Posted by: David Kiley on August 4, 2008
I confess that I lost the thread last year in season-one of Mad Men. I loved the premise of an ad agency drama set in 1960. But there was one episode that, frankly, I found so utterly implausible that I lost interest. It was the episode in which there was a birthday party for Don Draper’s daughter. At some point during the party, Draper went out to get the cake. Instead of coming back with it, he went on a bender, and returned much later, drunk, after the party was basically over.
I couldn’t imagine the guy who would be that awful to his child. I know. Some of my friends with alcoholic fathers say I’m nuts and that the story line barely touched the tip of the iceberg. Call me sheltered, but I just couldn’t imagine it happening.
After two episodes this year, though, I’m back in with both feet. This is easily the best looking show filmed in over a decade. The art direction and cinematography is gorgeous. One thing that stops me every time is when Draper enters a room in a beautiful suit. Seems like forever since I saw an agency creative director in a suit that well tailored.
Having worked at two ad agencies, I especially love the characterizations of Duck, the head of account services, and Pete Campbell, the young account exec. Then show’s writers nailed these guys. And the kicker is that not only are they accurate for 1960 (I’m told), but they are alive and well today. Campbell?—I worked with that guy and he is an agency CEO today. Last night’s episode in which Duck wants to dump the Mowhawk Airlines account and chase (on spec) American Airlines—I saw that happen to. Never mind that Mohawk is a paying and happy client, the point in the story is that Mohawk is not Duck’s client. In agency world, account services chiefs are famous for trying to dump clients that aren’t theirs for ones for which they can take credit.
I am pretty sure that the CEO I know today would, in fact, offer to take on American Airlines as a client days after his own father was killed in an American Airlines plane crash. That was a nice touch.
Glad the show is back.