"Mad Men" Thread

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Jonny P, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    (Note: If there is another thread on this show, I apologize. I couldn't find one. If there is I'll repost in that particular topic.)

    I thought it was okay, but do we need "yet another" show that has morally ambiguous characters?

    The thing that really bugged me was the character of Peggy. She was the newest member of the steno-pool at the ad agency featured in the show.

    The head secretary sort of acts like a mentor to Peggy and "tells her how things are." In fact, she sends her to the doctor to get birth control pills because she may have to participate in "dalliances" as a part of her job.

    I realize the 1950s and 1960s were different than today, but talk about your overblown stereotypes. The show implies that receptionists, secretaries and the like readily accepted their "place" in society and weren't much better than cheap call girls.

    Poor poor poor plotting.

    The show also is enamored with showing "unfaithful" husbands (and husbands to be) on the show. It is as if the "stiff and stodgy" society of the late 50s was a "horrid burden" on the people living in those times -- so a man would "naturally" cheat on his gorgeous wife, two beautiful daughters and rebel against his beautiful white house in suburbia.

    I dunno...it didn't resonate with me.
     
  2. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Yes. Otherwise it's not much of a show is it? Might as well have a documentary on 60s hairstyles.

    I liked it.
     
  3. Garrett Adams

    Garrett Adams Supporting Actor

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    On my Comcast system the show is also available in HD on their free On Demand service.
     
  4. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    Mad Men 102 is now up on Comcast On Demand.
     
  5. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    Another ep, another instance of the "men" being stereotypical sexist.

    I'm not going to deny that the workplace has become more "politically correct" in the past 50 years, but the men in this show are simply over-the-top.

    You have an instance where Peggy seemingly makes friends with one of the ad men, and then later on that guy makes sexual advances on her in his office.

    I'm sorry, but must every guy be a "jackass" in the show?

    Unlike most of you, I majored in advertising in college. That profession has always been more "progressive" than other professions. It was a profession where women (in many instances) were on more level footing with men way back when. And it still remains one of the few professions where women outnumber men.

    This show should have been set in a law firm instead of an ad agency. Because I know lawyers (even today) who act like pompous, sexist creatures who are more interested in their power driven libido than in really practicing justice.

    The show has an interesting concept, but they could have focused on a number of different things without making every male character "slime."
     
  6. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    I think the point is that the men aren't being over-the-top. A lot of things have changed. Remember, 150 years ago plantation owners were whipping slaves. Mad Men is set almost 50 years ago. A lot has really changed since then.
     
  7. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    Apples and oranges.

    We've all watched a bunch of retrospective dramas about the 70s and 80s that were in no way representative of the actual times. They pull out all of the "cliches" from that era and throw them in.

    No one is denying that there weren't "sexist" men in the 1950s. There are "sexist" men today.

    The problem is that "every" male character who works at the ad agency seems to be a pig. Even Don Draper -- who is apparently so disillusioned with his beautiful wife and suburbia that he must have an affair with a bohemian chick.

    Every show (no matter how edgy) needs a moral compass. And right now, this show doesn't have one.

    Perhaps that'll change as the episodes progress.
     
  8. Albert_M

    Albert_M Supporting Actor

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    I work in advertising and was looking forward to a show would portray an agency other than the TV-Movie fiction of the generic ad exec who also does the creative and makes big pitches etc etc.

    From that standpoint, the second episode had a scene for the audience (the copywriter's tour for Peggy) to mention on a basic level, the main different function/groups of an agency. However, our main character is apparently a creative director, but they are showing him in account service functions like dealing with the clients (they maybe part of a presentation, but no way would they independently meet with a client without an account exec/manager).

    I realize that to most, advertising is simply creating big ideas, but I hope that the show which touches on the real aspects, dives into that more, and less of the era's "isms." There's plenty of real drama and humor to make for a great show.

    The various realities of that time, ad depth and perspective, but it is a bit much so far.

    I can't speak for agencies at that time, I wasn't around, but I have been in the business for several years and as mentioned, women are now employed in all levels and roles of advertising. Even though this show takes place "then" and part of the drama, is the "then" aspect, I can't help but feel it's exaggerated. The show can portray things in more nuanced ways (like showing the woman smoking then cutting to her in a shot that shows that she is in fact, pregnent).

    I am giving the show time to develop because it has good potential,. We'll see...
     
  9. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    I don't think that's really relevant.
     
  10. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    Why? As long as a show is well written and I'm invested in the characters I could give a rat's ass if it has a "moral compass" or not.
     
  11. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    I agree with essentially everything that Albert M posted....

    And on my "moral compass" comment...

    Every story needs a true protagonist. For example, "The Shield" is loaded with morally conflicted characters, but you still have Claudette Whims (played by the wonderful CCH Pounder) to act as a "moral compass" for the show.

    I suppose one could argue that Peggy is the "Mad Men" innocent...a possible moral compass in this world of sexism, vice and ambivalence.

    Unfortunately, the writers decided to have her jump in the sack with the guy who's now on his honeymoon in Niagara Falls. Perhaps that was because of her naivety, but that act just didn't seem to ring true for the character she is trying to portray.

    It is also possible that Draper's wife could be considered as a protagonist in the overall story.

    I'll give it some time to unfold. There's a lot of potential there.
     
  12. buttmunker

    buttmunker Second Unit

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    Draper's house reminds me of the house from "The Amityville Horror."

    I find it a bit disconcerting that virtually every character, even in a bit part like the doctor examining Peggy, has to have a cigarette dangling from their mouths. I know they're establishing that smoking was prevalent in the work-space, but gee-whiz, its like they're shoving it down our throats.
     
