• Publication date: March 30, 2012

Mad Men

Mad Men transports viewers back to New York City in the early 1960s. The middle-class of the nation are upbeat and oblivious to the uneasy times just around the corner.

Mad Men transports viewers back to New York City in the early 1960s.  The middle-class of the nation are upbeat and oblivious to the uneasy times just around the corner.  Questions of racial or gender inequality are irrelevant.  At the office a cute girl should expect a dose of sexual harassment, and her approval of the act might just land her a promotion.

Behind the white picket fences, housewives in their kitchens, and seemingly perfect nuclear families there is a hidden reality.  Pristine families are merely held together by women willing to tolerate their husbands’ promiscuity, alcoholism, and nonstop cigarette smoking. The masses pretend that everything is wonderful, and that nothing can harm them in their picturesque world.

That is the backdrop for the critically acclaimed Mad Men.  Fresh out of the Korean War, Richard Whitman (Jon Hamm) steals a fallen soldier’s identity and begins life anew.  Now known as Don Draper, he excelled in the advertising industry, eventually becoming a partner in his own firm.  No small feat for a prostitute's son. 

On the outside Don appears to embody the American dream, however on the inside he is chronically unhappy.  After enduring years of alcoholism and promiscuity, Don's wife Betty (January Jones) eventually divorces him.  To compensate for this loss, he sleeps with a plethora of women ranging from a school teacher and a psychologist to a prostitute and a heroin addicted beatnik.  Despite a successful job, healthy love life, and brand new car his life feels empty.

In the show's fourth season Don loses his only true confidant, Anna (Melinda Page Hamilton) after she succumbs to cancer.  This prompts him to reexamine his life, as he realizes that one night stands are no substitute for love.  The firm faces a crisis when its largest client, Lucky Strike flees to a competitor.  After a negative experience with another major tobacco company, Don takes a drastic stance against cigarette manufacturers. 

Mad Men has earned 13 Emmys and 3 Golden Globe Awards.  Its ratings have increased steadily each season.  A fifth season of the program is currently in production.

Starring:

  • Jon Hamm
  • Elisabeth Moss
  • Vincent Kartheiser
  • January Jones
  • Christina Hendricks
  • John Slattery