Reading the negative reviews of this show here on tv.com is actually a lot more interesting than reading the positive ones. Some of them bring up interesting points (which I am willing to concede as they are a matter of personal taste), while others simply have not understood the show. Fair enough, I've given up on shows other people think are amazing.
But, being a massive TV consumer, and greedily gobbling up the entire three first seasons of the show (I catch on late sometimes) in a week I can safely say that this is one of the (if not the) best show I have ever seen.
Anyone who claims that this is a show about nothing has clearly not watched it. The show is, on the surface, a shallow dark drama about an ad agency in the 60s. It seems simple enough, and I can see that there are people who just cannot seem get past this thin veneer and peer through it to what is quite plainly something else.
To me, it's a character show. The plot, for lack of a better word, is based not in the obvious but in the struggles of all layers of society in 1960s America. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) strikes most people as a chauvinist pig who sticks his poker in anything in a skirt. Someone mentioned his military history (the Purple Heart in the desk) as a weak plot development, but the full ramifications of that Purple Heart haven't even today - two episodes away from the finale of the third season. An element of the plot which has been present in, but not dominated, the plotline for three whole seasons cannot to me be called a weak plot development.
If you are looking for a show which picks up a line of reasoning, or a problem, in one show only to resolve it the next - or even in a season - keep looking. This show is for those who are willing to stick with a show for the long haul. Who are interested in seeing the REAL lives of people, even if they are unreal and on tv. Who want to see that actions will have ramifications even years from the time they were made.
For those who claim that they cannot watch a show which makes them uncomfortable, I would encourage them to think more about why it makes them uncomfortable. The chauvinism, sexism, racism, biggotry and bluntness we see on the show is realistic. But the is set over 70 years ago. Personally, I find it refreshing to see a show which challenges our own ideas - making us squirm in our seats - with its bluntness. The show makes crude jokes and foul comments (Don Draper saying "You people.." with a sneer to Sal (Bryan Batt) still rings in my ears), and makes no excuses for it... because making excuses would nullify the point.
I am glad to finally have caught on to this show. I proudly join the massive herd of fans; wishing I could look as fabulous as Betty Draper, wishing I could land a man as dashingly handsome as Don Draper... wishing that gas still cost $.30 per gallon...
I am more intrigued and utterly impressed with this seasons storylines and the perfection in everything to do with the fashions,music and interactions. A lot of people have done their homework on the overall re-creation of the 1960's. I think Jon Hamm has a lot to do with this. Every week I feel transported back and lovin' it!
Sit down, relax with your favorite refreshment . It's now time for Mad Men. Disable your telephone, don't answer the door. You can't miss a word; you can't miss a facial expression. You will always see something new each time you watch (even reruns).
Mad Men is a hard act to follow. After watching Mad Men, other shows now seem empty and drab. Having fabulous and complicated characters holds my interest. At different times, I can relate to different characters. I have taped every show and then bought the dvd. The commentaries are great!!
I especially loved the commentaries by the actors themselves. Can't get enough of Mad Men. Whenever it is rerun, I watch it for what seems like the very first time. It never gets old!! I graduated from high school and started my first job in 1955. so I can truly relate to Peggy. The church scenes really hit home because I was raised and still am a practicing Roman Catholic. Keep it coming!!!
Well, we've seen the first two episodes of a new season of Mad Men and I have to say, they show promise. After reading the reviews of many of the fans here, both for season 2 and for the first episodes of season 3, I sense some misunderstanding about this show's nature. Mad Men is primarily a character-driven show, as opposed to a story-driven one. That is why some think the story-lines have gotten weak. They are not at all weak in my opinion, but they do come second to the characters. They are provided mainly to put the characters into situations and then examine how they react or to provide insight and explain why they react the way they do. If you want a story-driven show, you should watch LOST, CSI or The Little House on the Prairie.
