Mad Men’s Smoke and Mirrors Have Aged Like a Fine Whiskey

I celebrated the 15th anniversary of Mad Men last week by rewatching its pilot. I had forgotten how perfect that episode was—magnetic and cinematic and cryptic. When I first watched it back in 2007, there was no way I could have grasped how elegantly it introduced Mad Men’s central characters and laid out the ambitious themes that would underpin the narrative over seven seasons.

A romantic fog engulfed Mad Men in the show’s early years. Style magazines dedicated endless pages to the bygone chic of bullet bras, fedoras, and the three-martini lunch. Thrilled to have its first genuine culture-shifting hit, AMC capitalized on the mania by creating a “Mad Men Yourself” app. Social media back then was more like a chill coffee shop crammed with Lolcats and Rickrollers than a mechanism for polarizing and poisoning the nation. Suddenly my Twitter and Facebook feeds were giddy with stylized character avatars; everyone seemed to be asking themselves, Am I a Peggy or a Joan, a Don or a Roger? Banana Republic even created a whole Mad Men collection in collaboration with the show’s clothing designer, with how-to guides on dressing like each character. Read more at Vanity Fair.