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The story of Barbie, the best selling doll of all time.


Tom Stern




Episode credited cast:
Robert Best Robert Best ... Himself
Donald Ian Black ... Narrator
Jordan Bryce Jordan Bryce ... Jack Ryan
Chris Byrne Chris Byrne ... Himself (as Toy Guy Chris Byrne)
Connie Chung ... Herself (archive footage)
Paul Cleveland Paul Cleveland ... Himself
Margo Dane Margo Dane ... Ruth Handler
Richard Dickson Richard Dickson ... Himself
Jill Elikann Jill Elikann ... Herself (as Jill Barad)
Steve Fink Steve Fink ... Himself
Derek Gable Derek Gable ... Himself
Bill Greening Bill Greening ... Himself
Ruth Handler Ruth Handler ... Herself (archive footage)
Sandi Holder Sandi Holder ... Herself
M.G. Lord M.G. Lord ... Herself


The story of Barbie, the best selling doll of all time.

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doll | reenactment | See All (2) »


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Release Date:

22 December 2017 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


The show's narrator incorrectly refers to paper dolls as "one-dimensional." Having both length and width, they are actually two-dimensional. Technically, it's three as paper dolls have depth, even if it's minimal. See more »


Features Jem (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating and Mildly Distrubing
3 June 2018 | by GunnersMateSee all my reviews

In the Me Too era, Toys That Made Us - Barbie is both a fascinating and mildly disturbing examination of business, gender roles, and marketing. Based on a naughty post-war Germany comic strip character, the first Barbie was championed through a system of unwelcoming male executives and salespeople to give young girls an alternative to baby dolls and paper dolls (both intended to teach motherhood and fashion). Early marketing success (though originally thwarted by the doll's womanly figure) was eventually attributed to the doll's supposed ability to model good grooming so that girls could learn how to look in order to get a husband. These and a multitude of historical tidbits (including the controversial behavior of the doll's cofounder, the successful and failed attempts to keep Barbie relevant to an ever-changing audience of girls, and the almost guerilla pink-beret design and production of various versions over the decades) provide a timely new look at the doll that has been at the top of girls' Christmas lists for decades. The episode does get a more than a little weighed down in lawsuit arguments, business politics, and shocking use of a nail file, but after watching this installment of the 8-part documentary, the viewer will never think of Barbie the same way again.

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