Mad News, October 21-27, 2009

 Posted by on October 28, 2009 at 1:06 am  Media-Web-News
Oct 282009

Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic’s literary editor and national editor, deconstructs Mad Men in print (and videos focusing on Jon Hamm’s performances). (Thought-provoking throughout -K.) Pandagon hates the Atlantic piece, and points up some of its flaws, while also doing a brilliant analysis of the many forms of perception in the Color Blue. Pandagon points out that Schwarz hangs a lot of his argument on the notion that Betty wouldn’t have gone to Bryn Mawr (which, for the record, Matt Weiner said was a mistake TWO YEARS AGO, so get over it already–Deborah). Bryn Mawr itself weighs in.

Linda Holmes of NPR also uses Schwarz’s article as a jumping-off point: For a brilliant analysis of Betty Draper.

American Cinematographer has its article on Christopher Manley, ASC online, with a sidebar on director and script supervisor Jennifer Getzinger — who is also interviewed by the New Haven Register as part of a TV family profile.

Basketcase Therese B. found this awesome 1962 whiskey ad featuring Robert Morse!

Lance Mannion compares Mad Men with the Naked City. I think this was sent to me by a Basketcase, but I lost the note.

eMusic has started a Mad Men music hub.

amNY looks at today’s ad industry and says, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

The Chicago Tribune reports on a fashion line for Joan-shaped ladies, and the 96% of women high-fashion designers ignore.

EOnline is all gossipy and scoopy about Sarah Drew’s (Kitty Romano) new Grey’s Anatomy role.

An Indiana Daily Student columnist has a sixties obsession that includes Mad Men and slide rules.

AMC is coming to Comcast subscribers.

Matt Weiner screened an episode of Mad Men at the Austin Film Festival.  Here’s the post-screening Q&A with Matt (hosted by USA Today’s Whitney Matheson), as well as a review of his talk.

I (Deborah) work in search engine optimization. While reading for work, I did not expect to come across a Don Draper quote!

Trés Sugar has a cute little slideshow on Mad Wo/Men and their reading habits.

In an article about car buying habits, the New York Times asks if happiness is still that new car smell, and illustrates with a picture of Don Draper.  The NYT also has a piece on the history of car show models with some vintage pictures.  Indeed, the NYT just cannot stop — Mad Men pops up in an article on the films of 1962, and even an article on the marketing of Windows 7 (courtesy of RetroGirl).

An article on “pulling a Letterman” references office politics and policies of the Mad Men era.

In talking about AMC’s new zombie show (yes, really), creator Rick Kirkman mentions that gore is shown on Mad Men. Ha!

You can vote for Mad Men’s as the sexiest cast on television. Woo.

Here’s House Beautiful’s full interview with Bryan Batt.

Variety writes about how the internet gathers TV audiences, including how Mad Men fans broke the news that “Connie” was Conrad Hilton.

Tom Stempel of House Next Door reviews Art & Copy by comparison with Mad Men.

The Vulture interviews Christina Hendricks about the head conk and other Joan Harris goodies.  Plus, an animated GIF of the conk.

Vanity Fair publishes “A Lost-ie’s Letter to the Mad Men Fans.” (via TV’s Andy Levy.)

Wanna see which record albums Pete Campbell has in his office, or the inside of Freddy Rumsen’s old bar? CNN tours Sterling-Cooper with production designer Dan Bishop and set dresser Amy Wells.

January Jones has two more movies in the works.

Basketcase SmilerG recommends Schmatta: a documentary about the New York garment district which shows a different side of the Mad Men time and place.

AMC is releasing Mad Men character-based playlists on iTunes.

Mad Men parties are trendy.

Mad Men will save our brains.


  51 Responses to “Mad News, October 21-27, 2009”

  1. When you check out the Robert Morse add, scroll down further and look at the Marlboro ad. I think Sal landed on his feet just fine. Anyone know who had the Marlboro account in ’64? Whoever it was, they must have hired our favorite Art Director.

