SNARK WEEK RECAP: Maria Theresia (2017) Episode 2

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Starting with our second Snark Week, I’ve picked a shitty frock flick to recap, because I love sharing the blow-by-blows with you. This year, I asked you to choose what film/series I should recap, and the clear winner was Maria Theresia (2017-). This is an Austrian-Czech miniseries about Empress Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress and empress/queen of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma, beginning in 1741 and reigning through 1780. The series had two (LONG) episodes in 2017, two more in 2019, and apparently a further two more are planned. I’ll recap the four existing episodes this week, and on Friday I’ll do some actual research and talk about what the production got right, and where they messed up, in the costumes.

Check out my recap of episode one! Onwards! Unfortunately the only English subtitled version of this episode has been taken down, so I had to watch one in German (maybe? or maybe Hungarian?). So my understanding of all the dialogue is spotty, and hence my recap of What Happened is limited.

Maria Theresa (MT) and hubby Francis travel to Vienna so she can claim her crown. Insert requisite “the poor are miserable, shock, I had no idea, I will do something about this” scene.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Rocking the fur.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

MT will wear this lace-trimmed outfit A LOT this episode.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

A riding habit look. I question the waist lace.

Back at court, we’re reunited with mom and sister Maria Anna, who shall now become a minor character, and only about half the court got the mourning/dress in black memo.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Maria Anna’s only dress for this episode. It’s hard to see, but again we’ve got a different fabric (solid) for the center front, and patterned for the rest. Why?

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Maria Anna’s dress from the back.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Mom’s main mourning dress has black and gold lace trim.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

It also has some beading you can’t really see on screen.

MT is busy trying to secure the throne and deal with political shit.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Ok, if this isn’t a rhinestone headband worn as a head necklace, with a brooch hot glued to it, then this isn’t Snark Week.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

The skirt-hiking was EPIC this episode. I screencapped pretty much every instance. You’re welcome.

Francis is a typical manchild, feels left out, and starts flirting with the court lay-deeze. MT notices and has a sad, but is busy with actual political shit.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Dumpy crewel-ish, weirdly piped dress on the left; Court Bitch #1 on the right.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Court Bitch #1 in a cute riding habit, flirting with Francis while holding one of his & MT’s kids. I’d cut a bitch, personally!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Back to lace, back to skirt-hiking.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Lace!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Francis likes this lady’s clunky back boning.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Here’s what dumpy crewel lady’s dress looks like from the back. More weird piping.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Maria Anna zooms by; Francis is committed to his twirled and be-ribboned (powder blue!) cravat.

Francis continues to feel left out, continues to flirt with the Lay-Deeze, especially Court Bitch #1. Insert requisite “man pushes lady on a swing in a period drama, it’s a euphemism for sex” scene.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Court Bitch #1 LOVES her rust-colored dress with too-long sleeves. WHAT IS WITH THE BADLY POLONAISED DRESS IN GREEN?

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Green is EVEN BETTER from the back! You’ve got your back-lacing! Skirt split IN BACK! Weird tails! (Other lady is in a robe volante which is boring but accurate).

MT is getting increasingly unhappy about Francis and his lay-deeze.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

This dress has me scratching my head like WOAH

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

First of all, it closes at only ONE side front, which is unheard of by 18th-century standards.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

With HOOKS AND EYES

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

But after MT unhooks her side front, she calls her maid to finish undressing her (cue requisite “period film lady is undressed in crucifixion pose” scene), and her lady’s maid clearly unlaces something in back. And not, like, unlaces an underlayer as in a proper robe à la française — there’s no flip up of the dress. So apparently there’s some hidden lacing in there? WHY?

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!! The skirt is MISSING ITS SIDE AND SIDE FRONT PIECES. Also, why does it appear to be attached to the petticoat (except for the train)?

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

THIS CONFUSES ME.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

It ALSO has a gaposis issue caused by not having a side/side front panel…

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Also note MT is rocking the side-braid a la Katniss Everdeen.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

An array of court bitches.

Mom drunkenly yells at MT for not having had a male child, going so far as to GRAB HER DAUGHTER BY THE CROTCH. As all good mothers do!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Hey wait! Mom has a decent shot taffeta dressing gown!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Always good to make your leading lady look highly unattractive in an UNNECESSARY wig cap.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Also, chief lady’s maid is rocking the 1970s Holly Hobby dress.

MT continues to deal with political shit, which grows into war (go look up the War of the Austrian Succession if you want to know more).