  13. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    I just think it has become the "popular" thing to create shows that are considered "groundbreaking" because they have morally ambiguous characters.

    In theory, I have no problem with that IF there is reasoning behind their actions.

    I know the creators of "Mad Men" also worked on "The Sopranos."

    The difference is that men who either choose, or are born into, organized crime already have compasses that are out of whack. That's going to happen when you worry about getting buried in cement shoes all your adult life.

    1. Don Draper -- a seemingly likable character. But what is the "reasoning" behind his affair with the artist (who apparently sees other men in addition to Don)? If Draper's wife were a total wench who was demanding and ambivalent, I could understand. But Draper's wife is really quite a sweet woman who is very attractive.

    And "disillusionment" just doesn't work as a motivation (in the narrative form) when you are dealing with a college educated gentleman who has a very creative job in a "non-boring" profession.

    2. Peggy -- she is playing the "innocent naive" in the story. She is the "clean slate" in the story. She's an individual who hasn't been "corrupted" by this world (although, how you could get "corrupted" by working in an ad agency is beyond me...it isn't like it is organized crime or high stakes litigation). From a narrative perspective, it would have made more sense for her to "slap" Pete in the face when he came to her apartment.

    But instead of acting "innocent" (she'd only been on the job for a day or two at that point), she acted very "worldly" and "non-innocent" when she let him in -- and (for me at least), it simply didn't "ring true" in the dramatic structure.

    Every story needs a "moral compass." And by "moral compass" I don't mean some sort of "values oriented" individual.

    What I mean is a character who is going to "light the way" for the other characters in the dramatic narrative. Even if the other characters choose not to follow that character, most great pieces of fiction feature one of those folks as a "moral compass."

    Jack Bauer is the "moral compass" on "24" because he puts the needs of the country over his own needs. He has found a way to morally justify what he does in the name of thwarting terrorism in that goal.

    What is the motivation of the characters in this show? Other than just being sexist men with heightened "libidos," what is their motivation for doing what they do and acting like they act?

    In the "dramatic form" I don't buy the argument that says, "well, that's just how a lot of men acted back then."

    Quite frankly, I think most of us know better than that.

    We can understand when Vic Mackey hops into the sack with some other woman (on "The Shield") because Vic works in a twisted, crime-infested world where he does many unsavory things in the name of justice. The vice-filled arena he works in has partly corrupted him and set his moral compass spinning. That doesn't "justify" what he does, but it resonates in the overall narrative.

    It has been proven that men who sexually harrass women do so because they desire power. The problem (in this instance) is that all of the men in the show have power, make good money, and get to work in a profession that was exciting and "new" in the 1950s.

    I could understand if these men were disillusioned because they had to work in a profession that they hated, but these men seemingly love their careers and chose this profession. And unlike organized crime (or high-stakes legal or medical work), these men aren't in a profession where their lives (or others lives) are on the line everyday.

    I heard the creator say that the world of advertising isn't much different than the world of organized crime.

    I think that is a flawed point of view. Any viewer can easily discern the difference between the two -- and it doesn't help willful suspension of disbelief.

    This is why most shows are cop shows or medical dramas -- those are both incredibly stressful worlds and make good backdrops for melodramatic stories.
     
  14. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    Indeed, although I wouldn't call either Claudette or Peggy a "moral compass". They are sympathetic characters. However, so is Vick, in his own way. Claudette isn't really essential to the story, because of that.
     
  15. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    Consider it a final completion of our journey away from where they only offerings were like the Fantasyland of Father Knows Best, to a place where we can also enjoy television programs that are actually realistic, or even super-realistic. The unnecessary boundaries are removed.
     
  16. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    okay, who has grown up in that era and can attest to its authenticity [​IMG].
     
  17. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Well I was a kid in those days, but I’m not sure anyone will be able to answer that. It’s a big country; the reality of their world in chic New York City certainly won’t be the same as it was in South Dakota, to pull one out of the hat.

    That said, I think Jonny P is spot on. Draper’s character is wearing thin. He appears to “have it all,” so what’s his problem? What was the deal with that birthday party anyway? We’re not being shown any rhyme or reason for his restless brooding.

    I’m willing to give it another episode or two, but it’s looking more and more like the show’s primary mission is to belittle the social mores of a bygone era – as if Hollywood’s are anything to write home about.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Edited by Wayne A. Pflughaupt - 8/5/2009 at 10:15 am GMT
     
  18. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    This last episode was maddening. Don ran away and left behind a younger brother to start a new life. We know Don to have the idyllic life for the time period, but now his past is trying to catch up to him, and his cover-up of the truth seems to be paralleling the ad campaigns he prepares for his clients, but getting there is not as compelling as I had hoped for this show.
     
  19. buttmunker

    buttmunker Second Unit

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    There seems to be no rhyme or reason to Don's actions or behavior. The writers think it is a good idea to keep Don in a shroud of mystery - personally, I think it is not helping to build the character; it is helping to distance him from the viewer. Its almost like watching a family member (this is stretching it, since the show is only 5 episodes long, but bear with me) that you see on holidays with strange issues, but have no idea what makes him tick.

    With Pete, however, you get a well-rounded picture of the character. They're really fleshing him out for the viewer, and the actor himself is making great use of it. I hope that Pete becomes the focus of the show, while Don becomes sort of a sidekick. Might as well, since Pete is getting the royal treatment from the writers.
     
  20. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    i've finished ep3 now. it's been pretty consistently good. good use of music, very nice shots, very filmic. the dialogue is really sharp and good.

    for those that grewup in those times. did their speech patterns really sound like that?
     

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