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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
By comparing them to dolls, the contest objectifies men and reinforces masculine stereotypes that some guys won't be able to live up to. In the eyes of the judges, the ideal man should be athletic, stylish, entertaining, and romantic. Also attentive and masculine, yet inviting. Just like Ken.
Positive Role Models
Contestants are a mixed bag, but the fact that they're participating in the contest in the first place is kind of questionable. Nobody's a horrible role model, but some talk smack about the others, act overly macho, etc.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some bare male chests; discussion of dating.
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Infrequent bleeped swearing ("s--t"). Audibles include "damn," "hell," "pissed off," etc.
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Products & Purchases
The Barbie/Ken brand is all over the place -- even in the title. A rep from the company serves as a judge, and the contestants live in a real-life "Dream House."
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this brand-driven reality contest is sponsored by Mattel, the maker of the Barbie doll, and plays like a not-so-subtle commercial for the Barbie/Ken brand. Logos are everywhere; Barbie's director of marketing is one of the judges; and the contestants are even staying in a real-life "Dream House" that's decked out in true Barbie style. There's also some bleeped swearing and audible language like "pissed off" and "hell," along with some off-putting masculine stereotypes (including buff male contestants who feel the need to bare their chests).
Is It Any Good?
Mattel isn't at all shy about using this oddly creepy reality contest to the bring Barbie/Ken brand to an even wider audience. After all, there's no apology buried in a promotional press release that states: "The series leverages the popularity ignited by the appearance of Ken® in Disney Pixar's Toy Story 3 and invites consumers to experience the Barbie® brand in a whole new way through the development of original and engaging content. With the series' launch, the Barbie® brand extends its digital presence and demonstrates its innovation in marketing the brand in break frame ways to consumers of all ages." Alrighty then.
A lot of times, a show that sounds this ridiculous from the get-go at least has some inherent entertainment value, a so-bad-it's-good utility that could at least earn it status as a guilty pleasure. But between the show's use of a "tilt-shift camera technique, which miniaturizes backgrounds to imply that you are in fact in a Barbie® and Ken® world," to its obvious attempts to equate host Port with Barbie herself, Genuine Ken can't even achieve that.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.