Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mad Men and Women in Advertising

                       photo credit: Christina Saint Marche via photopin cc

Do you watch Mad Men on AMC?

Mad Men, which centers on fictional NYC Madison Avenue advertising agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in the 1960s, is not exactly appointment viewing, but it is certainly worth programming it into your DVR and watching it when you can. The critical praise heaped on the somewhat overrated show is disproportionate, though, to the actual Mad Men TV viewership.

It's hard to believe that people drank and smoked that much in the office in the 60s, isn't it?

In any event, a Mad Men episode can be uneven, pretentious, and feel padded (especially with the subplot involving Betty Draper played by January Jones). Last Sunday evening's show was different as it contained an unusual amount of compelling scheming and scamming, however, to the point where it seemed like the Mad Men season 5 finale--which will actually air on June 10.

Perhaps the best part of the show is the opening theme music and animation sequence.

Apart from that, there are two solid characters that seem "real":

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), the hardworking and sincere copywriter that everyone seems to take for granted (sound familiar?) and obnoxious firm partner Roger Sterling (John Slattery). In the latter case, haven't we all worked in companies where one of the top executives or managers blatantly never does a stitch of work?

The quality of the show aside, what is Hollywood fascination with the advertising industry of all things? Perhaps second only to police dramas, why do so many TV shows and movies have the advertising industry as a backdrop?

Apart from Mad Men, others that come immediately to mind include Melrose Place, ThirtySomething and the Mel Gibson movie What Women Want. There is also a new reality show about advertising agencies competing for new accounts, The Pitch, which airs on AMC immediately after Mad Men.

A quick Internet search reveals others: Bosom Buddies, Bewitched, Who's the Boss?, Full House, Trust Me (one season), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and so on.

Can you think of any reason for the entertainment industry's fascination with advertising?

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