you enough time to run out for a Five Dol-
lar Foot Long at Subway and a lube job
The show itself sets records for prod-
uct IDs, those sheep in wolf ’s clothing
commercials. Instead of a character sim-
ply opening a beer, it is a can of Bud Lite.
The other unacknowledged secret of its
Was a success is the late slot on Sunday night.
If I may steal a page from the Madison
Avenue product ID playbook, the series
Mad Man works better than Sominex.
On the upside, Mad Men is a brilliant
documentary about the ad game. The
By Marvin Kitman production has BBC drama authenticity
in its 1960s dress, furnishings, even the
sort of liquor bottles lined up behind the
bar. It captures the agency hacks and
hackettes struggling to hit on the magic
25 words or less. In addition, it captures
the importance of cigarette smoking in
the creative process so effectively that I
start coughing as everyone lights up. The
two-martini lunches, the two fingers of
Scotch in the office whenever good or
OR THE last three years, Mad ed from the control room, “We’re out bad things happen, are similarly spot on.
Men (AMC, Sundays, 10:30 of tape!” Above all, Mad Men captures the banali-
P.M. EST) has been the hottest But not before probing into the pro- ty of evil in the profession.
TV drama in my intellectual fessional and domestic lives of early
circle. Everybody talks about madmen. And definitely not before peri-
it. Some people actually watch it. odic interruptions of the program by com-
The hour-long series about life in mercials, a form of entertainment AMC
an ad agency is certainly different. It uses excels at. A brief pause on AMC gives NDER THE INFLUENCE of the
a storytelling technique that prevents the alcohol fumes and the smoke
viewer from knowing exactly what is haze coming off the screen, I often find
going on. Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the myself remembering the days in the late
creative director with a mysterious past ’60s when I, too, was a madman. Ah, Mad-
at the Sterling Cooper Agency, has dual ison Avenue! The martoonis. The snap-
identities. Sometimes he is Don Drap- py clothes. The hot sex. The six o’clock
er I, sometimes Don Draper II. Flash- shadow that made Richard Nixon look