Friday, July 29, 2011

Plot Problems in Barbie in a Mermaid Tale

Little One loves mermaids and Barbie right now, so this is the kind of stuff she wants to read at bedtime. The Wife doesn't like it when I point out plot problems in front of her, so you're stuck with it. Lucky you.

I'll limit myself to the first few pages so as to avoid Random House's wrath. My comments are in blue:

Merliah Summers smiled as she rode the waves. Ever since she was a little girl, Merliah had been able to swim like a fish. Now she was one of the best surfers in Malibu. As Merliah surfed, she thought everything was perfect--until she noticed her hair. It was turning bright pink!

What the hell is she doing looking at her hair while she's surfing? Is this the secret to becoming "one of the best surfers in Malibu?" And wouldn't pink hair make things even more perfect?

Shocked and embarrassed, Merliah wiped out and dove below the waves. I'm guessing she wiped out because she was staring at her hair instead of the waves or the board or the horizon or whatever it is surfers look at, not because she was embarrassed. When I'm embarrassed, I don't lose my balance. To her amazement, she found that she could breathe underwater! Even more amazing than pink hair? And wouldn't the gills be embarrassing?

"Merliah?" someone said. A sparkly pink dolphin was talking to her! "My name is Zuma. I am a friend of your mother, Calissa. She is the mermaid queen of Oceana--but she needs your help!"

You'd think the queen of Oceana would have a better way of getting in touch with her daughter than turning her hair pink so that she would fall into the ocean and meet up with a pink dolphin. And what, the queen too busy to come see the daughter she abandoned in Malibu herself? Mom of the Year.

Merliah couldn't believe that her mother was a magical mermaid--and that she was half mermaid herself! I admit, such news would be surprising. Although, considering the drastic change in appearance and the ability to breathe underwater, she couldn't have been that surprised. And speaking of which, if Merliah is half mermaid, shouldn't she have always been able to breathe underwater? Given her status as one of the "best surfers in Malibu," how has she never noticed this before? Are we to believe she's never been submerged in water, despite being able to "swim like a fish" ever since she was a little girl?

Merliah learned that when she was a baby, her mother's wicked sister, Eris, had taken over Oceana. Wouldn't that make Eris the queen of Oceana then? The fortune-telling Destinies had foretold that Merliah would one day defeat Eris. So to protect her baby daughter, Calissa had sent Merliah to live with her human grandfather in Malibu.

And now she's leaving her in the flippers of a
pink dolphin? No wonder she lost the throne. I might argue that Oceana is better off with Eris calling the shots. Unless the pink dolphin has supernatural powers...Wait a minute...the dolphin is don't think?...

Vampire dolphin. Nevermind. I take back every criticism.


Anita said...

I know. And people are getting paid actual money to write this stuff.

Unknown said...

Blondie has a couple of doozies in the Barbie/Fairy/Princess/Mermaid genre. The Disney books are just as bad.

Ray Veen said...

Come on, Paul, that story was riveting. Except for all the smarmy comments in blue.