Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Barbie, Meet Brenda

Posted on

BABES IN TOYLAND: THEY BAD EVERY REASON TO RE HAPPY. They were teens. They were terrific looking. OK. they were tiny—about a foot high. But they were toys. They were to be introduced to retailers Feb. 10 in New York City—and they were ultimately aimed, for late summer, at an audience of consumers, mostly young (under age 12), mostly female, thirsting for the latest Beverly Hills. 90210 merchandise. The category already included posters, magazines. even novels!

And yet they felt something was missing. Not because the manufacturer. Mattel, had forgotten, say, Dylan’s long, narrow head. Just like his sexy-outlaw character on the hit Fox show about cool teens in Beverly Hills, Dylan the Doll was not only cranially precise, he was also wearing jeans and a leather jacket. What was missing, realized Dylan and his other doll friends—Brandon and Brenda and Kelly and Donna—were three of their best friends from school. Because Mattel, picking the characters it thought would have the most initial sales oomph, hadn’t bothered at this point with an Andrea, a Sieve or a David!

Tori and Jennie in Toyland: “I think it’s cool.” says Tori Spelling, 18, about the doll version of her character, Donna. (It should be noted that Tori’s dad is Aaron Spelling and that his company produces 90210 and licensed Mattel to create the dolls.) Then again, she adds, “I’d be embarrassed if little girls undressed me.”

Jennie Garth, 19—blond, spoiled Kelly on the show—is less happy. “We’re not pleased that cast members are being left out,” she says, noting the absence of dolls modeled after costars Brian Austin Green (David), Ian Ziering (Steve) and Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea). “If you’re going to do one, do them all.” (The actors, by the way, are getting a percentage of the royalties.)

Fear and Loathing in Toyland: “There’s a lot of bureaucratic bulls—t as far as merchandising is concerned,” says non-doll Ziering, 27, “and they don’t include my character in a lot of it. But Mattel’s going to make their own decisions.” Even if Mattel follows through with plans to expand the line in ’93—adding, say, Steve or David—Ziering might not be appeased. “The dolls kind of cheapen your credibility,” he says, “but at the same time it’s very flattering. It’s embarrassing to have one, and it’s embarrassing not to.”

Save the thought, Ian: A talking Steve doll may be on the drawing board.