It is a great and terrible irony that a show about ad executives has such awful tag lines.
AMC just dropped a thirty-second tease of the upcoming last-ish season of Mad Men, a tease that’s mysterious, tantalizing, and also riddled with really, really un-Mad Men-like puns. In bright, saturated colors and hypnotic slow-mo, all the major Sterling Cooper & Partners players stand around an airport and do various things reminiscent of air travel. Pete buys his ticket. Betty stands by a small army’s worth of luggage and huffs impatiently. Roger ogles a passing woman (as is required at all times by John Slattery’s contract). And as Don Draper gazes out at this new world around him, wherever that world may be, a brief piece of text appears on screen:
“It’s All Up in the Air.”
You know. Like an airplane. And as the audience reels from such furious punnage, the teaser winds up and delivers the knockout blow:
“Mad Men Takes Off Sunday, April 13.”
You know. Like an airplane.
This clip is actually a companion piece to a teaser from a few weeks back; a teaser that saw Don (and only Don) descending that same plane-staircase and bearing a look of grim determination. It, too, is burdened by puns. Terrible, terrible puns.
Don Draper is not a real person. If he was, he’d have barged into AMC’s offices and junked all these pun-slogans two days before deadline, then asked the creative team for a hundred new ideas by the end of the day while describing how advertising cuts to the core of the human experience in a dramatic monologue. Instead, we’re stuck with commercials that may be visually and aurally stunning, but cap off with the advertising equivalent of a knock-knock joke.
But if you’d like something a little less punny, AMC has also begun rolling out the TV spots for Mad Men. Three new ones premiered alongside the “Up In the Air” teaser, and while they contain not a trace of airport wordplay, they also bear the rapid-fire, “I have no idea what any of this means” editing of every single preview for next week’s Mad Men.
Here’s “Change the Conversation” (or, “Everyone Yells Mean Things at Don”):
This one’s “Go Mad” (or, “Everyone Acts Drunk and Wacky”):
And last but not least, “Refresh” (or, “Everyone Gets Caught Up For the New Season”):
Only three and a half weeks to go, people. Then we can stop watching real advertisers make TV commercials, and start watching real (fictional) advertisers make TV commercials.