Thursday, April 28, 2022

Re-watching “Mad Men”


Ever since I watched “Mad Men” during its original run I have wanted to watch it again, from the beginning, to fill in more of the details I had missed due to starting in season 2, or 3 (or maybe it was late in season 1).

But it wasn’t important enough to pay for the privilege. Then recently I discovered a way to watch it for free (see end of post for details). 

This show is so unique and I like almost everything about it:  the early 60s vibe and visual details, the straight ahead no-nonsense dialogue, the classic men’s look of suits and ties and white starched shirts, the focus on adults doing adult things in an adult world, the peek into the old school Madison Avenue advertising world, the period piece feel with glimpses of New York City and therefore America at its cultural peak during the transition from the Eisenhower 50s to the JFK early 60s, before the decline that started with the JFK assassination in 1963 and continued with Vietnam, social unrest, riots, more assassinations, Watergate, impeachment/resignation, rampant inflation, etc.

I suppose whether that was a cultural peak or not is up for debate. Feels that way to me.

One of the many solid actors on the show is Robert Morse, who played Bert Cooper, one of the owners of the advertising firm, and who passed away on April 21 at age 90.

He was a bit of a character, an oddball really, especially for a managing partner. But this served as a useful counterweight to the relentless intensity of the Don Draper character. 

Morse originally made his name by starring in the 1961 Broadway hit play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (and winning a Tony Award for it), and in 1967 played the same role in the film version.

This Mad Men scene is hardly typical of the show, or Bert’s character, or Don’s. But it’s memorable and remarkable because it is so different. 

To watch it for free, create an account with IMDBtv and watch on the IMDBtv app or via Amazon Prime Video (which includes IMDBtv).