Hi everyone! I’m really happy at the moment because I was finally able to watch the first episode of Barbie: Dreamhouse Adventures!
If you are new to my site, you can find out how to watch it yourself for $15 per month here (Australian residents over 18 only, and yes, there is a free trial). If you live in the US, you can watch it on Netflix for $10 per month.
This post is going to be a recap of the first episode, and I’ll also be talking about my first impressions of the show. There are lots of spoilers ahead!
(Unfortunately I was not able to screenshot, but I did take a few pictures with my phone, which is why they are low quality)
Everything starts when Barbie, her parents, and her sisters, Skipper, Stacie and Chelsea, move into their new Dreamhouse. Luckily for them, it’s right in the same position as their old house! How convenient.
We are then introduced to Barbie’s father, George, for the first time in decades! It’s a very exciting moment; one that many, many people have been waiting years to see! George has recently rediscovered his Egyptian replica poodle statue… thing.
Time to see Skipper and Stacie’s new room! For people who live in a huge mansion in LA, it’s surprising that they share a room -surely they could have afforded to have seperate rooms?
Anyway, Stacie has a big basketball area with a pop-down bed. Skipper has a DJ table and a pop-down bed, too. Everything is electronically controlled by an Alexa / Google Home style remote, designed by Barbie’s mother. It looks like a nod to the “Hello Dreamhouse” playset.
It doesn’t take long for things to go wrong! Chelsea is sad because she misses her old house, which I find a bit strange since her new house is so much better and also, it’s literally right in the same spot.
The house then starts to go wild -Skipper, Chelsea and Stacie’s beds all go crazy, and the robot vacuum tries to eat Chelsea’s toy bear, Dr Wiggles.
Next, the Roberts family (and Ken) discover that their moving van has been towed by the nasty family next door, the Reardons. This is the first time we have met the Reardons, and hopefully they will be a recurring theme! I think that makes a great subplot. (I still prefer Raquelle and Ryan though!)
Sidenote: Why did they hire a moving van if they’re not actually moving anywhere? Couldn’t they have just put all their stuff in a storage unit?
Here they are! Doesn’t the animation look very similar to The Sims 4? I also can’t help but think of The Bee Movie when I see the characters (although I think The Bee Movie had much better animation, sorry Barbie).
After a misfortunate accident at the juice bar, Ken and Stacie decide to investigate the cause of the Dreamhouse’s crazy antics. They decide that it simply must be the curse of the Egyptian poodle statue.
I’m really glad how much of Ken we got to see in this first episode so far -I honestly thought that he would be a minor character, so it’s great that he’s had lots of speaking lines. I feel like he is a more “toned down” version of the Life in the Dreamhouse Ken -he made a quick comment about skinny jeans, but generally, he seems like a more normal guy, similar to how Ken was in Barbie: Dolphin Magic.
Honestly? I miss the old, crazy Ken, but I’m still glad he was featured in DA. It’s a bit weird how he and Barbie have reverted back to “just friends” now -I hope we find out more about that later.
Outside, Barbie and Skipper have other ideas about who is making the Dreamhouse go crazy -the Reardons! They decide to spy on them to see if they are doing anything suspicious.
However, it looks like the Reardons are not capable of doing anything that involves too much thinking! They are struggling to use a Nutcracker, which is an obvious note to the old “Nutcracker in every Barbie movie.”
It’s really lovely they included this specifically just for people who have watched the older Barbie movies -and not just for two seconds, either! The Nutcracker is in full view for quite awhile.
It reminds me of the ‘Schlond Poofa’ from the Life in the Dreamhouse days, which was a shoutout to the serious / older LitD fans.
Anyway, meanwhile Stacie and Ken are trying to work out whether the poodle statue is cursed or not. “If a mummy flies out when you open it, you know it’s cursed,” Ken explains.
(At this moment in the episode, I truly believed it was the cursed poodle that was making everything go wrong)
Down the hall, Chelsea is not helping anybody move the furniture, and is instead sitting on her bed doing absolutely nothing but feeling sorry for herself. Seriously, Chelsea? Do something to help!
