New Barbie is only the beginning Parody: If the world's favorite toy can get a new look, then who's to say the other old standbys won't also insist on an update?


Say it isn't so, Barbie.

In a story headlined "Top-heavy Barbie Is Getting Body Work At Hands of Mattel," the Wall Street Journal revealed yesterday that the world's most popular teen-ager will be getting a major makeover next year.

"At the ripe old age of 38, an age at which mortal flesh starts to sag, the world's best-selling toy is set to undergo major plastic surgery for the first time," the Journal reported. "The operation, which she will undergo for 1998, will give her a wider waist, slimmer hips and -- in a stunning front-end re-alignment -- a reduction of her legendary bustline."

Alas, many questions behind Barbie's decision to go under the knife were left unanswered. Was she perhaps distressed by the recent musical send-up "Barbie Girl," which made her seem as shallow as, well, a Barbie doll? Does it have something to do with longtime beau Ken being two years younger?

And isn't plastic surgery a little redundant in these circumstances?

In any case, given that Barbie is always a trendsetter, it seems certain that other toys also will try to retool their images. Here are excerpts from stories sure to follow.

New York Times, Nov. 23, 1997:

Spurred by girlfriend's action

Ken contemplates sex change

"Ken, whose last name has never been revealed, pointed out that his girlfriend, Barbie Millicent Roberts, 38, has always received far more attention. He said he's been given short shrift by the manufacturers, Mattel, and provided with significantly fewer accessories.

" 'Yeah, an estimated 1 billion fashions have been made to date, but I have, like, four of them,' Ken complained. 'She gets 120 new fashion ensembles every year, while I can't even get a pair of Dockers. She has a million pairs of shoes! She makes Imelda Marcos look like a piker.'

"Ken also suggested that Ms. Roberts may be lying about her age, as she was first produced in Japan in 1958.

"Pressed for comment, Ms. Roberts would say only that Ken was a bitter, emasculated man since she left him for G.I. Joe earlier this year."

Idaho Statesman, Dec. 5, 1997:

Mr. Potato Head lobbies for body

Accuses Playskool of playing God

" 'I just want something between my feet and my head,' the famous spud told the Statesman in an exclusive interview. 'Also, I don't want my arms sticking out from right beneath my ears any more. Is that so much to ask?!'

"Mr. Head had to terminate the interview prematurely, when his mouth fell out and rolled under the desk."

Ms. magazine, January-February issue:

In nod to dark domestic past

Easy-Bake Oven changes name and image:

"I couldn't take the heat, so I got out of the kitchen"

" 'Just because I'm hot, doesn't mean I'm easy,' the formerly pink appliance explained in an exclusive interview, showing off its new, neutral beige hue and its new name -- Helpful Warming Unit -- for the first time.

" 'Besides, I had to file for personal bankruptcy after that dim-bulb judge bought that class-action suit by those little girls who said I'd conspired to keep them an oppressed class.' "

Los Angeles Times, Feb. 15, 1998:

Slinky refuses to go down stairs;

No end in sight to sit-down strike

"Slinky has been poised at the top of the same stairway for three days, ever since finding out that the Hula-Hoop has signed a seven-figure deal.

"Through his attorney, Johnny Cochran, the wonderful, wonderful toy said he will not move again until his manufacturer comes through with a better offer.

" 'We don't slink until we see some ink,' Cochran said.

"Slinky's demands also include more streamlined proportions and a new jingle -- 'And we want the Spice Girls,' Cochran added."

Pub Date: 11/18/97

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