A 1980s Classic That Turns Jewish American Princesses into Paper Dolls


The Official JAP Paper Doll Book
 is an artifact of bad taste and excellent value. Originally published in 1983, it is out of print but available via sellers like eBay; it boasts on its cover that its price is “$6.00 — but for you, $5.95.” That sets the tone for what follows, which affectionately skewers the “More is more!” attitude of the materialistic Reagan years and the common stereotypes plaguing a certain set of American Jews.

Marsha, who appears on the cover in a pink bra-and-panty set, is a tall, slender shopaholic. (“Fur and leather: Buy it … You’re entitled!”) Her counterpart Jeffrey, in shiny blue briefs and a gold watch, is the kind of doctor who might appear on a soap opera making out with nurses in the supply closet. These two are bashert.

At college, Marsha comes equipped with a “Designer Diaphragm Case.” Jeff brings a Walkman. Then we see Marsha in snazzy office-wear and learn, “Today everybody works!” It’s disappointing that we do not get to linger with Marsha and Jeff at school, enjoying their parties at AEPi, before they, and we, are flung out into the real world, but it’s fun to watch them shop, ski, and shop some more, the way God and American Express intended.

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