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The Mad Men essay you probably should read.
October 14, 2009 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Mad About Mad Men: The flaws in Mad Men's period detail and the show's greater triumphs. posted by The Devil Tesla (81 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
ironically

Like 10,000 spoons, when all you need is a knife.
posted by delmoi at 9:32 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did you know that sarcasm is a form of irony?

Sure you did.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:38 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


People don't really discuss The Shield, do they?!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:40 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did you know that ironing has never been considered sarcastic?

also previously: Jack interviews January
posted by philip-random at 9:42 PM on October 14, 2009


OMGOMGOMG LIKE HOW WOULD PETE KNOW EVEN ANYTHING ABOUT METROPOLIS IT WAS SO NOT IN CIRCULATION FOR HIS LIFESPAN AND HOW DID JOAN COME TO TRANSLATE C'EST MAGNIFIQUE ARE WE TO BELIEVE SHE DID IT HERSELF???????

okay, madness might be the right term for this.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:47 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am glad there is a Mad Men post today because now I can tell people that I ran into Sal in the laundry room of my building today. Cool!
posted by stargell at 9:56 PM on October 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I've still never seen Mad Men, but from what I've read on the Internet I've come to understand that there are, apparently, two types of people: Those who love and appreciate Mad Men, and those who need to watch Mama's Family in black and white because they're confused by colors.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:59 PM on October 14, 2009 [16 favorites]


HOLY CRAP, stargell! Did you ask him about, you know, what HAPPENED LAST SUNDAY?! Or did you do the cool thing and not say anything. :)
posted by tzikeh at 10:00 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The last paragraph of the article:
The cognoscenti, though, have largely ignored this quiet virtue while extolling what are really the show’s considerable flaws. Ah, the media juggernaut. If Mad Men were half as good as the hype would have it, the show would be one of the best ever produced for American television. It’s both.
It's both what? One of the best ever while having considerable flaws? or while having quiet virtues ignored by the cognoscenti (referring to the easy to understand dialog?) What on earth is that paragraph trying to convey?

also previously: Jack interviews January

Speaking of that "January Jones Says Ex-Boyfriend Ashton Thought She'd Fail"
posted by delmoi at 10:05 PM on October 14, 2009


Its both half as good as the hype would have it, and one of the best ever produced for American television? Terrible sentence.
posted by milestogo at 10:16 PM on October 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can we, the people of Earth, quit it with the "OMG ITS NOT PERIOD ACCURATE" articles? Jeez louise, beating a dead horse. Who'd have thunk that a show made in 2009 wouldn't have the visceral, identical feel of 1963?
posted by GilloD at 10:21 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I got way more into this show after talking with Matt Weiner about it, because it was really interesting to see how all the origigal/primary neurosis and dysfunction of the show comes out of one guy's brain pretty much. Everything is so horribly human.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:24 PM on October 14, 2009


Can we, the people of Earth, quit it with the "OMG ITS NOT PERIOD ACCURATE" articles? Jeez louise, beating a dead horse. Who'd have thunk that a show made in 2009 wouldn't have the visceral, identical feel of 1963?

Well, I've never actually seen the show so I don't know how accurate the article's description of it is, but details like the Bryn Mawr thing do rather stick out. It'd be like people 40 years from now making a period show about our present day, featuring a strong-willed liberal feminist who reminisces about fitting casual abortions and gay-pride parades into her busy course schedule at Liberty University.
posted by ubernostrum at 11:16 PM on October 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hear that Roger Sterling's (John Slattery) daughter is to be married on November 23rd (1963) in a future show. It should be fascinating to see how all the main characters react to the Kennedy assassination.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:32 PM on October 14, 2009


It should be fascinating to see how all the main characters react to the Kennedy assassination.

Weiner has said a bunch of times that he has no intention of including the assassination in any MM plots, because it's been so overdone. But who knows? They handled the Cuban Missile Crisis well.

