"Mad Men" must be the best new show of this summer.
It took me awhile to decide to watch this 'cause it didn't seem to be exactly the kind of show I would normally watch, but after the first episode I was hooked.
This is probably the most original show ever, set in the '60, in New York, about "the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell while their private world gets sold" and just a pleasure for the eyes.
I know what you're thinking: meh, boring.
You couldn't be more wrong. And I give you 3 main reasons:
1. The Mad Man: Jon Hamm as Don Draper is unbelievabily charming, critics say he has a "Gregory Peck-like nobility, but with haunted eyes". If being handsome wasn't enough, he's also tall, athletic and mysterious. To describe him in three words I'd say: hot, hotter, hottest.
"He has a talent for revealing emotion by the slightest shifts around his eyes and mouth, or in the way he smokes, making Draper say the most when he doesn't speak." (And he happens to be Sarah Clarke's best friend. ;))
2. Words can kill: "Makes you smile without needing jokes." This show has the best dialogues anyone can ask for. DON: We should get married.
MIDGE: You think I'd make a good ex-wife?
DR. GUTTMAN: What Freud called the death wish is as powerful a drive as those for sexual reproduction and physical sustenance.
DON: Freud, you say? What agency is he with?
DON: People were buying cigarettes before Freud was born.
PEGGY: I'm sorry to wake you, but Mr. Campbell is outside.
DON: Can you go out there and entertain him?
PEGGY: I know it's my first day and I don't want to seem uncooperative, but do I have to?
DON: I see your point.
DON: I was expecting...
RACHEL: You were expecting me to be a man. My father was, too.
PETE: A man like you I'd follow into combat blindfolded, and I wouldn't be the first. Am I right, buddy?
DON: Let's take it a little slower. I don't want to wake up pregnant.
JOAN: Dr. Emerson's a dream, isn't he?
PEGGY: He seemed nice.
JOAN: He has a place in South Hampton. I'm not saying that I've seen it, but it's beautiful.
STERLING: The public is under the impression that your cigarettes are linked to... certain fatal diseases.
GARNER: Manipulation of the media? Hell, that's what I pay you for. Our product is fine. I smoke 'em myself.
GARNER JR: My granddad smoked 'em. He died at 95 years old. He was hit by a truck.
PETE: So what if cigarettes are dangerous? "You're a man. The world is dangerous. Smoke your cigarette. You still have to get where you're going. "
GARNER JR: That's very interesting. I mean, if cigarettes were dangerous, it would be interesting.
GARNER: Except they aren't. That's your slogan? "You're going to die anyway. Die with us"?
GARNER: What the hell are you talking about? Are you insane? I'm not selling rifles here. I'm in the tobacco business. We're selling America. The Indian gave it to us, for shit sake.
DON: This is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of cereal.
DON: How do you make your cigarettes?
GARNER JR: I don't know.
GARNER: Shame on you!
DON: Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing... it's okay. You are okay.
DON: Can I ask you a personal question?
RACHEL: Don't you want to get a second drink in me first?
DON: Why aren't you married?
RACHEL: Are you asking what's wrong with me?
DON: It's just that you're a beautiful, educated woman. Don't you think that getting married and having a family would make you happier than all the headaches that go along with fighting people like me?
RACHEL: If I weren't a woman, I would be allowed to ask you the same question, and if I weren't a woman, I wouldn't have to choose between putting on an apron and the thrill of making my father's store what I always thought it should be.
DON: So that's it. You won't get married because you find business to be a thrill.
RACHEL: That and... I've never been in love.
DON: She won't get married because she's never been in love. I think I wrote that once to sell nylons.
RACHEL: For a lot of people, love isn't just a slogan.
DON: Oh, you mean love. You mean the big lightning bolt to the heart where you can't eat and you can't work and you just run off and get married and make babies. The reason you haven't felt it is because it doesn't exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.
RACHEL: Is that right?
DON: I'm pretty sure about it. You're born alone, and you die alone, and this world just drops a bunch of rules on you to make you forget those facts, but I never forget. I'm living like there's no tomorrow... because there isn't one.
RACHEL: I don't think I realized until this moment, but it must be hard being a man, too.
3. Politically incorrect: "They're glib and they're smart and they're cynical; they take their martinis dry and their secretaries loose; they believe in nothing, except that anything can be sold as long as it's packaged with a catchy slogan and a picture of a busty blond. They think the world is their playground, though it's really the Titanic moments away from the iceberg. Welcome to the wild, doomed universe of the Mad Men." They have it all: men can turn their secretaries into sextoys without having to worry about sexual harrassment ("Let me ask you something," Draper says. "What do women want?" Says Sterling, shrugging: "Who cares?" "1960 may have been a golden age for ad men but not for the black men who served them drinks or the women who took their dictation and whatever harassment they chose to offer."); smoking cigarettes is ok, actually, it's a must, everyone is, quite literally, blowing smoke. ("Cigarettes are more than just the show's opening ad subject. Sexy, oppressive, addictive, dangerous, they establish the mood for a show that hopes to come to grips with both what was lost and what has been gained since generation gaps, sexual revolutions, racial divides and Vietnam blasted the '60s apart."); and add a little bit of anti-semitism and racism... Season to taste.
"The show illustrates that period's own form of excess without wagging fingers, while reminding us that before sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, there was sexual harassment, free-flowing cocktails and bluesy ballads, invariably sung by white guys."
"In 1960, advertising agencies were an all-powerful influence on the masses. Personal and professional manipulation and sexual exploits defined the workplace and closed the deals. The high profile Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency created advertising campaigns – from cigarettes to political candidates -- better than anyone. It was a time of great ferment. Women had barely begun to come into their own. Librium and birth control were on the move. Ethics in the workplace, smoke-free environments, sexual harassment and ethnic diversity were workshops of the future."
Watch it. You might just go mad for it. And how cool is that?