'Baywatch' Barbie

By A.J. Jacobs and Jessica Shaw
Updated February 24, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST
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Baywatch (1989-2001)

type
  • TV Show
network
  • NBC

It’s plastic meets plastic surgery: America’s favorite overproportioned doll has teamed up with some of America’s favorite overproportioned humans. The result? Mattel’s new Baywatch Barbie. The red-tank-suited doll, according to its maker, bears no intentional likeness to any of the show’s cast members (insert your own Pamela Anderson joke here), but Baywatch executive producer and chief hunk David Hasselhoff nevertheless couldn’t be happier with the affiliation. ”It goes against all those idiots who were saying that Baywatch is a T&A show that was bad towards women,” says Hasselhoff (Baywatch Ken, by the way, is sold separately). ”This shoves us right into the forefront of American culture.”

The lifeguard/beach babe is just the latest drop, though, in a current Barbie tidal wave.

*In the past two months, two biographies of the 11 1/2” blond have hit bookshelves: Forever Barbie by M.G. Lord and Dream Doll by the doll’s creator, Ruth Handler, with Jacqueline Shannon.

*Barbie is turning out to be a multimedia maven, too. In the Barbie and Her Magical House CD-ROM, participants can help Barbie decorate, orchestrate her well-balanced meals, and move Ken’s picture around the room.

*And in a series of video-games due this spring from Hi Tech Entertainment, Barbie will do everything from mountain biking to shopping.

What’s left for Barbie? Despite the boom, the doll has yet to land a big-screen movie deal — even with major-studio interest over the years in the toy that brought in $1.2 billion in 1994. ”There is such a fascination with Barbie in the movie industry,” says Jean McKenzie, Mattel senior VP of marketing. ”Every year someone wants to make the movie [most recently, Demi Moore‘s production company, Moving Pictures], but there has never been a script we’ve been happy with.” Perhaps casting is the problem. ”Barbie’s role is so open- ended, and to narrow her is something we’re very sensitive to,” says McKenzie. ”After all, who could be as wonderful as Barbie?”

Baywatch (1989-2001)

type
  • TV Show
rating
status
  • Off Air
network
  • NBC

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