10 thoughts on “TBT: John Adams, Episode 3

  1. I loved the contrast of John Adams in France. Especially in the dinner scene, his face looked so red against all the powdered white ones. He was not a good fit with that French party personality-wise! Tough for him, enjoyable drama to watch!

    More in the next episode, but some of those Dutch scenes looked straight out of a painting.

  2. For all his talent and intellect, John Adams at the French Court is a mismatch made in hell. I always felt he was happier at home or even in London as our ambassador there than among the ‘godless’ French (‘godless’ to his Puritan principles). Wait till next episode, Abigail gets to France and she has some really beautiful clothes.

  3. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin always got bent all out of shape if they spent to much time together. I vaguely recall that they once had to share a room for some reason and nearly drove each other crazy.

  4. I almost always hate it, when French are reflected as strange creatures. We see it in many films, but that doesn’t make it better.

  5. The Dutch ministers are so darkly lit I have to wonder if they realize The Night Watch is dark because of varnish darkening, not the preferred ambient lighting in the Netherlands.

  6. They worked hard to contrast Adams with the French, to set up what would happen in his presidency. I think it worked well, because he’s the one were meant to be sympathetic with in this production. I adore Franklin in every scene, but this episode in particular.

  7. Oh, I think this was my favorite episode. John + Ben Franklin + French = Oil + Water. My favorite picture above is the one with the cat. Because, well, cat. I LOVED all the costumes on the French, but the face powder was sooo distracting in a bad way (even though I know it was accurate). Oh, the picture made me look it up…that’s Jean-Hughes Anglade (from La Reine Margot) as the Comte de Vergennes…I wish he was in more stuff that we see here stateside. He’s such a good actor!

    1. Yes, the Comte de Vergennes is played by Jean Hugues-Anglade, who played a perfectly sickly and weak willed Charles IX in ‘Queen Margot’. ✌🏻

  8. Unless there’s actually a tail hanging off the back of BF’s hat (in which case someone in the costume department needs shooting) that’s not a coonskin hat, nor would it strike 1770s Parisians as eccentric or American. It’s meant to be the fur ‘banyan cap’ that BF genuinely wore in Paris, and which appear in two portraits of him made during his stay:

    Caps in fur, velvet or other luxury materials were worn informally by gentlemen (to keep their shaven heads warm when they weren’t wearing their wigs), and to sit for your portrait wearing one was an established statement that you were presenting yourself as a writer, philosopher, artist or scientist rather than someone with aristocratic or diplomatic rank. In the case of this particular cap, the French connected it with the celebrated philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose portrait in a similar cap was well known through engravings –
    – and got the (intended) message that Franklin wanted to be seen as a man of science and ideas rather than a diplomat or politician.

    The Comte de Vergennes’ coat is not all that ‘surprisingly sober’ – see here:


    although it is more 1780s than 1770s.

    BTW, why do you twice refer to these fine French coats as ‘jackets’? Jackets don’t have tails! Jackets were worn by working men in the 1770s, but not by gentlemen, except for sporting activities.

  9. King Louis in lavender is really well-researched. Louis was pretty often in some state of half-mourning over some dead royal somewhere to the point that someone actually thought it was his favorite color.

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