- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
Question of the Day
‘Mad’ adds up for AMC
At first glance, the world of “Mad Men” seems as distant from the here and now as Neptune.
Set in 1960, the ambitious new drama on cable’s AMC centers on the Sterling Cooper advertising agency perched high above New York’s Madison Avenue.
In this world, women of all ages are girls, and know it. Liquor punctuates the workdays of the men in charge. Everybody smokes — anytime, anywhere — despite the recent Reader’s Digest article that warns how cigarettes can kill you.
Meanwhile, the Pill has just burst on the scene. Desperate housewives are trying psychotherapy. A record by a hot young comic named Bob Newhart is slaying listeners with his “button-down mind” (whatever that is).
Plenty of questions (if not so many answers) are blowin’ in the wind, and “Mad Men” identifies them vividly.
But the charm of this series (premiering tonight at 10) is that it doesn’t treat 1960 as a quaint aberration. Instead, “Mad Men” provides an unexpected window on America in 2007. It’s a contemporary series, purposefully unfolding at a half-century remove.
A good barometer of those rules is advertising.
“It’s a reflection of the culture,” says Mr. Weiner, explaining that ad executives have always aimed “to find out how you feel, then tell you how their product is going to make you feel better.”
But in 1960 the advertising business, like so much else, was at a turning point.
How will Sterling Cooper adapt? That’s largely in the hands of its creative director, Don Draper. Played by Jon Hamm (“We Were Soldiers”), Draper is a star at the agency. He’s smooth, witty and tormented. And more candid than most.
As he tells an attractive woman over cocktails, “You’re born alone and you die alone, and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget.”
Right now, though, it’s Lucky Strike cigarettes he’s under fire to sell. And in a tough new regulatory climate, he must hatch a campaign that avoids any claim that Lucky Strikes are somehow beneficial to a smoker’s health.
That’s not the only thing weighing on him at work. Though barely over 30, Draper feels pressure from Pete Campbell, an even younger up-and-comer eyeing Draper’s job. Played by Vincent Kartheiser (“Angel”), Pete is also eyeing Draper’s winsome new secretary (“The West Wing’s” Elisabeth Moss) — although he’s about to be married.
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world