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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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“So, what does it look like when he leaves the show? First, it looks like a ratings spike, and I had a nice chuckle about that. But the truth is, the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy. I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘What do you think of this guy?’ And they’re sending pictures. I was like, ‘Are you people fucking nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?’ I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there.”
Ellen Pompeo

“I am, as you indicate, no stranger as a novelist to the erotic furies. Men enveloped by sexual temptation is one of the aspects of men’s lives that I’ve written about in some of my books. Men responsive to the insistent call of sexual pleasure, beset by shameful desires and the undauntedness of obsessive lusts, beguiled even by the lure of the taboo — over the decades, I have imagined a small coterie of unsettled men possessed by just such inflammatory forces they must negotiate and contend with. I’ve tried to be uncompromising in depicting these men each as he is, each as he behaves, aroused, stimulated, hungry in the grip of carnal fervor and facing the array of psychological and ethical quandaries the exigencies of desire present. I haven’t shunned the hard facts in these fictions of why and how and when tumescent men do what they do, even when these have not been in harmony with the portrayal that a masculine public-relations campaign — if there were such a thing — might prefer. I’ve stepped not just inside the male head but into the reality of those urges whose obstinate pressure by its persistence can menace one’s rationality, urges sometimes so intense they may even be experienced as a form of lunacy. Consequently, none of the more extreme conduct I have been reading about in the newspapers lately has astonished me.”
~ Philip Roth