This season the show continues to revolve around Betty and Don, with other characters on the sideline, mainly Peggy and Pete. For me, Don represents a man who wants something that does not lie in his nature. He wants to live the American Dream. He knows this dream, he understands it, which is why he is so brilliant at advertising, but he has to fight for it more that most others. He has to fight himself and his origins. By nature he is a loner (we've seen why) and he has apparently never known real love until he meets Betty. He craves love, but even after finding it, he still goes searching for it all the wrong places. He loves Betty, but for him married life and a family does not come naturally. At work however, he's as solid as a rock. He's brilliant at what he does, he says and does all the right things, he's understanding and fair. He's simply a great guy! And even though he's a real dirtbag when it comes to his faimly, you still can't help but like him. I'd say that is exceptional character-creation.
Betty is one of my favorite characters. She is in many ways Don's complete opposite. She comes from money, a good home and she's the perfect loyal wife. She loves Don, but we get the feeling she has also missed a little bit out on love during her youth. Throughout season one, she suspects he's cheating. She may have a pretty face and a girlish demeanor but she's not as naive as she looks. She chooses to ignore her suspicions, or maybe she has no choice, but the stress of keeping up appearances (among other things) gets to her as we see in season one. Througout the show, she has grown stronger and more assertive, maybe in response to Don's behaviour. I can't wait to see how her character will evolve this season.
Last season we followed Peggy's conflicts with her faith. In the first two episodes of this season We follow her continuing battle to establish herself as a woman in a men's world. She realises some uncomfortable things about her profession, and about men. She's ahead of her time, and we continue to see the conflicts that brings on. Pete is in my opinion one of the more interesting characters on the show. He comes from real money, has never had to really work hard for anything, but by nature he's ambitious and wants to stand on his own two feet. His problem is he doesn't know how. He never gets what he wants, because in reality he is still a "kept man". What he gets, invariably come with a caveat. He gets to keep his job when Don almost fires him, because his family might make life difficult for Sterling-Cooper. This does not exactly make him popular with the heads at Sterling-Cooper. He lands a big account because his father-in-law ownes the company. He later pulls the account to punish Pete. This is why Pete often ends up as a pawn in a chess-game, the latest example being the sharing of the "head of accounts" title with Cosgrove.
Rearly have I seen a TV show that I like as much as I like Mad Men. It makes most of what is on TV today seem pretty mediocre.
The show is top class entertainment with great ingredients: writing, directing, acting, music, fashion, history, you name it.
I love how every season brings me equal anticipation. I fear skipping a minute because I know I will miss a great line or some little detail about some fictitious character that for some strange reason is of great importance to me. It takes a great deal of genius to stretch fiction this far within one's own immigration. This is suddenly the time and place you badly long for although you are not from the Mad Men generation neither you lived in New York City.
I enjoyed seeing how the characters grew in their roles, some to the most unexpected demeanours. I make a special mention of how a new Pete Campbell emerges from the sleaze that he wore flawlessly to this likeable character with this occasional outburst of morality and social intelligence. I admire how the writers and cast are playing with our sense of judgement and it is very difficult to have a favourite character in this show.
It would be impossible to say praises to the cast in few words but I can say that the choice of actors is masterful. Jon Ham has certainly fulfilled his mission on earth by bringing to life the legacy of a Don Draper. That this pure power. The list goes on and on: Peggy Olson, Betty Draper, Joan Harris, Roger Sterling, Lane Pryce, Megan Draper, Lane Pryce, Trudy Campbell, Ted Chaough, Bert Cooper, Ken Cosgrove, Harry Crane, and a very long list of unforgettable characters
The urge to write this review is predominantly to say that it is too early to close the curtain on this show. It still has a great deal of steam and because it will leave an obvious void in the TV landscape.
In the same way that trying on an outfit from a different decade is curiously fun, the same is true for watching the the slim-suit wearing, multi-addicted cast of Mad Men. The lynchpin in of seemingly sleeper hit, that hides more nefarious undertones than first thought, is Don Draper. Or Dick Whitman, depending who you ask. His sordid and equally mysterious past is but one of the many dramatic storylines that presents itself. Although this drama is mostly casted by previous unknown, the deepness of the stories and high caliber of acting soon makes these virtual unknowns seem all too familiar.
