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kenbie: the making of a mattel super couple?
champagne wishes and caviar dreams of a different kind
by robert a. melos

Well it was bound to happen. No star goes off to “find themselves” for very long before, like moths to a flame, they are drawn back to the fame spotlight to singe their wings once again. The latest name to drop from the radar only to resurface a short time later is none other than that truly plastic paramour Ken formerly of Barbie and Ken.

As you may recall I wrote about the “big breakup” in 2004 (see Splitsville). Since then Jen and Brad have gone their separate ways, Jessica and Nick have called it quits, and so have Heather and Richie. While tongues wagged and minds with too much free time pondered the burning questions of whether or not any of these super couples would get back together, over in Mattelland the plastic super couple who were role models for a generation of anorexic girls and closeted gay boys were sneaking around having lunches and moonlight dinners with their agents and each other.

When the initial break up occurred it was mutual. Like so many super and not so super couples, they were still friends and just needed some space. Barbie took off on her jet plane amid rumors of a Barpitt relationship. There was a flirtation with Bloombie, and Barlaw was a brief moment on the pages of dating history to hock a few Nanny Barbie frocks, but none of those relationships were serious.

While Barbie retreated to her mansion, and then to her chalet with private ski jump, taking solace among her material possessions and multiple career choices, Ken settled into a bachelor pad with long time buddy G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip. Yes the collective tongues wagged, and it seemed as if Ken were finally coming out and his long time “don’t ask, don’t tell” companionship would topple the world of Mattel; not to mention challenge current military rules.

Ken was still seen about town. There was Keniston, which lasted but one fleeting date, and then he spent time at the gym. Mostly a gym in West Hollywood, where Joe liked to workout and practices his kung-fu grip in the steam room, as rumor has it. More and more it seemed like Ken would become the new gay icon doll, replacing Gay Bob and Tom of Finland, but apparently that wasn’t entirely what was going on.

Ken’s tryst with his G.I. pal wasn’t to last. Much to the relief of the muckety mucks at Mattel who were feeling a brokeback fear, especially if Barbie discovered, as was rumored, her former paramour played both sides of the fence in the non-gender specific valley of the dolls.

However Ken’s future was more diabolically controlled by the evil scientists of Mattel than by love ill-fated, as was discovered when Ken reemerged on the scene with himself. Just as George W. Bush warned the country of such things in his State of the Union address, speaking against cloning, the evil minds of Mattel had already gone ahead and cloned Ken.

While they are still anatomically neutral, and not quite identical, one being blonde and one being brunette, one being more of a surfer dude and one being more into leather, they are both Ken. The couple, Kenken, made quite the coo. No one saw this coming, not even Barbie, who could not be reached for comment.

This leaves one to wonder, which Ken was she secretly seeing on those initial get reacquainted lunches? Did she have an inkling, or perhaps a fantasy? After all, it wouldn’t really be cheating if it was a clone, would it?

While Mattel touts the virtues of the wholesome Barbie image, the seamy reality of a kinky cloned threesome lingers in the background like so much drama on Desperate Housewives. And what of G.I. Joe? It seems to me he would probably get along better with leather Ken, given Joe’s rumored penchant for bondage and military discipline, but he might like the more laid back surfer dude type. Yet more seamy images come to mind, and more questions.

Neither Ken nor Barbie has made any announcements of a rekindled relationship. The muckety mucks have circulated rumors of the impending reunion, but Ken, both Kens, seem to be more independent and self assured then they were a couple of years ago. They remain sexually ambiguous, aloof of the rumor mill, going about their plastic lives, living out their various career fantasies with little regard for what the masses think.

The one thing Ken, and Ken, and Barbie have in common, besides a love of the good life, is their desire to be in the spotlight. So it won’t be long before this plastic ménage à trios makes headlines again. Perhaps they will adopt a Korean orphan or two? Until then the world will have to wait with bated breath.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


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tracey kelley
2.15.06 @ 7:17a

Heh. This is really funny.

stephen cook
2.15.06 @ 9:21a

My girlfriend replaced Ken with a G.I. Joe doll when she was a kid to be her Barbie's boy toy. I guess it just made sense!!

robert melos
2.15.06 @ 11:25p

Thanks Tracey.

Stephen, I've always suspected a rivalry between Ken and Joe, perhaps that's why it just made sense Ken and Joe would hook up. Sexual tension plays havoc even when lacking the proper plumbing.

sandra thompson
2.17.06 @ 8:07a

Really greast funny writing, Robert.

dan gonzalez
2.17.06 @ 10:15a

I thought everyone played "Chinese Finger Trap Barbie" with multiple GI Joes like I did. I guess not.

Those Supercouple nicknames, though, that shit has to end. 'Bennifer' was okay. 'TomKat' a little forced. But 'Brangelina' for shit's sake? Asinine!

lucy lediaev
2.17.06 @ 10:51a

Very funny article. My daughter and her friends used to mix GI Joes with Barbie and Ken, and the relationships seemed to shift like sand.

I always felt sorrier for GI Joe, than sexless Ken. It must have been hell to be a neutered GI.

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