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Mad Men is a show that prides itself on getting even the most obscure of its period references exactly right, but Sunday’s episode made a glaring anachronistic gaffe.
In the episode, Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) is paid a visit by her old friend Kate (Marley Shelton) and offers to make reservations at Le Cirque, the legendary Manhattan dining institution founded in 1974 by Sirio Maccioni.
One problem: The show is currently set in 1968.
“Sirio would have been open if he knew that Joan wanted a reservation in 1968,” Le Cirque publicist Jean Lee tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that Maccioni, 81, “loves beautiful women, that time and that period.”
Adds Maccioni: “While it’s true that Le Cirque did not exist in 1968 — we opened at The Mayfair Hotel in 1974 — our restaurant’s distinct culture was spawned from the influential and fashionable people of the Mad Men era. At the time, I was working as a maitre d’ at The Colony, where I catered to many politicians, Hollywood celebrities, executives, artists, writers and musicians, and I would have been delighted to welcome the intelligent and beautiful Ms. Joan Harris and her guest for dinner.
“If I had known she wanted a reservation specifically at Le Cirque, I would have opened our French restaurant sooner! Honestly, we are happy to be mentioned in Mad Men, which we consider to be an outstanding American television drama.”
Maccioni also wants to extend a formal invite to Hendricks to dine at the restaurant’s Chef’s Table.
“We will craft a special 1968-style French menu for her and her guests. My philosophy is that one must always give a lady what she wants. That never goes out of style,” Maccioni tells THR.
The timeline error wasn’t the show’s first but arguably its most egregious.
The show’s obsessive viewers have made something of a spectator sport of identifying such oversights. Even NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has joined in, once pointing out on his blog that an NFL game wouldn’t have aired in primetime in 1964.
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