Chelsea explains that she feels sad because she still misses their old house. Barbie comforts her and reminds her that when she was her age, she moved all the way from Wisconsin to Malibu. (So really, Chelsea doesn’t have much to complain about! Smh, get a grip!)
Since it’s not the Reardons that have been causing the Dreamhouse to go crazy, and it’s not the cursed poodle statue either, Barbie’s mother realises that it might be her fault. She thinks that her programming is what’s causing the problem.
Again, it’s really lovely that Barbie’s parents feature so heavily in the first episode. So far we have learnt that they are both smart (George is into history, and Margaret is into coding), while George is the ‘goofy one’ and Margaret is the ‘serious one.’
Stacie, Skipper and Margaret look inside the wiring to see if anything is wrong. And it is! All the wires have been chopped up!
My first thought was that the Reardons must have cut the wires, but no!
It was a squirrel!
Everything turns out alright in the end! The poodle wasn’t the problem, Margaret still has her ‘expert coder’ status, and the Reardons didn’t do anything but get the moving van towed away. And that’s the first episode! ~
It was a bit disappointing to look through the credits -there wasn’t a single name I recognised! Not just limited to voice actors, there wasn’t the usual producers or composers either. I feel like it would have been great if the same team who worked on the films continued to work on the television show.
Overall, I was really, really impressed with the first episode! I didn’t expect there to be so many subplots, and I was honestly surprised that it was the squirrel in the end. I really thought that it would either be the Reardon’s, or the cursed poodle. I also loved the nod to the older Barbie films!
I loved how we got to see so much interaction between Ken, George and Margaret. It was fantastic to finally find out more about Barbie’s parents (and see them, too!)
I’m glad they stuck with the same names for all the characters -it would have been horrifying if they randomly decided mix up all the siblings, for example, getting rid of Skipper, Stacie and Chelsea, and instead giving Barbie two older sisters and a baby brother! That would have been crazy annoying.
Now, for the downsides…
I felt that Chelsea was being a little bit pathetic, and there shouldn’t have been such a focus on ‘Chelsea feels sad.’ Get over yourself! I also felt that the ‘Dr Wiggles’ thing was a bit overdone.
It was frustrating how we don’t have information on why Barbie and Ken are ‘just friends’ now. Did they break up? Or is Mattel pretending that they were never dating in the first place?
At the beginning of the episode, Barbie explains that they have been living in the same place for ten years now. Then, later on, she says that her family moved to Malibu when she was Chelsea’s age.
However, here’s where the problem comes in -Chelsea has already been confirmed to be six years old. If they moved in ten years ago, that would make Barbie sixteen currently. And yes, I know she was officially sixteen back in the early 2000s, but isn’t she supposed to be seventeen now?
Another issue -I felt that the personalities of Ken, Skipper, Stacie and Chelsea were seriously “watered down.” In Life in the Dreamhouse, their personalities were interesting! Exciting! Fun! But now? They don’t seem to have much character at all! I hope things develop a bit more, and we can see another side of them, but that’s my thoughts at the moment.
I feel like Dreamhouse Adventures will be a nice “breath of fresh air” since Life in the Dreamhouse ended, and hopefully we learn new things about Barbie and her friends and family. Speaking of friends, I’m excited to see Teresa and Nikki again -perhaps in the next episode? I can’t wait!
At the moment, I am unable to see when the next episode will be aired. Originally, I thought it would be one episode per week, but now I am worried that it won’t be for another two weeks… Unfortunately, you can’t re-watch the show if you have missed it, you have to watch it live. I’ll have to keep checking!
See you soon!
7 thoughts on “Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: S1E1 Recap, Welcome to the Dreamhouse”
I, too, noticed the mix-up about how old Barbie was when they moved. She’s actually stated to be seventeen in episode three of Dreamhouse Adventures, and Chelsea is actually supposed to be five in the episode you watched. She turns six in a later episode, which is strange, since I thought she was already supposed to be six. But anyway, an early vlog stated that Barbie moved when she was eight. Clearly, Mattel doesn’t even bother to reference their old material!