Nice link, by the way. I had no idea about the Bryn Mawr slip-up. I gather the main point of having Betty have gone there is to show how well-educated she is - further hammered home in the Italy episode last week, where she spoke fluent Italian.
posted by lunasol at 11:51 PM on October 14, 2009


To me, the fascination with the show's accuracy isn't mere nitpicking. One of the show's main functions is to retell a familiar history in an unfamiliar, way, focusing on a specific constellation of character archetypes. It narrativizes history in a really affective way, by personalizing the experiences of the events and culture of that time period for us, archetypes from another time period. In this, certain translations and elisions still must be made, and how and why they are made, and attentively or inattentively, is part of the semi-reflexive historiographic craftsmanship of the show. The show is about the the wages of materialsm in every respect, which is one thing which makes it so appealing to us highbrows: in certain ways, that makes it reflexive, and reflexivity is an ANATHEMA-STUFFED UNICORN on television. And such a sense—of "this is peculiar, ironic and arch, I LIKE IT, I TIVO IT" is communicated to us. The marketing for it does not do that, which beguiles us more. And they even run shorter commercial breaks for it early in its last season. damned yiffy.

Since I grant the show this level of artwork, I am interested in the details, of the spirit of its manufacture, in what these elisions, glossings over or satiric treatments are meant to say about US. Are we supposed to buy, hook line and sinker, that Joan speaks French, for example? Are we supposed to be as WOWED by that fact as her dinner guests acted to be? Are we supposed to politely act wowed? Are we to think she doesn't understand what she's saying? Where DID she hear C'est Magnifique in French then? (this is where I go a little odd in the nog) It was written by Cole Porter, in mostly English! Did she like Dario Moreno, the gay Turkish Jew who sang it first in French? What does THAT tell us about the enigmas of Joan? Doesn't the smooching sound she makes double as a tsk/tut sound? What a VIXEN! ET CETERA.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:04 AM on October 15, 2009


“Some people just hide in plain sight”? Get it—he’s talking about himself. He’s invisible. Even worse, that stance evokes and encourages the condescension of posterity; just as insecure college students feel they must join the knowing hisses of the callow campus audience when a character in an old movie makes an un-PC comment, so Mad Men directs its audience to indulge in a most unlovely—because wholly unearned—smugness.

BZZZZZT

WRONG!

That assumes it's not commenting in good conscience on our time in comparison to the diegetic era. If that comparison is made with any sort of critical thought, such exchanges wordlessly point up hypocrisies or injustices in today's world. The show's bad example isn't for you to crow over in smugness, it's to be contemplated with a dropped jaw as if it's happening now, because all cinema asserts a certain presence, and tv, "liveness." it's an idiom or an ideology of the medium, maybe, but it's been omnipresent in tv. This is changing, and I don't think anything about Mad Men has little to do with the fact that it's a Tivo era show.

I digress. It's only smug if you only think smugly. No kidding that culture vultures like this columnist do.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:19 AM on October 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's a good show. People do stuff far closer to what people do in 'real' life than most tv shows.
And it's set in the fifties and everyone drinks and smokes all the time which for the love of all that is precious I so, so, so wish I could do but, alas, reality.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:22 AM on October 15, 2009


"... One of the show's main functions is to retell a familiar history in an unfamiliar, way, focusing on a specific constellation of character archetypes. ..."
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:04 AM on October 15

I think you really don't know much about cable channel economics, Ambrosia Voyeur. Mad Men has the main functions, for AMC, of:
1) Increasing basic cable system carry fees for AMC.
2) Generating more licensing revenue (via DVDs, re-runs, ads during re-runs, etc.) for AMC.
3) Delivering more viewers to other AMC shows.
4) Increasing ad rates for AMC through expanded viewership and Neilsen ratings on AMC shows.
5) Increasing AMC ability to buy scripts/talent/production to create new shows.

Pretty much anything else it happens to accomplish in or for the larger culture is pro bono. If it depicts the 1960s well, it's fair to support the series with viewership and comment on those aspects, but if it did that superbly, and nobody watched, or was willing to be an AMC viewer on other shows, on the basis of Mad Men, the show would be a business and economic failure.
posted by paulsc at 1:31 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised nobody's commented on the "Well-thank-God-it's-a-show-that's-about-real-Americans-white-Americans-Americans-like-me" tone of the penultimate paragraph--the claim that the "quiet virtue" of the show is in its WASPy language.

Is he actually trying to make a larger argument about how Mad Men shows us our own racism in the 21st century?

That argument would go something like "people who watch Mad Men are smug about the racism of the 1960s, but they really shouldn't be, because they should recognize that here it is, it's 2009, and they're glued to their TV sets precisely because these people are WASPs and speak WASP English, shall we say 'correct Americanese'..."