  2. Not the most stimulating website, but funny that it exists: I love this site–been reading for a while but never posted. Thanks for all you do!

  3. An interesting advertising connection from the documentary “Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags,” is the 1970s ‘Look For The Union Label’ ad campaign, for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.

    The song was penned by Paula Green, whose career in advertising began at the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency, where she coined the Avis Rent-a-Car slogan, “We Try Harder”.

    She later started her own agency, where she launched the ILGWU musical campaign.

    – here’s a later version …

  4. Mr. High and Mightly Atlantic is still huffy about getting the sorority at Bryn Mawr wrong, but I caught him in a blooper:

    “a department-store heiress in 1960 would wear a dress that had been featured in, say, Vogue in that year, and that she could have her hair done daily

    No woman — but a Hollywood star on a film set — had the time or resources to get their hair done daily in 1960.

    The only hair dryers were the enormous stand alone’s similar to those in beauty salons, and even those took an hour or more to set wet hair in rollers.

    Unless in the unlikely circumstance that “Department store heiress” had one of those enormouse dryers in the basement, with a hair dresser on call, and/or had two or three hours to spare at the hair salon daily (and the Department store heiress had to run that store, remember) forget the daily do getting “done” by professional.

    Women could and did set their own hair nightly, and sleep on rollers, or go for a weekly set at the hair salon (an heiress maybe twice a week.)

    But even early home hair dryers later in the ’60s(with a plastic shower cap like bonnet attached to a tube) blew hot air pretty languidly. Again, an hour or more to dry wet hair set on rollers.

    Add the teasing, and the hairspray, and most women either made that weekly set last, or slept on wet hair and rollers, department store heiresses, included.

  5. Looks like you left out the USA Today article with Matthew Weiner.

    Joan fans may not want to read it.

  6. Ooops. To quote Emily Latella, “never mind.”

  7. Watching that video clip of Joan hitting Greg with the vase, I noticed that no water came out…

  8. I doubt the country ever really needed a 25 cent whiskey sour.

    What a stupid ad campaign, with the exception of Bobby Morse looking all adorable in it.

  9. I hate to defend the Atlantic journalist. Yes, we've known for a long time that Bryn Mawr doesn't have sororities. But it's quite possible that Betty attended. It was the closest Seven Sisters to her home & her parents could definitely afford it. She has a brain, even if she doesn't use it very often; perhaps she wishes, now, that she'd paid attention to her more intellectual classmates talking about their futures.

    Wait, I said I was going to defend him! Back then, most full service department stores had beauty salons. Rachel could have availed herself of the service, if not daily, more than most women.

    But it was a generally snotty article. I'd do a critique–but don't want to read it again…

  10. Last night, the Colbert Report mentioned MM during an interview between Stephen Colbert and author Gail Collins – who wrote about the state of the modern woman since 1960, the first year of the show.

    The clip is at… with the MM name dropping at the 3:22 mark.

  11. The most offensive thing about the article in "The Atlantic" was how Schwartz completely disparaged both January Jones's performance and Betty Draper's lack of character development. I feel like we've been watching different shows! I will admit that, in the first season, I felt like January was the weakest link in an otherwise strong cast, but over the past two seasons, she has really blossomed into a fantastic actress. Her performance in "They Gypsy and the Hobo", as we've all discussed, should all but secure her an Emmy nomination. Schwartz wrongly discredits her as an actress. As for Betty's character being undeveloped, he simply hasn't been paying attention. There's an interesting back story that we've been learning bit by bit since early last season, and it helps explain why she isn't exactly "Mother of the Year". There are a lot of layers there.

  12. Aww, Robert Morse is adorable in that whiskey ad!

  13. …and for those who cant find that usa today article, Matt basically says regarding Joan “who says shes coming back?” when asked about when Joan was coming back to SC. He goes on to say she made a decision she will have to live with. Of course he could be throwing us off but who knows.

  14. Benjamin's whole piece was extremely annoying and I'm pleased to see other blogs around the Internet poke holes in it. Vanity's Fair's Bruce Handy did a good job this week as well calling him out.

