I'm always looking for new, creative, and interesting outlets for my style of humor. In the spring of 2005, during my final semester of college, the opportunity came--I was assigned a project for my Mediated Communications in Radio course at my alma mater (The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey--Pomona, NJ--Class of 2005). My mission (and I had to accept it), was to write, record, and edit a five-minute entertainment feature that would be available to air on the college's radio station if given the opportunity. The other requirement of the project was to take a portable tape recorder with included microphone onto campus and ask some questions about the topic of my radio program. I should note here that those responses are not scripted in any way--I painstakingly sat and transcribed every word they said. Panelist Three is me; Panelist Four is Erika. Always the opportunist, I interned at CBS-3/KYW-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the summer of 2005. I was a Communications major in college, and production was a passion of mine. This is also one of my favorite photos, and one that I hold near and dear to my heart.
I recalled a friend from a previous course, Erika, had written a report on Barbie for a class we had my radio professor for, and she was a walking encyclopedia of Barbie knowledge. We had talked alot, and I guess you can say this was a great opportunity for us to collaborate on something. With our two minds together, there is no telling what the possibilities are.
What you are about to read is the collaborative effort of two humor writers at work. I should note that my dialogue (I'm essentially playing myself) was written by me, and Erika wrote all of Barbie's dailogue. She has an incredible sense of humor, and I wanted to her to run with it--I wrote a few lines for her, but much of Barbie's dialogue is her work--and I think she did a great job).
It also goes without saying that she deserves as much credit for this writing as I do, so, don't think this was all me.
On that note, I hope you enjoy what you are about to see.
Allison Venezio and Erika Williams
"Un Homme Et Un Femme (A Man and a Woman)"
Words & Music by Pierre Barough & Francis Lai
English Lyrics by Jerry Keller
Performed by Francis Lai
*This segment was originally written for a radio presentation.
(OPENING CHORDS OF "UN HOMME ET UN FEMME")
(MUSIC UNDER VOICE)
Her face is easily recognizable. Her proportions are unattainable. She has a clothing line, a good-looking beau, and a luxurious dream house. She has worked every profession. She even has a major direct-to-video film career. she has blonde hair and dates Ken. Who is she? Her name is Barbie. Barbie who, you may ask? Does she have a last name? Does she even need one? That is not important, but what is important is the influence she has had on little girls for more than four decades. Hello, I'm Allison Venezio. Today, on this WLFR special presentation, we will discuss the legend that is Barbie, we will talk to girls, about why they are into Barbie, and we will even discuss this famous plastic doll with a very special guest.
Before my exclusive interview, I took a walk around the Richard Stockton campus to ask girls why they were into Barbie.
(4 Man on Street Interviews)
They've never had an Indian Barbie, so I just kind of made believe that they were Indian, but it was kind of depressing--I don't know, because I never had a role model for an Indian Barbie until now.
My Barbies were always doctors because that is what I wanted to be when I grew up.
My favorite Barbie was actually the suntan one where you put it out in the sun the tan comes up and the hair turns pink. My dad bought that for me, so I always thought that was real cool.
I had quite a few dolls...Barbie, JEM and the Holograms...my brother had GI Joes, so it was always Barbie dating GI Joe, cheating on Ken, trying to hook up with Rio because he had real hair kind of going on...
(Man on Street Interviews end, fade back into HOST)
I later sat down with a woman that needed no introduction--a woman with style, flair, and a hit direct-to-video career. We discussed her life, it's ups and downs, and what has made her an inspiration to girls everywhere.
Barbie it is a pleasure to be talking to you! Thank you for joining me today!
(HYPER, HIGH-PITCHED VOICE)
Thank you Allison! It has always been my dream to be a talk show host, but I guess I can settle for interviewee!
Let's begin, Barbie. You've had an amazing career. You've traveled the world, lived in luxurious homes, and had amazing friends and lovers. You starred in five hit direct to video films. You're an ageless beauty. Tell me, Barbie, what keeps you going?
I absolutely have to say that it is my fans that help keep me going. Without their imaginations, and their parents' credit cards, I would not have lasted this long.
Barbie, girls everywhere idolize you. They create this fantasy world for you, in which you're rich and successful, and Ken is the ultimate beau. What does this mean to you?
