Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television

Not much plot motion in the second episode of AMC's Mad Men tonight, but that's ok, because the show's unique ambiance continues to shine...

Where you else can you hear people talking about People Are Funny, and a guy in the office (Paul played by Michael Gladis) doing a "submitted for your approval" riff on The Twilight Zone, and lamenting that CBS might be cancelling it?

The show is such a trip to the '50s (pardon the '60s expression) that even some of the real ads - when the show stops for commercials - are integrated into the Mad Men mix. In addition to providing historical tidbits about various aspects of advertising history, Mad Men also provides a tidbit about Orkin, the exterminator company, before showing an actual Orkin ad (the tidbit: Orkin's first TV ad dates to 1954).

And the smoke and sexism reign supreme. As I mentioned last week, I was a kid in 1950s, and I remember the television all right, but not people smoking this much. On the other hand, I wasn't in the advertising world.

On Mad Men, smoke is a common denominator, shared by just about every adult. Men hitting on women in the office are ubiquitous, too, but some women, notably new girl in the office Peggy (played by Elizabeth Moss) are just beginning to confide their objections to other women. Why are we always the dessert after men take us out to lunch, Peggy asks office manager Joan (played by Christina Hendricks).

Fair enough - but, I gotta admit that, as much as I like Peggy, it's a little hard for me to sympathize after she indicated to Paul - about his Twilight Zone routine - that she doesn't like science fiction! Apostasy!

There is one bit of worrying action: Don's wife Betty (January Jones - that's the actress's name - a name from the 1950s if ever there was one) is having trouble with her hands, as in they're not working quite right. She's off to the shrink - they were probably at the height of their trendiness then - but I have a feeling this is something more serious...

More next week ... it's good indeed to be back in the late 1950s, again -- especially since the smoke doesn't go through the screen...

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) - in which we discuss what Harry and the characters are really smoking on Mad Men - at Light On Light Through

great interview with Peggy (Elisabeth Moss)...

See also reviews of other episodes: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarettes and Nixon Coming ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad Men 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

6-minute podcast review of Mad Men

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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