Jan 062009
 
  • A terrific article in the Louisville Courier-Journal (thanks, Melissa) looks at our cultural myths about the 50s and the way Mad Men and Revolutionary Road tell a darker and truer history.
  • Basketcase dckatiebug sent a list of What’s In and Out for 2009 from the Washington Post. Out: Dressing like “Mad Men.” In: Drinking like “Mad Men.”
  • Modern Hobo Code is making the rounds. Funny!
  • Nice, extensive interview with Elisabeth Moss from The Improper. One thing, though: I don’t get Elisabeth as “Hepburnesque.” I so completely don’t get it that I can’t even decide if they mean Katharine or Audrey.
  • Roger Sterling drinks from Dorothy Thorpe cocktail glasses, and you can too.
  • Season 3 of Mad Men is one of “9 fashionable things” coming in 2009.
  • Here’s a writer who places Mad Men at #1 in what he calls “the worst year for TV in a decade.”
  • He Who Laughs spent his time watching Revolutionary Road helplessly wishing it was Kate and Leo doing Mad Men.
  • The Hartford Courant has a homeboy article about Gabriel Mann (Arthur Case). His new movie, Dark Streets, is described as “a retro-noir musical.” I get shivers just typing that phrase!
  • The Daily News says Mad Men is one of the television things to look forward to in 2009.
    AMC still hasn’t nailed down creator Matthew Weiner, without whom there’s probably no show, but assuming AMC gives him whatever it takes, this should return in the fall. Me, I’m keeping my calendar open. “Mad Men” is like a good Bob Dylan song, true on so many levels and almost surgical in its dissection of the American Dream.

    Sing it, brother.

  • NPR’s 2009 television wish list uses Mad Men as an example of why networks and cable stations should be willing to take risks.
  • TV Squad’s Allison Waldman says Mad Men is the best show on TV. She’s right, of course.
  • Our friend Nat at The Film Experience jumps into the Supporting Actress Blog-a-thon with an ode to the glory that is Rosemarie DeWitt.
  • Basketcase Hellhund alerted us to these amazing pictures of January Jones from the February ’09 Vanity Fair.
  • The Confabulum hates Mad Men. Hates it. Finds it dull, clichéd, and unsubtle. But in case you think this guy is stupid, allow me to point out that he also goes out of his way to remark that neither Elisabeth Moss nor Christina Hendricks is at all pretty. So he’s also blind.
  • Ad Age talks about the changing television advertising market, using Mad Men as an example of the draw of cable advertising, even though the networks have the big numbers.
  • Another Revolutionary Road review that compares the film to Mad Men, this one has a couple of funny quotes:

    This is the place to be if you want to see Kate Winslet at her best and if ˜Mad Men’ is too much slapstick for you

    Revolutionary Road”… is a super-sized episode of “Mad Men,” minus the gorgeous production design and any sense of levity, plus enough melodramatic screaming matches to make Don and Betty faint.

  • Lionsgate is buying TV Guide for $255 million. This gives me many thoughts about the current negotiations with Matt Weiner. Many. Thoughts.
  • AMC is holding their first ever Golden Globes party. Click through for the awesome picture of the very happy Jon and January.
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  28 Responses to “Mad News, January 2-6, 2009”

  1. Hello Deborah and Roberta:

    Do you have an email that you receive at for the basket? I couldn't find it. If you have posted this New York Times article somewhere in the Basket, I apologize but I didn't see it so I thought you might want to link it. It talks about the artistic view of life in the suburbs, particularly a female poet of the era, Phyllis McGinley and of course, has a quick "Mad Men" reference!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/books/review/Be

    Cheers and keep up the good work.

    Carolyne

  2. The Producer's Guild Award noms were announced yesterday and include everyone's favorite drama:
    http://www.producersguild.org/2009/01/05/2009-nom

  3. The LA Times post seems to have disappeared (the LAT does that way too often).

    The Confabulum's Joe Carter really does not get Mad Men on any level. If he actually was blind, it would be a better explanation thatn whatever he might have to offer. Perhaps his Culture11 co-blogger Rod Dreher, who does get it, should challenge him to a cage match.

  4. Also, the “the worst year for TV in a decade” link is misformed.

  5. Karl, it's right there. Click it again, maybe you had a bad moment.

  6. D.Lipp:

    Maybe it's still in your cache. I tried it a couple of times here, picked up the link at Google news, and even gone to the fromt page for the dishrag and looked at the last few days of posts.

  7. should be went to the front page of the Dishrag blog.

  8. Yes, the Telegraph link works.

    Bonus: Was Jeremy Piven Fired? (hint: Yes.)

  9. Interestingly, Confabulum is a blog for Conservatives; the entry links to another article critical of Mad Men–in the National Review. Alas, you'd think today's Young Conservatives would show a bit of nostalgia for the days of yore. When William F Buckley was their spokesman–not Rush Limbaugh.

    These critics hate the show's reminders of why Civil Rights & Feminism were needed. But I've never found those elements intrusive. I enjoy the show's reminders of past days–both serious & stylish. But I love it because of the characters, in all their complex glory.

    Elisabeth Moss is not a conventional beauty; her costumes & hair on Mad Men have sometimes been unfortunate. But Peggy's spirit & intelligence are extremely attractive. Christina Hendricks? The guy's blind….

  10. Bridget,

    If you click through to the Rod Dreher link I left at #4, you'll find that Dreher — also a conservative at the same site — likes MM, and not out of a sense of nolstalgia. Really, the fact that Carter doesn't fing CH pretty — and doesn't get that EM is deliberately made to look plain on the show — says as much as you need to know about his analysis. And it has much more to do with his lack of perception than with his politics.