  15. The iTunes playlist promotion is hilarious! Thanks for posting the link.

    Re: Matt’s Q&A with USA Today – I get Weiner’s logic and I’m glad he doesn’t want to be formulaic, but where does this leave the show? Sal gone, Joan gone and (I’m guessing, but I think it’s entirely possible) Pete maybe leaving SC. I think he overestimates viewers’ interest in JUST seeing the Draper family and some special guest rotate each week. Now, some of these guests (like Annabel last week) do serve a useful purpose. Others, like the teacher, are just irritating. I think some posters make a mistake in thinking that those of us who complain about the attention given to the Drapers are trolls or whiners – I don’t DISLIKE the Drapers (the last two episodes, Ms. Farrell aside, were really good), but I don’t want to spend 48 minutes with almost exclusively the Drapers. I really do think that past seasons has a great balance of Draper family and people from the office (and I don’t necessarily mean action AT the office – we saw Peggy and the priest, Pete and Trudy, etc. outside of the office).

    I also find it disconcerting that Weiner doesn’t realize the limitations he faces with Sally. I see that Sally serves a role and is of special interest to those of you who were growing up during the 60s doesn’t mean I needed to see her as much as I have this season. The actress does a good job, but she is still a child. What happens when Weiner jumps a year or a year and half? She wouldn’t be convincing as a pre-teen or teen. And again, do most viewers want to see her over Peggy or Joan? Doubtful.

  16. Sadly, Sarah Drew's character on Grey's was axed last week. But GLEE is stil to come.

  17. This is so fabulous to link in to other Mad Men articles based on your blog. Thank you so much for having such an awesome site!

  18. I'm with you SallyS (#11) The name of the show is "Mad Men" not "The Drapers" . There have been some very good episodes this season but a lot of time was simply wasted (IMO) on the Drapers

  19. Schwartz attitude toward the fabulous duality which is Betty Draper (JJ should be paid two salaries, I think…) derives from an attraction to her, I think. OK, here's the "nickel Freud": We've all (men and women) been taught of late, in the wake of feminism, to scorn the beautiful Barbie doll blonde. And even if we're forced to admit to their intelligence or ability, those feelings merely turn to subliminal jealousy or, for hetero men, desire. Mr. Schwartz, care to re-examine?

  20. Why did Matt Weiner say it was a mistake to have Betty be an alumna of Bryn Mawr?

    • Taiga, because he didn't know a lot about Bryn Mawr. He knew only that it was a prestigious school with the right location. He didn't know it had no sororities or that it had a reputation of intellectual excellence. He saw Betty more as going to an "expected" school.

  21. My apologies.

  22. That Atlantic piece is some of the worst passive/aggressive twaddle. I don't think he's watched much of the show and he relies on some other writer's quickly made book, which he admits to not having much regard for, to construct strawMadMen to knock over.
    The Atlantic was once a respectable and interesting read; now, not so much.

  23. Thanks to ThereseB for that august 1962 "Life" mag link. I really enjoyed looking through the whole issue…Americas Cup trials…Cool!

  24. "I think he overestimates viewers’ interest in JUST seeing the Draper family "

    I find the home stuff to be the most interesting, but that's me. Opinions seem to differ…I think since the second season went so much into the marriage a lot of publicity has surrounded "The Drapers" since then more than the office stuff which was the center in season 1.

  25. I'd forgotten that major department stores routinely included a beauty salon.

    However, even with an in-store salon I reiterate: Rachel as a woman with a job would not have had two – three hours a day to spare for a daily re-do of her do. (And if hair was sprayed thouroghly enough, it wouldn't be necessary.)

    My aunt had the money, but still got a weekly set, dry, tease and spray at the salon, but as a working woman, or previously at-home mom, wouldn't have had the time to daily.

    It's a major mistake only a male would make: although he may be correct that "nice" people (by which I think the asshole means upperclass whites) didn't litter back then.

