Dear lord, I have to explain a Simpsons episode that came on almost 20 years ago in reference to this picture.
The episode, Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy, was inspired by real world events, namely a talking Barbie who ended up saying a bunch of vapid, cliched teen talk. A group of anti-consumerists calling themselves the Barbie Liberation Group took some of these dolls and switched out the circuitry that made them talk with those of talking G.I. Joes at the time.
Lisa bought a talking Malibu Stacy doll (the equivalent of a Barbie doll in the Simpsonsverse) expecting it to say something as iconic as someone of her pop cultural stature should say. Instead,
Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl. [giggles]
The situation has infuriated Lisa, who confronted the makers of Malibu Stacy. They treated her condescendingly and let her go her way. After doing some research, Lisa enlists the help of Wayland Smithers (the owner of the world’s largest Malibu Stacy collection), who gives her the address of the original creator of Malibu Stacy, who is inspired and decided to help her rectify the sexist Talking Malibu Stacy with a more positive, empowering doll. Once the creators of the original Malibu Stacy hears about the new Lisa Lionheart doll, they come up with a plan to counter its potential popularity.
On the day Lisa Lionheart is revealed, a new shipment of Malibu Stacy dolls is unpacked.
She now has a new hat.
That’s all. It’s still the same status quo, but folks are acting like they’re doing something dramatically different, which they aren’t. It’s just the old doll with a new hat, and the fans eat it up, and Lisa is left disappointed that despite confronting those in power about the problems she had with Malibu Stacy, they remained doing the same old tired stuff without changing a thing.
Except the hat. That’s new.
Like I said, Cartoon Network recently got put on blast by one of the most prolific producers of action entertainment, who suggested that the reason high-rated shows like Young Justice, Green Lantern, and similar shows (definitely including ThunderCats and Sym-Bionic Titan in this discussion) got the boot is because they attracted more females than males, and the network felt that girls weren’t the target for merchandisers. The whole thing seems screwy and wrong, but not surprising, especially considering they gave the whole “merchandise wasn’t selling” excuse to shows that had no merchandise like Green Lantern: TAS (counting the leftover movie merchandise is not actually merchandise for the better-received show) and Sym-Bionic Titan, a show that just screamed mecha sets.
And yet, I’m very cynical when, out of the blue and almost a year after its initial announcement, Cartoon Network is planning to finally announce the premiere of a new Powerpuff Girls special (the first made without series creator Craig MacCracken at the helm) less than 24 hours after the Dini interview got traction throughout the internet.
What Cartoon Network is doing is essentially giving the audience a Malibu Stacy with a NEW hat. Nothing changed. Just something to quiet the masses who are easily distracted who are still huge fans of the original PPG series and will tell you to shut up about the misogyny that suddenly isn’t there.
That’s how it goes, I guess.
The truth hurts man.
But at least it’s the truth.