Episode Information

CMS: Mad about 'Mad Men'
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In this episode:

Colin speaks with Mad Men star Michael Gladis and two real-life "ad men."


Episode Audio

49:30 minutes (23.77 MB)
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This show is gonna be so easy a caveman could do it.

Today we enter the world of advertising with actor Michael Gladis. He's not an Ad Man, but he plays one on television on the hit AMC series Mad Men.

But what do real ad men, especially those who worked in that smoke and booze ridden Sixties era think of the show? We'll find out if they think the show can take a licking and keep on ticking. We'll talk about the way advertising is understood today when Americans have become a little less trusting of what they see on television.

So say it now and say it loud: I want my NPR. It's good to the last drop!

Related Content:
Links for this Episode:

WNPR in Hartford- casting call

John Dankosky played by Michael Gladis

Patrick Skahill played by Rhys Ifans

Chion Wolf played by Bo Derick

Colin McEnroe played by John Malkovich

Catie Talarski played by Cameron Diaz

Ray Hardman played by Colin Firth

Lucy Nalpathanchil played by Ramsa Shetty

Libby Conn played by Jennifer Connelly

Marie Kuhn played by Audry Tautou

Harriet Jones played by Tilda Swinton

Diane Orson played by Susan Lynch

John Nowaki played by John C Reilly

Gene Amatruda played by Patrick Steward

Special Guest Star Nathan Lane as Jerry Franklin

Today, the part of Bill Curry was played by Ricky Gervais

Interns played by the cast of Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA

Listener Email from Marc

I wanted to call in with this thought, but I was listening to the show from the future.

My theory as to why Mad Men had become so lauded: beyond the wonderful acting, sets, mystique, male and female hotties… the writing itself is SO subtle spare and brilliant.  I can’t recall television (or many movies, for that matter) where so much is shown, implied, hinted at, left out, etc… it really trusts that the audience is intelligent and paying  attention. 


Thanks for the show.  Good to hear Colin is back on the air.  And Chion—you’re brilliant and have a really great radio voice.

Listener Email from Kathie

 I think it's great that you are back on the air on WNPR.  I hope you find your way.
I was looking forward to your "Mad Men" show today and I was completely frustrated and disappointed.  Have you ever done a talk radio show before?  It wasn't evident today.  The listening public does not want to hear 20 minutes of the family/friends of the guest talking. In fact-  unless your guest is Barack Obama we don't want to hear any of them call in.  Earlier this week I heard you trumpeting your phone number so many times I should have remembered it, but today not only didn't you say it but you didn't seem to be able to get a word in edgewise from that old ad-man repeating the same point so many times I finally turned the show off.   What was the need for 3 guests anyway?  There were so many directions listeners might have taken with Michael Gladis and we didn't get the chance.  Maybe the show got better in the last 20 minutes but as I said I finally tuned out.


 i thought it was cool.

 i thought it was cool.  not every day there's a connection between local radio people and celebrities hometowns.  usually no one really knows each other, so it was cool to hear people talk really personally.

the one ad guy seemed like maybe he was angry about something deeper, and couldn't put his finger on it.  michael handled it with class.

the show is just getting warmed up. say what you want but i really enjoyed experiencing the conversations.

Email from Jack

I love your show, and I am a conservative.  Never forget that the two are not mutually exclusive.

Welcome back!

Your comment about 9/11 and what we should learn from it is EXACTLY what I told my eighth graders today!  I never leave the house, no matter how late I am, without kissing my family goodbye.

Listener Email from Joan

I just listened to your show today about one of my favorite TV shows, Mad Men. I was unable to call in, but still want to send in a couple of comments regarding this show and in response to some comments that were aired. But to give context to what I'm about to write, I need to tell you a bit about myself. In 1965 I entered the job market, having just completed my degree in Electrical Engineering. This was before there were any real sex discrimination laws that had any teeth, so not only did I have a tough time finding a job in that industry, but I also had to accept a drafting position that was well below my qualifications. So, to the comment about why the women are portrayed as buckling under the men's "superior" attitude, I would say that the show's portrayal is accurate. We needed our jobs and weren't in a financial position to do much more than toe the line.

Even though I was in an unrelated field, and didn't work in Manhattan, I remember the same personalities and attitudes that Mad Men show. I think the show is much more on target for the time period than the one "Ad" man remembered.

I also remember the ads of that time, and while there was the occasional brilliant ad (Coca Cola, VW, Hertz, and Alka Seltzer come to mind), I remember most as being boring if not down right insulting--pretty much the same as the ads of today.

And lastly, please let your guest, Michael Gladis know that I love the show and all the characters. They come across as fully fleshed individuals.

Listener Email from Michelle

My husband and I have been huge fans of this show since it first aired. It's so well written and so different from almost anything else on tv right now. Once nice thing about the show is that no one character is completely likeable - just like normal people. It's too easy to make characters who are written either to be easily liked or easily hated. On Mad Men, it's almost as if you like a character in spite of themselves. I do have to say that I think the show is getting taking too much time shifting focus to the characters' personal lives and away from the story at the ad agency. Love Paul's character. I think he's walking a fine line between being his bohemian self and doing what he has to, in order to be "one of the guys" at Sterling Cooper. I recently saw Michael in a "behind the scenes" video on Will Ferrell's Funny or Die website - are things this funny behind the scenes of the show? And I've often wondered...has there ever been any intentional cross over between the show's storylines and the actual ads that run during broadcast?