's dwindling supply of glitter causes a city-wide crisis.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Possibly "Closet Princess". Barbie and her friends enter the closet so Barbie can find the butterfly barrette she wants to wear on her next date with Ken. After a day's worth of exploring, Barbie finds the barrette in her pocket. Despite this, she denies the journey was all for nothing, since she found a nice necklace to wear.
    • "Dream a Little Dreamhouse" has Barbie, Ken, Skipper, and Stacie decide to build Chelsea a playhouse. She tries to tell them that she already has one, but they don't listen, and labor for hours constructing another. This second playhouse falls apart right when Chelsea opens the door.
  • Shaped Like Itself: For one of the gang's trips to the beach, Barbie packs a picnic basket with "crabcakes, hotcakes, cupcakes, and cake-cakes."
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Ryan thinks this of Midge after she changes her appearance from black and white to color.
  • Shout-Out / Reference Overdosed: See ShoutOut.Barbie Life In The Dreamhouse.
  • Shrink Ray: The Shrinkerator.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Did you really expect anything less from Ken and Barbie?
  • Silly Love Songs: The songs performed in the music videos featured in "I Want My BTV" and "Everybody Needs a Ken".
  • The Simple Gesture Wins: Barbie's Birthday Episode features the characters giving Barbie extravagant presents, which she doesn't appreciate because she already owns multiples of all of them. Ken gives her a charm bracelet he picked out personally (and which he didn't give at first because the girls didn't think it was good enough for Barbie). Barbie is delighted by the thoughtful gesture.
  • Skewed Priorities: After Barbie and Stacie discover that someone has been stealing furniture from the Dreamhousespoiler , Skipper runs in to tell Barbie that she can't shower. Barbie asks if they ran out of shampoo, despite her buying a 50-gallon tub, but Skipper informs her that the whole shower went missing. Barbie responds by again asking if they still have the shampoo.
  • Slow "NO!": Barbie says this as she rushes to stop Raquelle from activating the Shrinkerator.
  • Slumber Party: Barbie throws one in "A Spooky Sleepover", with help from a mobile app that suggests different activities.
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot: "Rhapsody in Buttercream" has a variation using technology instead of magic, listed above under Cheaters Never Prosper.
    Ken: It looks like a bakery pooped its pants.
  • Spelling Song: "Everybody Needs a Ken" has Teresa and Nikki spell out Ken's name while Barbie sings the chorus. They even try to shape themselves into the letters.
  • Spider-Sense: Ken can detect from a distance if Barbie needs help with something. He calls it "Barbie Sense".
  • Split-Screen Phone Call:
    • Barbie has one with Teresa and Nikki in "Licensed to Drive", with Barbie demonstrating the ability to pass objects over the split line.
    • Raquelle and Ryan manage to do her one better in "Red Carpet Capter," where Ryan simply leaps over the split line in order to join Raquelle.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Trying to give Raquelle a spot in the sun, Barbie takes her own bad hair day and tries to turn it into a full-blown fashion disaster. Being Barbie, she instead ends up starting a fashion trend.
  • Squee: Barbie's squee is so powerful, it can be heard across town.
  • Stealth Insult: "It's always brave when a friend tries out a new look. And in this case, Ken was being really, really brave! Like, plaid with stripes brave!"

  • Tastes Like Purple: Teresa claims that Barbie told her (and apparently Skipper as well), that if she became an ice cream flavor, she would choose "pink" flavor.
  • Taught by Experience: When Skipper's inventions for making over patrons of Barbie's boutique make Raquelle actually look worse than before, Skipper proceeds to detect and repair glitches in the devices quickly enough for Barbie to see how efficiently they can serve patrons when in proper condition.
  • Tempting Fate: Barbie asks Ken if he finds it safe for him to tend to her plastic pox alone. Ken simply asks, "What's the worst that could happen?" The scene then cuts to a healed Barbie tending to a pox-infected Ken. Fortunately, he admits that he doesn't mind feeling sick if it means keeping Barbie by his side.
  • That Poor Cat: A cat yowl is heard after the giant roll of masking tape bounces away in "Closet Clothes Out".
  • That Was Not a Dream: Barbie has to say this to Ken after purposely deciding to let Raquelle outshine her.
  • Title Theme Tune
    Hey, hey! Life in the Dreamhouse!
    Oh, yeah! Life in the Dreamhouse!
    Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse! (bow wow)
  • Toppled Statue: Raquelle has a statue of herself erected at Malibu Mall. Since the statue proves a hazard to low-flying planes, some of the other dolls destroy it.
  • Trade Snark: The written summaries for the episodes indicate that the trademark is actually part of Barbie's name.
  • Trophy Room: Barbie's closet has a ton of clothes she never wears anymore (including the uniforms for all the jobs she's ever had), but she still holds on to them because she associates each with a different memory. Ironically, the room where she keeps her actual trophies doesn't seem as well organized.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Rrraquelle!
  • Unknown Rival: Bless her heart, but Barbie just doesn't seem to realize that Raquelle is constantly trying to upstage her.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Barbie can even change her clothes on the fly through her strange, Barbie-based powers. It is a severe emergency when her closet becomes full!
  • The Unreveal: We never do learn Barbie's age.
  • Urine Trouble: Taffy pees all over Ryan's song for Barbie. "If I'd wanted that reaction, I would've just played it in front of my agent."
  • Vacation Episode: The reunion show promises an episode in which Barbie and the gang go to Paris. The "clip" becomes revealed as simply everyone standing in front of a backdrop.
  • Vague Age: The entire plot of Episode 13, where it's Barbie's birthday and most of the gang try futilely to figure out Barbie's age.
    Nikki: Well, I know she was a doctor once, and you have to go to school for, like, eleven years to do that...
    Teresa: She ran for President once! You have to be at least thirty-five for that, so let's see... carry the one... uh... What am I adding?
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Playing Heart to Get" sees Ryan compete with Ken in giving Barbie the best Valentine's presents.
  • Victory Is Boring: Raquelle leaves the Bizarro Universe mentioned above after she misses scheming to steal Barbie's spotlight.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Alone in the Dreamhouse" is one to Home Alone.
  • Women Drivers: Barbie gets her driver's license without taking driving lessons, so she has trouble driving smoothly.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Ken deems his glitter detector a failure after learning that it picks up 24-karat gold instead.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: One of Ken's fights with Ryan has him jumping off the hood of a car to do a drop on him.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
    • "It looks like a Swedish furniture outlet threw up in here."
    • "You look like a movie on that channel nobody watches!"
    • Chelsea would have put a mermaid on her lemonade sign if not for "some coffee shop" beating her to it.
    • "Let's do something together, like tossing around this generic flying disc!"
  • Your Favorite: Raquelle tries to convince Barbie to help her improve her modeling behavior by baking her peanut butter fudge cookies, which she assumes Barbie considers her favorite. Barbie admits that she actually prefers a different kind of cookie,note  but still helps Raquelle out of the goodness of her heart.

That's life! Life in the dreamhouse!

Alternative Title(s): Barbie


Chelsea ands Ken

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