The Happy Family – Alan, Midge, Ryan and Nikki Hadley

Mattel came out with a follow up to the Heart Family in 2002. This family was called “The Happy Family” and was made up of Midge Hadley, husband Alan, son Ryan and baby Nikki.

Our version of Mattel's Happy Family - Midge has surgery to reduce the size of her forehead.

Just as we’ve modified our Heart family, our version of the Hadleys is also different than the family originally marketed by Mattel.  Mattel made a brown-skinned Happy Family and we love our original Alan, Ryan and Nikki.

What we couldn’t get over was Midge’s forehead. It was much more of a fivehead.

Having learned about how to re-body from my Barbie friends, I pulled off the original Midge head and replaced it with a Trichelle head. What a relief not to have to look at the old Midge’s face anymore.

Midge’s pregnant belly is held on using two magnets and the baby fits in upside down, just as babies are positioned in a real womb. Leah and I have had a lot of conversations around her own birth while playing with the Hadleys and Leah often re-enacts things I have told her about her own birth while we play.  

Leah hasn’t yet announced any plans to have a baby immediately after menarche which, according to some opponents of the doll, is an obvious (!?) progression for any girl who plays with this doll.

Original Midge had a fivehead.

I have no problem with Pregnant Midge and in fact, love the idea of Midge and Alan having a family because it shifts the focus from dating to family life in our scenarios.

For a comprehensive list of Happy Family items manufactured and marketed, look here.

Anglo-Saxon version of the Hadleys

Besides the fact that the Hadleys are a cute, loving, little nuclear family, another thing we adore about the Hadleys is how close they live to Midge’s parents. Mattel made a Grandma’s Kitchen playset (available for Nikki’s first birthday party, as well as other get-togethers).

Mattel also made a Volvo wagon available for the Hadleys. We have it in a turquoise blue. I highly recommend that anyone who puts together a Happy Family for their own collection be sure to get their hands on a Volvo. It is one of the better made Mattel cars I’ve seen and it is dead-on perfect for the Hadleys.

Grandma's Kitchen


So, back to the ways we have customized our Hadleys, besides giving Midge a much cuter head.

Well, we helped Midge a bit with her clothes. After all, what reasonable woman wears a mini-dress and heels when she’s that far along?  Our Midge immediately recognized that purple and pink flowered thing is a TUNIC not a dress.

Our Midge combined her tunic with white sweatpants and tennis shoes.

We also converted the Happy Family Grandma into Midge’s Aunt. The reason for this was highly personal. Trichelle is the barbie that looks most like my daughter Leah of any doll ever manufactured by Mattel. Because of this, we wanted our Midge to have parents that look like myself and her father.

Several of our other Core Players such as Grace, Chandra and Kara have black mothers – but we wanted Midge’s mother to be white. Someday, when I am brave enough to try a re-paint I am going to tone down Midge’s makeup a bit.

Midge, her dad, her bossy mom and her favorite Aunt.

Since I gave the Heart Family a Conservative backstory, I think it’s only fair to talk a bit about the Hadley’s backstory. So here it is:

Alan and Midge met in college where he they were both protesting the war in Iraq. Alan graduated with a degree in Ecology and Midge followed up a year later with a degree in Social Work. They purchased a two-bedroom Bungalow in a distressed urban neighborhood.
Alan is able to ride his bikc to work and Midge drives the Volvo while shuttling Ryan to and  from her parent’s house in the suburbs. When Nikki is born, Midge will take a two-month leave of absence from her job.  
What no one knows however, is that Midge has a dirty little secret she is hiding it from Alan.
Two to three times a week, after work but before picking up Ryan, Midge stops in and picks up a few items at…WalMart. Alan would be devastated if he learned of the betrayal.
See, back when they were in college they decried Suburban Life with it’s sprawling subdivisions full of McMansions. WalMart was evil incarnate, putting Mom-and-Pop Shops out of business by slashing prices and making it all available in a one-stop format.
But Midge is tired. Her ankles are swollen. She has gas and heartburn and hemmoriods. The Walmart near her parent’s house has parking spaces as big as three in the inner city. Additionally, she’s tired of chatting with those busy-body “Mom-and-Pops” at her neighborhood stores. She’s tired. She’s very tired.
She revels in the anonimity and efficiency of Walmart where she doesn’t have to worry that people are judging what is in her cart. She’s in, she’s out and it takes less than 15 minutes. Better yet it didn’t cost her any forced eye contact or faked smiles.
But Alan has a secret of his own.
Each morning, Alan jumps on his bike and pedals toward downtown with a dark secret in his bike’s $200 high performance saddlebags. See, the Hadley’s decided that Alan should donate their recyclables instead of paying to have them picked up by the city’s Waste Management crew. At first, Alan was dutifully stopping at a Homeless Services storefront to drop the aluminum and paper products, but the storefront refused the glass products. After Alan’s work cube became stacked with bags of glass bottles Alan finally dumped them all in the dumpster in the alley behind his office building. Eventually, he was dumping it all (aluminum and paper too!) in the dumpster on a daily basis.
So, could the marriage survive if these secrets were to surface? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned. 

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lola says:

    Midge has pregnancy brain and cankles. Her transgression with walmart is forgivable. But Alan! What are you thinking, Man?

    1. I know! His behavior is reprehensible!

  2. Paulette Richards says:

    Very funny profile of the Hadleys! Do they ever break faith and go into MacDonald’s because the baby needs changing and it is the only place that reliably has a family bathroom? My nephew was never even supposed to smell a fast food french fry but my brother and sister and law ended up in MacDonald’s family restrooms a number of times and then they actually bought Happy Meals to gain entrance to the indoor playgrounds after long stretches of rain when the kids couldn’t play outside.

    I have Midge, the kitchen set that came with both grandparents, and the Volvo. I wish Mattel would make some more grandparent dolls.

    1. Ohh…I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll bet after Midge had that baby she did just that. It’s funny what you vow you’ll never do, and then you do for expediency’s sake.

      I love the Happy Family so freaking much. Do you have the brown ones or the peach ones?

      The Volvo is amazing isn’t it?

  3. Anika says:

    This is funny. I love the story for the Hadleys. I have both sets of HF families & the grandparents. I’ve had the Volvo for years and love it. I haven’t used it lately but it is parked with the other vehicles I own.

    Alan just got real lazy and it’s a shame. He’s wasting money that’s unforgivable :O)

    1. Other than the original brou-ha-ha about the pregnancy, I think Happy Family was a huge hit. I want the white grandparents too. Just have to get around to them. Lol about Alan.

  4. sandra says:

    The caucasian version of Alan looks demented to me, so I matched Pregnant Midge with Max Steele. I know he’s an action hero, but he has such a wistful look about him.

  5. emylie_bo_bemylie says:

    what doll is Midge/Trichelle’s bossy mother? Is her nose a little bit more convex than typical, or am I just misinterpreting the image?

    1. emylie_bo_bemylie says:

      sorry, never mind. I realized it was Barbra Streisand barbie! Who I really want, I’m kind of obsessed with dolls with slightly larger/bumpier/more hooked/more convex noses.

      1. have you looked at the Cha-Cha doll from Grease? I have her and she’s great.

  6. I’ve been reading all that you write for about an hour now! I’m from Argentina where it’s always been really hard to find any barbie doll that wasn’t blond… I’ve always been the only one of my friends who had brunettes, african, latin, asians, readheads, etc.. And I keep them and love them so much!
    I’ve got the two Midges (I used to say they were twins like those 3 rare cases of different colour twins) and have never noticed their big foreheads until today!!! I love the way you play and teach you daugter, congrats on that!!!

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