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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mad Money ... and we're not talking about that annoying bald guy

Now the cast of "Mad Men" can celebrate.

A second straight Golden Globe win for Best Drama had a dark cloud hanging over it because of creator Matthew Weiner's yet-to-be-determined fate with Lionsgate TV/AMC.

But "Mad Men" fans can rest easy now. According to the Hollywood Reporter, months of negotiations finally led to a two-year, seven figure deal so the acclaimed AMC drama can continue without a hitch.

The pact -- Lionsgate TV's biggest to date on the drama side -- includes Weiner's services as executive producer/showrunner on "Mad Men" as well as development of new projects for Lionsgate TV and a potential feature for Lionsgate. Weiner's original deal with Lionsgate covered only the first two seasons of "Mad Men," and in September he began meeting with studios for an overall deal. In October, AMC handed Lionsgate a third-season pickup for the show with Weiner's future on it still uncertain.

Having just finished Season One of the show -- thanks, MJ! -- I can tell you that the awards and accolades are well deserved (even if "The Wire," ahem, is still much, much better.)

Then again, this isn't an anything-goes HBO show we're talking about, and in a lot of ways, that's what made my viewing of "Mad Men" so refreshing. It bypasses vulgarity and overt sexuality, but still shows the warts and wrinkles of a bygone era in creative, clever ways. The acting and writing are both superb, and it's very much a show that I would recommend to anyone, any age -- particularly those who remember the late '50s-early '60s and its, shall we politely say, startling lack of progression.

The gender and racial bias, not to mention the fact that you might get cancer just from WATCHING the amount of smoking in each episode, leads to a lot of curious thoughts about transition and change in the four-plus decades since. Some of Season One's more brilliant touches include Don Draper's Kodak Carousel moment; the plot synergy with real political spots from the Nixon-Kennedy campaign; and anything involving tortured, conflicted housewife, Betty Draper (January Jones) -- particularly a gun-toting Betty Draper. Don's (Jon Hamm) complexity runs a close second ... and man, I wouldn't mind strangling that greasy Pete Campbell. Please someone, tell me he redeems himself slightly in Season Two. (Actually don't ... I hate spoilers.)

MJ said it best by previously referring to the show as "a retro loveletter to Americana that doesn't seem kitschy or whitewashed in historical hindsight." My emotional investment in the show isn't super-heavy right now, but the characters have grown on me (particularly after episode six), and I plan to stick with it when Season Two is released on DVD.

Now, who's up for some good ol' sexual harassment in the office?

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,



As I told you in person, you will learn to at least appreciate -- if not sympathize with -- Pete Campbell in Season 2. He is still a pompous ass, though.

Glad you liked it! (and I agree, it's no "Wire").


By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At January 19, 2009 at 3:14 PM  

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