Another mix-up I noticed was about Barbie’s parents. She tells us in her vlog that they’re both writers, but now they are clearly not. Barbie’s mom is apparently now a tech guru and her dad is a documentary film-maker. It’s kinda bizarre how frequently Mattel changes things!
As for the episode itself, I was totally not expecting the Reardons to be included, or for there to be that whole squirrel chase! Barbie’s parents were featured more in this episode than the seven others released. That’s what I remember, anyway, and it’s been a while since I watched it.
I believe Barbie and Ken are “just friends” since here they are high school teenagers, and their relationship might develop over time. We’ve already seen that in the prom episode of the vlog, and in the vlog where Barbie reveals to Ken she has a secret crush (which is most likely Ken).
When you mentioned Raquelle and Ryan, it made me realize how many characters Mattel has omitted from this series. Midge, Summer, Raquelle, Ryan, and Harper are all gone. I really don’t understand that, since Mattel could have easily included Harper as opposed to Daisy, since Harper was actually in Barbie’s vlog. Daisy just kinda appeared with no explanation. It’s all so bizarre! (Oh, and Nikki and Teresa appear in episode two.)
Ah, you’re right! I knew Barbie mentioned when she moved in one of the vlogs, but I couldn’t remember what she said. It’s funny because they literally released that, what, a year ago? Surely it wouldn’t be hard to remember!
I miss Daisy, she seemed really fun. My favourite vlog was the “Most Likely To” challenge when she appeared with Ken, Ryan and Barbie. I hope she comes back to the vlogs sometime. And the other missing characters, too!
Finally! People outside of the U.S. can watch and I can find more people talking about it! It seemed like for a while no one was reviewing the actual show due to international restrictions. I watched the first 4 or 5 episodes months ago, and I have to say that after being given Life in the the Dreamhouse and the Barbie vlogs, I was not impressed by Adventures. Like you said, a lot of the characters seem watered down when compared to their past counterparts.
LitDH stood out from other Barbie media because it poked fun at at her as a cultural symbol and wasn’t afraid to throw her and her friends in tongue-in-cheek, slapstick situations. Likely because of the success of her character in Toy Story 3, Mattel was no longer afraid to risk their brand image by giving Barbie a defined character outside of being a self insert for little girls.
As you said in your earlier blog post, the over the top self parody didn’t fit with the “average everyday girl, aspirational figure” direction Mattel was leaning towards. So then came the vlogs, which I find perfectly capture this new image of Barbie as a down to earth, believable teenager. They work as a grounded counterpart to LiTDH’s wackiness and so far, have successfully managed to sneak in a growing romantic subplot with Barbie and Ken for the audience to root for.
From what I can tell, Dreamhouse Adventures tries to have both LiTDH’s wacky comedy and the Barbie vlogs’ realistic world building. As a result, it’s merely okay. It’s nice to meet her parents. Her friends and sisters are nice, but not very distinguished as characters. The sitcom scenarios are cute, but don’t really lend themselves to a full half hour. I’m always glad to see Barbie’s family life and world be expanded upon, but so far I haven’t gotten much entertainment out of it and I don’t have a lot of motivation to watch the rest. As far as current depictions of Barbie go, I say they might as well focus on improving the vlogs or making the show more like the vlogs in terms of tone.
Does anything notable happen later on that I should know about? Any major change ups? Now that you’re reviewing the series, I’ll be checking in to see if it’s worth giving a second chance. Can’t wait for the next post!
Yes, very true! Especially the part about mixing the wacky comedy from LitD and the realism of the vlogs -I think the end result is nice, but not spectacular. So far, at least!
You’re quite right about how the episodes aren’t really half-hour worthy; especially with the Chelsea part, I felt that they were just repeating things that had already been established just to make the episode longer. Like, we get it, you’re sad!
For me, I feel that the vlogs aren’t that entertaining haha. I would prefer a new film! (or a new season of LitD, but we know that would never happen)
I’ve only watched the first episode yet, so I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I’d like to watch and review them all, and then there’s Season 2 starting soon in the US. I hope they introduce new characters or something!