Time Waits For No Mad Men - Mad Men in the 21st Century
Abe Fried-Tanzer - August 13, 2009
Mad Men kicks off its third season this Sunday at 10pm on AMC. The show picks up a year or two after the Season 2 finale, continuing the show's focus on advertising in the 1960s. Here's a thought – what if Mad Men wasn't set in the '60s but in the present day instead? How might the characters be different?
First, Don's signature hairstyle would change -- less Brylcreem, more layers. He wouldn't need to jet off to mysterious, week-long getaways to find his mistresses since he could just use Craigslist's Casual Encounters instead. The former Dick Whitman and presumable Gulf War vet would also have a harder time stealing his namesake's identity -- just exchanging dog tags wouldn't do the trick; he'd probably resort to credit card and ATM fraud.
The plucky ingénue would have had a meteoric rise through the ranks of Sterling Cooper. She would have slapped chauvinistic Pete with a sexual harassment lawsuit, and she'd be in the running for partner by Season 3. She would've known about her pregnancy sooner, and, since she's more career-driven than Catholic, she would have been pro-choice instead of giving her baby away.
To promote his clients' brands, Pete would use Facebook and Twitter and become a spam god. His family connections would still keep him employed at the firm, but in today's economy he'd have a harder time keeping his job. His wife's infertility would be less of an issue since he would adopt a baby from China or Africa -- but only because Brangelina and Madonna are doing it.
She wouldn't take the emotional and physical abuse anymore, and she'd finally be recognized for her talents beyond office management. With her early success in the TV department at Sterling Cooper, she surpassed boss Harry Crane. She's currently working with Tina Fey on an ad campaign for 30 Rock-branded microwaves.
Unfulfilled and neglected, this stay-at-home mom wouldn't just sit around the house being bored, yearning for something more. She'd dump Don and sober up at The Betty Ford Center. After being discharged, she'd restart her life modeling for the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency and running a website for parents without partners.
The in-the-closet ad man would be out and proud -- no more lies and no more loveless marriage. His co-workers would accept him as one of their own, and he'd have more influence how Sterling Cooper selects clients. He's currently designing a new ad campaign for The Ellen Degeneres Show, and he's actively courting the hopeful host cities for the Gay Games IX in 2014.
How do you envision Mad Men in the 21st century?
Abe Fried-Tanzer is a student at New York University majoring in cinema studies and journalism. He makes it his priority each year to see every Oscar-nominated film and watch every new television pilot, and writes reviews and awards predictions on his personal movie and TV blogs.
CommentsPost a Comment
- From: CaveAdsum
- Date: September 6, 2009
Weeeelllll... For one thing, well, actually two things, Don and his cohorts wouldn't be smoking and drinking in the office. They wouldn't be a nakedly chauvinistic either. Social policy change is a bit@h!
- From: AM
- Date: September 7, 2009
Actually, I don't believe that neither Joan nor Peggy would have a meteoric rise. Corporate America is as chauvinistic as ever if not more so. I'd prefer the open chauvinists, at least you knew what you were against. I'm for the re-introduction of drink and smoke at the work place!!
- From: EstherIng
- Date: October 5, 2009
In 2009, the Pete of last night's epsiod wouldn't have been warned by the neighbor man not to run after au pairs in the building -- he man would have sent out a police officer to slap Pete with a rape charge.
- From: Jim
- Date: October 25, 2009
--There'd be just as many affairs going on in the office, but it'd be less out in the open and the men wouldn't be as direct. --The office would also have probably 50% of the employees it has in the 1960s, due to technology increase. --Sterling's divorce would be a lot messier. --Harry Crane would be the head of the Internet and New Media department. Sal's department would be eliminated completely (no art ads anymore). --Sterling & Cooper would probably work from home, attending meetings via phone and video conferencing. --Sterling Cooper would be divided into many branches throughout the U.S. (Chicago, Orlando, Colorado Springs, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and New York). Draper's job would consist of traveling to each of these branches on a regular basis, leading him to having even less time at home and a girl in each city.
- From: FluffyNutter
- Date: December 24, 2009
Don Draper would NEVER post a craigslist ad or be involved in fraud... He might be doing everything wrong in his life, but he still has some internal code he's following - no matter how screwed up. Peggy would have gotten pregnant in the first place... she would have skipped over birth control and asked to get her tubes tied. Pete wouldn't have adopted especially a baby that looks nothing like them - he still wouldn't want to look like a 'failure' even in the 21st Century... He would have spent thousands of dollars with IVF or quietly gotten an egg donor or surrogate. He'd be very careful that the egg donor looks as much like Trudy and her family as possible. I agree that Joan wouldn't have had a meteoric rise either... and I don't think she really wants to be in charge like Peggy does... she wants to shine while being indispensable. Betty would have divorced Don, but she doesn't feel she exists unless she's on someone's arm. She'd marry string of older, richer men (quietly retaining relationship control with her sexuality while giving the appearance of being a trophy wife) and get involved in charities and causes. When she's in her 50's or 60's she'd take up with a younger man who feeds her vanity. Sal Romano would be an out, but intensely private man of influence in the entertainment scene, splitting his time between Broadway and Hollywood.
- From: Anica
- Date: January 9, 2010
Don - no CC/ATM fraud, as someone said there's a lot more integrity in him Betty - yes, both divorce & Betty Ford Peggy - def. a partner by S3 :) Like the Peter & Sal scenarios
- From: Moo's Mum
- Date: January 18, 2010
I am also thinking there would be a lot of cocaine around the office as well, as well as alcohol and ectasy. Don is now more likely to be on some drug or have the occasional champagne. He also had an embarassing STD incident but that was sorted with antibiotics. He has left advertising and is doing a degree in philosophy. He also has a blog. Roger would have a heart bypass operation and keep on going and going. He might even try a bit of botox to keep up with Jane, who would be having an affair with the pool man. While Jane is in rehab, Roger receives disturbing news and is on the waitlist for a heart transplant or a baboon's heart - whatever comes first. Pete Campbell would be a dirty SMS-sender and would be found out by his wife when she read the dirty text he sent to Peggy. Mrs Campbell would take him to the cleaners. As for Peggy, she would be out of there and working in advertising in LA. She would also have an honorary PHD from Stanford. Peggy and Pete's son, now named Grahame, lives on a farm in Iowa. His parents intend to tell him about his adoption when he is old enough to understand....and then he will Google his birth parents