Last week I did something I haven’t done in years. Decades, actually. I bought a Barbie doll. Now that I think of it, I probably didn’t buy the last Barbie doll I owned myself, since I was barely into the double-digits, age-wise, at the time. It was probably my mom or my favorite aunt who bought it for me.
This Barbie wasn’t a sudden impulse; it was an idea that came about gradually. While checking out the doll aisles at my local retailers, I usually scan the Monster High, Disney Princess, Lalaloopsy and Kawaii Crush sections. Then I began to take a closer look at the Barbie shelves. I’m an adult who buys toys, so I’m already past the point of no return; why am I ignoring Barbie, one of my oldest friends? Whenever I think back on my childhood and the toys I loved the most, Barbie (and her clothes, and her accessories, and her domiciles) springs instantly to mind. So I began to browse the Barbie aisles, when a certain playset caught my eye. Today’s post is a review of Mattel’s Stovetop To Tabletop playset for Barbie. This is an adorable kitchen counter/stovetop/sink that comes with a Barbie doll and many pieces that simulate kitchen tools. Let’s start with Barbie herself:
The doll: I like this doll. Barbie’s appearance has changed so many times over the years, and there are so many face molds out there simultaneously now, but Stovetop Barbie has a friendly looking face that reminds me of the Barbies I had when I was a kid. She wears a lot of eye makeup, but apart from that, not too much elswehere. Her hair is soft and shiny and satisfying to brush, and ends in a pretty curl—just as a Barbie doll’s hair should be! The plastic has a different feel from that used for the dolls in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but what surprised me the most was that her legs are ball-jointed rather than the old-style clickable bending knees. As I said, it’s been a while since I’ve owned a Barbie.
Barbie’s dress, to be honest, didn’t score many points with me. The dress is, well, kind of meh. It’s like Mattel just phoned it in. I think I was too dazzled by the awesomeness of the kitchen equipment to notice it at first, but it’s not nicely made at all, and it’s a little on the skimpy side. I like the polka dots, but closer examination reveals that the dress is like a polka dot apron on top of a halter dress but it’s all one piece, held together at the neck and back by very thin ribbon. And when I say one piece, it’s really a bandeau top and skirt held together by the apron on top. Barbie’s not wearing a lot of fabric here! The dress is so short it flips up a little and exposes a rough and uneven hem. It’s hard to pose her in a seated position while…uh…maintaining a ladylike demeanor. For better or for worse, it gave me an excuse to buy more Barbie clothes, such as the chef/waitress uniform pack.
The playset: I have a little thing for kitchen playsets. Or restaurant-themed playsets. Anything with little plastic food or cookware. I don’t know what the appeal is, because I do have an actual kitchen, so it’s not like I’m living out some kind of fantasy through toys… But I digress. The Stovetop To Tabletop is made out of (mostly) sturdy plastic. The legs are a smidge uneven and wobble a little bit when I touch it but it stands on its own perfectly fine. My one quibble is with the tall barstool-type kitchen chair. The bottom section keeps popping out of the orange seat piece. It pops back in easily enough but eventually it pops out again. The legs on the chair are extremely thin and light and seem like they barely manage to hold the weight of the doll without buckling. I would have liked to see the chair made a little bit thicker and stronger.
The stovetop/counter and sink areas are nicely detailed. I love the fancy silver faucet and sink! The oven opens and closes and the oven rack inside slides forward just like a real oven. The microwave over the stovetop spins around to reveal a built-in TV so Barbie doesn’t get bored while waiting for dinner to cook. (She can sit on her chair, as long as it doesn’t buckle under her own weight.) The Barbie head silhouette piece on the top is the handle.
The attention to detail with the small pieces is excellent. The food and cooking utensils are basic but quite clever. There’s a skillet, a dutch oven with a lid that comes off, a “fresh baked’ pie, a large soda bottle, 2 plates, 2 cups, 2 yogurt containers, a measuring cup, spatula and spoons and forks (there are no knives). I admit I had a lot of fun playing with these while I was taking pictures.
The graphics on the toy are bright and cheerful and show items found in a kitchen such as a blender, glass storage containers and food in the small fridge in the front and in the oven.
Barbie Stovetop To Tabletop retails for anywhere between the $25-$27 mark. I bought it on sale for $22.00. As of the date I’m writing this post, Mattel.com has slashed the price from $26.99 to $16.19.
I predict a lot more fun with fake food in my future.