Masterpiece YouTube: Lauren Ireland, “If American Girl Dolls Were Real Dolls,” 2014

I usually don’t do this for recent videos, but this one is a particular masterpiece.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 16: Lauren Ireland, “If American Girl Dolls Were Real Dolls,” 2014

I was on BuzzFeed, because who isn’t, and I came across this video. Being a child of the 90s, (yes, even a boy who had a sister in the 90s and had enough female friends to know who the American Girl dolls were), I was curious about this. Personally, I hadn’t thought of American Girl dolls in quite some time. Well, actually, that’s a lie, because I recently learned that American Girl’s headquarters are in Middleton, Wisconsin, which is about ten minutes down the road from where I currently live; actually, just about on my street. So I’ve been kind of curious about that. But then, I found this video, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since.

To tell you the truth, I have not kept up with American Girl over the years. I remember when there were just five – heck, I remember when there was just four, Addy was introduced when I was in elementary school – and other than the Hispanic one, who entered the scene just as I stopped caring about liking everything my sister liked, and Kit, the Great Depression doll, because of the movie that they made about her. Apparently, according to the article above, American Girl has now been taken over by Mattel, who also own Barbie, and the dolls have been “Barbie-fied,” that is, more emphasis on accessories than history, which is kind of what separated the American Girl dolls from Barbie in the first place, the fact that they actually stood for something historical, as opposed to Barbie, who couldn’t even stand upright if she were a real person.

But, the video. It’s a comedy bit about the American Girl dolls out to lunch, or tea, or something, and the great thing about it is that it goes exactly how I thought the American Girls would actually be like. Of course, Samantha’s gotta have the first word, and at 00:15, I spotted the first error: Samantha refers to Grandmama, when from the books, I distinctly remember that she called her Grandmary. And I’m right, so one point for me. The girls are all over the place with their hilariously mistimed orders, and Molly kills it with her “canned tomato soup” comment. The waiter’s not impressed, and asks them if they’re American Girl dolls, to which Samantha (of course) goes, “Well, we are American Girls.” At 01:06, though, there’s another error, when Kirsten doesn’t know what a doll is, which I found kind of curious since I assumed that Kirsten would have probably had a doll herself, and I’m right again (two strikes, Miss Ireland). Then there’s the Addy bit, which is funny because it is true, she was kind of boring. And then Kit comes over as the manager, and Samantha throws some shade her way Regina George-style. I can’t say that I’m surprised. And of course, Samantha gets the last word, “I’m an orphan!”

In spite of two factual errors (Well, let’s face it; there were plenty of errors in historical fact in the dolls themselves. Just ask Addy.) this is pretty funny, and shows just how awkward 90s girls were and that I was not alone in thinking that the American Girl dolls were probably weird in their own time as well. I’m not too sold on the Kirsten impression, but then again, Kirsten was kind of a loose cannon all along her story arc. This video is a masterpiece because it shows that comedy is indeed collectible. I hope that she makes more shorts like these – I wonder what would happen if, say, Felicity tried Uber, or Kirsten faced an ATM, or Samantha got called out for having resting bitch face or something.

This video actually made me try to imagine what the American Girls would do today. So, imagine a Friends-type scenario, if you will:

Samantha is definitely the high-powered business type. She has a 9 to 5, and plays tennis and golf on the weekends. She is constantly on her cell phone. Her pastimes including going on moderately successful dates and then coming home and complaining to the rest of the girls about how there are no good men out there, and how she’ll be perpetually single. She has a very obvious crush on one or more of her male co-workers, despite her “independent woman” front. Her wardrobe includes power suits and pumps, and on her days off, she’s in power suits and pumps (she does, however, alternate between slacks and skirts of a tasteful length). She’s definitely a Sarah Palin supporter, but when questioned, deflects to any other topic. Her drink of choice is a dry martini.

Felicity has a B.A. in English and is pursuing her Master’s in Creative Writing, perpetually in school, with a quill pen on her person at all times. She works at Planned Parenthood to pay the bills, but her heart is in mentoring the troubled teenage girls she meets there. She is generally calm, except for when you ask her about her career plans, and when you gently suggest she quit writing and go for a degree in public health or counseling or something, she scorns you to no end. Generally the happy-go-lucky peacemaker of the group, she enjoys yoga and is training to be a Zumba instructor in her spare time. She would have cats if only her roommate, Samantha, wasn’t “allergic.” Samantha and Felicity work well as roommates because they balance each others’ personalities out, and when it comes to personal politics, well, they agree to disagree. Her drink of choice is kombucha.

Molly lives across the hall from Samantha and Felicity (Never Felicity and Samantha, always Samantha and Felicity). She’s the rational one of the group, and is constantly untangling the other girls from their messes. She works at an independent bookstore/coffee shop, and although she loudly decries Starbucks every chance she gets, she secretly adores their caramel macchiatos and peppermint mochas, and disguises them in her refillable coffee cups. She’s into theatre and sometimes runs stage crew or stage manages for community theatre productions. She loves watching sports on TV but would rather not play because of, you know, her glasses. The other girls talk her into contacts, and she gives in for a brief period of time, but only wears them when begged to. Her drink of choice is cappuccino.

Addy lives with Molly, who she found through a Craigslist ad. She teaches middle school, and is completely overworked, doing things like coaching the girls’ volleyball team, heading up the pep squad, representing on the PTA, and basically whatever her principal throws her way. She is a pessimist and hates her job, but has a soft spot for the kids. She looks great in pretty dresses, but prefers sweats. She’s constantly trying out new names, and will one day get around to changing hers; she’s narrowed it down to Ghebremariam, Tyleisha, or Crystal. Her drink of choice is apple juice with a little something extra.

Kirsten is one of those people who you look at like, “what the hell is up with her,” but little do you know, she’s got her whole life figured out but is not telling anyone. She’s always hanging out at one of the two apartments, sleeping on Samantha/Felicity’s couch until she drools or drops some olive tapenade on it one day and is banished to Addy/Molly’s, who take care of her for awhile, but then somehow manage to move her back across the hall. No one is quite sure what she does all day, or where she actually lives. She does do her fair share of the cooking and cleaning, though, wherever she is, and she’s pleasant to be around, so nobody really minds her that much. She has been seen dumpster diving, and she makes a lot of jewelry that no one really wants or needs. She seems to make friends everywhere she goes, and she may or may not have a boyfriend. Every so often, one of the girls will walk in on her either in the bathroom or hidden in a corner, talking in angry, rapid-fire Swedish, and when she notices, she turns red with embarrassment, hangs up, and asks how the weather is outside today. Her drink of choice is water from the kitchen sink, or just straight vodka.

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