Mad Men: Why the Hype?

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January Jones

I don’t get Mad Men.

I mean, I get Mad Men in the sense it is about an advertising agency in the early 1960s populated with cheating husbands, drunks, sexy secretaries, smart copy writers, misunderstood wives, gay designers and spoilt account executives on Madison Avenue.

But I don’t get why Mad Men is so popular.

I watched two seasons and concluded that the writing is inconsistent. Visually, the show is a smorgasbord of beautiful period costume and sets. The actors are also competent but the poor narrative structure lets the show down. Plot arcs go nowhere and characters morph from pleasant housewives to screaming harpies for no discernible reason.

A lot of hype has surrounded Mad Men’s fifth season and January Jones, Elizabeth Moss and John Hamm have been the breakout stars.

The costume design has also led to a revival in 1960s fashion and an examination of women in the pre-feminist workplace.

What a pity then that the show is so average.

A consistent story and better writing could have made Mad Men a truly great television experience rather than an overhyped forgettable one.

Author: Sue Bell
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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