  26. Did Schwarz even exist in the 60s? That was not made clear.

    I want to say that I don't watch the show because I want to feel superior about the 60s, I watch the show because it plays out what the world was like back then. My dad, who is Don Draper's age, can't watch the show because he thinks it is just too much like the world was, and he didn't like it back then.

  27. General heads up, Rich Sommer will be guest starring in the Nov. 6 episode of Law & Order: Original Recipe.

  28. My Internet travels today, led me to this item: "Footnotes of Mad Men" by Natasha Vargas-Cooper …

  29. I love this paragraph from the NPR article:

    It is part of the conceit of Mad Men to contrast aesthetic perfection with underlying ugliness. That is why it stars supernaturally attractive people, including January Jones — "model-turned-actress." That's part of why it's so important that it's beautifully shot, beautifully costumed, and beautifully lit. Everything on the show would look beautiful in an ad if you didn't see it in context, including Betty.

    I read the article in American Cinematographer – I hope the colors they had in the first two seasons are sustained for this very reason.

    Mad Men is at its best, to me, when its time-specific story lines feel like the natural spawn of David Lynch and Billy Wilder.

    That doesn't make me feel superior to the characters. That makes me adore the show because its aesthetic refuses to make a "costume drama" naturalistic/realistic – because it maintains some archness in the presentation of the story and characters.

    I also disagree with the Atlantic Mo's critic. Okay, so the college was off. Who really thinks, no matter where Betty went to school, that she is a towering intellect? That doesn't mean she's stupid, by any means, but she is not out there writing The Feminine Mystique – she's living it, like many other women in her era did.

    I think Jones' portrayal is amazing. She has the most difficult role to play… she has to be the foil for some of Don's actions to continue to elicit sympathy from the audience. She's "the" wife/mother figure of the show. How much of literature and history is invested in hating on that person?

    Or that person is negated as a way to create a singular male hero world that only exists in (trite, annoying, clichéd, simplistic) fiction.

    Weiner specifically negates one critique when he notes that this era wasn't the being of violence in political life or social strife and we're not in any position to be "holier-than-thou" toward the show because we have our own strangeness.

    I LOVE the love letter. Soooo funny.

    AdMan – thank you for "what would Roger do."

    Therese B. – thank you for the ad. Loved it and the rest of the pages.

    And thanks again to the Lipp sisters for the basket.

  30. U. Penn would seem to be more Betty's kind of school. Bigger, not as much pressure to be a badass proto-feminist, and there were men there. And sororities.

    But I could also believe that she had enough "book smarts" and family connections to get into Bryn Mawr, only to find that she was in over her head once she got in. (They didn't say she graduated, did they?)

    The sorority thing was a goof, though no worse than the goofs in Don's backstory.

  31. When Don came to the office after the Shoebox Smackdown, Allison is surprised and asks whether he wants her to set-up a meeting that apparently was cancelled because Don was to be outta town snugglin' Suzanne.

    I missed the man's name (maybe Mr. Stone? hee,hee) but I'm pretty sure she said he was with United Fruit. ?? !!

  32. Lessofme — Guess those meetings with Crab paid off! SC is snuggling in deeper with the military-industrial-intelligence complex. 😀

  33. [a fake "Basketcase" comment instead of a polite request for a link]

  34. Smiler- just my guess- It will happen in the background. We'll know about it because it will color the surrounding events, but it won't be the focus of the show. And I think it will be this week. Just a guess!

    Meowser, what makes you think Betty couldn't make it through Bryn Mawr perfectly well? She's plenty smart enough. Trust me, not everyone who graduates from an Ivy/7 Sisters is the next nobel prize winner, but Betty is no dummy. There were and are lots of very "averagely smart" people who graduate from schools like that. And I sincerely doubt that every single woman who ever graduated from Bryn Mawr was writing her own version of the Feminine Mystique in her dorm room.

    Bryn Mawr makes way more sense to me for Betty than Penn.

    The sorority thing was a mistake, and it's been acknowledged as such by the writers. I am curious though – what are the goofs in Don's backstory?

  35. gypsy, I am so with you on the Bryn Mawr Elitism.

