Television, for some reason, has always had a soft spot for ad agencies. They’re not in the same category as hospitals or police departments, but they are definitely right up there. Ad agencies are attractive for a number of reasons:
- they’re generally staffed by good looking young people (I know, I was one)
- they’re full of “quirky” creative types (I know, I was one)
- there’s lots of drinking (trust me)
In the 60s we had Bewitched.
We didn’t see Darren’s office often, but generally he was called upon to save the day when his boss, Larry Tate, had promised something totally outrageous to a client. Darren seemed to be an all-encompassing creative guy–art director and writer in one. When Darren couldn’t deliver, Samantha saved the day with a twitch of her nose.
A couple of decades later, Thirty Something hit the screen.
I didn’t watch Thirty Something at the time–it was about a bunch of whiny 35-year-olds working at an ad agency. I already had an 8×10 color glossy of that. But when I caught it later on reruns, I had to admit that its ad agency scenes were closer to real life than anything else on tv.
And that brings us to Mad Men.
The third season starts soon…not a moment too soon. Even though it’s set in the 60s, Mad Men is by far the closest true representation of life in an ad agency today. The people in this show dress better, but the same battles are still being fought:
- creatives against account services
- account services against clients
- women against men
The costumes, the hair and the attitudes are all wonderful. The depiction of upper-class suburban NYC life is straight out of Salinger, think Uncle Wriggly in Connecticut. But what’s most amazing is how this 20o9 show captures the essence of a time more than four decades past.
Mad Men premiers August 16 at 9 CDT. From the Hitchcock-esque opening to the closing credits, it is one fabulous show.