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Mad for Mad Men
2007-07-20 21:55
by Jon Weisman

The best new drama series is at AMC, of all places. AMC, the network that I stopped watching years ago once they put commercials into their classic movies. AMC ... don't even know what number it is on the dial anymore.

The show is Mad Men, from Sopranos alum Matthew Weiner, and it sings, baby. It sings.

(AMC is rebroadcasting the pilot several times - here's the schedule.)

2007-07-20 22:18:33
1.   confucius
I saw the making of mad men. It looks interesting, but I know when I see the pilot I'll wish it was on HBO so I could see all that vulgar language and adult content that I crave.
2007-07-20 22:30:48
2.   Ghost O Malley
1 - I also love that about HBO.

I've not yet seen it, but it sounds interesting, and I agree with enough of what Jon has posted in his blog entries related to the HBO series (Big Love in particular), that I'll give it a crack just based on his endorsement.

2007-07-20 22:36:41
3.   Greg Brock
Watched the first ep. It was reeaaaalllly good. Will continue to watch.
2007-07-20 22:51:37
4.   Eric Enders
I also stopped watching AMC when they started inserting commercials into their movies. (Admittedly, it didn't help that around the same time, they showed "Chinatown" and edited out Faye Dunaway's nude scene.)
2007-07-21 09:58:10
5.   Marty
I rarely watch AMC either. But I had read a good review of Mad Men so I have it recorded.
2007-07-22 17:33:33
6.   mintxcore
i think this is currently ondemand, which means i have no excuse not to check it out!
2007-07-22 20:38:37
7.   underdog
Thanks for the tip on this one - I'd meant to check it out and then completely forgotten. AMC has lately really stretched the definition of "classic" but it's good to see them branching into original programming. Will Tivo.

Btw, off subject, but for anyone who watched, or will watch, tonight's Flight of the Conchords, can you tell me what the heck the last line was? Bret said something right after the line about the computer chip and speakers in the greeting card, but I couldn't decipher that Kiwi accent.

Best. Bowie. Satire. Ever.

2007-07-22 21:15:40
8.   trainwreck
I forgot, but I can tell you after the replay.
2007-07-22 21:42:41
9.   mintxcore
I think it was something about a walkman. "It has a computer chip and speakers inside. Like a walkman". I think thats it?

I've been a little lukewarm about the least two FOTC episodes. I'm not a huge fan when they just kinda tag a music video to the end. It's all about integrating the bizarre videos.

And Murray is, without a doubt, my favorite character.

2007-07-22 21:55:28
10.   underdog
Thanks! Funny, at first I thought (with NZ on the brain) that he said, "like Auckland." Huh? So the other line makes sense.

I started getting tired of the romantic plots in the previous two episodes (though I did enjoy the Yoko-Coco connection), but really enjoyed tonight's Bowie theme. And the Bowie music video rocked. But yeah, the previous two weren't my favorites. Murray's hilarious.

2007-07-22 22:08:50
11.   Jon Weisman
I thought the Bowie stuff was priceless. I liked tonight's episode. Also what's-her-name's best episode, I think. Melanie?
2007-07-22 22:15:44
12.   underdog
11 Mel? She was hilarious tonight, definitely.
Junior professor of psychology indeed.

Check out her blog, too:

2007-07-22 22:19:59
13.   CanuckDodger
I was hoping someone would explain WHY they like Mad Men. Completely unengaging characters whom it is impossible to care about added on to a premise that seems like the end product of an effort to come up with yet another way to show TV audiences that the American dream is hollow and its pursuit soul-crushing. And why set it in the '60's, and tellingly, the very start of the 1960's? This was the world that -- we have been told -- spawned the '60's counter culture: a world not just sexist, racist, and consumerist, but somehow bloodless, colourless, and plastic. As a caricature it does not even have the virtue of being funny (another one of Mad Men's faults is the complete absence of humor). No, I don't think this is a place I wish to visit any more.
2007-07-22 22:22:21
14.   Ghost O Malley
I thought tonight's episode was an improvement over the last couple too. They got a little bogged down in the "three's-a-crowd-when-one-has-a-girlfriend" bit.

