In case you're not one of more than two million Americans who tuned into Mad Men for its fourth season (fans range from President Barack Obama to Meryl Streep), all you need to know is this: It's a 1960s drama set in an advertising firm oiled by booze, clouded in smoke rings, and ravaged by rampant extra-marital affairs.
Mad Men is "permeating the zeitgeist" according to the Huffington Post and has clenched the Emmy for Best Drama for the past three consecutive years. And as we come to the close of 2010, our relative top-ten list has absolutely nothing to do with any of these achievements. Why? Because even though they're impressive, they're not funny and only mildly interesting.
Our top ten is pertinent as it relates to Mad Men mainly because people are stupid. People are stupid, and that's funny. This list pays homage (and we use that term not loosely but ironically) to all the folks out there who get so absorbed in their television programming that they forget one tiny detail. IT'S NOT REAL.
So, for all those tweens who need a genteel reminder that they don't attend private school on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and, even if they did, no one is tweeting about them on Gossip Girl, and for all those lonely lady-cougs who don't realize that the only thing they have in common with Courtney Cox and her gaggle of drunk neighbor-pals is an uncorked cabernet...for all those women, men and entrepreneurs that seem to need a permanent post-it note that says "scripted television, like Mad Men and the firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, is, indeed, make believe," this one's for you. It's a quaint little reminder...or actually, ten of them. (Shhh----Don't tell Santa!)
10. The Dirty Don Mojito Rodney Landers, bartender at The Algonquin hotel in New York City created this concoction primarily from dark and light rums. (Add a splash of soda, lime.) Jon Hamm, the actor who plays Don Draper, incidentally, prefers bourbon.
9. An Updo Hair Tutorial on YouTube What's even creepier than this chick--Aubrey--inventing and filming this 'do, are the viewers listening to her and watching her.
7. Interior Design (Hint: IT'S A SET! IT'S A SET!)
6. Summer Reading Lists For people who really want to read what imaginary people are reading by the pool they don't hang out at together.
5. A Jeopardy Category Coincidentally, the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, told Weslayan Magazine (his alma mater, 1987) that for three years his only financial contribution to his marriage was $16,000 in prize money he won while appearing on Jeopardy. Thanks, Alex!
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4. A Green Gala in San Francisco Because the show is based on characters who are morally casual and destroy their health, but they're definitely closet tree huggers.
2. Luaus We need not say a word. But WTF?!
1. Real-life Office Culture To quote: "Here are some of the more interesting features of working life at a postmodern company that have come out of that Mad Men-inspired thinking." This explains so much about what's ailing our economy.