American Girls For Sale

Kaya!Our favorite mall to Angeleno-gawk, The Grove, is planning to open an American Girl® retail branch in 2006, just the 3rd in the country. And these ain’t your mothers’ dolls. “Molly McIntire® is a lively, lovable schemer and dreamer growing up in 1944. The world is at war, and she misses her father who is overseas caring for wounded soldiers … ” So begins the backstory of Molly, one of the 10 “characters” from the high-end doll phenomenon owned by Mattel. You see, the American Girl® characters come from a wide range of “American” experiences across the 200+ years of our nation. There’s Kaya, the Native American in 1764; Addy, the escaped slave in 1864; Kit, the Midwesterner in the Great Depression, among others. See, it’s progressive American history (accessories not included). Howard Zinn must have the whole set of these dollies. To further give each character a sense of era, there are all sorts of props that go with each.

So let’s have a look at the merch. $84 is the base price for any of the dolls. So you’re already in for a Benjamin just to get started with this stuff. And that’s so just the beginning. This is a whole culture you are buying into. Using at that “lively, lovable schemer and dreamer” Molly, as an example, let’s look at the add-ons. Of course you have to have Molly’s Beach Chair ($20), Molly’s 1944 swimsuit ($24), Molly’s camping equipment ($18), Molly’s Dude Ranch Outfit ($24). And if Molly gets tired of standing, there’s Molly’s Chrome Table and Chairs ($65). The best part is that there is an accompanying series of books for each character that chronicals the adventures of your doll for you. There are over 20 (!) “Molly” books alone (such page-turners as “Molly Learns a Lesson” and “Molly’s Surprise”). Why have your girls imagine their own adventures for their dolls when Mattel can write them out and sell them to you?

Can’t you just see the trophy wives and their spoiled brats lined up at The Grove now? While you’re there snarking on them, grab some enchiladas at Loteria Grill and hoist a pitcher to American history and capitalism. Mainly the latter.