Agree that Murray is hilarious - he gets (and delivers) the best lines.

Melanie's being a junior prof of psychology came out of nowhere...but hey - why not?

2007-07-22 22:45:34
15.   Ghost O Malley

Sorry CanuckDodger - I haven't seen this show yet. I try not to spend entire evenings watching TV, so I may not get to it for a few days.

I'm still trying to decide whether I like John From Cincinnati, and we're, what...five or six episodes in by now?

2007-07-22 22:52:35
16.   trainwreck
I am liking JFC more and more because I am getting more and more confused. I like film and tv that is not straight forward.
2007-07-22 23:01:45
17.   Jon Weisman
13 - Found the characters engaging. Cared about them - even the unlikable ones. Not ready to conclude what the show is trying to say based on a pilot that clearly portends many developments to come. Not looking to it for laughs but found it easy to watch. Setting it in the '60s interests me precisely because the world was on the cusp of change. Production values were through the roof.
2007-07-22 23:15:08
18.   Ghost O Malley

It helps that they've been explaining more. Like last week when John exposed Sissy's episode with Butchie as a boy, which helps me to understand why she's always screaming at everybody.

Tonight was interesting with John's repeatedly mentioning his father, which echoes Christ in the New Testament so much that viewing John himself as a sort of Christ figure is somewhat inescapable at this point.

2007-07-22 23:29:02
19.   trainwreck
Yeah, I always assumed that, which is why I figured they decided on John from Cincinnati, like JC.
2007-07-22 23:43:30
20.   Bob Timmermann
Kristen Schaal pulls off the "Mad Men"/"Flight of the Conchords" double.
2007-07-23 00:12:15
21.   Bob Timmermann
I give "Mad Men", four Lucky Strikes out of four!
2007-07-23 00:57:37
22.   Jon Weisman
20 - Showing her range.

21 - Why Lucky Strikes? Why not Old Gold?

2007-07-23 08:03:29
23.   Penarol1916
I watched Mad Men when premiered, and I'm still alittle conflicted about it. I think that it has the potential to be a really good show. Some things just seemed a little bit too broad (I would have preferred that Salvatore be a little less obviously gay), but I chalk that up to this being the pilot and having to set up the characters and the situations.

I don't think that the show is just about the hallowness of chasing the American Dream. It's also about a huge change in a culture, and not just the culture of America, if you understand anything about the history of advertising, the mid-60's were a huge change in how products were sold to Americans, going from very staid, overt, this is how you use our product, or this is why our product is better and here are the testimonials, to the association of brands with positive feelings and trying to create true intellectual property. You can see it in the whole issue of the Lucky Strikes, you can no longer have doctors go on give health claims about the cigarettes, well then how do you sell them?

2007-07-23 08:30:30
24.   Jon Weisman
23 - He seemed like he was channeling Paul Lynde. But I wonder if they're trying to make a comment about how oblivious people were to gay people in the workforce.
2007-07-23 08:46:11
25.   underdog
Was Schaal really in Mad Men? She's not credited for it anywhere:

But I haven't seen the show yet; she's definitely hard to miss!

2007-07-23 09:02:47
26.   Penarol1916
24. That is exactly who I was thinking when I saw him.
2007-07-23 10:59:15
27.   Benaiah
Here is my ranking of the songs from "Flight of the Conchords":

1) You're So Beautiful (You Could be a Part Time Model)
2) Rhyme-noceros vs. The Hip-Hop Hippo (Could you be more constructive with your feedback please?)
3) If You're Into It (You and two dudes, getting lude with some food)
4) It's Business Time (Making love for two... two minutes)
5) Inner City Pressure (Hey man, I just want some musley)
6) The Year 2000 (The Robot and the Robo-Boogie)
7) What is Wrong With the World Today?
8) I'm Not Crying (My eyes are just a little sweaty today)
9) Brett, You Got it Going On (Not in a gay way)
10) The "Boom" Song
11) Bowie is in Space
12) Sally, I Love You
13) The Tape of Love

