Credit Check: Mad Men

13 Feb

Mad Men

I have soft spot for well done TV shows.  I may have mentioned this before.  AMC’s Mad Men is my most recent fix.  Despite the enormous amount of praise it has received it wasn’t until the last month or so that I finally started watching.  Now I’m grateful for that lengthy delay of the inevitable cuz it means that I now have 2 seasons worth of episodes to watch at my leisure.  Oh awesomeness.  Anyway, the topic of the day is not so much the quality of the show, but that of its title sequence.  

The use of contemporary band RJD2‘s song “A Beautiful Mine” for the credits is at first surprising given its retro setting, but the choice couldn’t be a better fit.  It lets you know that in spite of our preconceptions about the so-called “glory days” of our recent american past, this will be a much more modern approach.  This is a show that dares to be honest rather than candy coat.  The visuals reaffirm this with an interesting, if not slightly simplistic blend of era specific advertising and modern rotoscoping.  But what I find the most interesting is the apparent allusion to suicide.  It’s no secret that the ad execs on madison avenue had a rather surprisingly high pension for offing themselves from office towers, and I was convinced that Pete Campbell was gonna take the leap when he was nearly fired in the fourth episode.  Which leads me to think that one of the characters will in the end kick their own bucket.   But, even if it proves to be a far less overt metaphor, the image of the man smoking in a chair is remarkably iconic and emblematic of the show.  In other words, I think its pretty tops.  And now I REALLY want to watch another episode.

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