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

War = skirt-hiking!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Politics = skirt-hiking!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Random LIME GREEN background couple.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

BUT WAIT! We’re back to my favorite dress, which has now LOST ITS SIDE FRONT HOOK & EYE FASTENING!! Did lady’s maid find out it wasn’t historically accurate and do a quick remodel?

But Francis and his lay-deeze!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Who can resist the seduction of a Battenberg lace fan?

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

WE ALL get Battenberg lace fans!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Rando with inaccurate contrast-fabric bodice skirting.

MT loses her shit about Francis and his lay-deeze; mom finally gives her the “get your shit together/you’re a strong Hapsburg woah-man” speech.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Again with the short sleeves that would just get in the way the second you put a bodice/gown over these stays; again with the unnecessary wig cap (because the ladies should just have their own hair styled, not be wearing wigs).

Somehow MT gets Court Bitch #1 on her side.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Court Bitch #1’s sleeves are too long; MT’s sleeves are too short. ELBOW LENGTH, PEOPLE.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

At least Court Bitch #1’s gown closes properly in front!

But don’t worry, all the other court bitches are still there to tempt Francis! Nonetheless, MT manages to steel herself to seduce Francis, since she still needs a male heir. At one point the two are mid-shag and someone knocks on the bedroom door, and MT GETS UP AND ANSWERS THE DOOR HERSELF I AM SO CONFUSED.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

This court bitch’s dress is too tight.

At some point, MT and Francis’s eldest daughter dies (of smallpox?), and F has a sad. Later, A ball is planned!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Now that Court Bitch #1 is Team MT, she gets a new dress! MT = Empress of Skirt-Hiking.

The ball is RIFE WITH THE DUMP. MT makes some kind of rousing speech.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Hike it, baby!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

The bust darts! The weirdly split front AND back, and looped up front AND back skirt! The shitty lace!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

How many skirts does center lady have, and why?

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

THIS IS A BEAUT.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

The puffy sleeves confused me!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Sewn-in stomacher! Too short petticoat! MULTIPLE BUST DARTS! HOOP TOO BIG FOR THE SKIRT!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Bitchy Courtier #1 loves her too-short sleeves.

MT has the longed for male heir! And then promptly gets some kind of Portentous War News.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Portentous War News = skirt-hiking!

Court Bitch #1 is now firmly on MT’s side. The other court bitches continue to circle, and Francis is Team Court Bitches.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Court Bitch #1 has this weirdly parti-colored green and black dress with really ugly trim that flashed by too quickly to screencap.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

That’s … an interesting color combo.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Miss Pink continues to rock her too-tight dress.

My Hottie Hungarian comes back! Apparently he’s Nikolaus I, Prince Esterházy.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Hellooooo, Hungarian!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Oh god that lime green … I was actually liking lady-on-the-left’s dress…

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Til I saw the back.

MT gets Nikolaus, the Hottie Hungarian, on her team politically … and the two have a major flirtation.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Someone needs to teach MT how to sit in a hoop.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

I’m not sure this ensemble is really working.

They go riding and it seems like the two are gonna get freaky, but MT pulls back.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Okay, vague attempt at a riding habit!

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Worn over the Not Working ensemble … sad trombone.

Francis has gotten involved in fabric manufacturing. He brings his latest floozy to his dress shop.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

On a mannequin is an outfit that I hope is for a Scottish Games, because otherwise it has no right to live.

A masquerade ball happens. MT is dressed identically to some other court bitch. At one point she goes off on her own, presumably to meet Hottie Hungarian, and is discovered by Francis, who is cranky. Later, she catches Francis making out with the court bitch who is dressed like her. She has A Moment with Hottie Hungarian, but it’s clear there’s not going to be any actual sexytimes.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Francis’s suit trim is interesting!

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Did someone stick their finger in a light socket?

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

OH GOD MT (and lookalike) IS WEARING THE SCOTTISH GAMES OUTFIT

MT gets crowned Queen of Hungary!

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Coronation robes! I promise to look into these for Friday’s Actual Research review.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

Puffy Sleeves from the ball is back!

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The back is DIRE.

And we are out with MT looking HIGH-LARIOUS atop a rearing horse, wielding a sword, in front of an obvious greenscreen.

2017 Maria Theresia ep2

SO cheesy!

Stay tuned for another episode each day until Friday, when I’ll do an Actual Research review!

 

 

 

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

18 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Why is Court Bitch #1 in the perfect Drogon eat me pose?
    If he won’t maybe she’ll be a candidate for ‘cement waders’ so popular with the Sopranos in disposing of ppl like here?

