Barbie toys have been on the market since 1959, and Mattel has sold over a billion Barbies since. Throughout the last six decades, there have been so many iconic doll styles and characters. And with the Barbie movie, there have been so many long-forgotten, discontinued dolls that made their epic return on screen — and yes, they were real.
Obviously, there isn’t just one Barbie, so Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Land is packed with so many archived Barbies and Kens. With the character movie posters released a few months ago, fans were excited to see the return of Barbie’s best friend, Midge, and Ken’s buddy, Allan. And we even were filled with more nostalgia when other discontinued Barbies made some shorter cameos throughout the film.
While they were tagged as the “ugly” and “weird” Barbies both behind their backs and to their faces in the movie, these unique and unconventional dolls had a rich history of bringing joy, imagination, and playfulness into the lives of countless kids.
According to his movie poster, “There’s only one Allan.” But who really is Allan? While he’s Ken’s best friend and famously fits into all of Ken’s clothes, the red-headed Allan with a rainbow-striped top, blue shorts, and matching blue sandals is kind of an awkward outcast. He’s not really cool and doesn’t really work out like the other Kens in Barbie Land. Played by Michael Cera, Allan hilariously adds some absurdity to the Barbie Land beaches.
- Sugar Daddy Ken
Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken? Was that actually a ken doll that came out? Yes. With his perfectly tailored green blazer, business casual pleated pants, and sleek backswept silver locks, Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken appears to be the ideal Palm Beach boy. However, this Ken doll really isn’t that kind of sugar daddy. In the words of Sugar Daddy Ken from the film, played by Rob Brydon, he’s the dad of Sugar, his toy puppy dog accessory.
- TV Back Barbie
Also known as Barbie Video Girl, this Barbie was equipped with a necklace containing a camera lens and a video screen positioned on her back. The toy was specifically aimed at inspiring filmmakers, enabling children to capture playtime moments from Barbie’s unique point of view. However, as noted by Mette Towley, who played this Barbie in the film, just having a television on your back is weird.
- Pregnant Midge
Played by Emerald Fennell, Midge is more of an ordinary Barbie. She has a more wholesome and girl-next-door appearance compared to Barbie’s glamorous style. Her doll was uber neutral as Midge had a more round face, did not wear makeup, wore casual clothes, and showed off her freckles. Kind of an overall sad doll life, but she definitely got some character justice in the new movie.
Barbie’s furry, pooping companion made an appearance in the movie. Tanner, Barbie’s adored puppy dog, made his debut in 2006. With this play pup, kids could enjoy feeding treats and engaging in imaginative play, even taking care of his plastic poop – every child’s toy dream. Accompanied by a Barbie doll, Tanner came with a practical poop scooper, equipped with a small magnet to pick up the tiny pieces of plastic poop.
- Teen Talk Barbie
This Strawberry Shortcake-like doll can talk (only four phrases)! These dolls, as played by Marisa Abela, were programmed with a voice box that spewed a random assortment of phrases. Some of them included: “Let’s plan our dream wedding,” “Wanna have a pizza party?” “Want to go shopping?” and “Math class is tough.” The last phrase sparked some concerns, as it some felt it could be implying that girls are not proficient in math. Because of this, Mattel halted the production of the doll and eliminated the phrase from all future versions.
- Growing Up Skipper
Growing Up Skipper, played by Hannah Khalique-Brown, was a unique doll that had a feature that allowed the doll to go through a growth spurt, giving the illusion of her growing up. By twisting the doll’s arm, Skipper grew an inch in height and on her chest, transitioning from a little girl to a teenager. While a little concerning for little girls playing with the original toy, it was funny to see Skipper “grow up” on the big screen.
- Magic Earring Ken
Magic Earring Ken was a popular and somewhat controversial Barbie doll released by Mattel in 1993. This Ken doll, played by Tom Stourton, was originally an attempt to make Ken cooler. Being created in the early ‘90s, the coolest things were raves, so the doll was designed with an earring in one ear, a purple mesh shirt, and a necklace. While some of his accessories were meant to meet the edgier times, his overall appearance led many to interpret the doll as being gay or flamboyant.