I can't tell if that argument is actually in there, or if the writer is just oblivious to the fact that writing off The Sopranos and The Wire as "shows-with-weird-ethnic-English-which-is-fragmented-and-uses-poor-grammar-and-can't-really-carry-meaning-like-my-English-does" is a profoundly fucked up thing to do.
posted by besonders at 2:10 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you really don't know much about cable channel economics, Ambrosia Voyeur. Mad Men has the main functions, for AMC, of:
1) ...


That's like saying the purpose of the show is to control the energy levels in the electron beam that sweeps across the phosphors in people's TV. I mean, Obviously each person involved in the show has a different motivation for their involvement. For most of them, it's about paying the bills. For others it's about status, which often can motivate people directly.

For some people what the show is "about" is why certain artistic choices were made, relative to others that could theoretically brought in as much money for the network. It may actually be that some people actually do want to communicate some message. Few artists are so crass as to produce whatever they think will sell, and those that do produce stuff like Transformers.

--

It should be fascinating to see how all the main characters react to the Kennedy assassination.

I've heard that the episode with the foot in the lawn mower was a metaphor for the Kennedy Assassination. A young, bright, charismatic leader comes in and people's dreamlike optimism is shattered through a shocking, blood-splattered act of violence (although in this case accidental).

However I can't see how they could avoid it, I mean, they mentioned a lot of other key events and it would just be conspicuous to leave it out.
posted by delmoi at 2:23 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


the writer is just oblivious to the fact that writing off The Sopranos and The Wire as "shows-with-weird-ethnic-English-which-is-fragmented-and-uses-poor-grammar-and-can't-really-carry-meaning-like-my-English-does" is a profoundly fucked up thing to do.

He's not writing them off; he's just pointing out that they're written in (lower class) dialect. There is class in America, and Mad Men holds a mirror up to the upperish middlish of it. That's unusual, and worth mentioning. I don't think it has anything to do with carrying meaning, really; it seems to have more to do with ease of access. I know I certainly need to rewind every once in awhile to catch exactly what Omar or Snoop said.

(Big Love is whiter, but it has its own dialect.)
posted by mr_roboto at 2:23 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's like saying the purpose of the show is to control the energy levels in the electron beam that sweeps across the phosphors in people's TV.

Thanks, delmoi. That's pretty much exactly what I was thinking.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:25 AM on October 15, 2009


I've still never seen Mad Men, but from what I've read on the Internet I've come to understand that there are, apparently, two types of people: Those who love and appreciate Mad Men, and those who need to watch Mama's Family in black and white because they're confused by colors.

I don't understand why this post isn't sidebarred already
1000 kinds of win
posted by scrowdid at 3:23 AM on October 15, 2009


mr_roboto, of course it's a valid thing to point out, but I see a value judgment in the sentence "Unlike performers in most naturalistic American productions—theatrical, cinematic, or on television—who can only gesture at meaning with the fragmented language with which they’re supplied, the Mad Men actors are given precise words and whole, often clever and grammatically complex sentences to work with."

Plus he calls it the "quiet virtue" of the show, which implies to me that the shows that aren't written in upper class dialect lack that virtue. Maybe I'm reading too much into it--it just stuck out to me as weird.
posted by besonders at 3:34 AM on October 15, 2009


> stargell, running into Sal would have me screaming like a Beatles-fan.
posted by dabitch at 3:59 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


According to paulsc's school of criticism, the only purpose of Ulysses was to make money for the Shakespeare and Company publishing house -- anything else is just secondary, and if you put any different interpretation on the book then you must know very little about the economics of the book publishing industry.
posted by creasy boy at 5:12 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Moreover, as Rose’s customarily reverential invocation of the critics suggests, not just Rose but also Mad Men’s affluent, with-it target audience are particularly susceptible to liking what TheNew York Times’ Arts and Style sections tell them to like

Okay, that made me laugh. But there is this weird unspoken fixation on the Upper-crust WASP way-of-life that seems to permeate a lot of Mad Men discussions and fandom. I don't know what to make of it, but it is a little creepy.
posted by The Whelk at 5:19 AM on October 15, 2009


Pretty, with a little-girl voice and a childlike, almost lobotomized affect; humorless; bland but at times creepily calculating (as when she seeks solace by manipulating her vulnerable friend into an affair); obsessed with appearances and therefore lacking in inner resources; a consistently cold and frequently vindictive mother; a daddy’s girl—Betty is written, and clumsily performed by model-turned-actress January Jones, as a clichéd shallow sorority sister. (Just as Don’s self-invented identity is Gatsby-like, so Betty, his wife, is a jejune ornament like Daisy, though without the voice full of money.)

