Mad Men is Just not Very Good

04.8.12

Since I’ve spent the past two Sundays with Oprah I’ve been a little delayed with Mad Men. Mad Men is on Sunday nights right… or maybe Monday? I’ve also had Mondays with Oprah, which should never be confused with Tuesdays with Morrie.

In any event I finally watched the first two shows (which is three hours) of Mad Men and I was sort of like is that all? I felt really weird about not enjoying it and then reassured. I’m a realist, I know I don’t have the best taste in the world I didn’t give up on Castle easily and everyone knows that it’s a horrendous show.

Mad Men was sort of iconic. It was an amazing and jarring show set in the early 60’s with characters that were larger than life because we scarcely knew anyone who had worked in the late 50’s and early 60’s. It’s somewhat modern but also part of history that we are about to write however we want it. The clothes, the furniture and the lack of technology are all interesting, some of it is beautiful but most of it makes me want to scratch just looking at it.

That first season was also full of tension, will the world find out that Don Draper is a fraud? Will his wife leave him? Will Joanie ever have a real relationship? There were plots and subplots and characters that were interesting. Women were treated in ways that made us gasp, not because they were dismissed, but because they allowed it.

What the first seasons also had was amazing cinematography. It was slow, languid even with the camera not being part of the show. You weren’t feeling like you were watching TV so much as maybe a film or maybe even a TV show that was shot in the 50’s. One of the things that I enjoyed was that you could see ceilings. Watch network TV a little and see how many ceilings there are, and please, we don’t all live in lofts.

This year I noticed on the credits that Jon Hamm produced both episodes and directed Tea Leaves (the second episode). Mr. G says that sending your star in as a director is like having your pitcher bat 5th. I don’t really know what that means but I suspect that it’s an indication that Jon Hamm is just as bored with that show as I am.

 

Sometimes I Get Invited Places and I Don’t Know Why

03.1.12

Last night Anna and I went to a Hunt & Burns estate in Hancock Park to see the new Mad Men line from Banana Republic.

The event began at 6 and we arrived just a few minutes after 6. Early I suppose. Outside the front door stood two publicists with a clipboard to check us in. We entered the house and in the entry way were models. They were wearing the spring line of Mad Men inspired clothes that premiere today. They looked nice, they’re models, everything looks nice on them.

banana republic mad men party

Periodically a short and well dressed man would come out and maniacally wave his arms telling the models to stop talking to each other. He was Simon Kneen (Banana Republic’s creative director) and his foul attitude immediately endeared me to him. The guy was working and he made everyone look beautiful.

In one room there was a pianist and two caricature artists who were remarkably entertaining. It’s a good thing too because the only drinks were scotch, bubbly water and white wine. I waited patiently for red wine and then grew impatient and drank the white.

After a few minutes Janie Bryant emerged. She’s the costume designer from Mad Men. She started by shaking hands and introducing herself to the folks next to us, and as Anna was about to say hello she did the once over look (you know top to toe with a sneer), turned on her heel and went to talk to someone else.

Completely fucking awesome Janie. I know you don’t need me on your way up but you might want to rack up some love for your way down… it softens the landing.

A publicist shook my hand and introduced herself. She was sweet and told us about the line. It’ll be available tomorrow and they’re doing in store events with booze and shopping, “You know, people buy more when they’re drinking.” She whispered. Every parent who’s ever been to a school gala knows to watch out for that one.

I knew it was time to leave when she tried telling me that the house was owned by the actor who plays Sally Draper. Well, I thought it was a line of bullshit, but when the 12 year old emerged in smaller version of one of the Banana Republic dresses while being guided by a publicist I thought I might have entered Dante’s eighth circle of hell. Not only was an empty house staged to “belong” to this child… but how are you supposed to interview a 12 year old about fashion for the masses? Further, why would want to?

I love staring at models who are told to shut up and be still for a few hours. I love looking at pretty clothes and the pretty people wearing them. I love a cocktail and a grand estate. I noted every bit of luxury in the grand estate from the crown moldings to the leather ensconced light fixtures.

There were three people to score an interview with. One was a child. One was too self important and one was actually working. After 30 minutes we left. No swag either… I have no clue why I was invited. I have no clue why I attended.

On the upside we had amazing tacos at Cactus #1 followed by a little homemade Limóncello.