The title "Mad Men" is not only double clear but triple clear. To begin with, it is a rewrite of the term ("ad men") and most of these ad companies were on Madison Avenue (Mad Ave), where they coined the term. Finally, there is of course the literal sense: mad men, crazy men which the show is built upon.
The main character is Don Draper (Jon Hamm) - an extremely successful advertising agent in the firm of Sterling Cooper.
It isn't one of the major providers but they are still very sucessful, thanks to Draper. And that's why they come over and try to sign him, now and again.
Don, in fact broods on a secret that pops up a few times during the first season, but he does his best to let it remain a secret. Meanwhile it is not the only thing that Don fiddles with. Although he is married, with wife and kids out in the suburbs,
he has - and accumulates - several mistresses, while wife Betty (January Jones) walks around at home and thinks the best of him and gets phased when the neighbor tells of her husband's extramarital adventures. A large part of the season is spent to portray that it is not so good between the couple Draper, and the 'transformation' of Betty is somewhat spectacular.
Women Depictions otherwise is something that really gets our eyebrows wrinkled. Gender was not a key word in the 60s, something that newly hired secretary Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) becomes aware of when she walks into Sterling Cooper in the first episode. Don Draper is admittedly kind to her but there is a clear class difference between the successful ad-men and their secretaries. More than once Peggy runs in on colleagues standing in the ladies' room, crying. And when she least expects it, she's there herself.
As guidance, Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks), who has found the perfect balance between the two camps. This curvy woman has developed into one of the most exciting characters as the series progresses. However, It goes awfully well for Peggy, and soon she is a copywriter, to some men's displeasure.
Among the most entertaining that is going on in the series is Don's relationship with his immediate boss Roger Sterling (John Slattery), where there really is a brilliant chemistry between the actors. Among other things, we get to see what happens when you have fought your way up to the 23rd floor via the stairwell after a couple of dozen oysters with accompanying drinks.
One of the things I like most about "Mad Men" is how they incorporate real events in the story, and as I suspected after season 2 we got to be involved in the assassination of JFK, the entire country to a halt, which is noticeable when Roger Sterling (John Slattery) daughter's wedding falls right after. At the same time it is whispered about Vietnam, something that develops later in the series.
This type of reality and the stories of the 60's century spirit that today feels almost alien (as, for example, the pregnant Betty smokes and drinks without any kind of thoughts that she has a live person in the stomach) is the details that really lift the "Mad Men "to a higher level. It feels so real and believable, while it is just strange and almost unreal.
Five seasons in, there is no sign that the series' quality would begin to slump. It is still as beautiful and well made as it has been since day one, and once you've started watching "Mad Men" it is hard to stop.
Although there is a disgraceful amount of racism and the men are 100% misogynistic, it is nothing to be upset about since it is in the 60´s, and this makes the viewer a bit unease to the idea that it wasn't THAT long ago when women were treated as monkey pets and black people as well as Indians and people from the orient were treated as third class citizens (if not worse). Through the brutal use of the N word and the sad picture of the woman-object it indirectly plants the seed of how wrong it all is and how everything was going down the drain. Although they all smoke ALL the time, even when in a visit to a physician, or in bed or even pregnant women, they do not glorify smoking or make it look cool, because after a long smoking party night they always wake up looking terrible and coughing their lungs out as if they suffer from the worst disease. Same messages go through after they say something racist or misogynistic. Without being preachy or prudent and without ANY religious boring clichés, Mad men show you the down side of the 60's as never before shown. But there is also a pretty side. The beginning of something big, the smell of a big change and beauty of certain things. Most of all is very well written and the actors are a joy to watch. I particularly have a small crush on the character of Christina Hendricks (Joan). I really hope she gets more lines and her caracter gets bigger next season. This woman is so vibrant, so beautiful, so full of life and so talented, she is an absolute pleasure to watch, an angel straight from the Heavens.
