Mad Men

Mad Men is an American period dramatic television series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. It is produced by Lionsgate Television and is broadcast on the cable network AMC. It premiered on July 19, 2007, and completed its second season on October 26, 2008. The third season began on August 16, 2009.
Set in New York City, Mad Men begins in 1960 at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on New York City’s Madison Avenue. The show centers on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the agency’s creative director, and the people in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.

Mad Men plot

A fizzy drama that makes you smile without needing jokes, Mad Men — puny slang for hot-blooded Madison Avenue ad executives — takes us back to the early ’60s, when guys wore narrow-lapelled suits, guzzled bourbon before and after meetings, and smoked like a Neil Young guitar solo.

Mad Men characters

Mad Men features an ensemble cast representing several segments of society in 1960s New York, although it focuses most on Don Draper. Draper is the series’ main character. His past is shadowy, but he has achieved success at the agency. He is married to Elizabeth “Betty” Draper and has two children, but has a history of infidelity. Draper was born Richard “Dick” Whitman; he assumed the real Don Draper’s identity during the Korean War.

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss): Olson rises from Draper’s secretary to a copywriter with her own office. She unknowingly becomes pregnant with Pete Campbell’s child and thus suffers from a mental breakdown.

Peter “Pete” Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser): A young, ambitious account executive from a privileged background. Campbell tries to blackmail Don Draper with information on the latter’s past.

Elizabeth “betty” Draper (January Jones): A former model and Don Draper’s wife and mother of their two children, Sally and Bobby. She gradually becomes aware of her husband’s womanizing over the first two seasons.

Roger Starling (John Slattery): One of the two senior partners of Sterling Cooper, and a good friend of Don Draper. His father founded the firm with Bertram Cooper, which explains why his name is before Cooper’s. The heart attacks that he suffered did not affect his drinking or smoking habits, which remained excessive. He retains considerable affection from both Sterling Cooper employees (with whom he has far more contact than Bert Cooper) and his family. By 1962, Sterling has returned to work and is seen to indulge in his old habits.

Mad Men theme

Mad Men depicts parts of American society and culture of the early 1960s, highlighting Cigarette smoking, drinking, sexism, adultery, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism.
Smoking far more common in 1960s United States than it is now, is featured throughout the series; almost every character can be seen smoking several times in the course of an episode.

Representatives of Lucky Strike cigarettes come to Sterling Cooper looking for a new advertising campaign in the wake of a Reader’s Digest report that smoking will lead to various health issues including lung cancer. The show presents a subculture in which Men who are engaged or married frequently enter into infidelity and has sexual relations with other women. The series also observes advertising as a corporate outlet for creativity for mainstream, middle-class, young, white Men.

Along with each of these examples, however, there are hints of the future and the radical changes of the later 1960s; Betty’s anxiety, the Beats that Draper discovers through Midge, even talk about how smoking is bad for health (usually dismissed or ignored). Characters also see stirrings of change in the ad industry itself, with the Volkswagen Beetle’s “Think Small” ad campaign Mentioned and dismissed by many at Sterling Cooper, although Don Draper brilliantly spots the nostalgic value and market potential of renaming the Kodak ‘wheel’ slide projector as the Kodak Carousel.

Mad Men critical appreciation and awards

The TV series, Mad Men have received critical acclaim, particularly for its historical authenticity and visual style, and has won multiple awards, including three Golden Globes, a BAFTA and six Emmys. It is the first basic cable series to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.