The Barbie-fication Of “Mad Men”

For those of us who have dreamed of sleeping with Donald Draper, we may soon have our chance — courtesy of Mattel, that is. The toy company has announced that it will be manufacturing Barbie versions of several “Mad Men” characters, including handsome Mr. Draper; his wife, Betty; his partner-in-crime, Roger Sterling; and everyone’s favorite office siren, Joan Holloway. Mattel will be making 7,000 to 10,000 copies of each doll to be sold in specialty stores and on AMCtv.com and BarbieCollector.com in July, when the show begins its fourth season on AMC. “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner acknowledges he’s turned down a lot of proposals for licensed products for fear of exploiting the show, but says the dolls are “a realization of a fantasy, in a weird way, because on some level it’s such a measure of success to see your characters embodied by Barbie.” Adding: “Anybody who likes the show for its attention to detail will get that from the dolls.” Weiner reportedly oversaw some of that attention to detail, instructing Mattel to tighten Draper’s haircut and raise his sideburns.

Lending a sociological spin to the dolls, Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, says making Betty Draper a Barbie is particularly resonant because she represents “the wife who lives in her dream house whose soul is eaten away.” Yeah, I’m sure that’s what Mattel is going for. [via New York Times]

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