The Television Show That Says You’re Better Than Your Parents
Over the course of two seasons and twenty-six episodes, Mad Men has received the most rapturous set of notices of any television series since The Sopranos concluded its run in the spring of 2007. “It hits a deep place in you, like a straight-up Martini made of memory and desire,” wrote the New Yorker’s Nancy Franklin in a typical paean. “Mad Men is smart and tremendously attractive.” The scrapbook of its fourty-three-year-old creator, Matthew Weiner, is bursting with magazine cover stories that all but anoint him the successor to David Chase, the creator and guiding hand of The Sopranos, as the medium’s foremost creative talent.
Mad Men is set in an advertising agency at the outset of the 1960’s, and every episode represents an extraordinarily detailed effort to re-create the New York City of a half-century ago, down to the last ash dripping from the end of an unfiltered Pall Mall. The show luxuriates in the artifacts of a lost world, crammed into the edges of every frame. We gasp at IBM Selectrics and their dust covers, Cycladic sculptures turned into lamps, table lighters, women wearing white gloves and girdles, men with hats and cufflinks, telephones with dials, and small children bearing six-shooters who wander freely about the inside of a gigantic automobile while their mother negotiates suburban cul-de-sacs
About the Author
Sam Schulman reviewed God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens in our June issue. He is the publishing director of The American.