Jul 20, 2007

Mad Men

Not that impressed with the first episode. Without rehashing the entire episode, here's a few thoughts:

While The Sopranos (writer/producer Matthew Weiner's previous show) was about people who seemed just like us but lived in a world we could never imagine being a part of, Mad Men is about people who live in a world we can easily imagine being a part of but seem very different from us. The Sopranos is a window into a world we'll never be a part of; Mad Men is a mirror to a world we could clearly have been part of. So while The Sopranos fascinates us, Mad Men makes us uncomfortable.

The writing, as others have mentioned, is stiff and unconvincing. (There's a belief, in Hollywood, that great shows are the result of one person and that the people who come out of those great shows rarely succeed on their own. Mad Men seems to bear that out.)

Since there's an entire subplot about the existence of Jewish ad agencies and the complete lack of Jews and Italians at the agency the show is set in, Parker owes me a drink. (For context, click here or here.)

It seemed strange (and possibly untrue) that a CD and 26 year old account guy would be the only agency people in the room with one of the agency's biggest clients. Dramatic license and all that, but still, I felt like I was watching Bewitched again.

thirtysomething, which I loved when I was twentysomething, didn't always get it right, but got close. Miles Drentell, in particular, was a great portrayal of the sort of psychopaths who often manage to succeed in our business.

I TiVOd right through the commercials without realizing there was something in there that was supposed to make me stop and watch them. I only learned about this when I read CK's blog.

Don Draper got off the train in Ossining, which is in Westchester County, not Connecticut, as some others have stated. It's also the home of Sing Sing Prison, which, given the general heavy-handedness of the show, was clearly some sort of metaphor.

I'll watch the next episode or two to see if it gets any better, but not counting on it.


Anonymous said...

Funny, I was going through some magazines to toss out today and saw an ad in Ad Age for the first show. They had major mags like Newsweek giving rave reviews, no exaggeration.

Usually, when a film isn’t that great, you get a quotes like ‘Must-see hit of the year!’ from the Boise Times.

They actually used ‘Must-see TV!’ in the ad too.

Alan Wolk said...

@MTLB: I suspect that people outside the industry watch the show with a completely different mindset than we do. I've noticed the same thing about ads for lame movies having quotes from small town papers or-- true kiss of death-- websites you've never heard of.

As for MadMen, I'll definitely watch the next few episodes to see how things develop.

Something else I realized though- how did the sleazy account guy know where the secretary lived? She said she was in Brooklyn and it wasn't like he could Google her back in 1960. That's the sort of logic gap that's often indicative of bigger problems.

Anonymous said...

Also, the plot indcates that the weasly young AE wants the CD's job.


How does an AE take over the CD position?