Mad Men

Why ‘Mad Men’ Is Comfort-Food TV for Viewers Who Didn’t Live Through the ’60s

Mad Men is, at its essence, a show about terrible things happening to occasionally terrible people. Its characters are adulterers, careerists, alcoholics, and liars; they’re prone to selfishness, sexism, racism, and exploitation. Set in a period of massive social shift, they’re often (and often proudly) on the wrong side of history. The country’s in a shambles, relationships are falling apart, children are being damaged, lives are being destroyed. Even in this antihero-friendly pop culture environment, such grim goings-on risk alienating even the most intellectual audience — and yet Mad Men has done anything but that, drawing a viewership that ravenously consumes the bad behavior of its subjects. What pulls them to the show? Here’s one theory: in an odd, schadenfreude-tinged way, Mad Men is comfort television. … Read More

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Stop Blaming Megan for Don Draper’s Mistakes

Perfection is a terrible premise for a character. But in the charred emotional landscape of Sterling Cooper & Partners (& spouses), Megan Draper is as close to it as one gets. Beautiful, talented, and self-assured, Megan seems devoid of the tension that creates dynamic, believable fiction in the abstract and fan favorites like ambitious, unsatisified Peggy Olson in particular. On the surface, in fact, the only thing she appears to share with the other women at the center of the Mad Men universe — Peggy, her former colleague; Joan, her onetime boss; and Betty, her bitter predecessor — is the man who’s impacted their lives in various, mostly negative ways. But over the last three seasons, Megan has slowly grown into a figure almost as compelling as she is underrated. … Read More

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Peggy Olson Is the Most Accurate Depiction of Women in the Workplace TV Has Ever Seen

Since the days that Mad Men depicts, blatant workplace sexism may have retreated, but it’s in no way been eradicated. In fact, a woman can go through a long career feeling like she’s been squeezed into being a Megan, then a Peggy, then a Joan, even taking a detour into being a Betty when she has kids. Yet Peggy Olson is perhaps the most predictable focus of identification for the female fans of the show, because her journey is so painful, and feels so real. From the first-episode moment when she tries to comfort Don Draper with a flirty hand-squeeze and that habitual secretary seducer essentially laughs her out of the room, we knew her story would be different. … Read More

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Jon Hamm’s ‘Mad Men’ Contract Prevented Him From Playing Ben Affleck’s Role in ‘Gone Girl’

Ben Affleck’s trademark doofy smile has skewed impressions of him: despite being one of the smarter forces in Hollywood, his characters can seem ineffectual… Read More

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“It’s About Class”: Matthew Weiner and ‘Mad Men’s’ Cast on the Show’s Final Episodes

“It’s about the malleability of American culture,” said Mad Men creator, writer, and showrunner Matthew Weiner on Saturday night. Weiner was at a sold-out Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center to toast “Mad Men: The End of an Era,” a special panel celebrating the show in its final season. The event was set up like a clip show, with Weiner joined by Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and John Slatter. The actors introduced their favorite clips featuring their Mad Men characters — Don Draper, Betty Draper, Joan Holloway, and Roger Sterling, respectively — and reminisced over how these scenes came to be and what they learned from them. It was a night of celebration and remembrance — there was nothing as close to a hint about what will happen when Mad Men‘s final seven episodes start next Sunday on April 5, but still plenty to learn about one of finest shows of our time. … Read More

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“People Want to Be Whisked Away”: ‘Mad Men’ Exhibit Illuminates the Ideas Behind the Iconic Show

Early on in the Museum of the Moving Image‘s Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men exhibit, there’s a framed display of three pieces of notebook paper. It’s from 1993, dated “1 a.m.” in the corner, and it’s a bunch of chicken scratch from Weiner’s journal that, taken together, forms the very beginning of Mad Men. “Got an idea the other day,” he writes, “my horoscope said I’d have a great one and although it had been a passing thought a few days before now, it is suddenly real.” … Read More

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Jon Hamm Was Almost Too Hot to Be Don Draper, and More From ‘THR’s’ Oral History of ‘Mad Men’

It’s hard to believe, but Mad Men and its sexy world of advertising pricks (and Peggy Olson), has been… Read More

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How Much Do ‘Mad Men’s’ Enigmatic Posters Really Reveal?

Last week, the final Mad Men promotional poster was released into the world, and we got to see just what symbol may be driving the final half of Season 7: Don’s Cadillac Coup de Ville, setting off from (or beyond) New York into (or away from) the setting sun. Don is well dressed, with a loosened tie, looking into his rearview mirror. … Read More

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Everything We’ve Learned About ‘Mad Men’ From This Week’s Early Press

Jessica Paré’s bare belly, err, I mean the highly acclaimed AMC drama known to all of us as Mad Men, dove right back into the cultural conversation this week. This was thanks to a number of careful little drips and drops of information, from new interviews with the show’s stars and the release of some stunning photos of the cast draped in plaids, ruffles, florals and bell sleeves. … Read More

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