Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mad Men: Don Draper Debates the Bikini


In Sunday’s season premiere of “Mad Men,” the Sterling Cooper boys pitch their ideas to the people who own Jantzen swimwear. This “family company” from Portland, Oregon was founded in 1910 and still exists in the same building where it was born, believe it or not!

And that’s the problem: in the show, the man who seems to be playing Carl Jantzen, is kind of a conservative hick who puts his feet up on the coffee table in the Sterling Cooper office. He refuses to allow the word “bikini” but prefers the term “two piece bathing suit.” Don Draper (Jon Hamm), of course, doesn’t like this at all. After all, Brian Hyland‘s hit record, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” had already been a hit four years earlier, in 1960. He wants to sell sex. The Jantzens want to sell bathing suits.

I checked out the website for Jantzen. You should, too. Compared to the world of Victoria’s Secret, the Jantzen swimsuits are pretty, but they look like something from the…1920s. Jantzen favors one piece suits, no thongs (god forbid), and very little in the way of sexy. They’re practical bathing suits! I do believe Portland is landlocked. California beaches must seem so decadent!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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