Why “Mad Men” is so darn swell.

August 21, 2008 at 4:19 am 6 comments

Click image to see it big and beautiful. Photo by Vanity Fair.

Who would have thought network AMC would have such a fantastic show on their hands? When I started watching season one last year, I wasn’t really sure what all of the fuss was about. Then… then I got it. “Mad Men” is one of those shows that just sort of gets in your head and won’t get out. Is it soapy? Yeah, a little. Is it scandalous? Yeah, kinda a lot. But, it has more heart and soul than most anything on TV today. This is one of those shows you’d expect to see on HBO. Actually, I’m kind of surprised that HBO doesn’t have this show since Matt Weiner was involved with “The Sopranos”.

If you haven’t watched this show or just want to know what all the hubbub is about, then I’ll gladly enlighten you. “MM” centers around the advertising gods of Madison Ave in early 1960s New York City. They’re old-school fellows who dine on three-martini lunches, smoke like freight trains, shamelessly (for the most part) sleep with their mistresses and then go home to their doting wives who have a barrel of issues themselves. It seems a wild juxtaposition from today’s culture, yet it’s not so different.

Don Draper is our protagonist, if you will, but he’s no angel. Not by a long shot. He’s one of the more interesting characters on TV in a long time though. He’s got a sordid past and lives a sordid life which seems to be falling apart a bit, piece by piece.

A cast of relative unknowns. But not for long.

A cast of relative unknowns. But not for long.

The attention to detail is impeccable. The style is superb. The research put into this show is daunting to say the least. Each shot looks handcrafted and it probably is. Check out the NPR interview with creator Matt Weiner. Very interesting stuff. The endless cigarettes smoked on camera by the cast are herbal.

Season 2 is currently in full swing. Season 1 is on DVD. If you are a trusted friend and you know who you are if you are, I’m happy to loan you my copy for a week. I loathe most television, but when a great show comes along, I’m always willing to share it. You have to let me borrow one of your DVDs though.

Since I work in marketing/adverstising/design, I can’t really resist the allure of this show. There are so many things I can relate to and there are so many things also that are foreign to me and draw me into it.

Check it out! It’s swell.


Entry filed under: TV series. Tags: , , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sandy  |  August 21, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Nicely put! BTW, your blog is looking mighty spiffy!

  • 2. jeffreysnodgrass  |  August 21, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Why thank you, Sandy. Yours isn’t too bad either. πŸ™‚

  • 3. Joey  |  August 21, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Your blog IS spiffy! I should jump on this whole “outside of myspace” blog thing πŸ™‚

    About the show…I haven’t seen it yet. Is it one you can just jump into? I guess I’ll add it to my Netflix queue. Right behind Season 2 of Dexter πŸ™‚

    Sidebar about the show…I was walking up 8th Ave the other day, and a group of people in 60’s style business attire were walking down the street. I had no idea what it was about…too early to be the cast of a play. Then they handed me a card – it was an add campaign for “Mad Men”! Brilliant.

  • 4. jeffreysnodgrass  |  August 21, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Joey –
    How clever! And yes, you should get into blogging off of myspace. I just got tired of myspace’s crappy blogging options (which are especially crappy if you’re on a Mac).

    Mad Men isn’t too hard to get into, but I do recommend Netflixing season 1. And I can’t wait to get season 2 of Dexter in. I’m too cheap for Showtime. πŸ™‚

  • 5. Rosie  |  August 22, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    “Who would have thought network AMC would have such a fantastic show on their hands?”

    Well, AMC also did the original programming for “Remember WENN”, which about a Pittsburgh radio station in the early 1940s; and “The Lot”, which was about a Hollywood movie studio in the late 1930s.

    “Remember WENN” managed to win an Emmy – for what, I don’t know. And although “The Lot” wasn’t critically acclaimed, I thought it was a pretty good show.

  • 6. jeffreysnodgrass  |  August 22, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    To Rosie:

    I seem to vaguely remember “The Lot”, but I don’t think I watched it and I didn’t remember it being on AMC. I think part of my surprise about AMC having “Mad Men” stems from my statement about how I can’t believe it’s not on a pay-cable channel. It just seems like an HBO-caliber show in terms of writing/acting, but the fact that it’s on American Movies Classic is actually appropriate. The show certainly has an undeniable cinematic feel to it.


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