Like most sentient television watchers, I adore Mad Men on AMC. Unlike most of them, I think I might actually like the show even if the scripts and plots weren't so great, because I am obsessed with mid-20th century advertising. It's really an extension of my love of popular culture in general; I think it's fascinating to see what people in other decades saw everytime they opened a magazine or newspaper, and even more fascinating how bizarre the ads seem in retrospect.
You know what else looks weird in retrospect? 1960s Barbie faces. People have been up in arms about how Barbie dolls look forever, but they never looked as alien as they did back in the early days. Realism was never the point – the dolls were meant to be dramatic and beautiful and plastic. It reminds me of something…could it be… the characters on Mad Men?! That's why I think it's so perfect that Mattel and AMC have teamed up to create a collectors' line of Mad Men Barbies. (Read more about my strange love of Barbies here.)
The Barbies are gorgeous, with perfectly tailored clothing and (stroke of genius) 60s-era Barbie styling. There are four characters represented in the collection: Don Draper; Betty Draper; Roger Sterling; and "bombshell office manager Joan Holloway." Personally, I think it's a little odd that Mattel describes Joan as a bombshell, but leaves the ridiculous Barbie proportions as is rather than, you know, amping her up a bit. I'm not shocked, but just as January Jones and Christina Hendricks aren't going to swap clothes anytime soon, I don't really think the dolls should be able to, either. But that might be the bitterness talking.
The first commenter on AMC.com's post about the dolls mentioned that he wished Peggy was a part of the set. At first I was in total agreement, but after mulling it over, I think that Peggy's too sweet and honest for this plastic crowd. I know, I know, she's got her secrets too, but she's not Draper-league. Let's leave this collection as it is, with only the snakiest characters represented. Fake pretty dolls representing the fake pretty characters that sell pretty for a living? I love it.
Post Script: That Peggy-missing commenter has his own set of self-made Mad Men Barbies he photographed for Haute Doll magazine. You can check it out for yourself here. Greatness.