More on WandaVision (2021-)

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Spoiler Alert: We generally don’t do spoiler alerts, because there are no spoilers in history, but this is one of those rare occasions where people will get super pissy about spoilers, so SPOILER ALERT. This post will discuss the first three episodes of WandaVision (2021-) and there is, in fact, a pretty big spoiler in episode 3. So, if you’re trying not to be spoiled, go catch up on the damn show and then come back and read this post.

Womp womp.

On my last post about WandaVision, we had a number of requests for a more in-depth review of the costuming in the first two episodes. Considering the previous post was really really more of a “why you shouldn’t write this show off” preamble, this post will go further into the costume history of episodes 1 and 2, which hopefully will scratch that itch. I even threw in a bit about episode 3, which takes place in the 1970s, just because I liked Wanda’s dress so much.

One of the things that got brought up in the comments of both posts was that a lot of you were Very Put Out that I conflated Dick Van Dyke with the 1950s, when that was clearly omg duh 1960s.

All y’all.

What I was trying to say was that the first episode cites Dick van Dyke as an influence, but is also referencing iconic 1950s shows like I Love Lucy which was also named as a huge influence and that is solidly 1950s. The point is, the first two episodes set up the plot around a cultural touchstone of classic TV sitcoms, starting in the ’50s, moving to the ’60s, then beyond. Here, have a little taste:

So, we start here in the first episode:

and

Which are solid 1950s clothing. We then can point to I Love Lucy as a reference point:

You also have visual references to The Donna Reed Show among other notable 1950s sitcoms. Clearly, we are going for a certain look in the first episode, and it cannot be unseen.

While the show never gives a definitive date for any of the episodes, they do reference it as being in a particular decade, so clearly we are not going for hardcore down-to-the-minute references.

By the second episode, we are into The Dick Van Dyke Show territory:

Mary Tyler Moore was very groundbreaking when it came to women wearing trousers on TV.

In the second episode actually references when another character remarks on Wanda wearing pants.

By the third episode we’ve jumped to a mash-up of The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch. The intro music is clearly based on “C’mon Get Happy,” the iconic theme from The Partridge Family and the interior of the house is that of The Brady Bunch, but in reverse. But since both of those shows happen after 1969, I’m not going to delve too deeply into it. In fact, after this point, the episodes will likely all take place post-1969, with the preview images showing episodes that look very much like Roseanne and Friends, coming up.

I loved Wanda’s maternity dress in this episode, which is why I’m including it regardless of our cut-off date.

What hasn’t really been shown yet, but I’m waiting to see (so brace yourselves for a fourth post at some point in the near future) is the color versions of the costumes in the first two episodes. You can hear Elizabeth Olsen reference that the color choices on the costumes had to be taken into consideration because they were being filmed in black and white, which is a whole very interesting subset of theatrical costuming that has largely been lost as we almost always film in color now.

So, that’s where I am right now with this show. I await further information about the costumes to come out as the we go forward, and will update accordingly.

 

Stay tuned…!

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

10 Responses

  1. Tracey Walker

    I wish I wish I wish this was actually a show that just followed these two characters in different television genres for the whole run. I’m much less interested the more the actual MCU comes into play.

    Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      I kind of agree, but I also am willing to see where they’re going to take the larger story. It would be neat to see an entire show produced around the idea of Wanda and Vision reenacting a 1950s sitcom, but I also know that the larger audience out there wouldn’t go for it. People were already complaining about how the show made no sense the moment the first episode dropped, so yeah…

      Anyone remember Hi Honey, I’m Home!? I dimly recall it… it was on Nick at Night when I was a pre-teen, and I remember really liking the premise (basically a 1950s sitcom reenactment, but very self aware for modern audiences), and I remember my mom LOVED it because it was poking fun at The Donna Reed Show and Father Knows Best and all the other sitcoms of her childhood, but it didn’t last very long on air. I’ve seen a few reviewers connect it with WandaVision, so now I’m curious to see if I can find episodes online and revisit it as an adult.

      Reply
      • hsc

        Yeah, I definitely remember HI HONEY, I’M HOME! (I even mentioned it in the comments on the first WANDA/VISION thread.)

        It was an ABC show that ran on Fridays during their “TGIF” family comedy block, but it also repeated on Nick at Nite. ABC pulled it from their schedule after only six episodes, but the complete set of thirteen ran on Nick.

        The show’s about a teenage boy– with a bratty younger brother and a hard-working divorced Mom struggling to take care of them– who takes comfort in old reruns of a B/W ’50s sitcom (which people were then doing in reality through Nick at Nite programming). The old sitcom represents the ideal family he wishes he had.

