Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The Men of Madison Avenue
I've been watching a little bit (3 episodes thus far) of this show. I gotta say, I understand why it wins awards. As Paste described it, it "looks more like a movie than a TV show." By that, I think they mean that the costumes, set design, anything pertaining to the aesthetics of the show are just at a level above most television series. The acting, plot lines, and script are all solid as well.
To give a basic premise of the show, Mad Men refers to the wealthy, educated business guys who work on Madison Avenue in NYC. They themselves coined the term, "Mad Men." The show follows the advertising department of a fictional company and is set in the 1960's.
One of the most appealing aspects of the show is that everything is so pretty. Everyone is smoking in that sexy old way or drinking high class drinks. The guys are always wearing suits. The girls always wear dresses and makeup. But that is part of the indictment the show is getting at. A society in which destructive behaviors such as smoking and drinking are celebrated holds a certain charm to it but that's when the viewer realizes that those behaviors are actually destructive (does that make sense?). The sexist attitudes prevalent in the office and home are alarming yet it's fairly accurate in depicting American society 40-50 years ago.
So far, there isn't a character that totally "gets it." You know how in The Office, Pam and Jim are the two solid characters who seem pretty in touch with reality amidst an office full of crazies? This show doesn't seem to have characters that are "progressive" or think like someone from today's age. Although that can make it difficult to become attached to the show, it's a little more realistic. The results of negative parts of that era (sexism, discreet affairs, stigmas) are felt by the characters but they seem to be a part of the system with no real alternatives. I'm assuming they get played out in later episodes but I like what I see so far.
Up to now, Mad Men gets a thumbs up from me.