Well, it's interesting you should bring this up, Allison. Did you know that I was originally a German Adult toy that immigrated to America not too long after World War 2? It's amazing that Ive been able to capture the hearts of women young and old, in spite of my origins! And that no matter where a person comes from on the social ladder, they can always become something better!
Barbie, you've had a couple of rough patches in your life. Divorce. Plastic surgery to fix your unattainable proportions. Uproar because you said "math is boring." What do you have to say about this?
After almost 50 years of almost marriages, engagements, and what not else, we soon discovered that Ken had a thing going for that used car salesman Cobra Commander! (Sigh) It just wasn't meant to be. Ken is a very talented actor but he had no ability to commit, just as much as Cobra Commander was so inept not to get best of GI Joe. But as far as that "Math is boring" line, that was someting that was made up by Hasbro to DEFAME MY NAME! If you listen very closely, you can tell that three of those words were not even said at the same time! I mean, come on, people, why would I say something like that?! I've been a doctor, an astronaut, a dancer, a veteranarian--I've even help my friend Midge give birth to her kids! None of that could have been done without working knowledge of Math, and I'm saying that math IS NOT BORING! (CRYING) Why do people always have to pick on me?!
(FINAL MINUTE OF "ET HOMME ET UN FEMME" BEGINS TO PLAY UNDER DIALOGUE)
(As Barbie cries in the background)
Barbie, I would love to hear more, but we're sadly out of time. I'd like to thank everyone who participated in our discussion today, and I would like to thank my special guest, Barbie!
(CRYING, SHOUTING IN BACKGROUND)
OH SURE YOU WILL! Come out here so I can get PICKED ON!
Barbie, it has been a PLEASURE! What will you be doing next?
(FLABBERGASTED, CRYING) I don't KNOW anymore!
Great to know! Thank you for joining us on this WLFR special presentation of "Barbie Girl." Remember--she's plastic, she's fantastic, and we're into Barbie! Bye for now!
(CRYING) He hates me because I'm PLASTIC!
(SEGMENT ENDS ON BARBIE CRYING)
This has been a WLFR special presentation.
(CLOSING CHORDS OF "ET HOMME ET UN FEMME" FADE OUT)
Author's Notes (Conclusion)
So, what's with the choice of music? And what inspired me to use it? And more importantly, where did I acquire it?
The music I chose, "Et Homme Et Un Femme/A Man and a Woman," is a French song I obtained from my "Drew Carey Show Sountrack." Who says CDs you don't listen to for a long time don't come in handy? I was inspired to use it because it is instrumental (I would have had to loop the instrumental parts of a song with vocals, which is hard to do with the Aqua song, "Barbie Girl.") By the way, to avoid any kind of problems, the project was actually inspired by the song--I came up with the idea after listening to the incredibly funny dialogue between "Barbie" and "Ken."
Erika described the song to me as "French porno music" (why does she know this?), and I believe she went as far as to say that it sounded like a "French pimp singing."
I also have to tell you that it took us a good hour and a half to finish recording the dialogue (which we recorded in one day--I spent four hours in editing a few days later to complete the project--I received an "A" on it). This included all the takes we needed for the whole speech Barbie gave about Math being "boring." Part of the speech was actually edited together--we had a hard time keeping the giggles under control. And, the infamous last line, "He hates me because I'm PLASTIC!" was actually improvised. She randomly yelled it out.
I'm actually sort of droll on voice recordings, and my voice fit the questioning perfectly. My favorite line would have to be where I said, "What will you being doing next?" Her reply? "I don't know anymore!" The line that cracked her up was my infamous "Good to know!" (We each got an infamous line).
During the recording process, people were stopping near the production studio and listening--it must have sounded like we were fighting in the supposedly soundproof room. My professor had a good laugh about this later.
I hope you enjoyed reading this presentation as much as we enjoyed writing it--in our opinion, it was a great effort on both our parts to take something so small and make it elaborate. Whatever that means.
Anyway, I'm glad that we were given the opportunity to share this with you. Thank you for reading (and hopefully, laughing). Comments are welcome and appreciated.
Pictures are courtesy of the authors' personal collections, and the Barbie picture came from a Google image search. I thought it was appropriate.