That there were no sororities at Brynn Mawr is a great catch for the nitpicker's guild, but I disagree with this assessment of the character in essentially every aspect. It seems to me that a person who takes away this impression of Betty isn't watching the show very carefully (for instance, the recent episode where she goes to Italy): Betty's problem isn't that she's bland, humorless, or stupid but that she hates her life.
posted by gerryblog at 5:20 AM on October 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Betyy's not bland, think of when she tries to go back into modeling ..or gets that gun. Betty-is-boring is a shallow reading of the show. She's not bland, she's clinically depressed and increasingly desperate and yes, she fucking hates everything about her life.
posted by The Whelk at 5:22 AM on October 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Not to mention she's hawt.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:35 AM on October 15, 2009


Looking forward to seeing the cool, popular Don Draper turn into a stodgy old man after Kennedy's Death / Beatles infiltrate their lives.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:39 AM on October 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


HOLY CRAP, stargell! Did you ask him about, you know, what HAPPENED LAST SUNDAY?! Or did you do the cool thing and not say anything. :)

I did the cool thing and squealed, "OH MY GOD! Mad Men!!!" and completely failed to follow up with crucial questions about plot points.
posted by stargell at 6:02 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to seeing the cool, popular Don Draper turn into a stodgy old man after Kennedy's Death / Beatles infiltrate their lives.

Ditto. I've loved hating him lately. When he said "you people" this past week, I pretty much wanted to throttle him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:31 AM on October 15, 2009


Looking forward to seeing the cool, popular Don Draper turn into a stodgy old man after Kennedy's Death / Beatles infiltrate their lives.
Hot liberal elementary school teacher teacher will loosen him up a bit ;>
posted by njbradburn at 6:59 AM on October 15, 2009


So if I've understood the article correctly, Benjamin Schwarz' point seems to be "Mad Men is a very good TV show and you're a tool if you like it."
posted by adamrice at 7:29 AM on October 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


I know I certainly need to rewind every once in awhile to catch exactly what Omar or Snoop said.

I'll admit it. I watched The Wire with the captions on. Of course, mostly because I was watching with a non-native English speaker who couldn't even understand everything McNulty said sometimes. But still, even if I'd been watching on my own, I'd need the captions to get every single word - especially from Snoop.

Yeah, Mad Men? Not so much. Don Draper enunciates just fine.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:38 AM on October 15, 2009


I have to admit that I thought I'd find the Betty Draper/Betty Friedan thing pretty tedious by this point. But I still love it. She's *so awful, carrying on with the Governor's Press Officer. Saying things like "Maybe it's just not time for Civil Rights" to her "girl." G-D delicious.
posted by njbradburn at 7:50 AM on October 15, 2009


So if I've understood the article correctly, Benjamin Schwarz' point seems to be "Mad Men is a very good TV show and you're a tool if you like it."
posted by adamrice


Yeah, as I read the article, I felt like someone should send him a card saying, "it's OK, you can unclench, people won't think you're a lame-o if you admit to liking something."
posted by COBRA! at 7:51 AM on October 15, 2009


Regarding the drinking, is it humanly possible to drink that much and be a functioning creative alcoholic executive?
posted by MrMulan at 7:51 AM on October 15, 2009


Benjamin Schwartz uses the word, "verisimilitude" too often in the article. How is that for nit-picking?

They got more details wrong--Salem cigarettes have white filters, and "reds" are Seconals, not phenobarbital (episode Seven Twenty Three).
posted by chocolatetiara at 7:57 AM on October 15, 2009


Regarding the drinking, is it humanly possible to drink that much and be a functioning creative alcoholic executive?

Speaking from experience, yes, yes you can. It is also possible to be a well-respected film and commerical director and be powerfully stoned at every public event. Takes all kinds.
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Speaking from experience[about functioning creative alcoholic executives], yes, yes you can.