    I was like, "Really? Like all of the entirety of everything in recent history is not a complete and irrefutable proof that anyone can into any university at any time and get out without any self-awareness, perspective or added smarts?"

    And Betty is levels and levels of awareness above that of some of our public figures and intelligensia of late, no?

    What is the color of the sky in their world I wonder.

    Yellow no doubt.

  36. less of me – I'm a 7 Sisters grad, so I know *exactly* how smart you have to be to A) get in and B) graduate. 'Nough said. 😀

    (I think my copyediting skillz alone speak volumes here)

    Oh, and further, I also know that although each school might have its reputation, by no means do most students who go there fit that mold.

  37. Kinda off topic, but I just need to ask anyway …

    We’ve got just two episodes left in Season Three and all along, people have wondered if/when/how Mad Men will deal with JFK’s assassination. If it’s going to happen, it’ll need to either this Sunday or next.

    So, how many foreshadowings, references or allusions to Dallas have there been, thus far this season?

    Some that I’ve definitely caught are:

    – References to Don going to Dallas on Hilton business.
    – The Paul Kinsey Theater/Aqua Net hairspray commercial run-through, depicting two couples in an open-top automobile.
    – The John Deere incident & Joan’s bloody dress.

  38. Sorry. I apologize for breaking out the flame thrower with the Bryn Mawr comment above. The rhetoric was a bit much for the point I wanted to clearly make.
    I just thought indignation of the stance that Betty would obviously not qualify for enrollment at such an institution nor have any chance of graduating was so much "Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir and I never slice."
    It was not to be construed personally by anyone, except maybe the magazine writers of the original hogwash article.

    I trust gypsy you got that. And you got more than enuff skillz far as me be concernnnedd. hee,hee.

  39. No lessofme- I TOTALLY got that! We are in compete agreement. And my response was meant to be much more self-deprecating than maybe it came across on paper.

    (I aint no nobel prize winner, and my writing/editing skillz is fer shit)

  40. see what I'm sayin'? "COMPLETE agreement." grrrrrrrrrr……..

  41. Pink-slip that one too, gypsy. The firing squad needs to reload, huh?

    I had a very strong inclination from your post that you read me the way I way I meant to be read, but I wanted to be certain.

    My first impulse is to go for the Big Outrage or the Big Funny in order to sell my point and I agree the typed cyber-word can be tricky; tone and inflection are a pain to get right sometimes especially when I'm sneaking out sentences. . . while Bosses hover near. . . my . .cube. sh-h-h-h-h!

    I re-read my stuff and thought maybe some commenters, especially the grads, wouldn't appreciate the bombast, so I felt the "sorry" would help.

    Just so you know, the word of gypsy will always get a sympathetic ear from less of me, —

    . . . until you CROSS ME!!!! Then it's ON!!! Rocket launchers at ten paces!!

  42. Well, there's just no disputing C+ Augustus, is there? So your point, as originally stated, stands. But that's a discussion for another day and another blog!


    I'm hoping to get through the MM season without getting fired. I've gotten nothing done for WEEKS.

  43. Gypsy Howell #38 – Oh, I don't necessarily mean Betty would have had a harder time there academically. I'm talking more about attitude; that is, would Betty have been happy in the kind of school that had no sororities (and no men in class)?

    Goofs in Don's backstory: See this thread. The biggest error has to do with Adam's age, which is all over the place.

  44. @ 46 Meowser-Before the Ivy League went co-ed, I think a single-sex school was more common. Both genders were getting what was seen as the best education and still had plenty of opportunity to see the opposite sex through mixers. I do agree that I would have thought Betty would have gone to a school with sororities, but Matt made a mistake, it happens.

  45. I forgot to add that I love Mad News. One of my favorites this week was the tour of the set. My dream is get to spend a day walking around the sets, and getting to go into the wardrobe department.

  46. Thanks for the link meowser- before my time as a basketcase. Now I’ll go dive into it…. the age timeline always bothered me too.

  47. Well written post, looks brilliant on my iPhone as well.

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