Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mad Men (Season One)

From The Movie Snob

Mad Men (Season One). I don't have cable and had never seen an episode of this show before buying the DVD's. I went strictly on critical word-of-mouth. And I'll say watching the first season was definitely an interesting experience. The setting is Madison Avenue, New York City; the year is 1960. The protagonist is Don Draper, a Korean War vet and one of the top dogs (though not yet a partner) at the advertising firm of Sterling & Cooper. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and a swell house in the suburbs. He also has a mistress in the City, and a mysterious past that starts to catch up with him from the very first episodes. Most of the kick comes from watching people behave in ways that are just unimaginable now. Everyone smokes all the time (including pregnant women), and everyone drinks most of the time--even (or especially) at work. The casual sexism is astonishing. Even seeing children ride in the front seat of a car (without seat belts) makes you look twice. Draper's wife has the suburban blues that Betty Friedan would soon write about in The Feminine Mystique. Draper's mistress is a bohemian artist type, and some of the funnier scenes are the encounters between Don and her beatnik friends. Anyway, I don't think it's as great as the press led me to believe, but I definitely enjoyed it and will watch Season Two.


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