Saturday, December 17, 2016

Holiday Gift Suggestion #2

This Christmas, I think what someone needs to give Midge is a new best friend - her current one is clearly a classic Mean Girl frenemy.

Seriously, there's something almost gleefully perverse in the way Mattel positioned poor Midge - so eager, so plain, so very, very much the third wheel. "Come on over," you can just hear Barbie cooing into her pink princess phone, "We can look at my latest modeling shots and maybe - just maybe - I'll let you try on one of my new dresses!" Then later, she thinks, I'll parade her in front of Ken and maybe for once he'll take his eyes off that physique magazine and realize what a good thing he's got going; it's not everyone who's dating America's favorite teenage model...

Things got a little better, I guess, for Midge, once Allan came along (although, worryingly, he did share Ken's interest in physical culture), not to mention that boring pest Francie. Still, you have to know that she felt about as much at home at that masked ball as poor Kay Graham did at Truman's Black and White jamboree - if for no reason other than that everyone would have known that her "costume" was just one of Barbie's cast-offs.

As for Mattel, the perky-but-not-quite-all-that pal concept must have worked, for in short order they produced a sidekick for Barbie's painfully wholesome baby sister, Skipper. If you think Midge was a bit of a wallflower, well - you'll need to get a gander of Skooter. She's the kind of preteen that causes older women to look musingly into the middle distance and say, in a flat little voice, "Bless." Next to Skooter, Midge is practically Anouk Aimee in terms of sheer allure.

Ah, but I suppose we've all known a Midge or two in our time. Hell, perhaps we've even once or twice ended up as one. There are worse fates, I suppose; after a while, even Midge learns that the world's Barbies are best admired from a distance, with a certain reserve (and possibly a cocktail or three).

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