        To his amazement and great delight, the new family that just moved in next door are, in fact, the “Nielsens” from the TV show, trying to pass as a normal modern family through use of the “Turner-izer,” a device that temporarily colorizes their home and everyone and everything in it.

        (Mogul Ted Turner had recently been taking heat from film purists for computer-colorizing classic films for his cable channels.)

        It was pretty much a BEWITCHED-type setup, with the B/W ’50s family having to constantly avoid getting exposed as “different”; later episodes went from only their teen ally knowing, to more and more characters getting let in on the secret.

        Obviously, a one-joke show, and the thin premise limited its run– but if you’re interested, some episodes are on YouTube:

        https://www.google.com/search?q=hi+honey+i%27m+home+youtube&rlz=1CAHPZX_enUS645US646&sxsrf=ALeKk01JaXvbk5diZgPNxjDnA_cBQiVw6w:1612507499695&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjjzd3FktLuAhUNK80KHcDsAeAQ_AUoAXoECAQQAw&biw=960&bih=460

        A few years later, the concept was reversed for a much better theatrical film, PLEASANTVILLE.

        Here, a squabbling pair of suburban teens (early roles for Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) with a harried single Mom (again) this time find themselves sucked into the TV and into the idyllic world of a ’50s FATHER KNOWS BEST-type sitcom the boy watches for comfort.

        As they try to figure out how to return to their own world, their very presence starts to change things, and the bland B/W utopia suddenly gradually gains bits of color– and imperfections and conflicts. Joan Allen is particularly good as the Jane Wyatt-like ’50s wife-and-mother married to William H. Macy, also a standout.

        And I just found this WANDA/VISION-inspired illustration posted to a Tumblr I visit:

        https://64.media.tumblr.com/4f724253ffa72b081360ee94c851b757/10a9d15ae26a57bb-13/s500x750/1b9a56e491b695235663864803553154aadbf864.jpg

        The artist is a Brazilian guy using the name “Butcher Billy” who does Pop Art-inspired fine art pieces and illustrations:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butcher_Billy

        Reply
  2. SarahV

    Two points:

    1) Paul Bettany? Still dreamy (also, he’s really tall)

    2) It’s actually striking to Elisabeth Olson in what I assume is her natural sandy blonde. I’m so used to her as a brunette in the movies or the lovely auburn they’ve colored it for this show.

    okay, three things.

    2) Kathryn Hahn wins all the things!

    Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      I agree on all 3 points! Paul Bettany is a handsome man, but something about that Vision costume and his hotness ratchets up.

      And I keep remarking out loud just how beautiful Elizabeth Olsen looks in every episode. She is so striking, and yet kind of normal at the same time, if that makes sense. Like, just a really naturally pretty woman. I also love how healthy she looks in the show. There was a time I was worried she was going to end up the same as her sisters.

      AND I WANT KATHRYN HAHN TO BE MY BEST FRIEND ALWAYS.

      Reply
      • SarahV

        re: Paul Bettany as Vision.

        It’s the eyes. The red make-up makes his blue eyes just pop and zing. Plus, he’s so calming and sophisticated sounding. See also, the looming tallness. YES PLEASE!

        Reply
      • SarahV

        Just to add to your comments about her looking “healthy” – the most recent episode which had her in her actual (relatively silly) comic book costume just showed how normally proportioned and healthy she looks.

        Yes, she’s in far better shape than most of us gals who aren’t in the biz, but she looks… fit and toned and fleshy, for lack of a better word (I mean that in a good way), not starved or gaunt. She really looks wonderful. Sorta like when they would show women in “the full bloom of health” in swimsuit ads from the 50’s. In order to be healthy, doesn’t mean 0% BMI with your clavicle and pelvis showing through your clothing.

        Reply
  3. Tanya

    We’ve been trying to play “Guess the Influence Show” based on costume (and set) flashes in the trailers. I know 80s is way past your cut-off but they are definitely going all in for iconic 80s fashion. We just this past week realized that one BIG 80s influence is going to be Full House (where, interestingly, the majority of the women’s fashion is showcased on tween/teen sibling Candace as the oldest female for much of the run of the show) simply because Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda) is Mary Kate and Ashley’s younger sister. There is one frame where they are absolutely playing up that resemblance/relation so that will likely be in this coming week’s episode.

    Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      Yes! I’ve read that the future episodes are going to be drawing from Roseanne, Full House (I cannot wait for the inside jokes), and Friends, among other classic 80s and 90s shows. I am loving the previews that show Wanda in those gawdawful pleated-front jeans and floral vest that were the uniform of every mom I knew when I was in elementary school.

      Reply

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