/// 02 September 2010 ///

I'm still having computer problems, but I had to show you this thing I saw at Toys 'R' Us a couple of weeks ago...

Poop & Scoop™ Barbie®

Yes, it's Poop & Scoop™ Barbie®. Seriously? Did you ever think you'd see a Barbie doll with the word "poop" in the name? (Also, is it just me or does "Poop 'n Scoop Barbie" make it sound like Barbie's the one doing the pooping?? )

This is actually the latest incarnation of the venerable "Barbie picks up poop" play pattern. (It could also be known as "Barbie's dog eats, then poops, then eats the poop and poops it again" because that's what happens.)

This concept has been very (and somewhat disturbingly) popular since it was introduced under the less-assuming name "Barbie & Tanner™" in the 2006 toy year. Back then, it was like a flame to legions of blogger-type moths - and, amusingly enough, many of them actually referred to the original set as "Poop 'n Scoop Barbie" as a crude joke...

The first Barbie® & Tanner™ set (box date 2005)

Barbie, being environmentally conscious, always brings her trusty magnetic pooper scooper with her so she can clean up after her scatologically prolific dog, Tanner™. (Besides, it's the law in many places.) Luckily, Tanner's poop is magnetic (too much iron in his diet?), which makes it easy for Barbie to snatch it up and deposit it in the trash can she apparently also carries around with her.

Then, she takes the earth-friendly approach even further by retrieving the poop from the trash can, putting it in Tanner's bowl, and feeding it back to him.

(Side note: The dog in the new Poop & Scoop set isn't named, but it's the same as the dog in the Tanner sets.)

Barbie & Tanner was also available in a "black Barbie" version, complete with a color-coordinated darker version of Tanner - because, as true fashionistas know, animals can always be dyed-to-match.

The black version of Barbie® & Tanner™
Teresa® & Mika™

Not to be left out of the excrement excitement, the other doll in the assortment, Teresa® & Mika™, featured a cat that peed on clumping cat litter. This was a reiteration of a concept originally introduced on Kitty Fun Barbie in toy year 2002. Apparently kids preferred the poop scenario, however - the kitty-litter idea hasn't been re-used again since 2006.

(Side Note: In some countries, a larger set was available that combined Barbie & Tanner with Mika and her kitty litter, under the name Barbie Tanner & Mika Giftset.)

The original Barbie & Tanner set's biggest claim to fame - aside from Tanner's coprophagic activities - is the fact that it was included in the highly-publicized 2007 mass-recall of toys made in China. It turned out the tiny magnet in the pooper scooper could fall out; if a child swallowed more than one of these super-powerful magnets, they could become attached to each other through layers of tissue and lead to potentially-fatal intestinal perforations. (Several other products that used tiny magnets were recalled as well, including a number of Polly Pocket® dolls, Doggie Daycare™ playsets, and Batman action figures.)

The recall didn't put an end to Tanner's poop-eating career, though - the pooper scooper problem was fixed by completely encasing the magnet in plastic so it couldn't fall out, and legions of children have (evidently) been scooping up magnetized poop and feeding it back to Tanner ever since.

I think the original Barbie & Tanner set was re-issued through Walmart during toy year 2007 - the shelves were jam-packed with them through Christmas. They definitely looked out-of-place next to the short-bodied "Hobbit" dolls that had taken over the Barbie aisle at the time. Later issues of the original set featured a purple pooper scooper instead of the blue one the earlier dolls came with, probably to make it easier for buyers to identify the scoopers they purchased as not being included in the recall.

Apparently the set continued to sell well, because a refreshed version was introduced in 2008. The new set featured a new outfit and hairstyle for Barbie, but the same...everything else, just in new colors.

Barbie® & Tanner™ (box date 2007)

Side Note: The prototype doll shown in the catalog photo above appears to have been made with the 2006 "Hobbit" body type with poseable arms, but the production doll used the taller 1999 Secret Messages body instead. Also, although the production doll (and the retouched catalog photo above) used the open-mouth 2005 Barbie head, earlier product photos showed the doll with the closed-mouth 2005 head instead (as well as an older-style blue pooper scooper):

Side note: I don't know if the new Poop & Scoop Barbie will ever be available at other stores in the US - as you can see in the photo at the top of the page, the packaging was customized for Toys 'R' Us and says "Only at Toys 'R' Us" on it.

Doll Diary 02 September 2010