Unlike the rest of Hipster Nation, Kris and I haven’t been able to get into Mad Men. This show on AMC is ostensibly about the men (and women) working at an advertising agency on New York’s Madison Avenue during the early 1960s. It’s been lauded for its acting, directing, writing, and (especially) its art design.

I admit that Mad Men does a great job of capturing the look and feel of the 1960s, or what I know of it. I was born in 1969, so my impressions of a show set in 1961 are skewed by what I knew of the early 1970s. But from what I do remember, the show gets tons right. It feels real.

However, a lot of it seems way over the top. The men smoke, drink, and flirt constantly. They’re all complete sexists. Now, I know that that smoking, drinking, and sexism were much, much more common in 1961 than they are now, almost fifty years later. I remember how commonplace smoking was when I was a child, and I remember how sexist my father was. But even my dad knew that his sexist jokes were in poor taste (he just couldn’t help himself). And chain smokers were only a subset of the smoking population, not the general rule.

There are certain scenes in Mad Men that just seem intended to shock, and they don’t really represent how things were in the 1960s. Plus, I find much of the dialogue to be wooden and forced — almost painful to listen to. (This may be because of the actors, I don’t know.)

I’m giving the show a second chance. I’ve been re-watching the first season recently, but I don’t know. My evaluation is still pretty much the same. It’s okay, but I just don’t get why everyone thinks it’s so amazing. It’s nothing like The Wire. In fact, I’d rather watch The Biggest Loser!

All that having been said, I do like the theme song, “A Beautiful Mine” by RJD2. Others like the song too, apparently. Recently, a group of musicians got together to produce a mash-up of “A Beautiful Mine” with the haunting song “Nature Boy”, which has been one of my favorites since I heard it in Moulin Rouge. Here it is:

This is awesome, of course, but one of the best parts is that this was recorded live in a single continuous take. (Although it apparently took 29 tries to get it right!)

7 Replies to “Mad Men/Nature Boy Mash-Up”

  1. mac says:

    Are you and Kris members of the “Hipster Nation”? I had no idea. Congratulations. I’ve never seen “Mad Men” but I LOVE “Breaking Bad” and even think “The Walking Dead” has merit—both of these are also original AMC series.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I like Mad Men but I think it is over hyped. I agree that some scenes are forced and move often find the lack of dialog in some scenes very annoying.

  3. Adam says:

    I’m always pleased (and generally surprised) to find other people who don’t like Mad Men. The aesthetic of the show is fantastic and it’s really well shot. The guys’ clothes are amazing. Every single character is a forgettable d-bag and I can’t be bothered to watch it long enough to find out if they get any better.

  4. J.D. says:

    Oh, come on, Mackenzie. Isn’t it obvious that Kris and I are members of Hipster Nation? Just check out our sense of fashion! 🙂

  5. mac says:

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂 You’re hip in my book. It’s a very short book, though. Probably 3rd grade reading level.

  6. Tony Dobson says:

    J.D., I love your writing and always find your viewpoints interesting, but I have to really disagree with you on this one. This is my favourite programme on TV. I love the character development, the way relationships change/mature/disintegrate and seeing children grow (in spite of the way they are growing up in a disturbed environment) before our eyes.

    Each to their own. I respect your opinion, I just don’t agree with this one. 🙂

  7. bethh says:

    If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But if you’re not sure if you like it, or if you’d like some good discussion of the show, check out Tom & Lorenzo at projectrungay.blogspot.com – they came a little late to the show, so their episode summaries start at season 2, episode 4. Their navigation isn’t awesome though once you figure out their tags you’ll do okay. Here’s the s2e4 link: http://projectrungay.blogspot.com/2008/08/mad-men-s2e4-three-sundays_18.html

    Also, they do a ton of work looking at various characters and styles and talking about the design elements involved. It helped me appreciate the show’s design in a huge new way. Those posts are all tagged Mad Style and they start with Season 1: http://projectrungay.blogspot.com/search/label/Mad%20Style?max-results=50

    No, you don’t HAVE to be addicted, but the show grew on me in a big way and I want to share the enthusiasm!

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