Re: RARA-AVIS: Mad Men

From: Jeff Vorzimmer (
Date: 04 Aug 2007

> Have any of you checked this show out yet? Great
> pacing, moodiness, tension, detail,
> intelligence--unlike, say, the gross-out, in your
> face, cartoon noir of something like Sin CIty. A
> scene in this week's episode--where a clearly
> existentially troubled Draper, on an aborted mission
> to pick up a birthday cake for his daughter's party in
> progress, winds up at night, stopped at a railroad
> crossing, a passing train reflected over his face in
> the windshield--is one of the most chilling moments in
> a TV show i can recall. This Mad is the shit!

I caught the first three episodes. I think it's excellent. Has some real noir elements. I was also struck by the scene at the railroad crossing. Without so much as a word uttered about it by the character of Don Draper you know he's thinking about the old war buddy he met on the train at the beginning of the episode who referred to him by a completely different name. Though you don't know (yet) what it was all about.

For the uninitiated on the list, Mad Men is a new series (apparently the biggest new show of the summer on any network) about guys in an ad agency on Mad(ison) Avenue in the early 60s. It's from the guy who produced The Sopranos. It's primarily about men coming to terms with changing times--having to accept women and minorities as equals, dealing with the reality that cigarettes cause cancer (the agency has the Lucky Strike account).

The show has it's David Lynch-like moments where there are hints of darkness just below the surface in otherwise idyllic scenes of suburban houses with white picket fences. It attempts to show the time period as it really was, without romanticizing it by appealing to any kind of nostalgia. It's not a past that you want to return to.


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