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Mad Men

August 26, 2008

I can’t take it anymore. I have to write about this show.

Honestly, I wish I could talk like the men on Mad Men. They’re advertising executives, many of them (“mad men” is a combination of “ad men” and “Madison-Avenue men”), so they’re supposed to know how to use words well, but the writers of the show give them the best possible lines to say.

For example, in the last episode I watched, the lead character lies about a broken arm by saying, “I missed the last step.” Given the same parameters, I would have concocted an elaborate story about how I don’t pay attention when I’m stairs, how my feet jump ahead of my thoughts, how I never see the last step in the back of my building, etc, etc. But no. This guy says way more with five simple words.

There’s another line that punched me in the face in the last episode. The lead character is explaining to a woman what it’s like to forget a mistake and move on. He tells her that it simply didn’t happen. “It will shock you how much it didn’t happen,” he says.

Although my favorite parts of the show are scenes where the lead character comes up with a brilliant, innovative ad campaign at the last minute against all odds, I’ve really come to enjoy the immersive world that is Mad Men. Previously I thought the ‘60s were all about hippies and sex and drugs…there’s plenty of sex in the world of the ad men, but they’re far above the hippies and the drugs in their skyscrapers and corner offices. Businesses were fraternities back then—men drank and smoked and womanized on the job. All in a day’s work. The show doesn’t glorify any of this, but it also doesn’t hide how much the men both reveled in their world and took it for granted.

The Wire is probably still the best drama I’ve ever seen on television. It will shock you how close Mad Men is to taking that top spot.

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