Couch Commando

MAD MEN: Season 1 Episode 1 – “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”

Posted in Mad Men by LaurenStheTA on February 25, 2010

Viewed at home on my couch, evening time during a slushy snow storm, with a friend.

I viciously went after Mad Men, Season 1 because I figured it was about time I gimped my way onto the Mad Men wagon – two years after the show officially premiered. So one email on February 11th at 12:01 PM on-the-dot-later, I’ve got Season 1 in my hands and I’m mindfully expecting visions of guilt free cigarette smoking, leisurely two martini lunches, and killer vintage fashion. Most of my expectations were gathered from this trailer I watched a few days ago:

After the show.

So I was wrong about the guilt free smoking. This episode had one of the central characters, the dashing Don Draper (creative director of the agency), pondering a new way to sell cigarettes now that the public knows the truth about the link between cigarettes and cancer. Upside? This doesn’t keep anyone from getting their nicotine fix.

As far as the entire show goes, I liked it – but it didn’t hook me. If I saw this premiere on TV, I wouldn’t mind catching the next episode, but I wouldn’t go through a whole lot of trouble to make sure I saw it. Much like Don Draper’s attitude towards his extracurricular women, I’d probably keep it casual.

In this episode we meet most of the main characters – like Margaret “Peggy” Olson. She new, she’s green, and it looks like she’s going to be testing the waters of being a woman in a male dominated work environment. No doubt these waters are murky, but she has Joan Holloway to guide the way. Holloway is more experienced in just about every sense of the word and kills a 1960’s wiggle dress so hard it should be illegal. She tells Olson everything a woman needs to know to be successful at the agency – this advice includes wearing shorter, tighter skirts, investing in some aspirin and needle and thread for her boss, and the right sexist gynecologist to go to for birth control pills. Olson will be an interesting character to watch evolve and Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway) is proving to be a scene stealer.

One of the major redeeming factors of this show is how true they’re staying to the time period. Oddly enough, this might also be what makes me a little subconsciously uncomfortable with Mad Men: there doesn’t seem to much glossing over the negative stuff. The writers seem to revel in being able to show the dirty side of a decade that is fraught with issues that were born and raised in the Valium addled suburban neurosis of the 1950’s. And for that, I’m definitely willing to give it some street cred.

Rated 3/5.


5 Responses

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  1. Darren said, on February 27, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Hello Lauren, this is Darren Bickel and I’ll be commenting on your blog this semester. I know very little about blogging so please bear with me as I will be learning as I go. First off I like the look of your blog and the way you’ve got it set up. It’s inviting and very accessible. As for your first post on Mad Men: Good call on putting the link to the Show’s trailer in your entry. I’ve never seen it before and having a quick point of reference was very helpful. It sounds like an interesting show. I hope that it grows on you a little more because as far as production design and costuming goes it seems like the show is pretty authentic.

  2. thecouchcommando said, on February 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Darren. Great to internet-meet you. Did the video show up as a link, or an actual video? It should be embedded and appears that way when I look at it – I’m using Firefox for Mac so that may have something to do with it. Anyway, enough of the technical stuff – I’m glad you like the design of the blog. And speaking of design, you’re completely right about the production design and costuming of Mad Men, it’s absolutely amazing. I used to work in the costuming department for a theater so the costuming of the show will probably evolve into an entire post for me. I didn’t focus on that much yet, but I’m sure I’ll get to it in a later post.

  3. Darren said, on February 28, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Nice to internet-meet you too. I’m on a PC with Explorer but it did show up as a video, not just a link. Looking forward to more posts particularly on the time period. The early sixties are fascinating and weird.

  4. TA Andrea said, on March 6, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Darren is absolutely right, using the trailer as a point of reference is great. I encourage the use of visuals, readers always love having something to look at while they read. I wish adult books still had pictures in it, but I guess that is just hopeful wishing. Anyway, good first post. I want to know more of what you interests you and why in the episode as well as plot summary. The blog should be what you take from the show not so much what is going on in it. I look forward to reading on.

  5. […] MAD MEN: Season 1 Episode 1 – “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” […]

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