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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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“I never accepted the term contrarian. I think that’s offensive, frankly. And my response to that is: if I’m a contrarian, what are other reviewers? What I strive to do is be a good critic, not somebody who simply accepts the product put in front of me. I guess it scares people to think that they don’t have any originality; that they don’t have the capacity to think for themselves.

“There’s a line a lot of reviewers use that I don’t like at all. They say ‘accept the film on its own terms.’ What that really means is, ‘accept the film as it is advertised.’ That’s got nothing to do with criticism. Nothing to do with having a response as a film watcher. A thinking person has to analyze what’s on screen, not simply rubber-stamp it or kowtow to marketing.”m

“To me, everything does have a political component and I think it’s an interesting way to look at art. It’s one way that makes film reviewing, I think, a politically relevant form of journalism. We do live in a political world, and we bring our political sense to the movies with us – unless you’re the kind of person who goes to the movies and shuts off the outside world. I’m not that kind of person.”
~ Armond White to Luke Buckmaster

“One of comedy’s defining pathologies, alongside literal pathologies like narcissism and self-loathing, is its swaggering certainty that it is part of the political vanguard, while upholding one of the most rigidly patriarchal hierarchies of any art form.”
~ Lindy West