Did you watch the Emmy Awards this year and cry a little when you realized it’s been months since Mad Men has been on? Have you been experiencing Mad Men withdrawal at an alarming rate? You are not alone. The wildly-popular AMC television show has aired every year for the past four summers, but contract negotiations delayed the new season’s release this year. We’ve made it through summer and still have months to go before the new season premieres, which hardly seems fair.
If you’ve never seen Mad Men (which I highly recommend to anyone even the least bit interested in advertising, the 1960s, or both), it’s a period drama set in the 1960s at a fictional advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. The Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency (later renamed) is the agency that gives the characters their nicknames of so-called “mad men,” otherwise known as advertising men who worked on Madison Avenue during the 1960s. The show’s main character is Don Draper (played by the dashing Jon Hamm) who is the creative director at Sterling Cooper. His work and home life are portrayed during this exciting, yet turbulent, time in America.
The past four seasons have been a whirlwind of activity and character development, so when news came out that the show wouldn’t air any new episodes until early 2012, the headaches, irritability, and inability to concentrate took full force. But never fear, because there’s plenty of possibilities to take your mind off of the show’s hiatus!
On the silver screen…
The advertising business is an interesting and complex one, which makes it ideal for movie plots. Turner Classic Movies cable channel is featuring movies based on this industry during this month that include: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Callaway Went Thataway, and A Letter to Three Wives, which mocks advertisers and the soap operas they sponsor. Adweek.com has also given their top 25 best advertising movies ever made to give you some more options.
If you want to feel as if you’re actually in the early 60s with the costumes being shown in movies, then you came to the right blog post. As both an Audrey Hepburn fan and an early 1960s fan, Funny Face is a great movie not only because of its plot but because of the costumes as well. Truly ‘S Wonderful! West Side Story is another movie that I think has awesome costumes. Apparently, so did the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (yeah, “that” academy) since it won for Best Costume Design in 1961. While these two movies aren’t in the field of advertising, they do take you to a time period that is so much different from ours in terms of clothing and social norms, which is what Mad Men also does.
In the world of television…
The cable channel BBC America is showing one of their drama series, The Hour, that is reminiscent of Mad Men (despite some differences). For one, it’s set in London (shocking), and it’s set in 1956, but you can still get your fill of conference rooms hazy with stale cigarette smoke and the prevalence of alcohol during the workday.
Two broadcast networks based in the US are also jumping on board the retro band wagon this fall. ABC is airing Pan Am, based on the employees and customers of the Pan American World Airways company, which was prevalent during this era. NBC is premiering The Playboy Club, which also takes place during the 1960s, which details the lives of the club’s employees and members. Hopefully between these three shows, the void left will once again be filled (though, probably not completely). The New York Times has other alternatives you might enjoy as well.
When the going gets rough, just shop with somebody tough…
“Maddicts” out there may not be able to see the latest happenings at the agency, but you can dress like someone who’d stop in for a meeting. Banana Republic stores carry an assortment of 65 pieces of men’s and women’s clothing that is actually based on the wardrobes of the characters. If you’re more in the market for home décor that’s reminiscent of this time, Crate & Barrel’s Petrie sofa encompasses the “midcentury modern” look that would easily be seen in the Draper living room.
Find your support group…
If you’re lucky enough to not be alone in your suffering, then rally all of your Mad Men friends for an evening of reminiscing and fun. Throw a Mad Men party — complete with a costume contest — for the best Don or Joan! Need some suggestions of places to go for costumes? Etsy has some great costumes not only inspired by the 1960s, but by other eras, too! Modcloth is another fun website to do some vintage shopping and really look the part. For the guys, a “costume” consisting of a suit (with the skinniest tie you own) will be enough to have people wondering where you parked your time machine.
During the drink and appetizer portion of the party, serve food that was all the rage in the 60s. Try Spicy-Smokey Peanuts (great for those non-smokers out there who still want Don’s presence felt), Beef Wellington for the main course, and finally, in ode to Alaska’s induction in 1959, serve Baked Alaska. Make sure you have plenty of martinis made for the ladies and plenty of scotch available for the men! Oh, and don’t forget mint juleps and old fashioneds. We’re aiming for a true Mad Men experience here, so the more alcohol (or kiddie cocktails) the merrier.
For fun and games, don’t rely on a game of bridge to liven things up. Have a playlist loaded with popular early 1960s music! For suggestions, check out these lists: 1960, 1962, and 1963. Break out a game of charades and Twister to keep the fun going! Host a few of these parties and the time before February (when the new season is set to air) will fly by.
While the Mad Men gang won’t be rolling out any new episodes for a couple of months, that doesn’t mean you can’t escape to their era. Check out these distractions to get you through the lull.
Are you a “Maddict”? Have you found any other tricks to get through the summer without Don or Peggy? Sound off below!