Sunday, April 26, 2009

SMALL TALK WITH DAVE: What You Should Be Watching: Mad Men

*Posted July 31, 2008*

Chances are you know about this show by now, even if you haven’t seen an episode.The first season suffered from Arrested Development syndrome – matching piss poor ratings with critical praises.The folks at AMC knew they were holding a straight flush, however, and brought it back for another go round, premiering the second season Sunday night at 10:00.Is this show worth your time?Well, before we judge the show by its own merits, lets evaluate the situation it is in.Late in July, there isn’t much to look forward to on television.Even this website makes it a point to showcase funny clips from TV shows to get you through “the rerun season.”That alone makes anything new almost instantly appealing.I say “almost” because there is still a lot of shit out there that we all are sifting through when flipping channels (I refer of course to House of Payne , The Bill Engvall Show, and every reality TV show on VH1 and MTV).The few gems in this poop?USA’s Burn Notice (which will eat your face) and to a far lesser extent TBS’ My Boys (which mildly satisfies if nothing good is on ESPN).Still, I agree that reruns of Seinfeld still annihilate most new TV episodes these days.The point is that with few new episodes on, you should be open to a TV show that can get you through this summer draught (and who knows, you may just fall in love with this show, too).

Okay, enough intro crap.Let’s get on to Mad Men.Beginning in 1960, this show chronicles the lives and lies of one of New York’s most prestiguous ad agencies at the time, Sterling Cooper.Mad men (referring to Madison Avenue) is just a nickname for this boys club of advertising gurus.The show itself thrives on the color and charm of its characters.I’d go through each character’s strong points, but that would take up way too much time.What really captures your attention is the no bull realism of each episode.In today’s whiny entertainment world, anything can be manipulated by the big wigs of Hollywood in order to make it appeal to everyone (which in the end often appeals to no one).What makes Mad Men great is its insistance on getting everything accurate regardless of today’s PC culture.It’s all about the look.The clothing, make up, and set designs transport you immediately into a time when everything is viewed as sweet and innocent (except for the commies), though nothing truly is.Every character (both men and women) smokes like a chimney, and lets be honest, they look super cool doing it.It’s not because of product placement or any crap like that; it’s because that’s how it was back then. Exactly along those lines, the men of Sterling Cooper are sipping liquor in almost every scene, both at work and home.Does it send a poor message to the public?Sure it does, but who gives a shit about the public.The main point in making a period drama is getting the facts right.African Americans routinely get cast in the roles of elevator operators, nannies, and janitors.Adultery is standard for every married man in the office, pregnant women drink and smoke like there’s nothing to fear, but as long as the work gets done and the kids get raised, why stop?Do you think a show like this would end up this way on ABC, NBC, or FOX?Probably not.AMC took a chance and got it all right.The aesthetics, however, are just awesome window dressing. You come for that shit but you stay for the dialogue (often hilarious and instantly offensive if said in today’s offices) and the layers of storylinesfor each character that keeps every episode interesting.If you think people who watch Mad Men are snooty, you could be right, but that shouldn’t keep you from having a little taste of it.You may just get hooked, and that’s a good thing.There’s a reason why this show got the most drama nominations for the Emmy’s, and we both know you want to find that reason.

How To Hit On Married Women:

with Roger Sterling(the coolest character)

“Come on.You’ve been making eyes at me all night. You can’t tell me I’m not giving you hot pants.”

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