the oh so mad men

15 07 2008

Two shows I’ve been loving for the past little while have been Mad Men and Dexter.


We’re only four episodes into Mad Men but already it has become a must see tv for us. Of course that’s partly due to the fact it’s all about the advertising industry which I still harbour a suspicion I might end up in. It seems they’re making the show in the Sopranos style of television which is a good thing and kinda understandable considering the main guy behind it  was a writer on Sopranos. Like the Sopranos at times they deliberately try and shock, in Mad Men’s case in the first episode we had an absolute overkill on smoking – the smoke was so thick that at times I was surprised we could see the action. It actually was so confrontational that Kirsty said it confirmed that she never wanted to smoke. It was so ugly looking and unappealing. Which I guess was the point of the scene.

Also like the Soprano’s it focuses in part on the domestic. The scene last week where Don abandons his kid’s party after drinking all day while attempting to put up a doll’s house, really resonated with me. It’s strange, I don’t have kids yet, but for some reason it really connected with me – I guess Don speaks to the inner male or some primal maleness. Or some shit like that 😛

There’s also the added excitement of the creative process. In one of the episodes Don’s boss walks in and finds him sitting, staring into space and he says it scares him as he’s believes he’s doing nothing. I just smiled when I saw that scene remembering how I used to go through the same stuff. Sometimes coming up with something is just staring into the void. Paul White, a top copywriter and the head of the Advertising Creativity course at AUT, once told us that breaking down an idea is sometimes just about absorbing the brief for a week and letting the brain chew over it in the background. Kinda like the SETI project but for ideas. He told us how he and his art director were stuck on a project and solved it by going to the movies for a few days. Eventually the ideas came to them.

The biggest thrill I’ve had so far is the scene where they discuss the VW “Lemon” ads. They are of course some of the most famous ads ever but Kirsty had never heard of them so I was able to explain what was going on and the almost identical debate we had in class.


We saw most of the first season of Dexter last year when we got back from our overseas trip. We were half jet lagged and messed up with the time zone thing and the only thing that caught our eye was this tv show about a blood splatter expert. Now the episode that we watched happened to be the only episode where Dexter doesn’t kill anyone and instead seemed to be relatively normal. Half way through Kirsty says, “I think he’s a serial killer”, and then we both went “naaaaah”. Of course he is and then of course the following week we had confirmation of Dexter’s dark side when he has his own brand of therapy with a therapist.

I just love the relationships in the show. Angel is this big lovable romantic, Debra, Dexter’s sister, is tough, cool and oh so secretly vulnerable while Doakes suspicions of Dexter’s monstrous nature add a dangerous edge to their scene’s. And Dexter himself is immensely flawed. He’s a monster like Tony Soprano and I find myself alternately cheering him on then appalled at myself for cheering him on.

Plus it features the best and creepiest opening on tv. I mean seriously, who knew doing your morning ablutions was so bloody, well bloody. Though of course there is the jarring factor that Dexter shaves in the opening and then has a beautiful stubbly beard by the time he pulls on his oh so sexy tee. And that brings me to my next point – who knew Michael C Hall was so bloody sexy? I hated him in Six Feet Under but in Dexter I’d happily change teams for him. Er, probably not, but I’d think about it at least.

Tonight’s the season finale and while we know what happens already I’m looking forward to it. It means that next week we get to watch season 2.  Someone Kirsty works with is going to loan us their copy. I’m sure we’ll churn through it of course then I’ll be bummed, I’ll have to wait for season 3!



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