    Reply
  2. Peacoclaur

    I would suggest turning the skirt hiking into a drinking game; but I don’t want multiple deaths from alcohol poisoning on my hands.

    Reply
  3. Susan Pola Staples

    Wonder if that’s a zipper in the back view of the blue dress? Also the green dress looks huge from the practically open top. What is this? ‘We are doing Austrian 18th century Court and All Garments Must Be Made of Atrocious Poly Baroque Satin, Not Fit and Are Wrong’?

    Reply
  4. Vera

    First of all, Esterházy’s dress looks very cheap (especially for being one of the richest man in Hungary). Compare to the man on the right side:
    https://static-cdn.arcanum.hu/nfo-resources/magyarviseletek/pic/s033-1.jpg

    I’m actually impressed that they kind of got the coronation right – the crown, the jewels and even the robe (everybody forgets the robe – including me :D)!
    I think they used this photo: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Maria_Theresia_als_Königin_von_Ungarn_zu_Pferde.jpg

    Reply
    • Nzie

      Esterhazy looks awful. Was it just me or is the braiding done really oddly? The image you shared looks much more like what I would expect, and a million times better.

      Reply
    • Nzie

      ah, I should’ve scrolled farther—yeah that braiding looked awful. is it horizontal stripes? I think I just moved on from the visual static.

      Reply
  5. Brandy Loutherback

    Is skirt hiking supposed to make them look ladylike and dainty? Also sewn in Stomachers 4EVA! Also also Put a Head Necklace on it! Head Necklaces solve everything, Duh!

    Reply
  6. Roxana

    Those costumes are seriously cheap and nasty, especially the wigs! BTW Maria Anna turns out to be a genuinely interesting character, she fell in love with Francis of Lorraine’s younger brother and fought for him as hard as her big sis fought for her crown. Maria Anna got her man but sadly died delivering a stillborn child less than a year later.

    Reply
  7. Terézia Marková

    I weep for those poor Hungarians. Now, it’s true that what they wear in this vaguely resembles traditional hungarian uniforms, but 18th century nobles SHOULD NOT be dressed like this; not in the court anyway. Basically, it’s like having Catherine The Great wear sarafan everywhere, because Russian or something. Behold the actual historical person the Hot Hungarian is supposed to be, as he chose to present himself.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Nikolaus_Esterhazy.jpg

    (Also, am I blind or are those MULLETS on their heads?! Disgusting.)

    Reply
  8. Nzie

    So much skirt hiking. It kind of made me envision a comedy sketch gameshow where people have to guess what each skirt hike signifies, kind of like the SNL one with Lifetime movie moms where they have to guess what’s wrong with Tanya. In an era where all the skirts are long women clearly were able to get around—why do they all assume that because most of us today don’t wear things that long it would be impossible to move without hiking the skirt?

    Reply
  9. Eleri

    I don’t think hook-and-eye dress and the other dress are the same one- the flowers are different. But holy fabric depot those costumes are awful.

    Reply
  10. Damnitz

    I had to laugh, when the whole “Francis is producing textiles”-nonsense developed. How could they believe, that Francis would have Standing around in a merchant’s vault with his products? And why he became a dressmaker? Is it possible, that they confounded dressmakers and weavers? In the German Version he was described as a “Tuchmacher” (clothier). But a “Tuchmacher” didn’t produced silk… He produced woolen cloth.
    After prince Eugen’s death now Bartenstein turned up as MTs main Antagonist, wearing late 17th century style clothes(?). There is just no explenation why he should do so, as he was not an old man. In contrary he had very fashionable suits on all his portrays: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Christoph_von_Bartenstein#/media/Datei:Martin_van_Meytens_008.jpg
    MT later talked very gratefull about him, as the man who saved his Country, because she realized, that he was her most important supporter. One of the few advisers of her father, who was alowed to keep influence.

    Reply
  11. Katie O

    These are some of the laziest costumes I’ve ever seen in a professional production. I’ve seen more effort put into youtube videos and school plays! Also MT seems very wishy-washy about wearing mourning for her own father’s death. That’s a weird choice for the filmmakers to make.

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t vote for this (I was hoping for a North and South Part 2 lol) but this is turning out to be comedic gold.

    Reply
  12. picasso Manu

    I’ll admit not to be an expert on Austrian coronation garb… Pretty certain they don’t use tablecloth for that, though.
    Also, if anyone wants to make the blue MT dress, I’ve seen that lace like yesterday on Aliexpress… Go grab some! (or not)

    Reply
  13. Ninacska

    Now, I can tell you one thing about this episode: you watched it in hungarian. And thank you, this post is hilarious.

    Reply

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