Give Mad Men a try. The episodes are long and enjoyable like short movies.
I give it a hard 10!
Accomplishment and smiling faces all around stand in for the misery that is life in this world of Mad Men. The structured facade of accomplishment is so fragile under the stress of the stable illusion these characters try to maintain. The simplest crack in this hollow suit of armor cannot be mended by a shot of booze. It remains, choking on the fumes of cigarettes and how do you do's. These characters walk on in their daily lives trying to maintain some semblance of sanity. What we see is that the innocence of this time in our history was not innocent at all, merely more adept at keeping the demons from creeping into the light, misery buried & depression sedated. The human condition, whether in ancient, medieval, or modern times, struggles to understand itself, struggles to gather some meaning behind it all, behind our jobs, our family, our existence. Who am I? Just a pandering ad man trying to sell shaving cream in order to pay the bills? Or am I more? Those stares off into the distance we see these characters so often indulge in, is a hand reaching out for meaning, an attempt to make some sense of it all. Can they find it? Can anybody?
"Mad Men" captures 1960 so well, it's as though the millions has been spent on this production - think L.A Confidential, Far From Heaven, JFK etc and you get my drift. Careful attention has been paid to the period and this show does not disappoint in terms of period accuracy. The show is also an important comment on sexism and chauvinism towards women and such attitudes that prevailed at the times. Opening episodes aren't always enough to judge a show by - usually it might take the first 2-3 episodes to really get a pretty accurate impression of whether a show will impress - I must say I hated the opening of the first 24 episode, I was not use to the concept, so it took a while to understand and get used to it - I probably would have given 24 1/10. So when I watched episodes 3-4 I was hooked. Rest assured, the opening of Mad Men didn't disappoint, perhaps it was a little on the slowish side, but it had me wanting more and much more at that. I wonder what Saul Bass (of Vertigo fame) would have thought of the opening credits with the businessman falling from the building, if he was alive today - Bass was pretty protective of the copyright on his work, so it would be interesting to know.
I am looking forward to more Mad Men and hope the series continues to be as good as it has been.
I discovered this show close to the premiere of season 2. I watch a lot of international TV (Doctor Who, Corner Gas, Life on Mars, etc.), and I've been extremely disappointed in U.S. TV over the last few years. Then I found this gem. Wow! It's incredibly written and acted. Don is, without question, the biggest a-hole on U.S. TV. Betty is a doll, and deserves so much better than him. A great cast all-around. It's a shame a show like this is on AMC. If you ask me, it should be on PBS, then it would be like The BBC - a really good drama without commercials (that would be supremely ironic; a show about advertising execs in 1960s New York airing without commercial interruption on public television). Plus, it would get more viewers, but, what can you do?
Everything about this show was great. The only slight negative was Weiner insisting on inserting his creepy son in the show yet again. Up until the end, I thought we were being set up for a Don Draper suicide - remember he wrote his ex a $1M check, sold his apt, walked out on his job, gave away his beloved Cadillac, and let himself go. Psych! I like that Pete and Trudie got back together and that Peggy found something more important in life than - love. They kept the feminist agenda alive by having Joan reject a marriage to a handsome multimillionaire so she can keep her precious independence.
I don't think this is the end. Like 24 Live Another Day, I bet we see a followup Mad Men season in a few years taking place in 1980.
This show has 4 Emmy awards for Best Drama... 4! And now I can see why, this show has probably the best script ever in a drama series and the acting is outstanding, Jon Hamm is a great actor and fits the character of Don perfectly. Another remarkable thing about this show is the depth of the characters, especially Betty Drapper and Peggy. If you like complex and mature shows, you are going to love Mad Men.
