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American Girl launches a new ’80s-themed ‘historical’ doll who watches the Challenger disaster on TV

American Girl has debuted a new ’80s-themed doll who rocks scrunchies and leggings, plays Pac-Man at the arcade, has her own American Girl doll, and watches the devastating Challenger disaster at school. 

Courtney Moore, the brand’s first historical doll in three years, grew up in a blended family in California‘s San Fernando Valley in 1986, and like the American Girl dolls who came before her, her outfits, hobbies, and struggles are all inspired by the era. 

As the quintessential ’80s girl, she loves watching music videos after school, renting movies, going to the mall, and showing off her gaming skills at Smiley’s Arcade, but there is also a more serious side to her story. 

Exciting: American Girl has launched a new '80s-themed historical doll: Courtney Moore. Courtney grew up in in California's San Fernando Valley in 1986 and loves to play Pac-Man

Exciting: American Girl has launched a new '80s-themed historical doll: Courtney Moore. Courtney grew up in in California's San Fernando Valley in 1986 and loves to play Pac-Man

Exciting: American Girl has launched a new ’80s-themed historical doll: Courtney Moore. Courtney grew up in in California’s San Fernando Valley in 1986 and loves to play Pac-Man

Historically accurate: As part of her two-book series, her mother is running for mayor and she watches the Space Shuttle Challenger explode while in her classroom

Historically accurate: As part of her two-book series, her mother is running for mayor and she watches the Space Shuttle Challenger explode while in her classroom

Historically accurate: As part of her two-book series, her mother is running for mayor and she watches the Space Shuttle Challenger explode while in her classroom

In the two-book series written by Kellen Hertz, it’s revealed that Courtney’s mother is running for mayor and she doesn’t always get along with her stepsister.

She is also one of the thousands of school-aged children across the country who watched the Space Shuttle Challenger explode while in her classroom. 

All seven crew members aboard died in the fatal disaster when the Challenger broke apart a little over a minute into its flight on January 28, 1986.

In one of the promotional images of Courtney, she is standing in her classroom in front of a TV and a chalkboard that has ‘Jan. 28, 1986 Challenger LAUNCH’ written on it.  

While the inclusion of the devastating moment may seem shocking, American Girl has never shied away from the darker side of history when it comes to its dolls’ backstories. 

Backstory: In the two-book series written by Kellen Hertz, it's revealed that Courtney's mother is running for mayor and she doesn't always get along with her stepsister

Backstory: In the two-book series written by Kellen Hertz, it's revealed that Courtney's mother is running for mayor and she doesn't always get along with her stepsister

Backstory: In the two-book series written by Kellen Hertz, it’s revealed that Courtney’s mother is running for mayor and she doesn’t always get along with her stepsister

Fun times: As the quintessential '80s girl, she likes to watch music videos after school, rent movies, and go to the mall

Fun times: As the quintessential '80s girl, she likes to watch music videos after school, rent movies, and go to the mall

Fun times: As the quintessential ’80s girl, she likes to watch music videos after school, rent movies, and go to the mall

Among the brand’s historical characters, Addy has to escape slavery, Kirsten’s best friend dies of cholera, and Nanea is at Pearl Harbor when it’s bombed.     

Retailing for $110, the 18-inch Courtney doll has curly sandy-blonde hair that is styled in a trendy (for the time) side ponytail. She’s dressed in a blue crop top featuring a graphic print, an acid-wash high-waisted denim mini skirt, pink legging, and white booties.

Fans can buy a number of outfits and accessories for Courtney, including a $16 fanny pack, a $36 Care Bears sleeping bag set, and a $149.99 Pac-Man arcade game. 

However, what really sets Courtney apart from all the other dolls is that as a child of the 1980s, she has her very own American Girl doll to play with. 

For an extra $30, people can buy Courtney a mini Molly doll, which American Girl released in 1986, along with Kirsten and Samantha.   

Vibe: Retailing for $110, the 18-inch doll has sandy-blonde hair worn in a side ponytail and is sporting a crop top and an acid-wash mini skirt

Vibe: Retailing for $110, the 18-inch doll has sandy-blonde hair worn in a side ponytail and is sporting a crop top and an acid-wash mini skirt

Vibe: Retailing for $110, the 18-inch doll has sandy-blonde hair worn in a side ponytail and is sporting a crop top and an acid-wash mini skirt

Different looks: Fans can buy a number of outfits and accessories for Courtney, including a $16 fanny pack

Different looks: Fans can buy a number of outfits and accessories for Courtney, including a $16 fanny pack

Different looks: Fans can buy a number of outfits and accessories for Courtney, including a $16 fanny pack

Different looks: Fans can buy a number of outfits and accessories for Courtney, including a $16 fanny pack

Different looks: Fans can buy a number of outfits and accessories for Courtney, including a $16 fanny pack

Blast from the past: For an extra $30, people can buy Courtney a mini Molly doll, which American Girl released in 1986. She also has a $36 Care Bears sleeping bag set

Blast from the past: For an extra $30, people can buy Courtney a mini Molly doll, which American Girl released in 1986. She also has a $36 Care Bears sleeping bag set

Blast from the past: For an extra $30, people can buy Courtney a mini Molly doll, which American Girl released in 1986. She also has a $36 Care Bears sleeping bag set 

​’The ’80s are back, and we’re thrilled to celebrate this pop culture-defining decade with girls and their parents through Courtney,’ Jamie Cygielman, the general manager of American Girl, said in a statement. 

‘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,’ she continued. 

‘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.’ 

In celebration of the launch and Courtney’s love of gaming, American Girl is partnering with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science.  

Feeling old: Courtney's release on Tuesday was certainly a surprise for Gen Xers and older millennials who grew up in the 1980s

Feeling old: Courtney's release on Tuesday was certainly a surprise for Gen Xers and older millennials who grew up in the 1980s

Feeling old: Courtney’s release on Tuesday was certainly a surprise for Gen Xers and older millennials who grew up in the 1980s

Through December 31, ‘American Girl will match 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,’ according to the press release. 

American Girl is also providing a $5,000 scholarship to four Girls Who Code members to help further their education in computer science or related field.  

Courtney’s release on Tuesday was certainly a surprise for Gen Xers and older millennials who grew up in the 1980s and had their own historical American Girl dolls. 

‘The fact that the character Courtney owns an original 1986 Molly doll means that the American Girl Company is canon within the American Girl universe,’ one person tweeted. ‘History has caught up with itself. The cycle is complete. This Ouroboros has swallowed its own tail.’

‘The best thing about the new American Girl doll (besides Gen Xers having an existential crisis) is that she has her own American Girl doll,’ someone else commented. 

Opinions: Twitter users also had mixed reactions about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster being a part of her story

Opinions: Twitter users also had mixed reactions about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster being a part of her story

Opinions: Twitter users also had mixed reactions about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster being a part of her story 

Others who remember watching the Challenger explosion had mixed reactions about the disaster being a part of her story. 

‘Oh Jesus, the 1986 American Girl doll has to watch the Challenger explode? I’m so glad I won’t likely be here when the 2001 doll premieres,’ one Twitter user commented.  

‘I really can’t stop thinking about this on Courtney’s display page on the website too,’ another person wrote, referring to the date of the launch being written on the chalkboard in her classroom. 

And someone else imagined how the coronavirus pandemic would influence a future American Girl doll 

‘The 2020s American Girl Doll will be named Harper and she will wear a cute face mask, a tie-dye sweat set and her accessory will be a travel-size Purell,’ the fan deduced. 

Source: Daily Mail

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