The controlled dipsomania in Mad Men reminds me horribly of old school senior British newspaper hacks.

And I take it everyone has seen this? the video is slow to load in the middle, but...yes, worth it: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1220587/Drunk-disorderly-Search-beer-ends-havoc.html
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:13 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the minute he said "you people," I (and, from what I can tell from The Intarwebs, everyone else) went "...UNNNGGGGGH." There's Don being a debonair jerk, and there's Don being an awful, awful reminder that, for a lot of people like [the object of his derision], everyday realities really fucking sucked.
posted by Madamina at 8:18 AM on October 15, 2009


paulsc has blown my fragile little mind! TV is revenue-based? Mad Men sells SOAP? You do NOT say. Why, it's as though the reflexivity and materialism I mentioned ALLUDE to something... whatever could that be?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:50 AM on October 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


The controlled dipsomania in Mad Men reminds me horribly of old school senior British newspaper hacks.

Reminds me of Britain in general, or certainly London. I've pretty much always been able to hold my own as consumer of more alcohol than the law requires, but in my few months in London a decade or so ago, the whole damned city drank me under the table on a more or less nightly basis.

And yet there it was functioning away first thing every morning.
posted by philip-random at 9:20 AM on October 15, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about Don's "you people". If it's meant as "you homosexuals", it implies that he had a ready awareness of gay people as a class, which seems wrong both for the time period and for Don, though I'd welcome correction on this point. I thought "you people" was motivated slightly by homophobia, in that he was distancing himself from Sal, but that the real reference of "people" was "these two idiots who come into my office with this fucked-up problem."

Don's only homophobic insofar as he misunderstands Sal's situation and has no desire to try to understand it. He can be very empathetic but he can also turn it off when it doesn't suit him. He's cruel and callous because he has enough of his own problems and simply refuses to hear Sal's -- he's been similarly cruel to his secretary and to Peggy on different occasions.
posted by creasy boy at 9:23 AM on October 15, 2009


Reminds me of Britain in general, or certainly London. I've pretty much always been able to hold my own as consumer of more alcohol than the law requires, but in my few months in London a decade or so ago, the whole damned city drank me under the table on a more or less nightly basis.


(puts on pompous blowhard hat) Professional Class America has this really weird relationship with alcohol. It's hard to describe, but when you spend time working in other industires or overseas, the casual drinking seems much higher and doesn't have this ...vibe around it. I don't know, it seems like it's all or nothing all the time. (takes off hat, wanders away )
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don's only homophobic insofar as he misunderstands Sal's situation and has no desire to try to understand it. He can be very empathetic but he can also turn it off when it doesn't suit him. He's cruel and callous because he has enough of his own problems and simply refuses to hear Sal's -- he's been similarly cruel to his secretary and to Peggy on different occasions.

I don't think Don every thinks about anyone but Don too hard. His distant-father-mentor vibe with Peggy seems more because he sees her attempts to change herself as a reflection of his own crazy made-up identity. "None of this ever happened" etc.
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 AM on October 15, 2009


Any television critic who thinks WASPs have been underrepresented on television has clearly never watched any network drama aimed at teenagers in the last decade and a half.
posted by thivaia at 9:34 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think Don every thinks about anyone but Don too hard.

Yeah but as an ad-man he's able to empathize really well when he has to, he just doesn't usually bother with the people around him in his daily life.
posted by creasy boy at 9:42 AM on October 15, 2009


Yeah but as an ad-man he's able to empathize really well when he has to, he just doesn't usually bother with the people around him in his daily life.

It's a very intensely specific empathy, finding out what people want to hear, running tests and figuring out people's needs. It's a bit like being an actor, or a novelist. But it can also be turned off real quick and doesn't seem to work on people who've been around him for any length of time. Betty, ferexample, pretty much wrote off ever relating to him as a human being after she discovered she was being used as a lab rat for a campaign. So Dan/Don/Whomever only exists long enough to make the right impression, get what he wants, and leave.

You know, like an ad.
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2009


This isn't a time machine. It's a plate of beans.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I haven't started watching Mad Men yet (I wish I had TIVOed the series when it first started!), but I know people that watch it. One of them is a pretty bro-ish type, and he unironically finds the sexism and alcoholism appealing, and a halmark of a better time to be a 'man' in America.

