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The Old Mad Men Thread


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#1

needsleep05

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Posted Jun 11, 2007 @ 6:02 PM

Mad Men is a smart and cinematic drama about the professional lives, social mores and sexual exploits of advertising executives on Madison Avenue circa 1960, when the industry was at its height of glamour, power, and prestige. The setting is the Sterling Cooper agency, which sells everything from cigarettes to political candidates. The protagonist, Don Draper, is a fast-rising creative director whose smooth exterior conceals any number of secrets. -- AMC press release via The Futon Critic


I hadn't heard about this show until I saw a half hour "Making of" on AMC over the weekend. After watching, Mad Men immediately surpassed Damages as my most anicipated show of the summer. Check out the official site here and you can see a trailer for the show and you can also watch the entire 30 minute "Making of Mad Men" in the video section. Plus, the Cast & Crew page is filled to the brim with "Hey! It's that guy!" actors and actresses.

Based on how much smoking, drinking and promiscuous sex there was I'm sure the Standards & Practices killjoys are having a conniption fit. Heh.

The show begins Thursday July 19th at 10pm on AMC.

Edited by needsleep05, Jun 11, 2007 @ 6:03 PM.


#2

Mr. Excitement

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Posted Jun 12, 2007 @ 1:30 AM

This looks fantastic. I'm obsessed with the elegant design aesthetic and the cozy, high-living attitude of the period; the height of American postwar confidence (so long as you ignored the seething unrest just under the surface). There's tremendous potential in an adult drama about those times. AMC may have turned into a crappy channel for movies, but it's coming up with an increasingly interesting stable of original shows: Hustle, Sunday Morning Shootout, and now this.

#3

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Posted Jun 25, 2007 @ 8:03 PM

I'm just wondering if the producers will be courageous enough to have a non-selfloathing gay character. How can you have a Madison Ave. ad agency without any gay men around. That was one of the few professions where one DIDN'T have to be "in the closet" to be a successful professional. It may have been pre-Stonewall, but NYC was a hub of the cocktails, piano bars and dinner-party set who partied elegantly and had wonderful places in the coutry or out on the island where ambitious young..and not always single... executives made ambiguous detours up the corporate ladder.

#4

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Posted Jun 25, 2007 @ 8:26 PM

but it's coming up with an increasingly interesting stable of original shows: Hustle, Sunday Morning Shootout, and now this.

I absolutely agree on all three of those shows, Mr. Excitement, and I even like their movies.

I enjoyed the preview of this, this last Sunday, and I hope to remember to tape it on the 19th, though I'm sure there will be some replays.

TGC, your point is well taken, but would any of those gay men have been 'out' in any sense of the word in 1960?

#5

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Posted Jun 25, 2007 @ 8:43 PM

I too am looking forward to this. I saw a 30 sec promo during Sunday Morning Shootout (another amazing show, I'm so happy there are other people that appreciate it over those horrific gossip magainze shows) and it looks good. I'd argue that no matter what industry you worked in during the 1960s (unless it was bartending) you were fully in the closet. Especially since AMCs target demo isn't exactly the young and gay-friendly, I doubt the show will be going there. As someone who is interested in the old-school Madison Ave world of the 60s when the ad agencies were really getting established, I hope the show spends some time on that and doesn't consume itself with fitting in all of the hot restaurants and bars from that time.

While we're on the subject of AMC, I also loved Hustle. But for me Adrian Lester (and his chemistry with Jaime Murray) made the show. I stopped watching this season as it's just not the same. The show was like Oceans 11 ever week, so crisp and smooth, like a good cocktail.

#6

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Posted Jun 25, 2007 @ 11:53 PM

Apparently, AMC will be making MAD MEN available to view OnDemand in Hi Def. Boo-ya.

Oh, and then there's this story. I posted this on the STANDOFF board to try (in vain) to snare some potential viewers because the lead actress on that show has a supporting role in this one. Anyway, Jack Daniels signed on as a sponsor of the show, which considering the subject matter, makes sense to me. Lo and behold, the watchdog groups are upset, saying :

". . . the sponsorship crosses a line that generally precludes liquor advertising in shows with "depictions of overt sexual activity," lewd images or language, irresponsible drinking and intoxication . . ." -- LA Times

Clearly, these people want to take all the fun out of drinking. It doesn't sound like AMC or the Jack Daniels company are backing down, though. Good times.

