For some reason, I've always held a little bit of a grudge against Tenney. I liked Logan better as a character, she was my least favorite doll AG released in the record amount of character dolls that were released in 2017, and I've always treated her kind of like a joke. I renamed my Tenney doll "Teni" and gave her the story of being a cancer survivor having to face another battle, I made a series of joke videos about Tenney and Logan's "relationship" (which actually are some of my most viewed videos- oops), whatnot. But I didn't really understand the actual reasons why I had issues with Tenney until I actually thought about it- and once I did, I decided to share because I had nothing else to blog about. (And my back's hurting today, so I can't film, so I actually have time to write a long blog post.)
1. She took the spotlight away from other, more deserving dolls. To be honest, I'd rather have Tenney been GOTY 2017 and they could've saved Gabriela for 2018 (with her being #67 and then they only released #68 and #69 in the TM lineup in 2017), with Luciana being 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. But Tenney's presence of having such a big collection with more books than normal and a boy doll as well kind of overshadowed Gabriela and Z, who had more meaningful stories but were rushed in execution because of Tenney's existence. I especially have a grudge against Tenney since Gabriela's books are my favorite GOTY series, and she was the first disabled GOTY and first African-American GOTY... who was rushed, overshadowed and forgotten thanks to Tenney.
2. All the pointless tie-ins. When Pleasant Rowland first started American Girl, she did mail-order catalogs because she wanted the dolls to have a wholesome image rather than a cash-cow franchise you could see at a store. Not only was Tenney sold at Kohl's, but there was literally EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN that was related to Tenney. Tenney clothing. Tenney bracelet kits. Tenney journals. Tenney sponsorship at the Radio Disney Music Awards. Tenney UNDERWEAR. I don't know if Pleasant Rowland is aware of this, but this is far off of AG's original intentions. I get some things like the AG logo and the clothing, but the underwear was taking it too far.
3. The entire story is unrealistic and kind of shallow, to be honest. I'll be talking about the shallowness later, but there's two aspects of realism that AG messed up big time. I know becoming a singer at age 12 can happen for real- if you didn't know, my sister is a singer who was scouted and made a few music videos when she was around Tenney's age- but it is pretty rare. Not a lot of people become mega stars at young ages, and AG was originally made by Pleasant to show not just historical dolls, but relatable dolls at that. Even though the time periods were different from the consumers', Samantha, Kirsten and Molly had character traits that could relate them to girls from 1986- and 2020. Tenney, on the other hand, isn't that relatable.
4. The next aspect of realism I want to hit is the elephant in the room: the record deal and tour. A record deal- at 12. A tour- again, at 12. Playing music in a band is understandable enough, but getting signed at 12 and going on tour at 12 isn't that feasible. I was around 8-9 when my sister went to LA and made her videos and stuff, but the experience wasn't "let's make videos and get famous and whoop." She's still unsigned at 18, she didn't write her lyrics when she was Tenney's age, and the producers pretty much tried to make Sierra look like a star off some Disney Channel assembly line. Tenney's experience of not being manipulated by producers and stuff and being signed and going on tour- isn't realistic. But Sierra's in college now, and she's studying to make the music that reflects her, and she sang for a few bands in her last years of high school. Personally, that's a better ending than the unrealistic view of stardom Tenney presents.
5. And now, the shallowness of Tenney's story. Tenney is privileged, rich, and again, a star. Some other events in Tenney's stories about supporting characters- and the experiences other AG dolls faced- just shows that there are bigger things in life to worry about than "yee haw we're singing songs about seeds and living life in fame!" Logan had to steal to help his little brother deal with his asthma. Jaya's family in Bangladesh had to deal with their school being destroyed. Joss, Luciana, Gabriela- heck, even Isabelle's stories were a tad more realistic than Tenney's, because her point of view was understandable. But what happened to Mia and her financial struggles? Chrissa getting bullied? Nanea having to deal with the effects of WWII on her island? There are tons more things out there that make for better storytelling material than problems like "my parents won't let me sing at the Bluebird Cafe!" and "me and Logan are fighting for the 27th time over something that doesn't make sense!"
In conclusion, Tenney Grant isn't the best AG doll. I get that others may like her unironically, and I'm fine with that- it's a free country and you can like what you like and dislike what you dislike. Personally, I'm kind of glad Tenney was released- her outfits are pretty and I am forever thankful for the microphone in her stage set because that was one less prop I needed to make for Rebelle. Plus, I'm Tiny Like A Seed is an inside joke between me and my sister now thanks to Tenney. Despite this, Tenney is probably my least favorite AG character doll for the reasons listed above.