The story of Mad Men is as much about the transformation of its characters as the changes that took place in 1960s America — not to mention the storytelling revolution of modern television. As the iconic AMC drama prepares to enter its seventh and final season, Time TV critic James Poniewozik examined the broad significance of Mad Men for the magazine’s latest cover story. Here’s his take on why we’re mad about the show.
It’s easy to envy a guy like Don Draper (Jon Hamm) — on the surface, at least. But the tailored suits and beautiful apartment and gorgeous women are just selling points in the broken ad man’s personal marketing campaign.
“I’m always surprised when people are like, ‘I want to be just like Don Draper,’” Hamm tells Poniewozik. “You want to be a miserable drunk? You want to be like the guy on the poster, maybe, but not the actual guy. The outside looks great, the inside is rotten. That’s advertising. Put some Vaseline on that food, make it shine and look good. Can’t eat it, but it looks good.”