The first three songs are 10/10, four star, two thumbs up, 100% certified Genius. "You're So Beautiful" is probably my favorite song, of any type, right now and the rap is the comedic high point of the show (easily the best episode). The next five songs are all very good, rewatchable and generally awesome- but not legendary like the first three. The next two songs are decent, the last three are forgetable to actually bad. I love the show, but last night was easily the worst episode because the songs just weren't up to par. The first episode absolutely blew me away but last night shows how tough it is to base a show around two songs an episode. That is a lot of material.

Also, it is amazing that none of the songs sound anything alike. Every song has clear genres (old school rap, reggae) or influences (Jack Johnson, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, et al).

2007-07-23 11:02:23
28.   Benaiah
I should mention, the non-musical part of the show is frequently hilarious. Murray especially is amazing.

Does anyone know who Figwit is? If not, look into it here:

2007-07-23 11:08:43
29.   Bob Timmermann
Kirsten Schaal played one of the telephone switchboard operators.
2007-07-23 12:27:40
30.   Eric Stephen
27 I would rank "What is Wrong With the World Today" a little higher, if just for the "what are your overheads?" line about sneakers. I think the rapping Rhymenocerous/Hiphoppotoamus song was their best thus far.

I stumbled across Flight of the Conchords thanks to Screen Jam and Western Homes, and these 6 episodes have been great. I have no idea how something so bizarre ever got on television, but I'm glad it did.

Arj Barker is pretty funny in his small appearances as well (puppies being born), and made it to the semifinals of this season's Last Comic Standing.

2007-07-23 12:48:38
31.   Benaiah
30 - The funniest song maybe, but the best song was the first one. It was just perfect. An underrated song is "Inner-city Pressure".

"Counting coins on the counter of the 711 from a quarter past 6 to a quarter to 7.
the Manager Bevin, starts to abuse me,'
hey man, I just want some musley."

2007-07-23 16:01:45
32.   overkill94
I thought last night's FotC was fairly weak although the bits with Jemaine appearing as Bowie were pretty hilarious.

I'm not going to bother ranking all the songs, but I'd have to put "Rhyme-noceros vs. The Hiphopopotamous" at the top for sure. Jemaine's first verse is truly classic and I can't help but giggle like a schoolgirl when he does the "Did Steve tell you that perchance? Steve..." bit. "Part-Time Model" and "It's Business Time" are also 10/10 for sure.

2007-07-23 22:17:36
33.   Jon Weisman
Trivia: Dana Gordon's assistant in this week's Entourage was played by Kayla Ewell, who played Maureen (the spare ribs and rocket-launcher girl) in "Freaks and Geeks."
2007-07-23 23:22:13
34.   underdog
"I'm the Hip-Hopopotamus, my lyrics are bottomless." {long awkward pause} Truly inspired.

33 Oh man. She's now... uncomfortably hot. Yikes.

2007-07-24 07:24:45
35.   Benaiah
"My rhymes and records they don't get played,
cuz my records and rhymes they don't get made.
And if you rap like me you won't get paid,
and if you roll like me you won't get laid."

On the other hand

"Looking round the room, I can tell that you are the most beautiful girl in the...
And when you are standing on the street, I bet you are definitely in the top three...
good looking girls on the street (depending on the street)."

2007-07-24 11:13:50
36.   Greg Brock
Those of you who like Wes Anderson, the trailer for his new movie, The Darjeeling Limited, is on Apple's Trailer page.

It looks...Like a Wes Anderson movie.

2007-07-24 12:54:30
37.   Benaiah
36 - Thanks! I love Wes Anderson. I think "The Royal Tenenbaums" is my favorite movie, of any sort, ever.

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