And I don't mean the characters are best because they're so likeable, quite the opposite. Yes, there's the 60s context, the sexism and all, but actually I cannot tell any other show that depicts it's main female characters (speaking of Betty and Peggy) so removed from being sexual and really focus on what drives them: Not men, or maybe men only on the surface of things, but I love that it comes to what they wanna make of their lifes, and how they try to find out in those revolutionary years. I understand that to some this is not appealing or exciting to watch, but to me it's the most moving and emotional thing. To write this stuff, even dare to write it in such a quiet, thin-on-action-manner is just outstanding and remarkable.
Clever and incredibly well written and researched. The set and scripts are scarily accurate. Drinking at work out of the same tumblers my Mum still has from the 60's. Any one who doesn't like reality television as it is not based in reality but wants something historically real will love this. If you are too young to appreciate the accuracies refer your Mum, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie or any who may remember the 60's and watch it with them. For any professional women or girls who forget that women couldn't always have everything watch this and see the struggles of our Mother's and Grandmother's in the workforce. Shocking....
For those of us who missed out on the days of working where drinking was acceptable and harassment wasn't in the dictionary of the Human Resources (or maybe there wasn't Human Resources)....watch with horror and delight!
The use of the atmosphere, lighting, colors and costumes in the show are fully consistent with the slogan of the advertising agency Sterling Cooper:"The medium is the message.".The atmosphere has so much prominence that is integrated as part of the plot, as a living element.
When Mad Men began, many people said that this story was not going to be successful, in an environment dominated by reality shows and comedies. But it proved the opposite.
The other series located in the middle of the twentieth century, had exploited topics as World War II, the rock bands and changes in the political scene.Never one series had been giving so much importance to this issue: the traumatic transition to integrate women into the professional world, which is something we now take for granted.
Along with the set, Mad Men offers a caring atmosphere that is reflected it even in the smallest details.The use of music, based not on what people remember, but it really sounded on the radio in 1960 it is one of the series' treasure.
Another amazing aspect is the ingenious gold mine of the series.Mad Men has closed lucrative contracts for placement with brands such as Heineken, Cadillac, Hilton, Pond's and even Pepsi.
When things are done right, the obsolete turn in classical and magnificent.
I'm not a big fan of Sopranos, Boardwalk or Breaking Bad which are often compared to Mad Men. Mad Men is different, I understand the characters and can relate to them in a way that I can't do in the other shows.
I really like Don Draper not only because Jon Hamm is gorgeous but because he feels real. He has many flaws and can be really mean but I feel that he always tries to be better. He get's all the stuff a "normal"successful man should have, beautiful wife, kids, a nice home and a good job. He should be happy, why isn't he? That's why he is so great working in advertise, he knows how to sell it because he's already bought it.
It's fun the see into the world of an advertising agency in the 60's, the style, the people, the talk and how they change over the years. I absolutely adore the clothes, make up and hair, all of the women look amazing. I know it's TV but it's not realistic for a hard working office woman like Joan to look so made up everyday.
My favorite characters on the show are Don, Pete, Peggy,Trudy, Betty, Roger and little Sally.
A great show set in the 1960's, we follow main character Don Draper through his life at his perfect hime to his job at an advertisement agency. The show is really about his & several other featured character's search for happiness and a place to belong.
This is a series that strives to disect a few very specific aspects of the human condition. We are all looking for happiness, and happiness is knowing that everything is going to be okay, knowing that 'we' are going to be okay. These lines spoken by main character Don Draper perfectly sum up the series, and what I feel it strives to be perfectly. This is a show for those who enjoy subtle character study and reading in between the lines. The greatest parts of this show are not what can be seen but what lies beneath the surface. I feel it accurately portrays the desperate internal struggles of lost character's who just want to find out where they fit in and how they can truly feel happy. In the end this is a series about finding happiness and the fact that the character's trying to obtain it are so flawed is what keeps them from finding it.
