Mattel Creates an 80s Inspired American Girl Doll (That No One Really Asked For)


Commence the pandering embarrassment, for the hammer has come down and struck nail on the 80s coffin. At this point for me, the 80s gimmick has lost its luster when American Girl creates a “Girl Who Codes” Pac-Man expert named Courtney. While American Girl does have its rabid fans who insist that the books are tactfully written and reflect the true experiences of the average American middle grade girl, I have trouble believing they are more than idealistic, saccharine projections of BS advertisements. It’s the He-Man comic book alongside your action figure.

That said, as someone born in 1985 my hair looked exactly like Courtney’s when I was but a wee one.

Read the below press release– from the accessories to the “to the max, gag me with a spoon” verbiage used on this doll, it is such a Barf’o’Rama puke fest. And did you know that you can buy Courtney’s prop Pac-Man machine for only an additional $149?!

Screw your ugly teeth right in the mouth, Courtney. Maxie called, she wants her outfit back. Keep your Pac-Man, you can’t beat me on Dance Dance Revolution.

What bothers me about American Girl dolls is (and I know this is part of the hook and schtick) but it’s the agenda. Courtney can’t just enjoy video games, she has to do it and want to code. Another doll can’t simply be a girl of color, it must be under the guise that her skin color is very obvious and there’s some sort of turmoil in regard to her skin. I get that American Girls are meant to “uplift and inspire girls in the face of adversity” but the narratives are so predictable. Mix it up– not every queer book is a coming out story, you know?

Anyway… yeah… the 80s are officially tired. Let’s make the 50s cool again, I like vintage dresses.

Official Press Release:

Inspired by 1980s Gaming, Company Partners with Girls Who Code to Empower Girls to be Changemakers in Technology and Beyond

MIDDLETON, Wis., September 15, 2020 – American Girl, the beloved brand known for helping girls grow up with confidence and character, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT), today announced the launch of its first historical character in three years, Courtney Moore™. She is a total ‘80s girl whose big, bright and bold ideas inspire today’s girls to find their inner hero to accomplish great things. Growing up in 1986, Courtney’s story reflects the pop culture of the decade from sky-high hair, neon-colored fashions, music television, and video gaming to major historical moments surrounding women in government and space exploration, as well as larger cultural shifts around blended families and emerging technology.

​“The ‘80s are back, and we’re thrilled to celebrate this pop culture-defining decade with girls and their parents through Courtney,” says Jamie Cygielman, General Manager of American Girl. “For nearly 35 years, American Girl’s historical characters have helped to bridge the past and present, while providing inspiring role models through immersive storytelling and imaginative play. Likewise, Courtney’s story illustrates how to create positive change by standing up to fear, finding strength in every challenge, and developing empathy for others—qualities that are timeless and more important than ever. And to further our mission to help build girls of strong character and confidence, we’re partnering with Girls Who Code to help change the game when it comes to influencing female leadership in the fields of computer science and technology.”

Written by Kellen Hertz, the two-book series introduces girls to Courtney Moore, an avid gamer growing up with her blended family in the fictional town of Orange Valley, CA. Courtney loves going to the mall, especially the arcade, where she’s one of the top-scoring PAC-MAN™ players. But Courtney doesn’t only play video games, she’d like to create them and bring more girl characters to the forefront. When given a chance to create her own video game, Courtney looks to real-life heroes—like her mom, who’s running for mayor, as well as the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger—as inspiration to invent a female superhero who’s bold, brave, and gives Courtney the courage to speak up for the people and ideas she believes in.

To further empower today’s girls in technology and beyond, American Girl is partnering with Girls Who Code, a leading nonprofit that’s on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a computer programmer looks like and does. From now through December 31, 2020, American Girl is matching customer donations dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $50,000 to support the organization’s programming and outreach to girls, including those from historically underrepresented minority groups. In addition, American Girl is providing a $5,000 scholarship to four deserving Girls Who Code members to help further their education in computer science or a related field. To learn more about how American Girl is helping Girls Who Code, visit

“Girls are constantly online, using apps, playing games and more, that’s why it’s so important that they also see themselves on the other side of those products, actually building them,” says Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code. “It’s our goal to show girls the power of learning this skill set so that they can code the future they want to live in and, ultimately, change the world.”

