‘Robot Chicken’ Was Way Ahead of the Curve on Barbie
Movie muckety-mucks are damn well convinced that Barbie is going to be one of the biggest films of the summer. Puck pundit Matt Belloni says the box-office crown will come down to a battle between Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. His prediction on The Town podcast? “Barbie is going to kick Oppenheimer’s butt.”
Warner Bros. must be feeling pretty good about its Barbie bet right now, but it’s not like the studio was the first to recognize the rich potential of stories revolving around the world’s most famous fashion doll. Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken has been telling them for years.
A Robot Chicken wiki reveals at least 14 segments featuring the gal projecting the world’s most unrealistic body image. Sure, sure, you say — Robot Chicken is a show starring dolls, so of course Barbie would have an outsized presence. But in most episodes, the show’s action figures are molded to resemble others — celebrities, superheroes, Star Wars characters. Barbie is unique in that she’s a doll starring as herself. Only G.I. Joe can rival the Mattel beauty when it comes to “toys appearing as themselves.”
Why did Barbie become Robot Chicken’s go-to girl? Perhaps because the real-life doll can morph into so many roles, having filled more than 200 occupations during her 50-plus year run. (Lately, she’s been focusing on the STEM fields.) In the compilation video above, she’s a sadistic weight-loss coach, a Ken-saving neurosurgeon and an adulterous French maid. And she’s barely getting started. Barbie kills in quick-hitting bits about Ken’s smooth genitalia:
During longer gags as a scorned reality-show contestant:
And as a kick-ass driver saving little sis Skipper from pervs on the Bone Bus:
Stars like Margot Robbie are already beating the drum for the feature film, claiming it will defy viewer expectations. “People generally hear Barbie and think, ‘I know what that movie is going to be,’” she told Vogue. “And then they hear that Greta Gerwig is writing and directing it, and they’re like, ‘Oh, well, maybe I don’t…’”
Sorry, Margot, but we’re pretty sure we know what the movie won’t be: A movie that explores the world of Barbie as thoroughly as Robot Chicken. The show has been on this plastic corner for years. You think you’ve got a better version? Better bring it.