Archived Story

Columnist finally on the Mad Men bandwagon

Published 1:58pm Friday, July 20, 2012

Blitzing a television series on DVD is a both a personal and couple’s hobby for myself and John.

As football will never be our couple’s hobby (house divided), we elected to go with watching full TV series in a two week time frame.

It is a suitable past time for impatient people who do not wish to wait until next week to see what happens.

I suppose it is also apparent that we do not initially get on the bandwagon with new shows as they air in real time.

True Blood was our first conquest, quickly followed by Dexter.

Vampires and serial killers made for excellent viewing over dinners of steak and sushi.

Occasionally we would be forced to put our forks down until the blood baths at hand were cleaned up.

I do not know if I will ever fully move past the Season 4 finale of Dexter.

This past spring, AMC’s Mad Men became my obsession.

My coworker and the man who delivers your sports news, JD Cowart, kindly offered access to his box set.

Other coworkers were also big fans of the show, which spurred me on.

With a husband who was on the road regularly, I found myself armed with Mad Men, plenty of free time, vino, and a bowl of pasta.

I was transported to 1960s Manhattan, specifically Madison Ave, which became identified with the American advertising industry’s boom during the early 20th century.

I was quickly under Don Draper (John Hamm)’s spell, simultaneously loving and hating the hard drinking and adulterous creative director.

Truth be told, the sarcastic Roger Sterling (John Slattery) has my heart.

Joan, the voluptuous red headed office manager, surely influenced my subconscious decision to give my knees a break in June from running.

Men love a full figured gal, so they say. See above, where I mention the pasta.

Given my current position in advertising here at Tallapoosa Publishers, the show was especially intriguing to me professionally.

Sterling Cooper, the fictional ad agency Mad Men centers on, handles a wide arrange of national accounts including Lucky Strike, American Airlines, London Fog and Hilton.

Their creative teams and marketing strategies are pure entertainment, especially with bar carts in every office.

The emergence of television advertising and what it meant for print is comparable to the current conversation the industry is having about print and the web.

As you can see, TV did not do print in.

The series is applauded for its historical accuracies and is spot on with costumes, set design, and characters.

The pencil skirt takes center stage and one of the partners has a Rothko hanging on his wall.

John F. Kennedy’s assassination shakes the nation and Sterling’s daughter’s wedding.

The progression of the Civil Rights Movement is documented as is Draper’s opposition to his wife’s new bikini.

The marriage dynamic, infidelity and the role of women during that time period are themes that the show readily explores.

Through the character of Peggy, the audience can see the glass ceiling beginning to crack.

Peggy becomes a major asset as the only woman contributing to ad copy as she brings a women’s perspective to the marketing campaigns.

Smoking is also a big part of the show, as everyone smoked back then.

Fun fact, the actors smoke herbal cigarettes because California law bans tobacco smoking in the work place.

Mad Men received a whopping 17 Emmy nominations this week, including Best Drama, tying with FX’s American Horror Story.

In the drama series category, John Hamm is nominated for Best Actor (so is my boy Michael C. Hall for Dexter), Elisabeth Moss for Best Actress, Christina Hendricks for Best Supporting Actress, and Jared Harris for Best Supporting Actor.

I am in the middle of Season 4 but I am back in the gym this week.

Mad Men is one bandwagon everyone needs to be on, as well as Kross Fit. More on that later.

Howell works as an advertising representative for Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., in addition to writing this column. Contact Howell at to keep her In the Loop of events.