A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse is a CGI series featuring Barbie and an assortment of characters and accessories that can be found in stores, so commercialism is a big concern. The show parodies reality shows, so the fact that Barbie is materialistic and many of her costars show their abrasive sides at times is mined for drama. The characters are at times vain, selfish, hot-tempered, and manipulative, especially the vindictive Raquelle, who will stop at nothing to interfere with Barbie's popularity and her relationship with Ken. Though the content is mostly clean and fun for Barbie fans, this show offers viewers few likable role models and some troubling behavior you probably won't want your kids emulating.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
BARBIE: LIFE IN THE DREAMHOUSE is set in Malibu, California, where Barbie Roberts (voiced by Kate Higgins) lives off the spoils of her lucrative career as a fashion icon. The dreamhouse is the posh heart of Barbie's social life, where friends are always welcome and her boyfriend, Ken (Sean Hankinson), is a fixture. But not everyone who frequents the place is a friend; her social rival, Raquelle (Haviland Stillwell), would love nothing more than to knock Barbie off her popularity pedestal and assume the place herself. With the help of her brother, Ryan (Charlie Bodin), who has his eye on Barbie, Raquelle sets out to sabotage Barbie and turn Ken's head her way.
Is it any good?
This mock reality series is rife with stereotypes and overwhelmed by product placement, leaving little room for content that's good for the kids (and girls especially) who might watch. Fans of Barbie toys and other animated productions will want to see what this one's about, but between ditsy, hot-tempered, and vindictive characters and Barbie's excessive materialism, you couldn't hit a decent role model if you tossed a sparkly pink cell phone into a crowded convertible.
Life in the Dreamhouse's shtick is twofold: It pokes fun at reality TV with its own arguably comical grouping of divisive personalities, and it makes subliminal jokes about its own advertising agenda by writing silly plot lines that center on happenings such as the much-anticipated arrival of a pool slide. Unfortunately, the folks who can appreciate the self-deprecating nature of these qualities aren't the show's target demographic, and the kids it aims to draw will only see image after image of characters and objects whose replicas they can buy in stores.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how advertising works. Does watching this series make you want to own Barbie merchandise? Is it necessarily bad to be influenced by what you see on TV? What role do things play in overall happiness?
Kids: Do you know people who ever act like Raquelle? How do you deal with this kind of a negative presence in your life? Is Barbie aware of what Raquelle is trying to do? Is this kind of behavior always easy to spot?
Compare the sibling relationships in this show. Do Raquelle and Ryan seem to like each other? How does each use the other for his or her own agenda? How does Barbie's relationship with her sisters differ?
Themes & Topics
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