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So now we know the truth: Before Mad Men, half the cast performed in Broadway musicals. At least, that's what we can infer from not one, but three songs (Paul's college ode, Roger's embarrassing serenade, and Joan's surprisingly adept accordion show), plus a polished dance routine from Pete and Trudy Campbell.
And while the cast took their turns in the spotlight, the clothes performed too. Straight out of the gate, we get another Ann-Margret reference, this time in the form of Hilary, an actress (and expert Twister) whose ruffled top and insanely sexy jeans are the color of Bazooka gum. Sitting across from her is Peggy Olson, in stark contrast, wearing a sober jacket and high-necked blouse.
Then comes Joan in a russet dress and a thinly disguised sneer brought on by Jane Siegel -- sorry, Jane Sterling. The new wife's diamond-print sheath hints at the coming mod movement and its graphic, A-line hallmarks. It's interesting to imagine how, come 1967, Jane will still be dressed in to-the-knee hemlines while her peers import miniskirts from Biba and Mary Quant. She'll probably cry. Also: The black-and-white diamond pattern on Jane's sheath is the same print traditionally used on Pierrot and Pierrette, a pair of French clowns who often sport tears. Hinting that Jane is half of a pantomime team is a great mirror to her new husband, whose (frankly, shocking) blackface act makes him into something of a bad, sad joke -- and a crass old fart, too.
Peggy returns again in the Saturday office scene. This time she's wearing a red silk blouse with another pussy bow, and her secretary, Olive, sports one as well, but bigger, flouncier, and much more girly. It's as if Olive's collar is trying to set the example for Peggy's feminine behavior, but Peggy's only absorbing 10 percent -- an idea enforced by her baked (but inspired) speech about having everything she wants. Also at the pot party, something kind of great: Paul's Princeton buddy stops in the office, and you suddenly see who (or what) Paul is trying to be. The loud plaid jacket, the half-cocked tie, the skinny khaki pant -- this is the brand-name version of Paul's ersatz beatnik.
At the end of the episode, Betty's in white lace and Don Draper's in black, and they kiss in the shadows. Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant often refers to Don and Betty as the toppers on a wedding cake. Here, as they make out in the moonlight, they sure look the part.