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Mad Men is the best thing on TV

September 4, 2007

If you’re not watching Mad Men on AMC, you really should be.  There’s a lot to love about the show, by the Exec Producer of The Sopranos (as well as the criminally overlooked Andy Richter Controls The Universe), but the opening credits are an absolute highlight.  Set in 1960, right as everything is about to fall apart for a bunch of Madison Avenue mid-century men who drink & smoke as though liver failure & cancer didn’t exist (or at the very least, no one ever told them not to drink & smoke so damn much), and casually demean & harass every unmarried woman with the misfortune to work in the office (married women, of course, don’t work at the office, they stay home & raise their children while their husbands work).

The rampant racism & insane levels of sexism basically establish the world as belonging to these white men of privilege in Manhattan, with no idea of what’s coming to them in the next few decades.  It would already be a mesmerizing show if that were the only reason to watch, but like The Sopranos before it, it quickly stopped being about the job & became about the characters, each of whom seems profoundly fucked up in different ways, but none so much as the main character, Don Draper, who seems to be just about to fracture at any moment from the pressure of being several different people (adulterer, executive, family man) while failing to commit wholeheartedly to any of the roles, revealing nothing about his life or his past with an almost compulsive fear of being discovered.  It’s a great show, and hopefully enough people will watch so it doesn’t meet the fate of many other shows I’ve really loved (Firefly, Andy Richter, Arrested Development, Rome, Deadwood).

One comment

  1. I’m with you on this– the missus (not your missus, JR) and I are very hooked on this superb show. I came for the industry references and creative pitches, and stayed for the character developments and vibe created. Well done…spread the word…



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