If you’ve yet to experience the utter brilliance and retro grandeur of AMC’s Mad Men, and, according to the ratings, most of you have not, you’re doing yourself a profound disservice. So remedy that, this Sunday night, by steering clear of the empty eye-calories of reality TV, that means no plus-size whiners looking for love, or shrill momzillas juggling armfuls of ankle-biters, and give scripted drama another chance. Because this is a rich, rewarding series that deserves your undivided attention.
I’ve been hooked on this mesmerizing saga from the very beginning, and for many different reasons. The first, and perhaps most important, is that Mad Men happened to premiere at a time when I myself was first considering a move to the advertising/marketing world (from journalism, in case youre wondering). As I made that jump, the show provided an entertaining, fictionalized taste of what I was in for in my new vocation, much in the same way that Judd Apatows similarly underapprecited mini-masterpiece Undeclared gave me my first look at college dorm life during my senior year of high school. Of course, working at a B2B marketing firm in Atlanta in 2009 isn’t quite the highballs-and-harassment office landscape of Sterling-Cooper, but you get the idea.
The second reason I was drawn to the show was Matthew Weiner, a name with which any self-respecting Sopranos fanatic should be well familiar. As one of David Chases go-to writers on that seven-season sojourn into operatic, televised literature, he more than proved his mettle as an expert storyteller. With that kind of dedicated overachiever at the helm of this new 60s-set, liquor-and-Lucky-Strikes opus, I was committed from the get-go.
The third thing that attracted me was a deep and unexplainable fascination I have with the time period. It isnt just the fashions and the art direction, the music and the dialogue; its the ads, every gorgeous, retro inch of them. The use of authentic, historic brands as Sterling Cooper clients, from Heineken and General Mills to Maidenform and Kodak, compliments the painstaking accuracy applied to every other aspect of the vintage atmosphere, creating a world that feels ripped right from this one.
Of course, if you’re just tuning in this Sunday, you will have missed quite a bit. So check out my previous blog entry, written during Season 2, for brief rundowns of the primary and tertiary characters.
But don’t take my word for it. A few paragraphs simply cannot convey 13 episodes of brooding pathos, building tension, lovingly detailed 60s sets and costumes, and gorgeous cinematography, not to mention character development so deep and rich its hard to believe these people are fictional. Simply put, why are you still reading when you should be ordering Seasons 1 and 2 online?
I ask you, make that beg you, to clear your Sunday schedule and dive into the smoke-filled world of Sterling-Cooper this Sunday night at 10 PM ET.
But first, take a moment to turn yourself a catroonified version of a Sterling-Cooper employee at Mad Men Yourself.