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Ken Carson, the iconic doll introduced by Mattel in 1961, has been a significant figure in the toy industry for over six decades. His creation was inspired by the son of Barbie's creator, Ruth Handler, and was designed to be Barbie's counterpart. Ken, like Barbie, hails from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin, and has been depicted in a variety of roles and occupations over the years.
Ken's debut was rather simple, with him sporting only a swimsuit. However, his character evolved over time, reflecting societal changes and trends. From his initial appearance, Ken has held over 40 occupations, ranging from astronaut to barista, reflecting the changing career aspirations of children over the decades.
Ken's physical appearance has also undergone significant changes. His original design featured straight arms that didn't bend and a head that could only turn left and right. His hair was initially made of felt, but this was replaced with a plastic, molded hairstyle when the creators realized that the felt hair fell off when wet. Over the years, Ken has been redesigned to feature a more muscular physique, a dimpled smile, and a head that could swivel.
Ken's relationship with Barbie has been a significant part of his narrative. In 2004, Mattel announced a split between the two dolls, mirroring the breakups of celebrity couples. However, in 2006, a revamped Ken was launched, and by 2011, Mattel initiated a campaign for Ken to win back Barbie's affections, which he did on Valentine's Day of that year.
Ken's evolution has not been without controversy. His body proportions have been criticized as unrealistic, and his lack of visible male genitalia has also been a point of contention. Despite these controversies, Ken remains a popular figure in the Barbie franchise.
Ken's influence extends beyond the toy industry. He has been featured in various media, including the Barbie films, the Toy Story films, and even in music, with American rapper Lil B naming his 2017 mixtape "Black Ken." Ken's enduring popularity is a testament to his adaptability and the role he plays in children's imaginative play.
Charlie took to the written word like a fish takes to water. That is to say; they found themselves immersed in literature from before they were born. They've been known to tell their friends how they can still remember the passages their parents read to them when they were in utero - Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, and a bit of Hunter S. Thompson thrown in to balance it out. Charlie keeps their feet wet, whether they're whipping up pithy one-liners to tease your brain or busy working on their second novel (the first one is available on Amazon under a pen name they refuse to disclose). You’re sure to get a kick out of giggle-worthy explanations and outrageous hints, and still come away feeling like you’ve just expanded your knowledge base.
Barbie is bursting at the seams with Kens. You have mega-star Ryan Gosling and recent breakout Marve star Simu Liu portraying the main roles, but you also have some real rising names bringing their own Kenergies to the film. Kingsley Ben-Adir and Ncuti Gatwa have both had wildly successful recent roles and are set to appear in some big projects.
With a script this innovative and so many roles available, it’s difficult to imagine anyone turning down even a small Ken part. However, that’s exactly what several actors did, largely because they couldn’t spare the three months of filming in London.
Some notable almost-Kens include Bowen Yang, best-known for Saturday Night Live and Dan Levy from the impossibly funny Schitt’s Creek. Even musical legend Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen and Pitch Perfect) decided against being a Ken. Similarly, Jonathan Groff, from Hamilton and Mindhunter, turned down the role of Allan! Needless to say, they all missed out on some iconic roles.
Our personality quizzes are set up a little differently than your basic trivia quiz, but you’ve probably seen their kind around. Rather than having to choose the right answer from a list of multiple choice options, in this case, there is no “right answer”! (Two plus two will always be four, but every Golden Girls character is equally awesome.)
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