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I Really Hope the ‘Barbie’ Movie Explores the Subtext Behind Allan, Ken’s ‘Buddy’

Allan is ready to rumble.

So obviously, everyone’s been loving all the press aroun the upcoming Barbie movie, and the posters showcasing the cast have been some especially delightful highlights. However, one poster in particular caught my attention: Michael Cera as Allan, with the caption, “There’s only one Allan,” which made him stand apart from the milieu of Ken dolls. I wondered, What’s the big deal with Allan that he gets his own name?

A Barbie character poster featuring Michael Cera as Allan.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

And then, I remembered. Allan was special. Special to Ken. The doll was introduced as Ken’s “buddy,” with whom he shared clothes. Wherever Ken went, Allan went. Allan provided emotional support, after all. And look, sure, he was introduced as part of a coupled pair with Barbie’s old friend “Midge” (who will be played by Emerald Fennell), with whom he got married and even had some kids. And considering “Pregnant Midge” in particular is the Midge we’re getting, it can be assumed that they’ll still be introduced as some sort of pair in the movie.

But the subtext? Oh, babe, the subtext is still there. Especially considering in the second teaser, during the “beach off” scene, we get a solo shot of Allan with his fists on his hips, nodding along, lips pursed:

We’re not just making this up, to be clear: there’s always been a hint of queer subtext behind the history of Ken dolls, and Allan’s involvement in this timeline is just one of many other little cues. It just happens to be one of the more on-the-nose cues, the sort that people can have a lot of fun with, as evidenced by this 2020 tweet that went viral:

And even now, with little to no prompting, people are picking apart the subtext on their own:

I’d like to think that Greta Gerwig, with her writing talents and clever humor, will still find a way to give us (the elgeebeeteecues) what we want, which is for Ken to have a boyfriend. And in this particular universe, how lovely would it be for Allan to have so many Kens to be his many boyfriends! Either which way Gerwig decides to take this, at least Allan will have a killer wardrobe to “borrow” from.

(Featured Image: Warner Bros.)

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Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).