Edited by needsleep05, Jun 26, 2007 @ 12:00 AM.


#7

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Posted Jun 27, 2007 @ 7:21 PM

TGC, your point is well taken, but would any of those gay men have been 'out' in any sense of the word in 1960?


In certain industries and professions, there have always been "out" gay people...interior design, advertising, architecture, the law and the church, hairdressing, "the theater", etc...though they would not have used the same metaphors as today. The term "closeted" was already in-use, but I don't think "out" nor even "gay" would have been in common-usage. If you saw "Boys in the Band" in TCM earier this week, that's already another "generation" later from just before Stonewall. And even by the time the movie was released in 1970, popular gay culture and gay self-image had changed yet again.

Oddly, at the time of MAd Man being "in" or "out" would have been less of an issue since it cared none of it's post-Stonewall political-baggage. Other people either knew, didn't know...or just didn't see it right in plain sight. And the then-current Kinsey Scale claimed that "gay" to "straight" was a matter of degrees, not black-white, yes-no. There wasn't the "separatism" that evolved post-Stonewall, though social and societal alienation fueled a whole industry of "going to therapy". This is the period between Kinsey's "1-in-10 were gay, and 1-in-3 had experimented at-least once"... and Stonewall and the Gay Revolution.

#8

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Posted Jun 27, 2007 @ 9:42 PM

or just didn't see it right in plain sight.

That's what I was thinking, though, of course, you said it much better. The interesting thing that I'll be waiting to see is how visible they'll make it to the audience, if not to the other characters. That could be a very well done thread throughout the show.

On the other hand, having watched the "making of" piece, it seemed that they were going to be very specific about how life was then, certainly with respect to women's rights (or lack thereof) and the like.

#9

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Posted Jun 27, 2007 @ 10:45 PM

Clearly, these people want to take all the fun out of drinking. It doesn't sound like AMC or the Jack Daniels company are backing down, though. Good times.


The NY Times had an article about this as well a few weeks ago. But really, this is cable and they can pretty much get away with whatever they want. Let's not forget Baileys and Smirnoff have sponsored the Nip/Tuck and Dirt finales on FX (yes, I know it's FX, but it's still tv).

My main concern after reading both articles is that both AMC and the producers are going to try too hard to find Jack Daniels in and it's going to come off as forced and just ruin what could potentially be a pretty good show.

#10

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Posted Jun 28, 2007 @ 12:29 AM

On the other hand, having watched the "making of" piece, it seemed that they were going to be very specific about how life was then, certainly with respect to women's rights (or lack thereof) and the like.


In spite of my hopeful postings above, I have this incipient bad taste in my mouth that says that they will ignore that G/L exists (like most of the TV-verse) and frame it all in terms of the as-yet undeclared battle of the sexes, and men continually behaving badly towards women.

#11

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Posted Jul 2, 2007 @ 12:09 AM

I saw a 30 sec promo during Sunday Morning Shootout (another amazing show)


Agreed - on both counts. I'm excited for this show to start. I love shows with slick visuals and when I heard about all the detail they put into reproducing the sets and the clothing, it make my graphic artist heart go pitter patter. The slickness of the visuals makes me miss Nero Wolfe, another visually stylistic show. I'm excited about the episodes being available in HD. Here's hoping the writing lives up to the set design......

#12

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Posted Jul 3, 2007 @ 11:23 AM

I heard about this show while reading a Time magazine article in the doctor's office. The article compared this show to the much dreaded Cavemen sitcom. It's focus is heavy on the sitcom, but from what I read, I was incredibly excited about Mad Men.

I also saw about a ten second spot for it on AMC. I don't remember the line exactly... it was something like, "What you call love? I invented ... to sell nylons."

#13

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Posted Jul 10, 2007 @ 5:04 PM

I can't find it on the TV Guide website, but in the newest issue (7/16 - 7/22) Matt Roush gave the pilot a 9/10.

