Ken loves fashion, dance, and bright colors, just as much as his girlfriend Barbie. He resents being called a "girl's toy", as a human male might have with their masculinity being put into question. He also rather dislikes attention being drawn to the fact that he's essentially an accessory to Barbie.
AppearancesLotso, tells him that Andy's toys have arrived. Shortly afterwards, Ken catches sight of Molly's old Barbie doll and falls in love with her. Little do Barbie and Andy's toys know that Ken is a member of Lotso's gang. Ken then shows his Dream House to the toys and expresses his desire to share it with someone else, making Barbie more lovestruck.
Later that evening, when Buzz exits the Caterpillar Room to go ask Lotso to transfer them to the Butterfly Room where the older kids are located, he spots Ken spending some more time with Barbie, declaring love for each other, before he is taken away by Chunk and Twitch so they can go gambling in their hideout. Following them into the Vending Machine, Buzz spies on Ken and the other Sunnyside toys at the top of the machine, but is thrown onto the gambling table by Big Baby. Ken then orders his cohorts to capture him and take him to the library. Buzz demands Ken to let him see Lotso, but Ken refuses, telling Buzz that he has no right to see Lotso. After Buzz is restrained to a Time-Out Chair by Lotso's henchmen, Ken whistles for Bookworm to give Lotso the Buzz Lightyear instruction manual so that Lotso and his henchmen can reset Buzz.
With Buzz being reset to his demo mode and brainwashed to become one of Lotso's helpers, Ken and the rest of Lotso's gang have Buzz capture Andy's toys and lock them up in their cells in the Caterpillar Room. Barbie (who is supposed to wait at Ken's Dream House) goes to the Caterpillar Room to find Ken, but catches sight of him doing wicked deeds to Buzz and her friends, causing her to become angry with him and subsequently break up with him (she snatches her scarf away), and Ken has her locked up as well.
The next night, Ken and Buzz take roll call to make sure that all the toys are there. Seeing that Mr. Potato Head is not in his cell and trying to run away without being seen, the two go off with Big Baby to bring him back, but Mr. Potato Head attempts to stand up to Ken and kicks him in the shin, prompting Ken to have Big Baby imprison Mr. Potato Head back in the sandbox. When Ken returns to the Caterpillar Room, Barbie calls out to him and begs him to let her be with him in his Dream House in the Butterfly Room. As Barbie begins sobbing, Ken gives in to Barbie's plea and makes her promise to do what he says.
At Ken's Dream House, Barbie is awestruck at Ken's vast collection of clothes, but Ken, thinking that Barbie is still mad at him for what he has done to her friends, tries to talk Barbie out of it by bitterly saying how no one appreciates those clothes, only for Barbie to sweet-talk him into modeling a few outfits for her. This brightens up Ken, who hasn't heard Barbie talk to him like that before, and he shows off his various outfits to Barbie, to which she applauds. As Ken finally shows off his martial arts moves in his Kung Fu Fighting outfit, he sees that Barbie is gone. Suddenly, she tackles Ken from behind his clothes rack, taking him by surprise. Barbie demands Ken to tell her what Lotso has done to Buzz and how to get Buzz back to normal. Seeing that it is a ploy by Barbie, Ken defiantly refuses, but decides to let her try.
Later, Ken is in nothing but his underwear and tied up to a paddle by Barbie, who interrogates him by mocking his outfits as she tears them in half one by one. At first, Ken tries to keep his cool as much as he can, but when she brings out his Nehru jacket, he begs her not to rip it. As Barbie starts to rip the jacket apart, Ken, not wanting to see it being sabotaged, mentions about the instruction manual. Falling over in the paddle, Ken confesses to Barbie that Lotso has switched Buzz to demo mode as he starts bawling, ashamed. When Barbie demands Ken to tell her where the manual is, Ken directs her to Bookworm.
Much later, as Lotso and his henchmen corner Andy's toys at a dumpster outside the daycare grounds, Lotso orders Stretch to push Barbie and Andy's toys into the dumpster, but then Ken appears, having come for Barbie, and tries to stop Lotso from disposing Barbie. Lotso senses Ken's love for Barbie and mocks him, thrusting his face into Ken's as he states that there are a hundred million Barbie dolls everywhere, but Ken turns to Barbie, smiling, and simply says not like the Barbie who he has met, having realized Barbie is smarter and more complex than she has initially seemed through her understanding of civics, and wins back her affections.
