Thursday, August 21, 2008


Smoking, drinking and womanizing; all in a day's work for the men of the Sterling-Cooper Ad Agency

Don Drapper has what every man longs for: he's handsome, smart and successful with a beautiful wife, two adorable children and nice home in the suburbs (not to mention an attractive mistress). Men look up to him and woman adore him. Rival agencies woo him with gifts and his bosses ply him with bonuses to make sure he's happy. He's living the American Dream circa 1960. Coolly confident, he knows his place in the world; when a member of the beat movement, pointing out the evils of advertising, confronts him with the question "How do you sleep at night?" Don responds "On a bed made of money".

Mad Men, now in it's second season on AMC is a stylish period drama set in the world of Madison Avenue Advertising in the early 1960's. It is clever and smart and highly addictive. It was the critics' darling in it's initial 13 episode run last year and the second season, which began in July, maintains the same high standards.

Here is a clip of the first three minutes of the pilot episode. Take a look and then we'll talk about it...

The style and tone of the show is set from the very beginning and it is clear that this is a different time. Viewed through a cloud of cigarette smoke, the sounds of happy hour revelry in the background, Don Drapper (portrayed by movie star-handsome Jon Hamm) sits alone, scribbling ideas on a napkin. In his first scene we see Don as a man apart; alone in a crowd. He has secrets and he plays them very close to his grey flannel vest; secrets he doesn't share with his wife, mistress or closest friends. Secrets which are slowly revealed throughout Mad Men's first season.

The world of Mad Men is a world where children play "spaceman" with plastic bags and frolic unfettered in moving cars; where racism and sexism are blantant; where the majority of women are secretaries or teachers or housewives and the neighborhood divorcee is the object of pity and gossip. It's a world where a well stocked bar is maintained in every office and a three martini lunch is de rigueur; alcohol is the fuel that energizes the world of Mad Men.

And it's a world where people smoke - on trains, in the office, in theaters and in bars and restaurants. Doctors smoke while examining patients and women smoke while pregnant. It's a world both fascinatingly different and uncomfortably familiar and it's one you'll want to visit again and again.


  1. does sound like a pretty good world... aside from the racism and sexism that is
    i have never seen the show though... the only TV i watch is cartoons, infomercials, old game shows, and the occasional documentary

  2. It's very mean to discuss something this cool when I can't get it on my basic satellite setup - - this is hy I call you what I do ....

    Your answering machine needs some cajones. It kept leaving a weak pitiful message that the memory is full. I kept trying to call and let you know that 1) the missus had to work 2) the first born just got over pneumonia and now the second born is likely getting it too and 3) my back went out and while I can still work (sorta) that I am not fun and reliable guest materail. We do want to get together though so give us a call