"Madmen" looks awful because John Hamm is terrible

OK, I’m late to the comment party; this show is off the air. But I had to yap. I’ve seen a few clips on YouTube over the years, and I do not get why this show was popular.

I watched a clip yesterday in which the main character played by John Hamm goes “off” and confesses to the Hershey execs that he was raised in a whorehouse and Hershey bars were the only thing sweet in his life. It was terrible. It was embarrassing.

John Hamm does not seem to me at all to be a person from the 1960s. He seems like a modern dude with a modern accent/cadence and a modern attitude not even particularly trying to act as though he was from that time. He just totally effin’ sucks.

I am a fan of that period. Back in 2006, I was buying vintage jackets and wearing skinny ties before this show came along and made narrow lapels come back in style. Thanks a lot. If you want to dig into that time and the world of advertising, “Lover Come Back” starring Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and Tony Randall is a nice place to start. Or how about “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” for a little period fun? (I do think it’s cool the show has used Robert Morse.)

I’ve never watched a full episode of “Madmen,” but no, I’m not such a trooper that I can get past the terrible acting by the lead actor, as well as the terrible writing I’ve seen. The show just looks awful. Yes or no?


Mad Men has been one of the most engaging and moving shows I ever watched. I wasn’t captivated by the pilot, but by episode 2 I was hooked. By the time the first season arcs to the magnificent The Wheel season finale episode I was breathless. I find John Hamm deeply moving.

The episode you saw with Hershey execs is the culmination of years of lead up and was gut wrenching episode to those following along, given the story arcs that led up to it.

I get that, but it was dumb as hell and the acting was just laughable. But we can disagree like gentlemen. :slight_smile:

Given the stories that led up to it, it was not dumb and the acting was superlative- not everything is for everybody and that’s fine.

We’ll have to disagree like gentlewomen indeed.

Fist, the name of the show is “Mad Men”–2 words, not one.

Second, it is not yet off the air–the final seven episodes air next year.

Third, your admission that you’ve never seen when one complete episode renders your opinion suspect, if not outright worthless. If you’re gonna judge it, base that judgment on actually watching an few episodes, not ignorance. You sound as foolish as I would if I were to say that that “Eli Manning is a better player than Payton–oh, and by the way, I don’t watch football nor even know the rules.”

Fourth, why bother opening a thread just to decry a show you don’t watch? What is the point? Your opinion is of little import, and the energy seems wasted. Why not start a thread about something you both know about and like instead?

My bad.

My bad part 2. Although I thought the whorehouse finished everything.

That is a toughie. Eli has won two Super Bowls, but I think Payton is better overall.

My bad part 3.

I only wish I was a woman.

My point about the Manning brothers is that, being ignorant of football (I don’t know whom they play for or what their positions are, or indeed what the different positions do), my opinion of them is worth shit–and I RECOGNIZE THIS. Similarly, your ignorance of the most basic facts about the show renders your criticism both meaningless and suspect.

Not really. I haven’t got any facts wrong, but you can disagree with my opinions.

I’ve seen clips. I think John Hamm’s acting is terrible and doesn’t capture the vibe of the period. If I am right, then that pretty much flushes the show, since it can’t be good in that case. At best it would have a serious handicap to overcome.

You got at least one fact wrong–2 if we count the name. And while aesthetic opinions cannot be right or wrong, they can be informed or uninformed, and the latter are of little value. The shoe you’re criticizing is one with long story arcs, and the episode is the culmination of not merely of an entire season but years of work. Hamm’s dissolute appearanc was a deliberate choice, meant to showcase his character’s deterioration over a period of many months and to contrast against his former well-heeled nattiness. His odd demeanor and slurred speech were also deliberate, to show his growing psychological imbalance and his drunkenness. But not having seen even a single complete episode you can’t know this, and to claim that you can judge the show when you don’t know the basics or history is like me expressing an opinion on who will win the Super Bowl this year when I only know the names of 3 or 4 NFL teams.

The show has won 92 awards including some Golden Globes for John Hamm. As far as I know, it’s one of the most popular shows around today. Well, more so in its first few years than now but it still is “appointment TV” for many.

The general concensus doesn’t seem to be that Mad Men is a terrible show or that John Hamm is a terrible actor. But you don’t seem interested in hearing that he’s not so … Why did you even ask this question? Clearly you don’t like him and clearly others do. Does that answer your question?

Fwiw it took me a while to accept any of the actors as modern actors/people from the present day, when seeing them out of character. Hamm has always felt like 60s Ad Exec to me.


My being uninformed is kind of the point here. I was intrigued by the premise of the show. I thought I might like to binge watch it, catch up, get into it. I watched a clip on YouTube and was just appalled at how little Hamm struck me as a man of that time. This wasn’t the Hershey’s pitch; it was actually the Lucky Strike pitch. I think he’s just totally not believable.

So the point of my post is, Do you agree with this strong impression of mine, and, if so, does the show somehow overcome that problem? Obviously, most fans of the show are going to disagree with me.

I get that. Again, that’s the point of this post: the crappiness of Hamm’s acting defied and disappointed my own expectations.

He seems like a guy from modern times not even trying to me.

Nitpick: You wish you were a woman. :smiley:

No, I was, cuz if I were, I wouldn’t be. Right?! Or maybe I would be.

Vas you dere, Charlie? The clip you watched was set in 1968 or 1969. I was in high school then, senior year, and Hamm’s speech patterns seem quite realistic to me. Listen to a speech by JFK or a bit by Lenny Bruce. Except for vocabulary (and Mad Men is good at not adding anachronisms) there isn’t that much of a difference from today.

The Hershey scene is supposed to be embarrassing and cringeworthy. It’s a meltdown that is embarrassing and doesn’t work as the moment of honesty that he’s shooting for. He goes down in flames.

Your description of the scene supports the fact that he’s an excellent actor. To assert otherwise is to have your opinion roundly dismissed by anyone knowledgeable.

We obviously don’t agree. But that’s all right; it doesn’t bother me that you have a different opinion. What vexes me is your insistence on judging the show based on clips you have no context for, or affect to have no context for.

And the clip you describe in the OP was to Hershey, not Lucky Strike. The latter has long been out of the picture, and the last time Draper did a pitch to them was in the first season. No mention of the whorehouse was made in that pitch, causing me to wonder why you bring it up.

Yes, I’ve seen clips of both pitches. Sorry if that wasn’t clear!

Far be it from be to defy or dismiss knowledge, but I found the scene to be embarrassing in a “jeez this writing and acting sucks” sort of way.