Film: Mad Men
Cast includes: Jon Hamm (The Town), Elizabeth Moss (Get Him to the Greek), January Jones (Unknown), Christina Hendricks (Life as We Know It), John Slattery (Flags of Our Fathers), Robert Morse (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), Vincent Kartheiser (Alpha Dog), Jared Harris (Natural Born Killers)
Creator: Matthew Weiner (The Sopranos)
Genre: Drama (2007-)
In brief: The first episode of Mad Men centers around Don Draper’s successful 11th-hour save of the Lucky Strike account. Faced with an FTC crackdown on untrue tobacco health claims, Lucky Strike needs something bold. And the inspiration doesn’t come until the client and ad agency are face to face in the conference room of Sterling-Cooper. With everything riding on Don Draper, he finally has one of his moments of genius. As it turns out, it’s a fairly typical day in this hot, high-profile New York ad agency of the 1960s.
Every scene is laced with alcohol, cigarette smoke and 1960s social issues. The secretaries are all “girls” and they’re expected to “show a little leg.” The new girl, Peggy, seems a bit too serious for this environment. Joan, the office manager with gorgeous red hair and a voluptuous figure gives Peggy the name of a doctor who offers birth control pills to unmarried women, along with some friendly advice about being less up-tight.
Sterling-Cooper’s department store client turns out to be an even bigger challenge than Lucky Strike. Not only is it a Jewish-owned company, but the daughter is now taking an active role in the business… invading an all-male world. And now it seems the clients want a campaign that Don doesn’t believe in.
Times are changing… both at-large and in the world of advertising. All the trends that are seen in general are magnified in New York’s ad world. Yet in today’s climate of quick cuts and high action entertainment, Mad Men seems to move along at a gentle pace. It’s very realistic and seems to evoke either love or distain among viewers… depending on whether they feel like revisiting this interesting but tumultuous time… or not.
4 popped kernels
Richly detailed… if you lived through this era, Mad Men will take you back
Primary Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Appeal: Any audience
Distribution: TV & direct to video
Mood: Both upbeat and somber
Tempo: In no hurry
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Intense
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought provoking