Thursday, July 19, 2007

A martini lunch and a slap on the ass

I don't know about you, but I'm very excited about the premiere tonight of the new AMC series Mad Men. It takes place in 1960 on Madison Avenue, the center of the advertising world, where ad men are the magicians who figure out ways to sell you something you don't need (or, in the case of cigarettes, could kill you.)

Plenty of swinging jazz, cigar smoking, drinking, cocktails and cigarette smoking by men in slim suits gawking at women in pointy bras nestled under tight sweaters (did I mention smoking?) If it sounds like nostalgia, that's merely the packaging to sell you on the product, as the men are misogynist bigots that at times make Neil Jordan's characters seem chivalrous in comparison.

Creator Matthew Weiner created some buzz with this script, enough to land him a job with David Chase on The Sopranos (he wrote the great penultimate episode "Blue Comet.") It's a slick production (with amazing lighting and set design,) but like The Sopranos, it's not the lighting that brings you back. In the few dazzling glimpses I've had at the pilot, I'm already hooked for good. Hopefully, there will be some great music to profile in the coming weeks for it, as the ads for it feature Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good."

Topping it all off, it features Vincent Kartheiser (Connor on Angel - yes, that's who is pictured above) answering a question I'd nearly forgotten I'd asked ('where is he now?')

More: The main advertising client featured is Lucky Strike, a brand which was associated with a 1950's idea of masculinity (see television commercial from 1959.) . Their market share began to fall in the 1960's with the advent of rock and roll, and womens liberation. It's the perfect parallel to the Mad Men character, who faces his own fall later in the 1960's.

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