Friday, December 3, 2010

Jonesing for Another 'Mad Men' Cocktail

 I've been watching the first season AMC's "Mad Men" again. I say "again," although I saw only most of the first season when it was originally broadcast. Then, after the onset of this silly little recession, I shut off most of the more expensive (worth watching) cable channels. Fortunately, Netflix has "Mad Men" on disc, and I re-upped my subscription. Ever since, I've been taking in the series from the beginning.
And I'm hooked -- again.
As anyone who has been watching it knows, not only is the series' atmosphere intoxicating -- the amount of liquor poured during and after office hours aside -- but the writing is splendid.
Like the best feature screenplays, "Mad Men" not only presents great characters in the show's leads, Jon Hamm's tormented Madison Ave. advertising executive Don Draper especially, but even the fringe characters at fictitious Sterling Cooper Inc., take on more dimension than do most other TV dramas supporting players in six seasons.
Draper's initially mousy secretary, Peggy Olson, discovers her calling within the creative department shark tank of the Sterling Cooper agency.
Draper's young charge and nemesis at the firm, Pete Campbell, takes drastic steps in an effort to boost his profile at the agency.
And Draper's boss, Roger Sterling, has a revelation, perhaps too late, after his boozing and philandering drives him to the brink of mortality.
This is only part of the story, of course. I'm leaving out Draper's amazing family backstory as well as the supporting cast's personal lives.
I plan to watch all seasons available on DVD, and when I'm through, read the scripts. I recommend that you do, too.

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