Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Barbie

Go To

YMMVs for the franchise in general:

  • Americans Hate Tingle: Barbie is simply disliked by a lot of Japanese fans, due to her grown-up nature, compared to the 11-year old Japanese doll, Licca-chan, but in America? She still goes toe-to-toe with Mattel to this day. She's fared slightly better as a fashion label over there, but not by much. That hasn't stopped the movies from being dubbed into Japanese, however.
  • Crossover Ship: Many kids of both genders ship Barbie with Max Steel. The couple was born due the popularity of both brands, but also because many feel Barbie deserved a better boyfriend than Ken, finding Max manlier and more attractive.
  • Cult Classic: Not the doll-line itself, obviously, but the Direct-To-DVD movies have a solid following of nostalgic fans, due to the surprisingly good writing. Even some of the latter movies have their fans, in fact, it's outright hard to find a Barbie movie without fans.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Fashionista's Artsy.
    • Raquelle was initially a minor character but her popularity made her a mainstay
    • Of the 3 new body types introduced for the fashionistas line, Curvy seems to be the most popular.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Several movie villains have triggered this reaction in people, with Philippe, Lydia, Henna, and Laverna being the most notable ones.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Barbie being portrayed as Dumb Blonde by parodies tends to draw the ire of fans, since it's an extremely old joke at this point, and it tends to show up in Shallow Parodies to boot. In tie-in media, Barbie's generally portrayed as being a very bright girl, and these jokes tend to also ignore the fact that Barbie's been a medical doctor, an astronaut, many kinds of scientist, a judge, and other jobs one generally does not obtain by being a Brainless Beauty. Many fans also find the joke to be a bit sexist, since it can imply that a pretty woman who likes clothes can't possibly care about anything else.
  • Fanon:
    • People like to joke that Barbie is Ken's beard, or even that they're each others beards.
    • Barbie being an orphan is exceedingly common. This is because her parents are never mentioned outside of books, so it's largely assumed that they're dead.
    • Chelsea's middle name being "Kelly" is used to explain what happened to Barbie's toddler sister from the 1990s.
    • "Tutti" being a childhood nickname for Stacie.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. Coincidentally enough, a certain Barbara Roberts took up politics and was governor of Oregon for a time. Barbie Roberts' political career (as President of the United States no less) wasn't so far-fetched after all.
  • Ho Yay: The direct-to-video movies deserve a page all their own.
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • 1993's infamous "Earring Magic Ken" was discontinued due to accidentally looking too much like a Camp Gay stereotype. It was also the best selling Ken doll in the franchise's history specifically because gay men brought so many of him.
    • There's also a niche following of gay/bi women who grew up with the dolls.
    • Depicting Barbie as a Lipstick Lesbian isn't unknown amongst fans. She usually gets paired up with her buddy Teresa. Some of the direct-to-video films make them easily shippable as well.
  • Memetic Badass: She's been a supermodel, a spy, a chef, a racecar driver, a cheerleader, an Olympic athlete, a scientist, the goddamn President, and every other job you can imagine, and she's awesome at all of them. And she does it all at an unusually young age, with a smile on her face and in the most gorgeous clothes imaginable. Barbie's the most successful woman in the world!
  • Memetic Mutation: Duane, the One-Scene Wonder of Barbie Dance Club, a promotional VHS.
  • Misaimed Marketing: Commercials for toys based on the earlier animated films in the franchise often placed emphasis on Barbie finding her true love or her attending a ball, no matter how important these elements were to those movies (some of them didn't even have balls).
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The infamous Teen Talk Barbie. Both the "Math class is tough!" line (amongst other perceived sexism in her dialogue) and her voice accidentally being swapped with a G.I. Joe's are still the subject of controversy/parody (even though the occurrence of either was exceptionally rare).
    • Tanner, the "Pooping Dog", has received plenty of ridicule. Not helping matters is the dog coming out around the time that Bratz dolls were kicking Barbie's butt in sales.
  • Older Than the Demographic: Barbie and her friends are of the self-insert variety. They're in their late teens at youngest but the series is aimed at children.
  • Periphery Demographic: There is a truly massive community of adult Barbie fans who enjoy collecting the different dolls. There's even a big Barbie collectors convention in Chicago every year. Mattel caught on to this, which is why there's the Barbie Signature line, which are special-edition dolls that are clearly not for kids to play with. They're higher-quality, more expensive, more rare, and generally more fragile—some are even made of porcelain. The Barbie Signatures are popular and often well-loved, but her mainline editions are also beloved by adult collectors, especially if they've become rare or culturally significant in some way.