Good times.

ETA: Thanks, Senator X. I bow to your superior TV Guide search engine skills.

Edited by needsleep05, Jul 11, 2007 @ 2:20 PM.


#14

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Posted Jul 11, 2007 @ 1:37 PM

Here it is.

Thursdays, 10 pm/ET, AMC
The pitch: Ad men in 1960, oozing ego and raw sexism.
First impression: Wow. The period look is dazzling: the women's tight skirts, the men's slicked hair. If iconic director Douglas Sirk (Written on the Wind) had made TV, it would look like this. But this sleek, sexy, smartly cynical drama about selling everything from cigarettes to Nixon also nails the era's attitudes of casual prejudice and sexual manipulation.
My score (0-9): 9


A friend of mine told me about this and I'm really liking the cast. Emily from Standoff. Zoe Bartlett. Connor from Angel. Saffron from Firefly. "Damages" what? "Saving Grace" who? This is what I'm excited about.

#15

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Posted Jul 12, 2007 @ 1:15 AM

Postivie review of the pilot from LA Weekly. If you've watched the Making Of Mad Men you shouldn't worry, if not, the review is slightly spoilery.

#16

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Posted Jul 14, 2007 @ 8:28 PM

I just saw a review of this show in the Wall Street Journal in my dentist's waiting room yesterday. I hadn't heard of it all, and came straight here looking for any buzz.

I have really mixed feelings about it after seeing the clips at the AMC site. I can't quite decide whether they're going for parody, realism or just looking for an excuse to indulge in the most loathesome, outrageous sexist stereotypes in writing they can come up with, and just keep on pounding it home.

I really thought that line about the IBM Selectric typewriter being "so simple, even a woman can manage it" really over the top. And the use of the phrase "new technology" I do believe was anachronistic.

And yet...I don't think I'll be able to look away.

#17

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Posted Jul 14, 2007 @ 10:24 PM

I saw the Making Of... special and I'm looking forward to Thursday's premiere. I love this middle part of the 20th century and advertising was really dynamic during this period.

What will be interesting is having the 21st century POV of a period when Doris Day as girl in the office movies were de rigeuer.

I do wonder about the potential for misogynistic behaviors that may be played for comedy. Also racist and other intolerances of the period.

In any case, the production values look amazing and that alone merits my attention. The designs of that era just make me happy.

#18

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Posted Jul 17, 2007 @ 11:09 PM

I just watched the "Making of" featurette on iTunes and am really looking forward to this. One of the things that kind of anchored me in was that one of the writers from The Sopranos, Matthew Weiner created the show. To be honest, Weiner wasn't the best writer on The Sopranos not by a long shot (that credit goes to Terence Winter) but the episodes he co-wrote with David Chase were pretty fantastic ("Kennedy and Heidi", "The Blue Comet", "Test Dream") to name a few. Plus Alan Taylor, a regular Sopranos director is helming the pilot.

I also love the cast including Elisabeth Moss (aka Zoey Bartlett from The West Wing) and John Slattery, fresh off his guest starring role as Victor Lang on Desperate Housewives. I hope Slattery is at least likeable in this role since on DH he was pretty annoying and self-absorbed.

I'm surprised AMC hasn't flat-out hyped the series premiere like some of the other cable networks have done but I'm still pretty excited though.

#19

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Posted Jul 18, 2007 @ 12:30 AM

I'm surprised AMC hasn't flat-out hyped the series premiere like some of the other cable networks have done but I'm still pretty excited though.

I was thinking about this too. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Jack Daniels endorsement?

Edited by needsleep05, Jul 18, 2007 @ 12:31 AM.


#20

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Posted Jul 18, 2007 @ 10:41 AM

Well, this one kind of snuck up on us, didn't it? I wouldn't even have known about it except for a commercial I saw on TNT the other night.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures, reading-wise, is Jacquelyn Susann's "The Love Machine," (shut up!) which covers much of the same territory and subject matter as this show. I've always thought it would have made a great movie.

