May 8, 2008
I sat down to watch The Wheel again last night. Figured it would be extra fun after reading the script and all. The ones I have saved on my DVR are from the second straight-through run of the season.
Let’s remember this: They showed season one at 10 and “encore presentations” at 11. Then they showed a few episodes (I think it was 1, 2, 5, 6, 10–13). Then they showed the full season straight through again.
Roberta and I discovered they were cutting the encore presentations. Cutting! The very first day the episode was run. CUTTING.
Last night I discovered that the second run of season 1 was cut further. Further! I want to smoosh their little AMC faces with pie, I really do. The episode felt noticeably truncated. Over too quick. Brief. Fleeting. Choppy. Smoosh their faces, I tell you!
Here’s what I mean, using one scene as an example. Seriously, don’t read this if you have a weak stomach.
Original run: Pete gets roped into a reproduction discussion with his father-in-law. Father-in-law indicates that a bun in the oven would get Pete the Clearasil account. That night in bed, Pete pressures Trudy into unprotected sex (the infamous “deleted scene“).
Encore presentation: Pete gets roped into a reproduction discussion with his father-in-law. Father-in-law indicates that a bun in the oven would get Pete the Clearasil account.
Second run of the season: Pete gets roped into a reproduction discussion with his father-in-law.
Period. That’s it.
January 16, 2008
In the Wheel, Don says, “Bringing in business is the key to your salary, your status, and your self-worth”.
And later, Pete gets in Don’s face with his news about landing the Clearasil account, and closes with, “Self-worth and status. You said it”.
Self-worth seemed a little 1970’s/1980’s to my ear, a little me-generation (’70’s) or even the 12-step recovery years (late ’80’s early ’90’s) but I couldn’t pin it down. According to what I could find, it is 1960 plausible. Technically. Just barely.
Now certainly I have observed ‘corporate speak’ to eventually bleed into the streets. Who doesn’t know what being on the same page means? So perhaps Weiner is thinking that this expression got its start in the board room. Perhaps I could give Mr. W. a little more credit… perhaps his research reaches past dictionary.com (where my research stopped) and he actually knows this to be historically true.
But self-worth just doesn’t sound like something that originated in a conference room or ad agency. And so I remain skeptical.
January 3, 2008
Here’s an interesting article in Media Magazine on the phenomenon of the Baby Boomer. Not the Baby Boom, mind you, but Boomers; the people as an identifiable market, rather than just a statistical fact.
The article starts by talking about The Wheel, where Pete sees a future in products like Clearasil, because “there’s a surge in adolescence.” (It might also have mentioned the Elvis doesn’t wear a hat thing, but the Clearasil quote is better).
Our Mad Men guys were in the process of discovering the changing demographics of their world, which would develop into the notion of studying demographics as a way of focusing the market. Most articles about MM talk about how sex roles, clothing, social mores, and more are about to be transformed by the 1960s. But advertising itself also changed dramatically, as suggested in Marriage of Figaro, when the guys are looking at the Volkswagen ad; a brand new kind of advertisement, and by The Wheel, when Pete points out that a “surge in adolescence” has impact on the kind of products that sell.
Maybe some of you know about the famous write-in campaign to save Star Trek (the original). This was in 1968. What’s important about this is that the television networks weren’t studying demographics. They knew the show wasn’t popular, and didn’t know that the show was wildly popular among young males. Write-in campaigns are much less likely to succeed nowadays, precisely because the networks learned their lesson; they already know who’s watching.
The point is, demographic marketing wasn’t yet in its infancy; Pete Campbell’s statement is something like an embryo.
The Media Magazine article concludes with the fact that a woman named Florence Skelly, co-founder of the consumer research firm Yankelovich, coined the term “Baby Boomer” in the late 1960s.