Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 1:19:09 AM
There are other worlds trapped behind the glass of the silver screen. It is a reality that the audience cannot attain the period pieces or ludicrous adventures of television, but it still provides a close replica of these distant worlds that hold impeccable sets and multifaceted characters. One standout in the sea of period programs is AMC’s Mad Men.
At first glance, it’s a drama based on the advertisement men of Madison Avenue in New York. I thought that the aesthetics of the show were pleasing when I saw a commercial for it: the wardrobe, the setting, the drama. I didn’t immediately understand the hype behind the fifties/sixties-centered show or why it received critical praise and accolades when I started the series. However, the show had a sly magnetism that snuck up on me. At first I thought my fondness of that period’s culture would be enough for me to check the show out, but what leapt at me after only a couple of episodes is what the critics have been enveloped in all the while—the incredible writing.
There is beautiful depth in the storyline of the main character, Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm. He has a past that he has meticulously tucked in the greedy hands of time, but the writers transcend this commonplace conflict with suspense that works symbiotically with Draper’s unknowing wife, Betty. Further entangling this relationship is Draper’s growing alcoholism and adultery. His work life at ad agency Sterling Cooper is a busy one, seeing as he is the creative director with magical prowess. Don Draper’s character storyline is adorned with interesting subplots like the hierarchical competition between the sly Pete Campbell and charming Ken Cosgrove, the workplace ambition of headstrong Peggy Olson, and the overall dark comedic air that hangs above boss Roger Sterling.
One truly amazing quality that Mad Men has is that it lives up to its hype. I finished the first season in a short week’s time and naturally I was eager to delve deeper into the elusive truth behind Don Draper. The subsequent seasons that followed the breathtaking first was able to keep my attention and excitement without dragging any plotlines or character developments at all. There were tasteful insertions of fresh faces that did nothing but enhance the story, allusions to the historical events of the time, and sets and wardrobe that provided a backbone throughout whole seasons.
It has been an idle period of eight months since I have caught up with Mad Men. My torturous wait has to even out to ten months until it returns so for now I will just try to resist the pull of that remote that will inevitably lead me to a season two rerun in which Don Draper seals yet another deal with a client who had it coming.