I’ll be honest, I was probably one of the last people to find out about Mad Men. My obsession was born out of a recent blissful if slightly embarrassing On Demand binge. (You can watch all the episodes of Season 1 in the TV Entertainment section) Since viewing all of the episodes (twice) I have been not so patiently awaiting the start of Season 2 in a meaningless blur of emptiness and sorrow. Alas, tonight is the night!
Mad Men portrays the lives and loves associated with a fictitious Madison Avenue ad shop in the 1960s. In what many industry insiders argue is an exaggerated tone, the all male ad executives
wine, dine, womanize, and somehow find time to come up with genius ad campaigns. Realistic? Not really. But the romantic idealism of the early 1960s is beautifully depicted and just as addictive as the cigarettes and day-drinking omnipresent in every scene.
The only women at Sterling Cooper are the secretary pool, all young and most beautiful. They dote on their bosses using any and all means necessary. Joan Holloway, the hot to trot redhead secretary-in-chief instructs newbie Peggy Olson on her first day – “He may act
like he wants a secretary, but most of the time they’re looking for something in between a mother & a waitress. And the rest of the time well…” Peggy figures that one out before the end of the first episode.
On a more serious note, the show deeply explores the duality of Don Draper. He is Sterling Cooper’s star Creative Director, a devoted husband to picture perfect ex-model turned stepford wife Betty Draper, and oh yeah…a shameless philandering playboy. More of Don’s secrets are revealed with each episode of Season 1 and his mental state becomes oddly reminiscent of a Tony Sopranoesque hidden he-man depression. (Or perhaps not so odd, show creator Matthew Weiner wrote for The Sopranos)
Catch Mad Men tonight at 9pm central on AMC or have your DVR catch it for you. Season 2 takes place in the mid 1960s, as times start to change with more attention to civil/women’s rights. To use the vernacular of the time, it’s bound to be positively swell!