He also roots for the cops in the Wire, but...
posted by codacorolla at 10:09 AM on October 15, 2009


Peggy is a big part of the show, and I think she'd probably be pretty off-putting to bro-ish dudes. I hope the show doesn't start focusingon Don too much at Peggy's expense.
posted by creasy boy at 10:20 AM on October 15, 2009


I hear that Roger Sterling's (John Slattery) daughter is to be married on November 23rd (1963)...

Yep. That was the date on the invitations she brought into her Dad's office to show him during one of the early shows this season.
posted by ericb at 10:37 AM on October 15, 2009


They got more details wrong-- "reds" are Seconals, not phenobarbital (episode Seven Twenty Three).

I think that was the point. The two hitch-hikers lied to Don so he'd take the pills and pass out so they could rob him. He's not cool, he's a mark.

Do you think I spend a bit too much time on the Televisionwithoutpity boards? A wee mite?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:39 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to seeing the cool, popular Don Draper turn into a stodgy old man after Kennedy's Death / Beatles infiltrate their lives.

Heh. You know, I've thought about this -- what happens if the show goes on for 10 more seasons? Will it have to take place in the 70s? Don't get me wrong, that would be totally groovy. But nowhere near as iconic or stylish as the early 60s.

I mean ... Don Draper at studio 54? Roger Sterling in a leisure suit? It would be a different kind of show.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:45 AM on October 15, 2009


Heh. You know, I've thought about this -- what happens if the show goes on for 10 more seasons? Will it have to take place in the 70s? Don't get me wrong, that would be totally groovy. But nowhere near as iconic or stylish as the early 60s.

Matt Weiner has said that his overarching plan is to end the show in 1970, and to show how the journey from 60-70 affects people.
posted by COBRA! at 10:50 AM on October 15, 2009


I am pretty excited to see Sally grow up.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:54 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think Schwartz is giving enough credit to the character of Betty Draper or to January Jones for her portrayal. She's a weird, screwed up character - more Belle du Jour or pre-Monaco Grace Kelly to me than a mid-century WASP Madame Bovary - and I think the fake simpleness is done really well by the actress.
posted by queensissy at 11:48 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am pretty excited to see Sally grow up.

Really? I'm kinda terrified. Girl does not has the best role models. Adolescenes is gonna be a freakin' wrecking ball in that house.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on October 15, 2009


More Roger.
More Joan.
A whole lot less Pete.

Also, the Mad Men website has a cocktail guide, which comes in handy when your dipsomania kicks in while watching.
posted by madajb at 12:39 PM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I actually want more Pete, but only if he dances.
posted by queensissy at 12:59 PM on October 15, 2009


The only show I can can compare the look and feel of 'Mad Men' to is...'Bewitched'.
The same wardrobe, the same look to the offices, heck Darren even had a pitcher of martinis waiting for him when he got home every night.
Watching the reruns of 'Bewitched' in our middle-class suburban Chicago home, where the
breadwinner of our family was a regional salesman for farm heating supplies, that wood-paneled Madison avenue world seemed as exotic as anything could be. I always imagined everyone would be extremely polite and sterile. That's why 'The Office' is such a great counterpoint to this show for me.

/SNL skit of the future...'Mad Men' cast reading 'The Office' script.
posted by exparrot at 1:47 PM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Elizabeth Moss is an ex-ballerina! When's she gonna dance??
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:49 PM on October 15, 2009


Who else here is just waiting to see Don Draper have his first acid trip?
posted by Asparagirl at 1:54 PM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm still on Season 1, and I have to say watching Don Draper get high was pretty awesome.

Also: Everytime I see Elisabeth Moss, I can't help but think "ZOMG! IT'S ELLIE BARTLET!"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:59 PM on October 15, 2009


"ZOMG! IT'S ELLIE BARTLET!"

I think you mean Zoey. (which actually works out better! ZOMG! IT'S ZOEY!)
posted by dforemsky at 2:31 PM on October 15, 2009


You're right. I had the names backwards. DAMNIT.

ZOMG! ZOEY!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:16 PM on October 15, 2009


People don't really discuss The Shield, do they?!

