At Mattel, it’s a mad, mad world

Barbie gone mad: from left are the Joan Holloway, Roger Sterling, Don Draper and Betty Draper "Mad Men" dolls, designed by Robert Best.

Mattel announced last Wednesday the launch of four Barbie dolls based on characters from “Mad Men,” AMC‘s award-winning series about life at a Manhattan advertising agency in the 1960s.

The dolls are a boon for Mattel: the toy giant’s beleaguered stock hit a six-month high the day the news was announced, and has continued to climb steadily this week. The Barbies won’t hit shelves until July, but they’re already popping up on eBay (one sold for $70 in a recent auction, a few dollars shy of the $74.95 suggested retail price).

“Mad Men” fans across the blogosphere giddily welcomed news of the dolls, although some were concerned about the noticeably slimmer silhouette of Joan Holloway, the show’s hourglass-figured office manager (played by Christina Hendricks).

“How do the Betty and Joan dolls have the exact same body?” asked one user on AMC’s official Mad Men blog.  “FAIL, Mattel, this was your chance to make a Barbie who could walk upright (were she human).”

“It’s Barbie!” responded a user named Janeeyre. “Why would anyone expect realistically proportioned dolls?”

Others bemoaned the omission of a doll modeled after Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), an ambitious copywriter and the only woman with her own office at the fictional Sterling Cooper ad agency.

“As the only upwardly mobile career gal on the show, it’s bizarre that they left Peggy out,” wrote one user on the AMC blog. “It suggests that they think the character (or Elizabeth Moss?) just isn’t gorgeous or glamorous enough to be a Barbie. What a slap in the face.”

Perhaps, but we shouldn’t be surprised that Peggy isn’t immortalized in polymer. After all, since when did Barbie typify the struggles of the working woman?

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