Barbie navigates a pink post-apocalyptic hellscape
via Twitter

‘Barbenheimer’: the best ‘Barbie’ v ‘Oppenheimer’ memes

Barbenheimer month is upon us.

Barbie and Oppenheimer are two box office hopefuls with completely different tones getting juxtaposed together due to the simple fact that they are releasing on the same day, later this month. Movie fans everywhere are now making memes about the two movies going head-to-head, especially when it comes to combining the worlds of the two very different films.

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In case you didn’t already know, Barbie is a cinematic adaptation of the classic Mattel toy line which appears to look like something of a mashup of The Lego Movie and Elf. The titular doll, played by Margot Robbie, exists in her own fantasy world and decides to traverse into the real world via a Matrix-like plot device involving making a choice between a high heel and a Birkenstock. Oppenheimer, on the hand, could not be more different; a rated-R biopic about the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in spearheading America’s development of the first atomic bomb, played by Cillian Murphy in a long-overdue leading role in a Christopher Nolan film.

The first instance of mashing up the two titles that I personally saw was a T-shirt somebody shared on Twitter about a month ago that was an abominable creation of the two IPs that would make Mary Shelley cringe, seemingly birthing (to my knowledge) the unholy phrase “Barbenheimer.”

The T-shirt, along with the stark contrast between pink and black, hasn’t strayed far from my mind ever since. Weeks later, I looked to see if “Barbenheimer” was a phrase people were using on Twitter, and to my disgust, it had taken off as its own niche meme. As disturbing as this development was, I must give a tip of my nuclear-irradiated fedora to the talented individual who made an animated mashup seeing Oppenheimer transforming in a flash to everyone’s favorite blonde bombshell as she grins maniacally with a pink blast engulfing the landscape behind her.

Another Twitter account took the initiative to declare July Barbenheimer Month, complete with a collage of the two titular characters worthy of a failing grade in art class.

Indeed, many popular Twitter accounts dedicated to movie updates circulated the meme over the weekend. 

Sometimes a simple trailer mashup is all we need to be convinced combining the two movies may actually result in some hilarious hijinks.

A swapping of some iconic lines from each character is enough to make us wish for a Barbenheimer cinematic universe.

Even more drip choices give us some great ideas for what to wear during the inevitable double-feature experience that Tom Cruise recently enjoyed. 

It seems the Barbenheimer phrase has also become a shorthand for the general discussion of which film to see first in a double-feature scenario.

The Barbenheimer craze was so explosive, the Nuclear Threat Initiative — a non-governmental nonprofit dedicated to global nuclear disarmament  — felt the need to weigh in on the issue with an official statement. And no, I’m not joking. It was NTI’s real Twitter account releasing this, complete with a blue checkmark and everything. 

Specifically, when it comes to doing the double feature, NTI recommends seeing Oppenheimer first, then taking an intermission to fully “recover physically and emotionally,” and then viewing Barbie

“This will allow the viewer time to think deeply about the message of the film and the existential threats that nuclear weapons still pose to our world. Only then can Barbie be appreciated in its fluorescent fullness.”

The nonprofit added that they are “committed to building a safer world — for Barbie, Ken and all beings, plastic or otherwise.”

The Barbenheimer global event kicks off when both Oppenheimer and Barbie release to theaters on July 21.

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Danny Peterson
Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'