Chuck D. taught me a long time ago not to believe it. Yet I’ve recently bought into the “Mad Men” hype. But I have an explanation. Five of them.
1. Zippy DVD packaging.
2. The look.
With excellent set design, costumes and art direction, “Mad Men” is a marvel to watch, even with the sound turned down.
3. The “The Sopranos” connection
I whiffed on “The Sopranos.” I kept telling myself I would get around to watching it. I never did. And I refuse to watch any series on DVD that exceeds four seasons (You barely made the cut, “The Wire.”) I’m not going to make the same mistake with “Mad Men”, which was created by “The Sopranos” writer and producer Matthew Weiner.
4. Professional curiosity.
I’m a copywriter at an advertising agency. Although “Mad Men” is set in the Paleolithic Period as far as the advertising business is concerned, it’s interesting (and in some ways, even instructive for newcomers to the business) to see how the writers depict the industry. Of course, the depiction will often be oversimplified, and will exploit stereotypes for the sake of comedy and drama. But this is a prime-time TV drama, not a documentary.
5. Joan Holloway.
Even in the absence of the aforementioned reasons, “Mad Men” would still require my rapt, undivided attention thanks to the presence of Christina Hendricks, whose Rubenesque form — already awesomely appealing in ordinary 21st century clothes — is a first-round, first-minute knockout in the hip-hugging, chest-accentuating clothes of 1960.