Monday, August 17, 2009

Mad Men Season 3 Episode 1 Out Of Town

i don't know how i came to miss the first 2 seasons of AMC's Mad Men, but after seeing it's 3rd season opener "Out Of Town", i have vowed i will be a devoted follower from here on in. There are 38 eps remaining in the 3rd season and i am very much looking forward to them. After seeing one episode, it's easy to see why Mad Men has won 3 Golden Globes and 6 Emmy Awards. Matthew Weiner's creation about a Madison Avenue advertising agency has the ability to transport the viewer to another time. It captures the fashion, the decor, the social mores [if not the social unrest] of the early 1960's, and more specifically early 1960's corporate America.

i do have one complaint about the cast---the lack of minorities. i was willing to accept that when the scenes were taking place in NYC on Madison Avenue, even though in the back of my mind i kept thinking, that surely in the lobby of the building that houses the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, there would be a person of color at the newsstand, or a shoeshine man. Or in the offices if not a receptionist or secretary [i didn't dare hope for an executive] perhaps a maintenance person. Or outside the building a cabdriver. After watching the scene [several times] where copywriter Peggy [played by Elizabeth Moss] and office manager Joan [played by Christina Hendricks] are chatting as they wait for the elevator i did see one woman walk by at a 'blink and you'll miss her' pace who i'm pretty sure was black. From her wardrobe and grooming quite possibly a secretary, or receptionist, or perhaps a switchboard operator. Then i thought when two of the main characters Don Draper [played by Jon Hamm] and Salvatore Romano [played by Bryan Batt] took a business trip to Baltimore Md.[the actor playing the senior client nails the Baltimore accent BTW], that surely more minorities would appear---but no, not even in the background.

i'm willing to forgive this oversight [though i am hoping that it will be addressed in future episodes/seasons]. Why? Because the scripts are great. The cliquey world of office politics and the requisite jockeying for advantageous position are in full effect. Mr.Weiner and company have taken the AMC slogan "Story Matters Here" to heart. i can't help but think that is also why the real life sponsors of Mad Men make the effort to have the advertisements for their products compliment the look and feel of the show [see Clorox' ad posted at In A Lather].

Also the current cast is brilliant. i am still getting acclimated, but of course i love Robert Morse as Bertram Cooper, Senior Partner of the Sterling Cooper Agency. Casting him is a stroke of genius. For anyone out there who hasn't seen "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying", run do not walk to your DVD provider to see Mr.Morse's performance. my other Mad Men cast favs are Christina Hendricks' Joan Holloway---she is a pulchritudinous goddess, and Fierce with a capital F. Mr.Hamm's Don Draper and Mr.Batt's Salvatore Romano play extremely well off each other. The closeted Salvatore's pathos is subtle enough that you feel his pain, but he's strong enough that you know in your heart that he's destined to be out loud and proud before too long [despite the fate of a former colleague after his declaration]. Jon Hamm as hetero horndog Draper is seductive in every sense of the word. However emotionally disfunctional Draper may be, watching him is totally pleasurable.

Mad Men airs Sundays at 10:00pm on AMC. Please check your local listings.

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