Ryan Gosling‘s Ken from Greta Gerwig‘s “Barbie” captivated audiences this summer with his outlandish humor and “I am kenough” sweatshirt. Now, Gosling is keeping Ken’s dream alive, and plans to release an EP of four different variations of the movie’s song “I’m Just Ken.” The actor famously recounted that his inspiration for accepting the role was born from discovering his daughter’s Ken doll face-down in the garden of his family’s home, which motivated him to give Ken more of a backstory.
Now, as “Barbie” rakes in Golden Globe nominations and courts Oscar buzz, some suspect that Gosling is actually eyeing a future Grammy award. The Christmas version of the track received an accompanying music video, and the rest of the EP is a collaboration with acclaimed producer and musician Mark Ronson.
Forget Oscars, he wants a Grammy
— Anthony Russo (@Anthony_Russo97) December 20, 2023
Others were simply impressed at Gosling’s singing abilities. The actor previously offered musical performances in the critically acclaimed musical dramedy “La La Land” opposite Emma Stone.
I’m happy for him. He’s really talented. I’ll definitely listen
— Felix Okoro (@BodybyFelix) December 20, 2023
Some simply find it hilarious that Ken is finally having his moment in the year of all things pink, Barbie, and Taylor Swift.
He's serving with I'm just Ken bigtime pic.twitter.com/KbdGFQiBX5
— Devanayagam (@Devanayagam) December 20, 2023
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) December 20, 2023
Despite the initial praise of the EP drop, some raise the conversation of whether Ken’s comedic and musical stylings actually take away from the intended central messages of “Barbie”–the importance of sisterhood in a patriarchal society and intersectional feminism.
He’s Just Ken
Some question why the Ken content continues to come from the “Barbie” team when the women in the film were intended to be the true star players.
the party ended an hour ago and he's still here
— Mona (@RealMona_) December 20, 2023
Why are they constantly pushing Ken when it’s called the Barbie movie?
— Hi Im Ry (@WhateverDoja) December 20, 2023
Others even went as far as to say that they have had kenough of Ken.
I've had KENough.
— Mimi 💗☀️ (@Jungshook3th) December 20, 2023
From a musical standpoint, some argue that the track did not warrant an entire EP of remixes outside of the Mark Ronson collaboration.
I’m just Ken is not good enough for a solo ep im sorry
— haaniyah angus (@_haaniyah_) December 20, 2023
Critics argued that the female side characters in the film who are pivotal to driving the plot and portraying the Barbies in different walks of life did not get as much of a spotlight on them despite their role in the initial marketing campaign of the major blockbuster.
For a movie that was made after a brand that encouraged girls they can be & do anything, promoting this much of Ken who isn’t even much relevant to the brand to appeal to male audience is disappointing. These inspiring women who are crucial to the story didn’t even get a doll 😕 https://t.co/dnfE30YyA4 pic.twitter.com/SXaDFqvOsU
— 🩸Roxxi🩸 (@spicyroxxi) December 20, 2023
The “I’m Just Ken” EP continues to now place the film under a new microscope. Upon further viewing, some feel that Ken’s character development was placed too far at the center of the film, to the detriment of Barbie’s.
Because unfortunately, the dynamic we got still managed to center Ken at the end of it which sacrifices a little bit of Barbie’s character development
— bobbi hosts ✨The Afternoon Special✨ (@hiimbobbi) December 17, 2023
Despite the constructive criticism, women viewers at first had largely positive reactions to Ken’s storyline, finding it relatable to the pressures of toxic masculinity placed on young men and the evolution of friendships between people of different genders from childhood to adulthood.
Regardless of the Ken commentary, the film is widely regarded as an introductory crash course on contemporary feminism and the patriarchy at large. “Ken the EP” with music from Ryan Gosling and Mark Ronson is out now on all streaming services.