Christopher M. Enis
From the opening moments of the first episode of Mad Men, I felt that I was witnessing something amazing. I didn’t know what it was but I knew it was major. Turns out I wasn’t alone.
Mad Men was a critical hit from the start, and has the awards to prove it. The show won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series its first four seasons (only Hill Street Blues, LA Law and The West Wing can lay claim to such a feat) and the Golden Globe for Best Television Series (Drama) the first three seasons. The meticulous attention to every detail of the time period has been noted and celebrated, and members of the cast quickly became household names.
The series begins in March 1960 and is set in the NYC/Madison Avenue ad agency, Sterling Cooper. For the past seven seasons, we’ve witnessed the turbulent decade of the Sixties through the SC employees… particularly Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Draper is a rising star at the agency and the living embodiment of the term “men want to be him and women want to be with him”. And much like the decade, Draper’s life is just as turbulent; the advertising executive, much like the commercials he promotes, is himself an illusion.
Richard “Dick” Whitman was the son of an prostitute who died giving birth to him. When he was 10, his abusive father was killed when he was kicked in the head by a horse. During the Korean War, Whitman enlists in the US Army. It’s there that he accidentally causes the death of his commanding officer, Donald Draper. Whitman switches dog tags with Draper and goes from living tragedy to Purple Heart recipient (while literally burying his old life).
And the rest, as they say, is history.
There are so many great moments/episodes from the series that I love. If I had to choose just one moment that personifies my love for Mad Men, it would have to be ‘The Carousel.’
*and wouldn’t you know it… they opened the final season with that scene!*
When Mad Man premiered in 2007 on AMC, the channel was still in the midst of its transition from a classic movie network. Now, AMC is considered one of the more innovative networks by helping to usher in a new era of dramatic television [Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead both live(d) here]. Man Men is arguably a major part of that success.
Mad Men began its final run of seven episodes on Sunday, April 5th. The show will air its series finale on May 17. Go here for a guide to previous seasons.