Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mad Men Warning: Smoking is Hazardous to Your Health

The Mad Men -craze got me late, in fact almost 3.5 seasons late. I blame it all on the ad pictures and short clips shown from this fabulous show, where practically always someone is smoking, drinking or both.
It gave an impression of the show of a virtual 1-hour commercial for the alcohol-and tobacco  industry.

Now that I have gone through all but the fourth and latest season, I must admit that the show is good on its own. The writing is good, actors are smart, and one clear, essential idea of what makes art brilliant shows through. Namely, it is better to "show, not tell". Simple, yet so difficult to demonstrate and do well.

However, the use of less-than-healthy substances is heavy and visible in all the episodes. Especially during the first season, which seems to move on through a thick layer of smoke and echoes of alcohol reeks. I get it, this is supposed to be the sixties, when men were drinking at the office before noon, and your doctor was smoking while seeing patients. However, the internationally known brands are namedropped so often, that it makes me believe this is not just set design. Product placement? Of course. For these companies this show is golden. The crew probably gets free cigars and Jack D. sent to their dressing rooms as thanks for a job well done. I am not joking. This is how the machinery works.


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