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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.