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Live-Blogging Mad Men – Darren Stevens or Cary Grant? — 69 Comments

  1. Although I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, the first episode reminded me of “The Best of Everything” starring Hope Lange and I believe, based on the Rona Jaffe book of the same name.

    I’ll also have to watch the first episode again because although the furniture was spot on, I don’t recall seeing the iconic Barcelona chair.

  2. Pingback:The Chutry Experiment » Liveblogging Mad Men

  3. Just checked out the first episode on iTunes, and I’m intrigued. The show definitely invokes the images of office life from those early ’60s movies Tom mentioned.

  4. Yeah, it’s great design, great period detail, love the kids running around unseatbelted in the car, etc…but style over substance so far for me.

  5. I got in from the gym just in time for the beginning of the show and I’m sitting here all sticky. A nice thing about 1960 was you didn’t have to go to gyms.

  6. A major drop off from a promising start. Interesting coincidence (?): the founder of precision valve (aerosol spray king Bob Ablanalp)was a friend of Nixon’s

  7. There are so many cigarettes in this show I’m surprised Draper’s kids aren’t smoking. Nice to see Robert Morse, though, the one actor here who doesn’t seem to be barbituated.

  8. The wife’s nervous breakdown is an interesting subplot, and yes, all of the smoking is striking.

    Funny that Disney just banned smoking from all of their movies.

  9. Could the whole series by a subtle end-around by the tobacco industry, banned as it is from advertising their products on TV – huh, huh??

  10. The Cavemen did a pilot. I heard it sucked royally. It was based in Atlanta and apparently so bad that even Atlanta disowned it.

    (I’m from Atlanta, so that’s self-deprecation.

  11. “It pops right behind him.” Can the dialogue from the closeted gay guy be any more hackneyed?

  12. There was a TV movie based on that Mean Joe Greene Coke ad. So it’s not unprecedented.

    Second week with a Freud joke: what do women want?

  13. I do love the smoking…I was watching a Laugh-in re-run recently (don’t ask) and I was struck by all the smoking. Love it. I’m longing for a return to the heroic days of bad living in pop culture. Another reason I like Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.:

  14. Finally! I’m able to comment. I thought TW banned me from newcritics.

    I’ve had technical difficulty.

    I need a drink. Maybe even a shrink.

  15. So far, from what I’ve seen….which is about 12 min because of my tech problems…the men seem too smart and women too dumb. It’s too exaggerated, kind of gets on my nerves.

    Nothing that a white gold small faced watch won’t cure though!

  16. I wonder if the Bray Brigade over at National Review are watching this and going, “Wow, life was cool back then!”

  17. I love the idea of this show–and not just because I grew up the son of an ad man in the 1960s–I’d love to see more period stuff on TV.

    But this is just too deliberate for me. All the stuff that is background, all the stuff we know was true of those days–the racism, the sexism, the times they are a-changin’ stuff, becomes facile foreground. I know detail is what helps keep writing real, but this kind of piling on of tangential detail just seems gratuitous.

  18. How many episodes are we guaranteed of this? Lots of threads tugged loose so far, and I’m looking for more beats and jazz and Castro and, oh there was the bomb just now. We have pictures in my mum’s attic that could be from these sets.

    Single malt tonight, a few rocks only cause its hot.

  19. Not to be a stuffy traditionalist and all, but I find myself missing a discernible storyline; instead, the social mores of the period are doing the heavy lifting, which is no way to advance a narrative. But it’s nice to watch a show where none of the characters are tattooed–absence of ink gives the skintones an even golden gleam.

  20. I didn’t see much of the show cuz of my stupid computer problems, but from what I did see — it is beautiful, but it’s so aggravating. To me, it’s so forced. Was it really like that back then?

    I agree with M.A. that it’s not charming at all. It makes me uncomfortable. Makes me kind of feel like I might have killed my husband in his sleep if I at that age and in that position back then.

  21. Yes, it’s so damned nice to look at I’ll give it another shot, at least. And invite you all back of course. But BG is right, it’s aggravating, and not just for the sexism – it’s too closed in, not enough of a sense of what’s going on. I mean, it’s New York in 1960. Show us that, don’t tell us that (Jason’s right about the gratuitous pop references – like a checklist). Put it into a greater context. The Sopranos did that.

  22. I missed this part…

    You know the guy who took the secretary on a tour and then kissed her later in the office?

    What is he? A copywriter?

  23. I mean, it’s New York in 1960. Show us that, don’t tell us that

    They can’t afford location shots. They’re cigarette budget is too huge!

  24. what sweater?

    and now I know why my Dad was a Gillette man. When he died he had 6 or 8 large cans of Right Guard in the linen closet. He always an early adopter.

  25. Y’know, the thing is Blue and Mrs Peel, you’re gonna see these attitudes in any movie or TV show from 1960 on back, not to mention the stories of John Cheever and books like Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, etc. So, yeah, I think it really was like that back then. I think it’s still like that in about half the country. Life sucked in many ways if you were a woman back then, and it sucked a hell of a lot more if you were not white.

    Of course life still sucks now but in different ways.

  26. Yeah, I was thinking about Revolutionary Road tonight. The whole too much happiness and suburban emptiness thing…this was no Yatesian tale though, as yet. There seems to be no discernable plot (well, except for Nixon).

  27. Yeah, Dan…but I get the feeling that the men are being portrayed the way men imagine and dream what men were. Not how they actually were.

    You might have one or two slick guys, but I imagine most weren’t so slick.

    But, again, I saw little of the show.

  28. Somebody help! Was the dork who kissed the girl a copywriter? Was he the gay one?

    I need to put him into context in my mind.

    What’s his story?!

  29. Nah, Blue, the gay dude was another guy, and yeah, I think the other dude is a copywriter. Although I don’t know who’s gayer, the gay dude or that sweater chick.

  30. Thank you, TW.

    No way is he being portrayed accurately. No way! I’ve worked with millions – millions! of copywriters and none have ever been that smooth.

    In your dreams, fellas!

  31. There is no story, BG, that’s the problem. Wolcott nailed it perfectly, period detail, social mores, and checklist of references have been left to do all the heavy lifting.

    And BG nailed it too–except I think the problem isn’t just that the writers don’t write women the way women think, speak, react, they don’t write men that way either.

  32. This show is live blogging gold, TW. It’s got it all — everything you could ever want to rip to shreds, yet you can’t stop watching.

    Gold, Jerry, gold!

  33. *Hitler youth indeed. Cartoons, they are.*

    Thanks for the insight, Yoda.

    *“Stoned on martinis” doesn’t seem like whitebread 1960 executive dialogue to me, perhaps I’m wrong.*

    I believe you are wrong. Anyone out there old enough to know for sure?

    * * *

    I enjoyed both episodes. Doesn’t quite strike me as true-to-life, more as satire disguised as true-to-life. But then, I thought that of the Sopranos, too.

    What I like best is: (i) the overdue de-mythologizing of the “Greatest Generation” and (ii) the even more overdue de-mythologizing of US society in the late 50s-early 60s. Conservatives, in particular, are guilty of suggesting people were so much better then. That always struck me as wrong: folks don’t change that much, and someone was responsible for raising all those Boomer brats.

    BTW, I t

  34. “’Stoned on martinis’ doesn’t seem like whitebread 1960 executive dialogue to me, perhaps I’m wrong.”

    “I believe you are wrong. Anyone out there old enough to know for sure?”

    I was in college during the time in question, but did flirt with majoring in advertising, since that was the only way a slightly creative, artistic person could succeed in those days–or so I thought.

    “Stoned” was occasionally used as a synonym for drunk, but mainly among the unhip and non-drugwise, so it probably fits here.

    My wife and I caught two other possible anachronisms: (1) to hit on, i.e., to make a sexual pass at; and (2)reference to a “play group”. I don’t recall play being so organized by parents then, but I went to a public school in the midwest, so what do I know?