Friday, August 03, 2007

I've got blogger's block

Sorry about the post-less week, people. I was out of town for a couple of days, then I was deluged at work, then, as I'm sure you all heard, a bridge collapsed here in Minneapolis, throwing everyone into a tailspin. Hence, no blogging. And now that I put fingers to keypad, I find that I am bereft of blogging material. I got nuthin'.

Well, maybe not completely bereft. I guess I could talk about a new TV show that I'm enjoying quite a bit. It's called "Mad Men" and it's an hour-lon drama that's airing on AMC / American Movie Classics. Set in 1960 New York, it's about the competitive denizens of the fictional Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, at a time when ad people (business people as whole, actually) drank in their offices and smoked like chimneys all day. It's about the art of the sell, but also about changing values, gender roles and the rapidly morphing social and political landscape of the country. It's pretty funny, too. It's very well-written and not played broadly (unlike, say, the ass-canker known as "Scrubs"), two things I look for in a show.

I know what you're thinking: "Ooh, the ad guy likes the show about advertising." That's not it, dickhead. In fact, I was predisposed to NOT like this show because of my professional background. But the idea of using the advertising industry as a stage to play all of the shows themes out on was an inspired one to be sure. Here's some background from the show's website:

The Setting: In 1960, advertising agencies were an all-powerful influence on the masses. Personal and professional manipulation and sexual exploits defined the workplace and closed the deals. The high profile Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency created advertising campaigns – from cigarettes to political candidates -- better than anyone. It was a time of great ferment. Women had barely begun to come into their own. Librium and birth control were on the move. Ethics in the workplace, smoke-free environments, sexual harassment and ethnic diversity were workshops of the future.

The Premise: The series depicts the sexual exploits and social mores of this most innovative yet ruthless profession, while taking an unflinching look at the ad-men who shaped the hopes and dreams of Americans on a daily basis.

The Players: The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper (Hamm), the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960 traditional family values.

Fortunately, dress codes at advertising agencies have loosened since the 60's, so I don't have to wear a suit to the office like these guys did. Unfortunately, rules about non-stop drinking and smoking on the job have tightened considerably.

It's a good show, and it just aired it's 3rd episode last night (my wife will be unhapppy to read that I watched it after she went to bed, but I did DVR it for her), so it's easy to catch up on itunes or by watching episodes On Demand. Good dialogue, interesting characters, no pointless exposition, and for the those inclined to notice such things, the period sets are sweet. Check it out.

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