So I'm totally excited about this show. Plus, I love John Slattery.

#21

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Posted Jul 18, 2007 @ 2:01 PM

The show is also getting great reviews, both Sepinwall and Maureen Ryan did columns about it filled with praise. There's also a nice article about MM in the arts section of the NY Times.

My tivo is already set and I'm definitely looking forward to the show tonight.

#22

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Posted Jul 18, 2007 @ 4:26 PM

I can't wait for tomorrow either. I found out about this show from the cover story in my Sunday paper's version of TV Guide.

It sounds smart and watchable, which considering what else is on TV right now, should be a welcome change.

Does anyone know if it's 13 episodes standalone, or 13 episodes with the hope of more if it does well?

#23

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Posted Jul 18, 2007 @ 7:59 PM

As far as I know it a serialized Drama, so no stand-alone eps.

#24

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Posted Jul 18, 2007 @ 8:15 PM

I think Jacob's question is: Is this a limited series? Like say, The Company on TNT. Or are they hoping for more seasons after this one?

#25

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Posted Jul 18, 2007 @ 11:13 PM

I am looking forward to seeing this too. I'm not aware of any movies or TV shows about the advertising industry besides The Hucksters, a couple of the Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies and Bewitched, so Mad Men should be interesting.

Eliot, "The Love Machine" was made into a movie in the 70s, and I don't believe it's on DVD. If you liked Valley of the Dolls, you'll like Love Machine. I recall the cheesy song, "Robin Stone is moving on...."

#26

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Posted Jul 19, 2007 @ 12:01 AM

Ahhhhhhh, gotcha. I don't think it's a limited series. I seem to recall one of the early articles I read mentioned that AMC was hoping that this could be their flagship series. It also mentioned that the network had hoped Hu$tle would've filled that role while it was on, but despite critical acclaim, the ratings weren't very good. Apparently, one of the major complaints from viewers was that the Hu$tle characters were British.

Of course, it all depends on what kind of rating the show generates.

ETA: I'll try and see if I can find the article I mentioned.

Edited by needsleep05, Jul 19, 2007 @ 12:01 AM.


#27

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Posted Jul 19, 2007 @ 8:57 AM

I'm just wondering if the producers will be courageous enough to have a non-selfloathing gay character


I don't know about "self-loathing", but Matt Roush (who is very high on the series) mentions that "Jews are invisible or patronized and gays are closeted."

#28

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Posted Jul 19, 2007 @ 9:25 AM

Sorry, I probably could have worded that question much better, but AimingforYoko got the gist right.

I hope that it will last beyond the 13 episodes. With the caveat that my opinion could change after watching it tonight. It wouldn't be the first time commericals look promising and the show actually isn't, but based on all I've seen and read, it looks like it delivers on the promise.

Is it 10pm yet?

#29

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Posted Jul 19, 2007 @ 9:32 AM

I'll be interested in checking this out, because that era in advertising was really dynamic, plus I like to spot check set decoration/costuming for accuracy. I'm surprised Jack Daniels is the sponsor- this would have been a perfect tie-in for a gin or vodka.
[ETA: Just saw a repeat of one of the episodes- as other posters have noted, the IBM model of typewriter shown wasn't introduced until later- maybe 1970? Isn't that the one with the removable ball? I remember that one well, because you could switch them out to get different type styles, which was a wonderful thing. Boy, are we spoiled now!]

Edited by Decormaven, Aug 10, 2007 @ 2:09 PM.


#30

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Posted Jul 19, 2007 @ 9:37 AM

I'm pretty psyched about this having a limited run whether it has multiple seasons or not. I'm a huge fan of the British style of storytelling (and an enormous critic of the sloppily-paced, overly padded 22+ episode schedule American TV follows) so I have very high expectations that the 13 episodes we get will be tight, exquisitely edited little gems.

I haven't read a bad review yet. Every TV writer I respect has gone out of their way to praise this show. I'm glad my provider has recently added AMC. My only question is, AMC does commercials now, right? How ironic that I'm excited to watch a show about advertising, yet am reluctant to watch it live because I loathe commercial interruptions to my very being. Ha!