Mad Men enters a new realm of the pop-culture pantheon very soon that its creator, Matthew Weiner, says has surprised even him: Mattel plans to bring out versions of Barbie and Ken styled after four Mad Men characters.
Part of a premium-price collectors’ series for adults the set would not be the first dolls modeled after a TV series, among them I Love Lucy and The X-Files, but this set of dolls will be the first licensed for a line Mattel calls the Barbie Fashion Model Collection. Available in July 2010 there will be 7,000 to 10,000 copies of each doll to be sold in specialty stores and on two Web sites, amctv.com and barbiecollector.com.
The characters to become dolls are Don Draper, the show’s leading man; his wife, Betty; his colleague at the Sterling Cooper agency, Roger Sterling; and Joan Holloway, the agency’s office manager who was Roger’s mistress. That two dolls represent a relationship outside wedlock, and Don Draper’s propensity for adultery, may be firsts for the Barbie world since the brand’s introduction five decades ago. For the sake of the Barbie image her immersion in the Mad Men era will only go so far: the dolls come with period accessories like hats, overcoats, pearls and padded undergarments but no cigarettes, ashtrays, martini glasses or cocktail shakers.