Dolly's Dolls Jonathan Coulton plays songs by Dolly Parton re-written to be about actual dolls. Orange is the New Black's Alysia Reiner and Beth Dover prove they know their dolls and Dollys.
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Dolly's Dolls

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Dolly's Dolls

Dolly's Dolls

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and sweater weather. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


Thanks, Jonathan. We're playing games with "Orange Is The New Black" stars Alysia Reiner and Beth Dover. OK. Are you ready for your next challenge?

BETH DOVER: Oh, I'm ready. I'm ready.

ALYSIA REINER: Yeah. I'm ready.

EISENBERG: It's a music game called Dolly's Dolls.

COULTON: Yes. We have rewritten Dolly Parton songs to be about famous dolls.


COULTON: So just tell us the doll, the song or whether your mom threw away all of your beloved dolls when you were in middle school.

DOVER: (Laughter) OK.

COULTON: Beth, this is for you.

COULTON: (Singing) Barbie, Barbie, Barbie, Barbie, I've got some major doubts about your man. Barbie, Barbie, Barbie, Barbie. There's nothing in his pants, so what's his plan?

DOVER: (Laughter) Well, that song is "Jolene."

COULTON: That's correct.

DOVER: And it's the Ken doll.

COULTON: The Ken doll.


DOVER: Woohoo.

EISENBERG: I had 24 Barbies and one Ken. And we were always like, why is Ken even here?

COULTON: (Laughter).

DOVER: Yeah, it's true. It's true.

COULTON: All right, Alysia. Here's one for you.


COULTON: (Singing) Here's another one. It's inside another one inside another. These wooden ladies stand strong as the motherland, designed to look like little matron.

REINER: (Singing) Here I go again.

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

EISENBERG: Yeah, what a nice voice.

REINER: Thanks. And it's Russian dolls, which I'm obsessed with Russian dolls. I love...

COULTON: Are you really?

REINER: I have Russian doll measuring cups. And they're so cute.


REINER: They're so cute.

COULTON: All right, Beth, this is for you.

(Singing) My hair is made of red yarn and my nose is triangley (ph). I look like I'm homemade, but I am mass-produced, you see. Collectors of nostalgia have a strong interest in me. Oh, I have a brother, Andy, and we both look creepy.

REINER: (Laughter).

DOVER: OK, first of all, Alysia's dog is so cute. Is that your dog barking?


DOVER: I love it.

REINER: He has a thing for - he has a thing for that doll.

COULTON: He likes Dolly.

DOVER: He has a thing for Dolly Parton. Who doesn't? I love Dolly Parton - obsessed.


DOVER: That is "Coat Of Many Colors." And those are the...


COULTON: That's correct.

DOVER: Those are the Raggedy Ann dolls.

COULTON: That's right. Yeah.

DOVER: Raggedy Ann and Andy.

REINER: Raggedy Ann and Andy.

COULTON: All right, Alysia, this is for you.

(Singing) It was an '80s craze. It even had some cartoon capers with a close-set gaze and some fake adoption papers. So you wait in line because your kid wants you to buy it, till an angry crowd of parents starts a toy store riot.

REINER: "9 To 5."

COULTON: "9 To 5."

REINER: We'll start there because...

COULTON: That's correct.

REINER: ...Like, a seminal film of my childhood.

COULTON: Me too.

REINER: And Cabbage Patch dolls, which I was not allowed to have one.

DOVER: You weren't? Aw.


EISENBERG: Me neither. Yeah, why weren't you allowed one? I know I wasn't.

REINER: I wasn't allowed so many things. I wasn't allowed an Easy Bake Oven, which my husband bought me about five years ago...

COULTON: (Laughter).

REINER: ...Because he was like, you should have one, honey. You keep on telling that story about how you weren't allowed one. I'm getting you one.

EISENBERG: And then you realized, your whole life, you did have lightbulbs.

REINER: Exactly.


EISENBERG: And you could've...

REINER: It was so disappointing.


COULTON: All right, Beth. Here's one for you.

DOVER: All right.


COULTON: (Singing) It's a big hot dog, comes inside a shell. What is underneath, that's a true appeal. All the packaging, the unboxing part - and we can watch it on YouTube, uh-huh.

DOVER: OK, it's "Islands In The Stream." That I know.


DOVER: And they're some unboxing videos?

COULTON: That's right, they are. Unboxing videos are very popular with this doll.

DOVER: I don't know. Shelly shell. Shelly shell shells.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: Shelly shell shells is correct.

DOVER: Woo-hoo (ph).

COULTON: No, it is not. It is not. It is not correct. No, this doll is called L.O.L. Surprise.

DOVER: Never heard of it.

REINER: Yeah, that's a new one for me.

EISENBERG: I think they appeal to, like, 5-year-olds because I have friends with little girls who are obsessed with these toys.


COULTON: Oh, you - so you have them in your life. You have seen these dolls.

EISENBERG: I've seen them. I've seen them.

COULTON: All right, Alysia, last one. It's for you.



COULTON: (Singing) On you, I will pray. You can't keep my - my spirit at bay. Hair is red. Want you dead. And for me, it's just like child's play. And I am going to kill you.

REINER: "I'll Always Love You."

COULTON: Correct.

REINER: Chucky.

COULTON: Chucky - that's absolutely right.


DOVER: Chucky.

REINER: Chucky. And I've never even seen the movie. But I still had nightmares about it.

COULTON: Nor have I, but I feel as though I don't need to.

REINER: Yeah, yeah.

COULTON: Feel like I've got a...

REINER: Clearly, it's in my lexicon. That's all I need to know.


EISENBERG: Yeah, me too.

COULTON: I'm already afraid of a doll that comes alive and tries to kill me.

REINER: Exactly. I've had many...

COULTON: So I don't need to watch further.

REINER: (Laughter) I've had many nightmares, and I've never even seen it. Yeah.

COULTON: (Laughter) Exactly right.

DOVER: It's very meta.

EISENBERG: Again, we found out that you know basically all your toys. Definitely all your Dolly Parton, though.

DOVER: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

EISENBERG: The best.

DOVER: The best, yes.

EISENBERG: You did amazing. Alysia Reiner, Beth Dover - thank you so much for joining us.

REINER: Thank you.

DOVER: Thank you for having us. This was so fun.

REINER: So fun.


EISENBERG: Alysia and Beth both starred in "Orange Is The New Black" on Netflix, and Alysia is a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus. Their album "This Joy" is available now.


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