Courtney comes to life via an 18-inch doll with curly sandy-blonde hair that can be worn in a high side pony, plus accessories like a pretend cassette player and tape, colorful bangle bracelets, and pretend Lip Smacker® lip balm. The Courtney doll arrives wearing a high-waisted denim skirt, a bright blue off the shoulder crop top, plus white faux-leather slouchy boots. Girls can add tons of new looks with Courtney’s 13-piece mix-and-match ‘80s fashion collection and spend hours playing with Courtney’s Bedroom Set with over 25 pieces—including a hot pink bunk bed, two rainbow comforters and pillows, and a see-through phone that lights up and rings.

Courtney’s world also includes several licensed products of ‘80s classics—including Courtney’s Caboodles® and Hair Accessories Kit with a real mini Caboodle, plus Courtney’s Care Bears™ Pajamas for both girls and dolls and Courtney’s Care Bears™ Sleeping Bag Set. For the gamer in all of us, fans can level up with Courtney’s doll-sized PAC-MAN™ Arcade Game that plays like the real thing with multiple levels. And finally, for all those original American Girl fans out there, Courtney comes with her very own mini American Girl Molly™ doll—one of the first three historical characters to launch in 1986 by then newly-founded Pleasant Company. Molly comes in a replica of a Pleasant Company™ doll box, a mini version of the original Meet Molly book, and even a mini 1980s Pleasant Company catalogue.

Other Courtney-themed activities and events include the following:

  • A 25-minute stop-motion “Meet Courtney: An American Girl Movie;” a new Courtney ‘80s-inspired Music Video; new Dolled Up episodes—featuring all the big hair fun Courtney and friends can handle; plus rad ‘80s DIY crafts on the brand’s popular YouTube and YouTube Kids Channel.
  • Visitors to American Girl retail stores on September 25 will receive a free Courtney craft and giveaway. And in early October, fans can “relax to the max” in an all-new ‘80s-themed immersive experience at American Girl Place-New York, featuring a Courtney-inspired bedroom with bunk beds and a revolving closet that mixes-and-matches her outfits, plus an ‘80s arcade with two real PAC-MAN™ video games to play.
  • A dedicated Courtney play site, goes live on October 1, and includes free games and activities, like Courtney’s interactive mall experience; an ‘80s-inspired dance challenge tutorial; Courtney wallpapers; and much more.

The Courtney collection is available September 15, 2020, at, and starting September 25, 2020, at all American Girl retail locations nationwide. Courtney products will be available on October 1, 2020, at American Girl specialty boutiques at select Indigo™ and Chapters™ locations in Canada and online at The Courtney doll and book retails for $110 and the Courtney books ($7.99 each) can also be purchased through retail and online booksellers.


American Girl is a premium brand for girls and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT,, a leading global children’s entertainment company that specializes in the design and production of quality toys and consumer products. Headquartered in Middleton, WI, American Girl offers an inspiring world of dolls, content, and experiences that nourish a girl’s spirit and help develop her strength of character. Best-selling lines include Truly Me™, Girl of the Year™, Bitty Baby®, WellieWishers™, and American Girl’s classic historical characters. The company sells products through its award-winning catalogue, on, in its proprietary U.S. experiential retail stores, as well as at specialty retailers nationwide. By inspiring girls to be their best, American Girl has earned the loyalty of millions and the praise and trust of parents and educators.


Girls Who Code is an international non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, and leading the movement to inspire, educate and equip young women with the computing skills needed to pursue 21st century opportunities.

Since launching in the United States in 2012, Girls Who Code has reached 300,000 girls through its programs (Clubs, Summer Immersion Program, College Loops), and 500 million people through campaigns, advocacy work, and 13-book New York Times best-selling series. To learn more, visit

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  1. Ugh! Terrible. I’m glad you agree. First I hate the 80’s theme (even though that’s when I was born) Ugly clothes, hair, colors, lousy music etc… And this doll is almost as bad as the cliched dolls that are supposed to represent teens in the 50’s with the carbon copy pink poodle skirts, way too long pony tail, saddle shoes and record accessories. 1950’s Barbie comes to mind… HOWEVER I must say that Courtney represents the 80’s better than 50’s dolls represent the 50s. I guess the 80’s really were that cheesy.

    • They really, really were! I love classy 50s with pearls, high waisted tight pants, scarves, and beautiful dresses. But I agree, cliche 50s is awful. The 80s were cartoonish. To the max…o-rama…tubular. Or something.

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