Wednesday, July 25

crazy-good summer TV continues with Mad Men

well i posted last night that i was going to try and tune in to Mad Men, a new show that AMC (the makers) claim is the highest rated new show of the summer, and so i tried tuning in, and i succeeded, and it was good.

the show is about an ad agency in the late 50s / early 60s and basically it tackles the issues of the day: sexual harassment and dominance on the part of the men, and sexual submissiveness on the part of the ladies... everyone's cheating on everyone, you've got a clearly closeted homosexual (which i'm sure will be the focus of a future episode), a few independent women ("feminists" if you will; it will be the juxtaposition of these women and those that are submissive that'll run throughout the show), a main character that's checked out on life because life checked out on him (he was in WWII, and hell, just being in the ad agency can disconnect a man), and everyone, EVERYONE smokes and drinks.

i make it all sound like a little MUCH, but really it's handled well, with a subtlety not often seen in television. the whole show had a sense of sadness over it, a veil, but it made it feel really safe... i don't know how to describe it. maybe it's because it is also a very beautiful show, with the time period in question fully realized.

if i were to fault the show with anything it would be that it feels like they're taking all the social issues of the day and blowing them up a little bit - i mean what are the chances that a bunch of people that work at an ad agency and a few people they're close to outside of work would embody all the social issues of the day? like the homosexual character, he seemed a little forced (maybe he shouldn't have played it so obviously gay, it would have been nice to find out as a reveal later)... and other things. but i'm willing to overlook this small fault because otherwise the show is spot-on.

i think i would like this show even if it weren't set when it is because it's about the ad business, and i've always been interested in advertising. hell, i even RELATE to the show in a way because the video game industry moves just as fast as the ad industry, is just as creative as the ad industry - is just as much in the business of "selling the masses happiness" as the ad industry is. and maybe i'm a little disconnected myself. :)

that said, i think the setting is PERFECT for a show like this, because the fakeness of advertising, the masks, the layers - it really mirrors the changing landscape of the late 50s / early 60s.

my last complaint is the "reveal" at the end of the pilot having to do with the main character. i won't say what it was, but here's what i liked about him: he was disconnected from the war, from being in the ad agency, a man alone searching for something but not expecting to find it - he was basically a Hemingway hero. now with the reveal... it just adds a lot more layers to the character and how i feel about him.

but i guess layers aren't necessarily a bad thing. hell, the show itself is layers upon layers and i absolutely love it.

- kawitchate

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