  • Pop Culture Holiday: National Barbie Day is March 9, the anniversary of when Barbie was revealed at the International Toy Fair in 1959. Mattel acknowledges it as Barbie's birthday.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: The term hasn't become official yet, but some fans refer to Barbie/Ken as "Karbie."
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: They are made for little girls, and almost none try to reach beyond that. Especially the ones with interesting concepts, you'd think a Barbie designs stuff game would manage to be entertaining. Though some of the older ones have become minor So Bad, It's Good Cult Classics.
    • Barbie: Secret Agent for the Game Boy Advance among others was a rare aversion, as while it is by its core a Barbie game, pink motif and all that fru-fru, the reviewer at IGN found the game surprisingly competent "that neither insults their intelligence nor frustrates them with too much challenge."
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Generation GIRL was one of the earliest doll lines to attempt to have an ongoing story and give the characters something of a fleshed-out backstory. It's still one of Barbie's more obscure spinoffs.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • A lot of collectors, especially older collectors, liked Barbie better when she had her original "cat eyes".
    • Fans of the films act this way when Barbie's speaking voice isn't Kelly Sheridan. She was replaced with Diana Kaarina for A Fashion Fairytale, brought back for Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2, and then replaced again later with Erica Lindbeck.
    • In the 2000s, Ken and Barbie broke up and Barbie gained a new love interest. Fans hated that Mattel broke them up. However, it was just a short-lived publicity stunt.
    • Fans of the films have had mixed reception towards the 2010s changes to the series. Namely, usually portraying Barbie as a teenager instead of a young adult (complete with a more youthful voice).
    • The majority of the newer 2010 era dolls (particularly the fashionistas) do not have bendable legs, making it difficult for them to properly sit down. Further complicating things is their stiffer midsections and redesigned waists, meaning they can’t sit up straight.
      • Not helping matters is the ‘made to move’ bodies from the yoga dolls (and collectibles) largely fix this issue. However you only get three of the four body types offered and they are limited in other areas. Barbie Extras are another bendable option with more unique looks (but their bodies are from an older generation).
    • Are you a fan of one of Barbie’s little sisters not named Kelly/Chelsea? Good luck finding the doll you want outside a set of ALL of the sisters. Also Skipper and Stacie have little to no fashion packs and you'll be even more hard-pressed if you wish to collect Krissy, the youngest (and most short-lived) of her sisters.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Stock Parody Jokes:
  • Unfortunate Character Design: The Barbie's pooping dog... well, see for yourself (warning: potential Nausea Fuel).
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • The 2013 Barbie book I Can Be a Computer Engineer was accused of teaching girls not to pursue technological careers, but rather that they should always get men to solve their problems, then take credit for their work. Amazon and Mattel respectively responded to the controversy by ceasing all direct sales of the book, and promising to write stories with an "empowered" Barbie.
    • Infamously in the 90s, "Teen Talk Barbie" caused this due to its controversial line involving math. The actual line is "Math Class Is Tough!". Mattel's intentions were relatabilty - few school kids like math and high school math classes are often considered hard - but parents heard it and were offended. The line either perpetuated Dumb Blonde stereotypes or made it seem like all women were bad at math. A good chunk of this issue ended up being due to the line being remembered incorrectly. It's often said that Barbie's line was "Math is hard!", or something similar, which sounds more like it perpetuates the idea that "girls are dumb". The doll ended up recalled as a result.
    • In the early 2000s, Mattel introduced the "Happy Families" line. It was discontinued due to complaints that it was promoting Teen Pregnancy. Midge and Alan were actually Happily Married and in their 20s at the time, however many people associate Barbie dolls being teenagers due to Barbie's fluctuating age.
    • The Barbie Video Girl and Hello Barbie dolls solicited controversy upon release, as besides concerns over children's personal information being transmitted to third parties, the Video Girl doll was criticised by the FBI as a possible conduit for recording child pornography.
    • A notorious 1965 "Slumber Party" Barbie doll came with a scale permanently set at 110 lbs and a book titled "How to Lose Weight," with the back reading simply "Don't Eat!"
  • Viewer Name Confusion: It's a little known fact that the main character is actually named "Barbara Roberts". She's almost never called anything but her nickname "Barbie".