It seems like every day a new set photo from Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie is leaked, capturing our attention and setting the internet ablaze with hot takes and memes galore. It’s hard to look away from a photo Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in neon-pink roller-blading outfits. These images feel glued to our eyes with the same tenacity that a tiny, plastic Barbie shoe grips the bare foot that steps on it.
Few other pop-culture phenomena are able to capture our attention in this time of political turmoil, except for maybe Stranger Things. But Barbie is different, somehow. The Mattel character has been around for so long — since 1959, to be exact — that she has become a living thing in our shared consciousness. We seem to be irreversibly transfixed, as a society, by the Barbie movie.
But what is it about Warner Bros’ live-action doll flick that makes it just so, well, memeable? Before we get into all that, here are some memes to chew on:
me turning up to the cinema for barbie (2023) pic.twitter.com/I5vNMCcGNx
— Abeeha Tariq ✨ (@AbeehaTariqArt) June 29, 2022
every time i see new pictures of margot robbie as barbie pic.twitter.com/uaJe5SyXpH
— abe (@stubbornsticks) June 28, 2022
"one ticket to barbie, please." pic.twitter.com/kJMUgOJuRG
— The Art of The Batman (@thebatfilm) June 28, 2022
Maybe it’s the universal, generation-transcending, core memory of playing with Barbie dolls just as our parents did before us. Maybe Ryan Gosling holds a power over humanity that is beyond the understanding of our feeble brains. Maybe Margot Robbie actually is Barbie from a parallel universe where she’s real and we are all the dolls. Or maybe it’s one of the nine reasons listed below.
1. The Sheer Happiness
Just about every photo that has been leaked somehow simply radiates joy. That’s got to have something to do with all the memes, right? (However, as I note later on in this post, the above set photo is actually Barbie and Ken experiencing a moment of fright — even when they’re scared, they still look joyful). Nevertheless, like the poorly computer-generated Barbie and Ken pictured above, live-action Ken and Barbie appear just as deranged with happiness. It’s truly a sight to behold. And maybe that’s what we need right now, what with the Supreme Court taking away our rights to our own bodies and stripping the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to protect the environment. We just need to feel a single ounce of the overwhelming merriment that I hope Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie were sincerely feeling at the moment these photos were taken. If we could find that, maybe we could also find a moment’s rest from the unending horrors of American politics.