Saturday Extra: Barbie, Ken, Sterling, Cooper, Draper

 

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Mad Men will
return next Sunday, July 25, and a new line of well coiffed and
clothed Barbie is in the wings. Will the new 4th season bring us as much
pain and joy as the previous three?

“When I hear ‘Mad Men,’ it’s the most irritating thing in the world
to me,” rails George Lois. “When you think of the ’60s, you think about
people like me who changed the advertising and design worlds. The
creative revolution was the name of the game. This show gives you the
impression it was all three-martini lunches. We worked from 5:30 in the
morning until 10 at night. We had three women copywriters. We didn’t
bed secretaries. I introduced Xerox. It was hard, hard work and no
nonsense. ‘Mad Men’ is typical of ‘The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,’
those phony SOB’s. I was a Greek bigmouth, a Korean War veteran. I used
my ethnicity to promote my talent. Before you knew it, most of the
great creative talent was Italian, Greek and Jewish.”

The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper, says
AMC’s promotion: “the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business,
and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising
Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he
struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the
young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts
authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring
the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family
values.”

So, will Don find happiness in his own agency? Will the design of
their work markedly improve? Will they get any creative accounts or
plummet into mediocrity? Will the men take off their ties? Will the
women remove their girdles? Will a show about the a white shoe agency
still be of interest? Will George Lois like the show any better?

We’ll have to wait until next week to find out. Stay tuned.  By the
way, who is your least
favorite character?
 
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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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