Monday 3 March 2008

Mad Men - episode 1

First episodes are tough to get right. You don't want it to be a roll call of characters or pure exposition but you have to set the scene and get people interested enough to tune in next week. On the whole Mad Men did pretty well. It was certainly very clear about setting the scene. It was the early 1960's so everyone smoked. A lot. All the time. Even the doctor whilst he was examining young Peggy. The men were all 'men' (apart from Salvatore who you may have noticed was subtly homosexual). Which means misogynists. One great line: 'We need to show them what kind of men we are so that they know what kind of women to be.' And the women were all more interesting than the men. The femme fatale Joan Hollaway acting as a kind of guide to new girl Peggy, who showed in this one episode what she was prepared to do to succeed.

And then there was Don Draper. There is something perfect about that character's name. The best creative man at the agency and a man who despite having a beautiful wife and children at home finds solace in another woman's bed and lives 'like there's no tomorrow. Because there isn't'. In one scene we saw him looking at a war medal. That's what I call planting something to pique your interest. He promises to be an interesting man to follow.

Sure, it was a little over-written, some of the speeches too well crafted perhaps, but it's ten times better than anything else I've watched recently and I so want something to get hooked on. Like those damn Luckies. It's Toasted.


John Self 4 March 2008 at 11:52  

Yep, good stuff wasn't it? There's just something comforting about watching a series set in the 60s, like seeing a famous old movie for the first time. Disappointed at how hamfistedly they signposted Salvatore's homosexuality - are we not supposed to have picked up on that yet? - but overall it held the attention remarkably well for what is basically a bunch of suits thinking up ads.

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