We’re recapping the 2008 miniseries John Adams each week because the 18th-century costumes and American history are just that good! Catch up with previous episodes here.
First of all, let me just say: FINALLY, SOME ACTUAL COSTUME CONTENT. Episode 3 starts off with John Adams being summoned to France, much to the vast irritation of Abigail who is like, “WTF, things finally just settled down around here.” Since the Adamses are better off financially, Abigail’s wardrobe is getting more interesting, but the bulk of the interesting costumes are in the French court. And with that … Onward to the costume content!
The show starts with Abigail and John taking a nice stroll through a snowy landscape. Not much to talk about here in terms of costuming content, but John is wearing a Garrick coat again.
CURSE YOU SHAKY CAM. Abigail’s dress appears to be linen, and she has a nice white-worked kerchief that I was completely unable to screencap because of that infernal handheld camera bullshit.
John gets sent to France to chill with Ben Franklin … Little does he realize what he’s in for.
Not one for silk and lace and powdered wigs, John does his best to follow the fashion of the French court … up to a point.
Meanwhile Ben is rocking the coonskin hat because he literally gives zero fucks and realizes that the French want him to play up the eccentric American diplomat/intellectual/bon vivant character as much as possible.
OK! Now we are getting somewhere! Interesting dresses, finally!
A nice robe a la francaise or two. The wigs aren’t bad, but the one on the blonde girl is a bit extra special upon close inspection.
Respectable wig on the brunette. Blondie kind of looks like 1970s Dolly Parton.
John is really not down with the French O.P.P. Ben wants him to lighten the fuck up.
Ben introduces John to his French mistress, and hostess of the evening’s soiree.
John is quietly horrified that there’s actual commemorative plates of Franklin on the table. Also, nice lace cuffs.
So, John’s silk suit is really hard to get a good read on color-wise. When I first watched the ep on my TV, it was a pale seafoam green. Now, it reads a light mauve, and it almost looks like there’s lightly colored powder in his hair. Other shots of the same ensemble don’t read as strongly purple in either case, though.
Madame’s foppy BFF? Son? Lover? I was unclear. But I do like his embroidered jacket.
Ben tells John to pass out American flags and have the French donate money to their cause. John is even more horrified at the prospect but goes along with it. Also, kitty.
Meanwhile, the French enthusiastically sing a patriotic American song while waving their flags. The irony, of course, is that these are the same people who supported the American Revolution who then were guillotined during the French Revolution. There’s so much to unpack about the two Revolutionary Wars and their impact on one another, but I’ll save that for another post someday.
John is now off to Versailles to meet King Louis XVI and hopefully garner more support for the American independence cause.
My exact face when I first set foot in the Hall of Mirrors.
The Comte de Vergennes wears a very smart (and surprisingly sober) black and gold striped jacket. King Louis is in lavender, a favorite color on this show, I might add. Everyone is super amused that America would send someone who doesn’t speak a lick of French to the French court to petition for their support.
Meanwhile, back in the States … Abigail is invited to dine with the French Admiral aboard his ship.
Ok, it looks nice … Let’s see what Abigail is wearing…
Fuck if I know, because yet again, the director has given her a super tight shot that doesn’t show anything off past her shoulders. She could be wearing yoga pants for all anyone knows.
Annnd, we are back in France! Where John has just received word that he’s made such a hack of his job in France that they’re moving him to Holland. He storms off to speak to Franklin wearing only his waistcoat.
And of course bursts into the room interrupting the nice bath/chess game with Madame Helvetius. John is characteristically horrified.
Cut to Holland, where it’s so bloody dark you can barely make out that 1) John is wearing a gray wool suit, and 2) he is apparently sick.
The Dutch ministers aren’t buying into the American hype and demand that any money they loan the U.S. be repaid in full.
John retreats to his house where he gets progressively sicker. This scene is a really nice shot, though.
What do you think of episode 3 of John Adams?