  11. Also, while that RR review is funny (and not entirely without merit), it is a bit harsher on the movie than it probably deserves. The production design, for example is just fine for the period, which actually predates MM.

    As for the guy wishing Kate & Leo were doing MM, count me out. Kate is great (as usual). Leo is okay, but still too much Leo to fully suspend my belief (he was much better, imho, in The Deaprted). I like that MM did not have a lot of high-profile stars, so that the actors meld more into their roles. Plus, the MM cast generally looks a lot different in costume/hair/makeup, whereas Kate & Leo pretty much look like Kate & Leo.

  12. Thank you Deborah, I looked there but didn't see it at first but of course it was right in front of my nose.

  13. Elisabeth is nothing like either Hepburn. I would call her June Allyson like, with a dash of Marlo Thomas.

  14. And during the famous Jackie-Marilyn internal pitch in "Maidenform," the guys decide Peggy is Irene Dunne.

  15. I left Confabulum a note on their use of the non-word, "Maddingly."

    Tee-hee.

    • Oh Tom, if you're going to bust writers for non-words, you are on the wrong blog! I'm always making stuff up.

  16. Naw, just ones who go out of their way to be blind, like that guy. The type too blind to get that Mad Men is as much a satire as a drama…

  17. Just saw how redundant what I wrote was. But still, the guy took the dry-cleaning-bag-over-daughter's-head scene seriously?

  18. The more I think about it the more it does not make any sense to me – why would any one ever get nostalgic for the 1950s- early 60s? Sure the clothes looked great but if the late 60s were a reaction against the conformity of the 50s then the 50s were a backlash against all the varieties of populist movements and communities in the 30s (another period that was too restless to be considered a "Golden Age")

  19. Dreher is actually the only conservative I've read who gets it about Mad Men. Every other conservative reviewer is either angry at the "liberal agenda" to criticize the "golden age" of the 50s, or is nostalgic for the 50s. Some of them actually wax poetic on the joys of sexism and racism; that's what they're nostalgic for.

    This is not a political blog. Roberta and I are both very liberal, but we have many conservative Basketcases, and that's great. Still, if you watch Mad Men because you think the way the women and minorities were treated is awesome, and you think Sal belongs in the closet, and you agree with Dennis Prager that Joan has nothing to complain about when Greg rapes her, then truly, you're welcome to leave.

  20. I think there may be people who watch Mad Men because they like the clothes and the sets. To them, the subversive nature of the show must be extremely off-putting. I can't imagine how often they would have to keep turning away from it.

    I have figured out that I'm watching the show for the same reason Matt has said he's making it: to get to the thing about my parents. Matt Weiner and I are around the same age (he's a year older than I), and there's this thing about people the age of our parents: how did they stand it?

    I am very serious about learning more about their world — more so lately, as my father's memories flee him, as my mother conitnues to claim that she does not remember what those early years were like.

    But she she does. She must. There's a reason why she left the United States in 1957, clearly intending never to come back. There's a reason why she went as far away as Africa, married a broken war survivior from the Old World, and had two kids in that completely different place, with its different promises. She did come back here, in the late 60's, and this time she stayed … but something about this place had pushed her out.

    What was it?

    I never wondered about this until I started watching Mad Men. I owe Matt Weiner a great deal — starting with that.

  21. Portiaslegacy, it depends who you were in the late 1950s-early 1960s. If you were black or a working woman, I doubt there would be much nostalgia for that era. But if you were a white male, you would probably look back on that time as the way things ought to be, before everybody else demanded a place at the table.

  22. Brenda, even for the white males I am not sure. I just finished reading Alex Ross' The Rest is Noise – Listening to the Twentieth Century and the chapter that focuses on this part of history was mostly about how the early years of the cold war affected the artistic mentality. It focused on Aaron Copland, who had a history of flirting with extreme left politics, though was never a communist, nor musically inclined towards the communist line (Charles Seager, father of Pete Seager was an example of someone who did). He was also gay, and J Edgar Hoover was profiling homosexuals as easy defectors to the Soviet Union. It sounds like a joke, and it is about as funny as Hitler worrying about having Jewish ancestry.

    As much gays, members and former members of the communist party, people of color, etc were all minorities, they were in fear and oppression. That many people everyone will have an effect on everybody.

    More universally we were in a real George Orwell situation where almost immediate after a war our enemies became allies and allies enemies. It makes it hard to believe that the fighting was for anything. People would notice it even if they could not talk about it.

  23. I watch Mad Men because it's so compelling. I love the characters and an unashamed to admit that I wonder about them during the week before a new episode airs. They feel very real to me. The writing is superb, the acting great, and oh yeah, the clothes and cultural references are very cool.

    I don't get into all of the political ramifications, because that's not what makes me watch. I laughed when Sally came out with the dry cleaning bag draped over her head and Betty's immediate thought was the condition of the dress that had been contained in the bag. It was supposed to be funny!

    Sal is so obviously gay to us viewers, with our frame of reference and perspective, that it's almost laughable that his co-workers don't see it. But with their frame of reference, there's no way a manly Italian could possibly be anything except a *real* man.

    I'm going way off topic here, but am so excited to find a serious, fun blog dedicated to one of my favorite t.v. shows of all time, that I can't seem to contain myself.

  24. [...] Anne B. said: I have figured out that I’m watching the show for the same reason Matt has said he’s making [...]

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