Angered by Ken's act of defection, Lotso grabs Ken and throws him across the dumpster to make him join her, disowning him as a gang member. Woody catches Ken and pulls him up to the chute with help from the other toys. Barbie then runs over and hugs Ken, making him astonished to realize he has won her back, then Ken speaks up in support of Barbie's view of authority and address Lotso's gang, telling them what Lotso has done to the toys in the daycare and how Sunnyside can be a better place. After Big Baby throws Lotso into the dumpster and slams its lid shut, Ken helps Barbie and the other toys escape the daycare, but the toys end up being loaded into a garbage truck. When Barbie wants to save her friends, Ken holds her back from risking her life, not wanting to lose her again.
Ken and Barbie later reconcile and mend their relationship, become boyfriend and girlfriend once again. Together, the two revolutionize Sunnyside, turning the daycare into a true toy paradise for all toys, and become its new leaders. Under Ken and Barbie's leadership, the daycare toys now rotate their time between the Butterfly Room and the Caterpillar Room, hold beach parties at the sandbox, and gather together for disco parties in the Butterfly Room.
The next day, the toys that have formerly belonged to Andy and now living at Bonnie's house as her new toys receive a message informing them that Sunnyside has become sunny once again. They read the message, thinking that Barbie has written it (as remarked by Buzz about the fancy handwriting), only to find Ken's signature at the end, much to their dread, but the signature shows that Ken is, at least, now on friendly terms with Bonnie's toys.
Ken is now one of the protagonists in his and Barbie's own short film. As Bonnie's toys get ready for a week of relaxation, Ken and Barbie unexpectedly reveal themselves as they unzip Bonnie's backpack and step out into the room. Thinking they have landed in Hawaii, they unload their supplies.
As Ken takes a picture of Barbie in "Hawaii", Woody calls to the pair, and Ken is elated to see Woody and the other toys and reveals that the two have stowed away in Bonnie's backpack. Thinking that Bonnie's toys are also in Hawaii, Ken asks them how they have arrived, only for Woody to reveal that Ken and Barbie are in Bonnie's bedroom, making Ken dismayed that vacation plans for him and Barbie have been disrupted. After realizing he has missed their "flight" to Hawaii, Ken sinks back into Bonnie's backpack in depression.
Later, Barbie calls for Ken to come out, and when Ken opens the backpack, he is greeted by Jessie's enthusiastic "ALOHA!" then finds himself standing in "paradise" with Barbie. Woody and his friends recreate "Hawaii" for the couple, such as deep-sea diving, guided nature walk, and an entertaining dinner. After their various adventures in "Hawaii", Ken and Barbie share their first kiss in the snow at sunrise, as Woody and his friends watch through a window, but then the two fall off the deck into a snow, prompting the toys to come to their rescue by digging them out and releasing them from a block of ice.
From Official Website:
- "Grab your binoculars and join Ken for a safari! A swinging bachelor who's always on the lookout for fun, Ken sports the perfect outfit for his eco-adventure: light blue shorts and a leopard-print shirt with short sleeves sure to keep him cool in the hot sun. And after his exciting expedition, Ken will be ready to hit the dance floor in style. His accessories include matching scarf, sensible loafers, and a fashion-forward gold belt. Dozens of additional Ken outfits sold separately."
- According to Mattel toy line history, Ken's full name is Kenneth Sean Carson. He also has a younger brother named Tommy.
- His hairstyles have changed over the years. The ever first doll manufactured had short, blond hair.
- In the movie, Ken wears 21 different outfits.
- Ken is based on a real toy from the Barbie toy line back in 1988, called "Animal Lovin' Ken".
- When Buzz gets caught spying on Lotso's gang, Ken says, "Take him to the liberry!" (a mispronunciation of library), which was an intentional ad-lib by Michael Keaton. Lee Unkrich found it so funny that he kept it in.
- Ken gets offended whenever people call him a girl's toy (also happens in his promo and his interview), similar to Francis from A Bug's Life when he is mistaken for a girl.
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