These behind-the-scenes photos of the Mad Men cast were taken by James Minchin III and appear in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine. I’m a hopeless Mad Men addict, and I haven’t even dared venture it onto blog territory until now, for fear of turning my already self-indulgent website into a tirade/rant about the intricacies of character, costume, and interior design on the show! Actually, saying that, I did write about Mad Men and Erwin Olaf here, woops. But anyway, I could rant about the show ’til kingdom come, so I’ll keep this brief.
I know everyone’s jumped on the Mad Men bandwagon, and the show has now become synonimous for anything vaguely 50′s and 60′s -both in terms of interior design, fashion and body shape. Actually, the Mad Men aesthetic only covers a very small aspect of the style of the period, and instead, comparisons have become lazy journalism fodder for bored stylists bashing out yet another 50′s lingerie theme. Then there’s the body shape dilemma, which is definitely the most annoying aspect of the media obsession with Mad Men - it’s turned the fabulous body of Christina Hendricks into an overexaggerated icon of healthy weight while keeping for all the weight-obsessed media bullshit thats shoved down our throats in weekend supplements. Every 50′s themed fashion spread has to reference La Hendricks and champion healthy body shapes; I know it’s only a minor quibble, but why does EVERYTHING vaguely 50′s/ 60′s mentioned in the press now have to be reflex-referenced with Mad Men. And what’s with all the D-list celebs rocking da Mad Men looks (yes Kelly Brook/ Keri Katona)?? *sigh, rant over*
I’ve included part of the Rolling Stone article here, because Eric raises some interesting points:
In the opening scene of the new season of Mad Men, an interviewer asks Draper, “Who is Don Draper?” Rather than confess the truth — that he’s a flimflam man who fabricated his whole identity from a dead Korean War officer and built his entire life on a lie en route to a Madison Avenue advertising career — Draper merely takes a drag on his cigarette. “I’m from the Midwest,” he says. “We were taught it’s not polite to talk about yourself.”
In a sense, Mad Men is Weiner’s attempt to figure out this question for himself. He has created an elaborate pageant of American fantasies — guys and dolls who look like they have it all, even when their private worlds are complete frauds. The advertising wizards of Mad Men swagger through the office, knock back cocktails, knock back lovers. They live out JFK-era America’s tawdriest dreams, almost as if it’s a professional code — to sell these dreams to America, they have to experience them from the inside, with all their inherent betrayal and manipulation. After three seasons on AMC, a basic-cable network previously known for endless reruns of second-rate movies, Mad Men established a hold on America’s fantasy life like no show since The Sopranos. “The big question the show is trying to answer through Don has to do with identity,” Weiner says. “Who am I? — It’s only the biggest theme in all of Western literature.”
To make it happen, Weiner assembled a cast he could relate to — veteran actors who had spent their careers toiling in relative obscurity. Jon Hamm, who plays Draper, had a few scenes in We Were Soldiers. January Jones, who plays his brittle and ethereal ex-wife, Betty, showed up in the third American Pie movie as Stifler’s love interest. Christina Hendricks, who rules the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce as Joan, appeared in a video for the Nineties rock band Everclear. Nobody wanted them. Today, everybody knows their names, everybody covets their careers, everybody wants to get next to them.