The repressive 1950s are over as the AMC show "Mad Men" surges into a new decade. Set in the advertising world, viewers get a taste of the business during the 1960s, with cigarette spreads, Playtex bra ads and the Kennedy/Nixon presidential campaign. Other signs of the times show up both in and out of the office, including racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, sexual freedom, heavy smoking and drinking and being "in the closet." You even hear about the virtues of eating butter and cream for good health.
The agency's staff is surrounded by flashbacks. They relax on low sofas and use typewriters perched on metal desks. People move through work and love wearing skinny ties, cardigans, knit suits, full-skirted party dresses and peignoirs. But it's not just the set dressing and costumes that keep viewers hooked. Junior employees are willing to do almost anything to get ahead, even sabotage. Executives struggle just as much at home as they do at the office, and secretaries have their eyes open, ready for advancement. How can you look away?