Mad Men

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By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Thank you, thank you. Just a little thought. I’m just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they’ll take root. I don’t know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there’s no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan’s little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You’re the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. “There’s gonna be a joke coming…” There’s no fucking joke coming, you are Satan’s spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it’s the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show.

Matthew Weiner having dealt with the mob in the Soprano’s moves on to the really evil people in Mad Men, the world of advertising.

It took a while for this show to start moving, but it’s become a must see for me. The show centers on Jon Hamm’ s Don Draper, who is a master of the universe type with a mysterious past. So far we’ve found out that he’s changed his name, wasn’t happy when his brother tracked him down, that he grew up in Indiana with a religious father, and that he was a “whore child,” which I take to mean that he was the product of an affair by said religious father.

Don routinely tells his clients how stupid they are and has both an incredibly hot wife and a sexy beatnik mistress. He’s also more than likely crumbling on the inside.

Mad Men takes place on the brink of the ’60s where post war American prosperity was about to split into the fire and division of America’s most turbulent decade, which is embodied by the differences in the women Don sleeps with. His mistress’ friends tell Don to his face that he’s corporate scum brainwashing the American public into mounting insecurities over consumer goods that they really don’t need. Don’s response is that the universe is indifferent, a more existentially cold way of saying “get a life”. As for the ’60s election, Don’s firm is pushing Nixon.

Don’s office is filled with callous young men on the rise, each one more jealous and insecure than the next.

Vincent Kartheiser plays Pete Campbell and in less than ten weeks he’s become the shallowest, slimiest presence on television. Pete’s moral high point is either being disappointed that his wife didn’t sleep with a literary agent to get his short story in the New Yorker, hitting on the store clerk he is returning a wedding gift to, or whatever he did 30 seconds ago. He’s a vile thing, a young man from money, without any money, and angry at the world that’s left him in such an awful state. He may eventually become a better ad man than Don.

Cigarettes and alcohol are plentiful and omnipresent as is a horrible amount of sexism and misogeny. One has to wonder if things have gotten any better or if the machine has just become more skillful in selling itself.

The writing is excellent, the premise is solid and fertile. So why do I like this show, most? The women are all incredibly hot, and say what you will about those late ’50s cretins, they somehow convinced their women to dress to please no matter how uncomfortable it made them. Don for one has suppressed his wife’s inner spirit so much that she’s been pushed into therapy led by yet another unfeeling male monster. I don’t support it. I cringe for the women, but I have to admit that it sure is entertaining to look at.

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