Mad Men More Than Smoke, Booze, Suits

Before I get this post going and decide to interrupt it with a piece of irrelevant trivia, I want you to know January Jones and I went to the same high school.

I bring it up because I’ve just started watching season one of Mad Men, the AMC show about an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City during the 1960s. (Jones plays Betty Draper, the wife of Jon Hamm’s lead character, Don.) This is my second attempt at watching the show. The first attempt ended with my girlfriend horrified by the sexism and me feeling kind of, well, bored.

Now that I’m working at a place akin to the Sterling Cooper agency from the show, I’m taking more interest. I’m just two episodes in, but one thing I admire is the creative process. That’s what brings people like myself to the business of advertising and marketing  — those moments when you’re in a quiet room with your colleagues, and you can almost hear the ideas bouncing off the walls. It’s a brilliant silence and Mad Men captures it well.

I’m borrowing the first season from my mom. She was born in 1958 so she probably relates to the Draper children better than Don or  Betty. The show has been applauded for its remarkable honesty to the era, so I can only imagine what it’s like for her to have this wildly successful drama reflect the earliest memories of her childhood.

A few early observations from season one:

  • So. Much. Smoking. I wanted to cough at times during the first few episodes. Once you’ve see a gynecologist smoking during an exam, you know you’ve been taken not just to a different era, but a different world.
  • Joan Holloway, played by Christina Hendricks, is the one female character on TV right now with the looks to transform society’s views on female beauty. Hendricks is considered “busty” by today’s standards. In reality, she’s shaped like a normal, healthy woman. Glad to see she’s being celebrated for not being the uber-skinny type.
  • As I write this, I’m at working in a short-sleeve flannel button-up, blue jeans and a pair of brown leather shoes. Man, I wish we dressed now like they did back then. Let’s revert back to suits and dresses, huh? I dressed better than this going to some of my college classes. Now, I’m a professional? Something’s wrong here.
  • I’ve always respected movies and shows that can do a lot with silence. Dialogue is easy. It’s what you do with silence that shows mastery.

There’s no chance in hell I’ll finish the first three seasons or have AMC by the weekend when season four premieres. If there’s any Mad Men fans out there, I’d love to hear how you came to the show and what you like or dislike about it.