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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Social Satire, Dolls and a Magic Vibrator? I’m In.

Okay, people, I know I’ve been busy with weddings and whatnot, but why is it that up until now, NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THE WEB SERIES ABOUT THE BARBIE DOLLS AND THE MAGIC VIBRATOR? You had to know I would be all over this. Social satire, dolls and vibrators are totally my thing. And if you toss magic spells and power objects into the mix, that’s even better.

In case your friends, like mine, were keeping all the magical vibrators to themselves, here’s the scoop: There’s this web series called The Power Object, in which three custom-designed dolls/Berkeley grads in their early 30s whose lives are not going quite the way they planned stumble upon a spell that turns a vibrator into a power object that makes wishes come true. And of course, like in any good wish fulfillment story, things don’t quite work out the way our girls planned, because they never do in wish fulfillment stories.

This is pretty good social satire, touching on things like brains versus beauty and how even a Berkeley Phi Beta Kappa can’t get ahead in television without a magic vibrator makeover; there are ticking reproductive clocks, troll babies, and an object lesson on the perils of getting what you wish for in a man. I wouldn’t quite call it the level of satiric brilliance of, say, Todd Haynes’ Superstar, but this is still good stuff and worth checking out.

The series was created by Claire-Dee Lim, co-story by Mike Werb and Michael Colleary (the trio were also responsible for Firehouse Dog, but since they went on to make THIS we can sweep that under the rug and let bygones be bygones). There are some interesting interviews with Lim on the site, where you can learn about things like how people in Hollywood are maybe interested in your story … until they hear the word “vibrator” and freak out (but if you substituted, say, transforming robots that destroy major American cities with gratuitous violence and slaughter of innocent lives, hey, that’s cool).

More to the point, you can learn about how the project came about, why they made the decision to use customized dolls to tell the story, and pretty much the answers to whatever other burning questions you might have. P.S. I don’t think Lim knows an actual spell that will turn your own beloved vibrator into a power object, although I bet she gets asked that a lot at parties these days.

Here’s the first episode — excuse me, webisode — for your viewing pleasure. All the episodes up to number eight are on the site, with one more due up next week. Enjoy, and happy summer weekend to you.

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– Anthony Bourdain

The Atlantic: You saw that the Academy Awards recently held up your 2001 acceptance speech as the Platonic ideal of an Oscar speech. Did you have a reaction?

Soderbergh: Shock and dismay. When that popped up and people started texting me about it, I said, “Oh, it’s too bad I’m not there to tell the story of how that took place.” Well. I was not sober at the time. And I had nothing prepared because I knew I wasn’t going to win [Best Director for Traffic]. I figured Ridley, Ang or Daldry would win. So I was hitting the bar pretty hard, having a great night, feeling super-relaxed because I don’t have to get up there. So the combination of a 0.4 blood alcohol level and lack of preparation resulted in me, in my state of drunkenness crossed with adrenaline surge. I was coherent enough to know that [if I tried to thank everyone], that way lies destruction. So I went the other way. There were some people who appreciated that, and there were some people who really wanted to hear their names said, and I had to apologize to them.
~ Steven Soderbergh