This series is full of so many little things, alot of people have criticized how slow the show is to them, but it is in these slow moments that the true series can be found for those who choose to see it that way. It's fine to enjoy this simply for the base stories or the character's or the setting but the reason it has won so many awards and garnered so much acclaim is because of the use of subtle character exploration. The difference between this show and other excellent shows like Breaking Bad is that while other shows tend to be about situations and the character's explored just happen to be the ones in them, Mad Men is more about the character's and the situations they are in just happen to be what they are experiencing. The sixties era the show takes place during draws in a lot of viewer's for pure nostalgia or curiousity alone, but while I feel it is portrayed well and beautifully I don't feel it is fair to expect it to be completely accurate or to say that the show is actually about that time. The time is just a interesting setting for this study of character to occur in. It isn't striving to portray a whole vision of the time, rather it takes the aspects that lend strongest to the overall story being told. The setting is poetically perfect for being a seeming visual picture of perfection that is so ironic to the dark and depressing character's we find within it. At the same time the era full of change, exploration and lifestyle upheaval near exactly reflects the internal issues the character's themselves are dealing with.
In the first two seasons, Matt Weiner was making some very pointed commentary on the world as it existed in the 1960's, and indeed, as it still exists today.
Billed as Madison Avenue's premiere advertising man, Don Draper was supposedly better than anyone at selling America what it wanted most: happiness and security. But ironically, these are two things that Don has failed to find in a rather spectacular fashion. How can Don sell so well that which he himself has never possessed? Therein lies the point: what Madison Avenue has always sold to America is just as fake and hollow as Don himself. It's an indictment of our entire society that we've been willing to buy this hypocrisy. This is seriously heady stuff that goes far beyond the fluff of most programming.
This commentary was told mostly through the contrast between Don's home life, professional life, and the fact that he isn't really Don Draper at all. Understandably, Don's hypocrisy causes the failure of his marriage and he and Betty split up. This made perfect sense and was necessary and inevitable, however, this is also where the analogy breaks down. With Don and Betty living increasingly separate lives during the third and fourth seasons, it seemed as though Weiner had finished saying what he intended to say when the show began and had begun casting about, looking for something else to say, perhaps the next logical thing. Over the course of these latest two seasons he didn't appear to come up with anything solid.
Enter the opening to the fifth season. Unfortunately, it's a bit prosaic, and everyone but Don and Roger don't quite seem to be themselves. Specifically, they seem quite a bit kinder and gentler. They don't play the type of hardball they once played with each other. For example, the plot involving Harry and Peggy upsetting Megan has gone soft. Harry is remorseful and is set up by Weiner to believe he's getting fired by Roger, meanwhile Peggy offers a very sincere apology. In the old days, upsetting a woman was not a big deal, even if it was Don's wife. Pete was strikingly out of character when he accepted the "skirt" of responsibility for Joan's baby from Peggy. Why have these characters gone so twenty-first century on us by only 1966? Lane's false dealing with the applicants in the lobby was the only glimmer of hope Weiner might recover his mojo.
While I suppose the show can continue to cash in on kitschy cool, unless they can find a way to continue what they were onto in seasons 1 and 2, it becomes pointless, empty drama. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I guess, except they've already set my expectations so much higher. Well, that and now it just isn't so much different from a soap opera, or anything else on TV for that matter. I would love for Mad Men to have stayed in its niche. It was in such a wonderful niche.
Unfortunately, I didn't hear Weiner saying much in the kickoff of the fifth season to justify the continued existence of the show. For the most part, it seems the reason it continues is merely because it hasn't been cancelled yet. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal...
As a 56 year old man who grew up with "How to Succeed in Business without really Trying" The song and dance number showed off the utterly charming gleam in Robert Morse eyes, totally evoking his irascible J Pierpont Finch character. And it was a a keystone moment in what is now the morality tale of "Mad Men",. the best things in life are free, Don, mentoring Peggy, the loyalty of Cooper, the friendship of Sterling and Don, the sense of the meaning of work that Don has learned, great great ending !!!!
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