Why not? I don't understand your question except by assuming that you saw, at most, one or two episodes. I'd like to (boldly) advance the notion that The Shield ended like The Sopranos should have ended. By the end of The Sopranos, David Chase had reduced Tony to a sociopath, which was a big mistake. There was nothing left for (most of) us to relate to. Chase initially portrayed him as a more grayscale character than that, but I've often heard he reacted poorly to the lionization of Tony by some of the less discerning audience members.

The Shield, by contrast, consistently portrayed Vic Mackey with greater complexity, capable of acts both heinous and heroic. As The Sopranos progressed, the drama fizzled, but The Shield became more poignant and intense all the way through to the end.
posted by Edgewise at 5:22 PM on October 15, 2009


I look forward in anticipation of the day 20 years from now when there is a TV show about the 80s so that I can gripe about how PEOPLE IN 1988 DID NOT KNOW WHAT POGS WERE!!@!!!1!
posted by The World Famous at 5:40 PM on October 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hot liberal elementary school teacher teacher will loosen him up a bit ;>

I disagree. I think the drunk dialing hot liberal elementary school teacher is going to rock his world in a bad, bad way.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:30 PM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I look forward in anticipation of the day 20 years from now when there is a TV show about the 80s so that I can gripe about how PEOPLE IN 1988 DID NOT KNOW WHAT POGS WERE!!@!!!1!

Historical accuracy is darned difficult. I'm currently working on a project set in 1972 in which we've taken our details very seriously. But just yesterday, it was pointed out to us that the line "Always Follow The White Rabbit" (offered in the context of an acid trip) didn't exist in the zeitgeist prior to the Matrix.

Oh yeah, I said, and did a quick google search. And guess what? The guy was right. Nothing but 3 pages of smug referencing, and eventually some lesbian porn.
posted by philip-random at 7:44 PM on October 15, 2009


But just yesterday, it was pointed out to us that the line "Always Follow The White Rabbit" (offered in the context of an acid trip) didn't exist in the zeitgeist prior to the Matrix.

Perhaps the person who pointed that out was unaware of a) Alice In Wonderland, and b) the hugely-popular Jefferson Airplane song from 1967?

I'm pretty sure that, notwithstanding the pervasiveness of Matrix references on the internet, someone doing acid in 1972 would be totally unsurprised at the phrase "always follow the white rabbit."
posted by The World Famous at 7:54 PM on October 15, 2009


I think the drunk dialing hot liberal elementary school teacher is going to rock his world in a bad, bad way.

Yeah, I agree. I can already imagine Morgan Freeman running towards Don yelling, "School Teacher has the upper hand! School Teacher has the upper hand!" and Don thinking, WTF until he opens the box.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:55 PM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that, notwithstanding the pervasiveness of Matrix references on the internet, someone doing acid in 1972 would be totally unsurprised at the phrase "always follow the white rabbit."

True, the rabbit reference goes way back to Lewis Carroll. My point was, the precise choice of words, "Always Follow the White Rabbit", is actually very new to the zeitgeist as my google search pointed out (less than 4 pages of actual hits).

Thus, in the interests of historical accuracy, we've dropped the line and replaced it with "Always go with the flow".
posted by philip-random at 8:53 PM on October 15, 2009


I wouldn't drop the white rabbit reference if I were you. It is a characteristic late '60s drug reference that was picked up by and referenced in the Matrix. Maybe the exact words "always follow the white rabbit" don't appear on google, but the association of the white rabbit and acid is totally a late '60s thing.
posted by The World Famous at 9:01 PM on October 15, 2009


Dude, try writing a story set in the 1880s. I thank my many Gods it was a light, satircal bawdy story so my biggest battle was getting all the music I wanted to be peroid-accurate.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 PM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Follow the rabbit" was the way I heard it, viz LSD, in the 80's.

I think Don will swerve past the elementary school teacher because she's so obviously a big fucking mess.

Soprano ended up looking like a sociopath because he was/is a sociopath. When I think of sociopaths I have known (...hmmmm, book title? hmmm...) they often go from being seeming pretty grey-scale when you're first getting to know them, to just flat out nuts.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:33 PM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


God, I want so badly to write "MetaFilter: Nothing but 3 pages of smug referencing, and eventually some lesbian porn" but I'm not gonna.
posted by BaxterG4 at 10:46 AM on October 16, 2009


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