Monday, June 23, 2008

Mad About 'Mad Men'

One of my new TV favorites, AMC's Golden Globe winning Mad Men, was the focus of the New York Times Magazine cover story this weekend and I couldn't have been more thrilled. (For the uninitiated, the show focuses on the work and personal lives of advertising executives on New York City's Madison Avenue in 1960.)

The lead character, the haunted, philandering Don Draper (Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm, whom the Times likened to Gregory Peck) is a fascinating anti-hero. In fact, almost all of the Mad Men characters are deeply drawn, including Draper's wife Betty (January Jones), the trapped at-home mom of two who's living her life among other housewives in the 'burbs while her husband drinks heavily in the city or lingers with his mistress du jour.

Of the next season's Betty Draper storyline, show creator Matthew Weiner said:

"Betty Draper is getting angry. She is an incredibly beautiful woman who married a man she barely knows because he looks good on paper. Her mother has just died, and she's realized that when her beauty disappears she will cease to exist. She's not enough for her husband, and she doesn't want to accept it. She's terrified of dealing with that problem because she cannot get divorced, she cannot be single, she cannot start over. She is somewhat puritanical."

Another intriguing character is the brand new copywriter, the only female copywriter in Draper's ad agency, Peggy Olson (played by Elisabeth Moss, who used to play President Bartlett's daughter on The West Wing). Last season she was promoted from the secretarial pool and gave birth to a baby whom she didn't realize she was carrying, the child of a married junior ad exec.

Above you'll find a video from YouTube from last year's season finale. It's a scene showing Don pitching an advertising campaign to the folks from Kodak who are looking to hire an ad agency to sell their slide machine. The proposal is made during a time when Don's afraid he's losing his bearings on what's important, including his family. It's very poignant.

The sophomore season starts on July 27 on Thursdays at 10 on AMC. I've already noted the date on my calendar. In bold.

Image credit: New York Times.

No comments: