October 2007


Chicks dig the MM. First Amanda Peet, then that Kristen person from E Online, now Sarah Silverman. In a 20-Questions style interview with Exclaim!, the following exchange took place:

What are your current fixations?
I love the new show Mad Men on AMC. It’s so, so great.

Notice that, although Sarah Silverman is very strange, she is clearly smarter than Amanda Peet, in that she knows what channel her favorite show is on.

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The first season begins it’s rebroadcast this Thursday night at 10pm.

Just in case you missed anything the first time.

EOnline’s “Watch With Kristen” has high praise for MM:

If you haven’t seen Mad Men yet, you’re missing out, because it’s one of the wittiest and most interesting shows to grace TV in a long time. Think Deadwood but with better outfits and much better manners.

In addition, there are interview snippets with Matt Weiner and most of the stars. From Jon Hamm, we learn:

“Don’s journey is trying to figure out where he is in his job and in his relationships, and where he is in the the history of the U.S. I wish there was one answer, and I think we’ve seen with the several women in his life that he’s trying to cover something different with each one. He’s maybe looking for one that covers all the bases, and maybe he hasn’t found it yet.”

Read the whole thing.

Our commenter grinbear has written an interesting blog about some advertising history, inspired by our favorite show.

This TV series from the producers of The Sopranos has certainly succeeded in providing an opportunity for one former Austin ad man to reflect on what was happening in our little part of the advertising pond in 1971 (which is like 1960 in Austin years).

There’s lots more…

Roberta and I have been tossing around this interview for two days. We both really love it, but neither of us have blogged it because we’re not coming up with anything much to say about it. Now I’m starting to worry that the newspaper website will take it down, so I’m just throwing it up there for you all to read.

Here are my two favorite quotes:

Creativity is “a process, and you can’t force it,” Weiner said. “Creative people need some leeway. They do drink. They do show up late. And they do have deadline problems. And you see this over and over.”

Weiner said he felt rewarded for his observations when a consultant on “Mad Men” “confirmed my suspicions about advertising – that it is exactly like television.”

And:

So much of his own experience and observations are in the show that friends assumed he must be Don. He said he really is Peggy.

“I am the new girl. I’m always surprised. I’m always a step behind. I’m always doing what I’m told. And being sorry for it.”

Roberta is obsessed with Betty, but for me, it’s mostly Don (although all of the characters have their fascinations).

What I learned in Episode 12 was that Don is improvising, and he’s operating out of panic. We know a bit about his childhood; “I’m a whore-son” he said matter-of-factly in Episode 8. My thoughts at first was that he had an intense (and justifiable) urge to get away, that he was full of rage, and that he was a social climber. Dick Whitman couldn’t have the home in Ossining, so Dick Whitman had to be over.

But in Nixon vs. Kennedy I saw something different: Terror. Don fears he can be dragged back to “Dick Whitman, Whoreson” at any time. His escape hangs by the thinnest of threads. And all he really wants to do is run. He wants to run with Rachel. He wants to drown in the comfort that Rachel offers, and he wants that comfort to be a running away of a kind.

All of it is improv. He had no master plan when he became Don Draper, no plan when he buried his past, no plan when he didn’t get off the train. It’s all a little boy running away from home with his meager possessions tied in a bundle and resolutely refusing to cry.

Francine. She is a wonder, always. But she’s married to an asshole. Conrad/Cornelius/whatever her husband’s name is (it’s Carlton—to ring your bell, he is the guy who hit on Helen Bishop at the birthday party in episode 3; the Marriage of Figaro). (That episode, which I promise to post about, is the one that got me off the fence. I was pretty sure that the show was a pure winner, but that one blew my mind. Right off my head. Or something.)

I have been curious for awhile what the friendship is between Francine and Betty. Betty is more formal and guarded with Francine than she is with Don, so it is her vacuous side that is more often exposed, and I have been curious as to how Francine perceives that. She certainly stood up for her over the slapping Helen thing. Francine feels kind of gutsy as a character, but she hasn’t noticed what a creep her husband is, and she hasn’t noticed how shallow Betty is (or comes across), OR how fragile she is. (more…)

CinemaBlend has a cute interview with Amanda Peet about her forthcoming movie with John Cusack, Martian Child. In the middle of the interview, she totally goes off about how much she loves Mad Men:

I’m going to work with Catherine Keener, so that’s a big dream of mine. And I’m going to work with Nicole Holofcener, that’s a big dream come true. I’d love to work with Sean Penn. I’d love to work with Joan Cusack again—I’m obsessed with Joan Cusack. Genius. Tina Fey—these are just people that I feel right now. Jon Hamm, from Mad Men. Anyone watching Mad Men? Holy shit! You guys all look really blank, like you’re not watching it.

I don’t get Showtime.
You’ve gotta get it. You’re crazy. It’s so genius. It’s the best thing on television. I want to work with him.

She thinks it’s on Showtime. Huh. Well, maybe she has Tivo.

Variety tells us that real-life advertising execs are complaining about Mad Men.

George Packer, who started in advertising in New York as a 20-something in the ’60s, laments, “Yeah, we all drank like fish and smoked like chimneys and screwed our brains out, but it wasn’t like that!”

Packer, who works as a blurb consultant and runs the popular Ad Rants blog, says he hates the show mostly because it gets period details wrong. The IBM Selectric came on the market in 1961, not 1960, for example.

Ummm…wrong? Or just nitpicky?

“I think it’s because a lot of people in advertising on the creative side are frustrated screenwriters,” says Packer. “There’s a certain snideness, ‘If I really had the time I could write rings around those guys.’ But then a lot of people in advertising are basically lazy.”

This reminds me of what was said about a show I loved, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. If it’s a hospital show, doctors and nurses will slam it. If it’s a cop show, cops hate it. If it’s based in New York, residents will bitch every time characters take the wrong subway to get to a particular part of town. But if you write a show about comedy television writers, then comedy television writers will bitch about it, and generally, these are people who also write reviews of television shows…which is a lot of what killed Studio 60.

Mad Men doesn’t have a huge audience, but it hasn’t alienated advertisers. It seems, however, to have alienated, well, Mad men.

Roberta wonders about the effect on taking the pill during pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk is low, but it’s definitely not recommended:

What happens if you take birth control pills while you’re pregnant?

If you continued taking your birth control pill because you didn’t realize you were pregnant, don’t be alarmed. Despite years of this accident happening, there’s very little evidence that exposure to the hormones in birth control pills causes birth defects.

Still, the birth control pill is a potent estrogen. Lessons learned from women who took diethylstilbestrol — a synthetic estrogen that was later linked with cancer — to prevent miscarriage in early pregnancy suggest that such exposure should be minimized.

Once you learn that you’re pregnant, stop taking the birth control pill.

And that’s referring to the pill nowadays. The estrogen content was much higher in 1960.

The comparison, though, is to DES. DES caused problems in the daughters and granddaughters of women who took it, including a spike in the rate of cervical cancer. It did not cause miscarriages. In fact, it was given to prevent miscarriages (which, ironically, it didn’t do either).

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