Saturday, 3 October 2009

"Mad Men's" opening credit sequence

Much of the following should prove very useful for anyone preparing and writing essays on opening credit sequence of "Mad Men" and why this series can be viewed as post modern.

Of course, there are scenes from a variety of episodes for which you could plan and write an essay:
  • the representation of signs and symbols (recurring motifs, camera shots/angles/movement, images, buildings, names, hobo signs, language, etc.);
  • the representation of gender through women and femininity and men and masculinity;
  • "Mad Men's" representation and intertextuality through camerawork;
  • the use of non linear narratives and the "bending" of time;
  • the representation of "truth and reality";
  • the representation of class, age and sexuality;
  • how alienation is represented through the themes of identity, home, ambition and loneliness;
  • the blurring of the genre conventions between television and cinema.
  • Any one or more of these issues can be studied in particular scenes. These issues regularly provoke post modern audiences into thinking about how they were thought about then (if at all) - and now. Mad Men's historical and fictional presentation of the recent "primitive" past invites post modern audiences to make comparisons between the attitudes and behaviour of early 1960s society with our own time.
For Research and for making notes

You might also examine and study the exchange of Web 2.0 offerings which have emerged out of the main text(s) over time, such as blog sites, AMC's "Mad Men's" website and what it has to offer, fan-sites, YouTube video compilations, video essays, websites such as "What Would Don Draper Do" (see an earlier post), reviews on Amazon and IMDB, newspaper and magazine reviews, retro-fashion of the series in stores, etc.

These links and essays should help you with the opening sequence and credit art of Mad Men and why it can be considered to be a post modern text.
The YouTube video of the opening sequence of "Mad Men":

Here's a brief, sharply drawn analysis by The Guardian's Mark Lawson from February 2009

"Mad Men (2007-)

The silhouette of a black-suited man falling out of an office and past skyscrapers
billboarded with advertising images invokes the glamorous past (alluding to Saul Bass's titles for Alfred Hitchcock and Maurice Binder's for James Bond) but also the terrible recent past: the helpless, plummeting bodies on 9/11. The music (using a synthesised instrumental by RJD2) is brooding and ominous. Yet the dropping body miraculously recovers to smoke a cigarette, thus setting up Don Draper's two main qualities: mystery and buoyancy."

Here's a link to a great essay and discussion on the opening credit sequence of "Mad Men":

"Mad Men's" creator, Matthew Weiner gives his ideas and views on the opening credit sequence:

On of the distinguishing post modern features of the programme is that it lends itself very readily to parody, "The Simpson's" pastiche of the opening sequence:

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