Friday, November 29, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Thirty-three - Barbie: Life in the Dream House, "Wait... WHAT?!"

Three years ago, I never thought that I would ever enjoy a cartoon based on the girls' toy brand My Little Pony... then Friendship is Magic was made and it was gloriously fun, smart, and stylistic with the dual qualities of being accessible to its target audience, but chock full of references and homages for adults.

To be frank, I didn't think it was possible for lightning to strike twice... and, to a certain extent, it hasn't. Life in the Dreamhouse is shallow and decidedly lacking in comparison to MLP:FiM. That said, it is still surprisingly (and I do mean SURPRISINGLY) entertaining to a thirtysomething male adult such as myself.

First of all, let's get one thing straight, it is vapid... often painfully vapid... but the grand majority of the time it is a meta-vapid of the likes of Legally Blonde and Clueless.

The series is very much self-aware of how silly and shallow it is to only be concerned with boys and fashion, and it relishes in that fact. Sure, almost all of the conflict in this small web-series on Netflix centers around the contents of Barbie's closet, and no less than twice does her AI clothes horse go all HAL9000 on her and her friends, but it's very much winking at the audience just how obsessed her brand is with haute couture.

Then there are all the nods that seem to indicate that the characters are aware that they are dolls. There are the obvious joints, the direct references to being "articulated," and the fact all of their measurements are exactly the same... that and Barbie has had 130+ careers and over 40+ anniversaries with her beau, Ken. The food is plastic and deus ex'd in, their accessories are oversized (check out the pink Nokia that Barbie's friend, Teresa, uses), and their hips are all too big to fit on the Dreamhouse's water slide.

I think the icing on the cake are all of the references that pop up. There's Star Wars, Indiana Jones (quite a bit, actually), 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Wizard of Oz, to name the major ones. Let me tell you, inserting geek humor into a series like this can make comedy gold... and does. I especially liked when Barbie recreated the Map Room sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Genius.

While, yes, it really is just a tongue in cheek commercial for the toy line, Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse has enough redeeming references and meta-humor to actually keep me (and my friends) oddly entertained. I can't even remember what we stopped watching before it, I just know I clicked on LitD as a joke and we were all blown away, laughing our asses off the entire time... you know, when we weren't in shock. Weird, irreverent, vapid fun... you should check it out.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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