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My Newest TV Obsession: Mad Men

Mad_men

I know that I'm about a year late to this party, but I just watched the first two episodes of AMC's Mad Men last night and I am totally hooked.

Mad Men focuses on the trials facing folks in the legendary Madison Avenue advertising industry in the 1960s, mostly centered around Don Draper, the creative director of ailing powerhouse Sterling Cooper. Draper is very good at what he does, but seems to lack passion in every area of his life. But he is loyal and very aware of the "right" thing to do. He has a Purple Heart from his dedicated military service, a beautiful and devoted wife named Betty, two perfect children, and a big, gorgeous center hall Colonial in the suburbs.

But Draper has secrets which challenge the straight and narrow path he's taken in life, but he fears his secrets are the only thing that make him human.

All of the characters on the show have secrets. They all hint at sincere gratitude for how lovely America is at that point in time, but worry that someone will figure out that they're not really happy.

And, of course, this is all manifested in the advertising which, as Draper bluntly explains, sells happiness.

Personally, I am fascinated by advertising, in particular the advertising that came out of America in the 1950s and 1960s. I spend a lot of time poring over the old ads posted on the Vintage Ads community on LJ. So many of the ads are, of course, blatantly sexist or racist and in many cases homoerotic. Mad Men starts to peel away the layers of the people who created these ads and helped to shape American commerce and culture for the 20th century.

Oh, also, the clothes are to DIE for.

The new season of Mad Men begins on Sunday, July 27 at 10 p.m. I have some catching up to do.







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Comments

Amber

Ack! "Our Mrs. Reynolds" is on that show!

I haven't watched it yet, because I have heard rumors of it being ridiculously sexist, but I'm not sure if that was someone who just doesn't quite get social commentary. I mean, I expect it to be ridiculously sexist, but as a means of commentary on the times, rather than, "wow, see how great it was back in the good ol' days where you could sexually harass your female co-workers in the typing pool?"

kdiddy

oh, yeah, the sexism is definitely presented in an "ew" light. I'm only two episodes in, but they are definitely heading with one of the plot lines in the direction of how women during that time carved a career or even just an identity for themselves outside of what society regimented for them. very interesting.

The Muse

Love this show. I just wish I were better at appointment TV to keep up with it. As a girl in the world of advertising, this is just fascinating to see the differences on how business was conducted in and out of the office.

kdiddy - If you're up for reading something a little later in that era, check out the biography "My Big Life (in Advertising)" by Mary Wells Lawrence - one of the first female hotshots who worked on iconic campaigns like "I <3 NY" and "Flick Your Bic."

cindy

Mad Men is an awesome show. I watched it when it started last year, got hooked immediately, but then started losing interest partway through the season. I kept up with it, though, and I'm glad I did because the season finale was really great. I am very much looking forward to the new season, because there is a dearth of good non-reality TV on my DVR right now.

As far as the sexism goes, the show is trying to be an accurate portrayal of that time period, and the casual sexism is definitely a part of that. It seemed shocking to me that all the characters were so nonchalant about the rampant sexism, and it's a relief to see how far we've come from that. I don't think it's played for nostalgia, as in "Wasn't it great when we could pinch our secretaries asses without repercussion?"

Everyone should watch this show! Go rent the DVDs now!

Kim

I have Season 1 at home on Netflix - my goal is to watch it before the new episodes start on the 27th. I may have to take a day off work *cough*.

Suzy Q

This was the BEST show on TV last year, and I can't wait for Season 2.

For those of you born after the '60s, I can see how the sexism would be shocking. But it happened, so don't shy away from knowing about it. Shit, I've lost two jobs, once as a young teen in the '70s and in the early '80s as a young 20-something, because I wouldn't put out for co-workers.

We're still battling this in the workplace (not me anymore), but at least, it's mostly not as expected and tolerated as it once was. Power to the Women!

Mandee

I watched it off and on but got hooked on it when they re-aired all the episodes earlier this year. I read somewhere that they are going to have a marathon sometime before the premiere (like the day before or the day of, I can't remember). It is such a great show.

rednexmama

I totally love this show! Can you BELIEVE that CBS is showing this, and that HBO passed it up?? Kudos to the network for not backing down from the sexist, racist, and just plain politically incorrect subject matter. When I saw a pregnant woman genteely accept a cocktail but not before setting down her cigarette, I knew that they were fully committed. What saves it, I think, is that they don't play the political incorrectness for laughs, it's almost a character in it's own right; as much a sign of the times as the clothes, or the ads themselves. Love it. Love it. Love it. (Also, Amber from the last season of House plays the drinking, smoking preggo. She is my girl crush. Even in heinous sixties maternity wear!)

Isabel

Only two episodes in?

Yeah, it just gets better and better. And a little more shocking.

(Plus, yes, the clothes are to die for. The end.)




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