Problems with “Mad Men” season opener

Well, I don’t really know how to put my finger on it; I just found it lacking. As my wife said, if this is an indication of what the new season is going to be like, we’ve waited a long time for nothing good.

A writer for Advertising Age is much more specific in his objections:

I felt George’s pain in the opening scene of Sunday’s episode, however. Don Draper is at lunch with an Ad Age reporter, and our guy’s first line is: “Who is Don Draper?” Don doesn’t know what to say, so he asks how other people responded to such a question. “They say something cute,” our reporter says. “One creative director said he was a lion tamer.”

The Ad Age reporter is taking notes for his story in shorthand. He asks about a Glo-Coat ad that caused “a bit of a squeal,” then says he has enough for his story. “It’s only going to be a few hundred words. The picture may be bigger than the article.” At that point other members of the agency show up, including Roger Sterling, and when the reporter gets up to leave he turns his leg entirely around and explains he lost his real limb in Korea. When he departs, Sterling quips, “They’re so cheap they can’t afford a whole reporter.”

What’s wrong with this picture? No. 1, we never did interviews over lunch; No. 2, we didn’t take notes in shorthand; No. 3 we didn’t ask cute-ass questions; and No. 4, our pictures were never bigger than our stories.

OK, dude; lighten up. It’s a TV show. But yeah, it was lacking.

There was one part I liked. It was when Don Draper makes a pitch to unappreciative clients (or potential clients; I doubt that anything had been signed), and then gets so ticked off at them he storms out of the meeting. Then, when one of his associates follows him out to say something about trying to salvage the situation, Don essentially says Hell, no and marches back in to summarily throw the philistines out of the office.

My wife sort of went, “Whoa!” at such extreme behavior. Which was my cue to say, “That’s essentially what I do at ADCO. That’s my role.”

I can get away with stuff like that now. When I was at the paper, she could see what I did every morning. Now, I can be more mysterious.

12 thoughts on “Problems with “Mad Men” season opener

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Beware, though. You know what happened to Don Draper’s marriage–three Martinis, three beers–same diff.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    So, at Adco, which one’s Sterling and which one’s Cooper, since you’ve obviously got dibs on Draper?

  3. Brad

    I’m all of ’em — because I’m the only one who wears a tie. Including bow ties, which gets us Cooper. I’ve got Draper’s attitude, Sterling’s gray hair and Cooper’s bow ties.

    But I am not, repeat NOT, Pete Campbell.

  4. Brad

    Wow. If that study is right, I’m going to live to be 180. My favorite part: “Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out.” And to think, I’ve been fretting about not getting any excercise.

    So does that include staring at legs? Does that prolong life, too? I hope so, because that’s an important part of my personal regimen…

  5. Brad

    Hey, did anybody watch “Rubicon,” which previewed right after “Mad Men” the other night?

    That looks like it’s going to be pretty good…

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    My mom knows shorthand. She points out that you can go just about as fast as anyone can talk just leaving out the vowels–

    f u cn rd ths, u cn tk shrthnd.

  7. kc

    That bit with the Jantzen people (that was the pitch Don stormed out of) just didn’t ring true to me. Don’s supposed to be an advertising genius, but that Jantzen ad mockup was just awful – leaving aside the anachronistic (it seemed to me) “edgy” quality of the mockup, it wasn’t designed to appeal to women – you know, the people who actually BUY women’s swimsuits. Yeah, I know, some women want to buy a suit that will make her appealing to men. All the more reason why she’d want to SEE the thing before buying. An ad for a bikini that doesn’t show the top? In 1964? For Jantzen? Has Don just been smoking too much weed with his Greenwich Village, uh, buddy?

    And the idea that he would throw prospective paying clients out of his office. Please.

    Unless, of course, it turns out that Don was behaving that way in order to cultivate an image for the WSJ to write about. Even so, seems like a bit of a stretch.

    Still love the show, though. Geez, I can’t believe I ranted on so much about a TV show, but no one I know IRL watches it. One has to vent somewhere .. .

  8. Burl Burlingame

    The key line for the Jantzen ad meeting occurred before the meeting — when the only female copywriter was told not to attend.

    The Jantzen people were a complete waste of time for DD and his peeps. He could have been polite-er about tossing them out, but it simply wasn’t going to work. The irony — the only campaign that DID work was the ham fight that they can’t talk about. Precursor to viral ad campaigns.

    DD is self-destructive. The line where he was told everyone depends on him is likely going to blow up big, and badly.

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