The first Mad Men aired this week. It looked like it was going to be good. The pilot was terrific. It’s full of attitudes we have left behind in our cultural history. The characters were very simplified, maybe as an introduction they need to be. I guest I most enjoyed the advertising agency (staff?) research psychologist. She has a German /Austrian accent (of course) and is as cold as ice. We know that cliché. In reality she would’ve been a temporarily hired team of geeks in white coats probably all male. That still might be giving Madison Avenue too much science cred. Probably her role would’ve been filled by a survey conducted with a cross-section of types who would have been rewarded for the their time. I’m not complaining. The women researcher has greater story potential. Maybe we will learn in future episodes the accent isn’t real.
Then there is a seemingly closeted gay Italian graphic artist who works closely with the lead ad-man. The artist’s life-choice is so telegraphed, how he talks about his enjoyment at using his relaxed male neighbor for his artist model in a drawing for a future Lucky’s billboard. The joke seems to be everyone around him is “gay” blind. His gay remarks go un-noticed except by a stray women in a strip club and by us the TV audience. Maybe in future episodes we will find that lots of people know about his secret. Maybe only the junior executives will be caught unawares. They are the college boys running amok like a pack of wolfs.
All in all I am hooked already. I really think this period was way cool. Maybe in one episode they will show someone watching an old Dick Van Dyke Show. They did mentioned, in a condescending fashion, the Danny Thomas Show as a good advertising position for their new Jewish client.
It’s a battle of the sexes, but Madmen would collapse very fast if the writers did not create a balance. The balance seemed only to be implied in this introduction. The women have knowledge of and power over one another, and indirectly their bosses careers. The only women who maybe somewhat powerless to begin with is the lead ad-man’s wife. She is a surprise reveal at the end, as the lead ad-man’s actions do not indicate a married man with children. He seems to have been away from home for days not merely during office hours in the city. If the clichés hold true, his wife will start a drug habit of barbiturates and maybe lose one of their 2.5 children. I don’t know if I will still be watching if that happens. We shall see.