Thursday, January 29, 2009
If you like Mad Men, you’ll love The Apartment...
Corporate life in 1960’s New York City. Ambitious executives. Drunken office parties. Affairs. Affairs. And, oh yeah, affairs.
These are just some of the things that Billy Wilder’s 1960 Oscar-winning film The Apartment and AMC’s critically acclaimed TV show Mad Men have in common. The film was even referenced on a season one episode of the show (office manager Joan Holloway uses it to make to a point to her married lover—and boss—Roger Sterling). And Mad Men creator Matt Weiner has made no secret of the fact that he has been influenced by it. The Apartment is being shown tonight on TCM, and I strongly suggest you check it out (Or, at least DVR it. It’s on at 11:45 p.m. ET)!
Jack Lemmon plays C.C. “Bud” Baxter, a lowly employee of Consolidated Insurance who’s itching to climb that corporate ladder. He lets himself get walked all over by the higher-ups in the company. Namely, by renting out his apartment during the evenings as a place where the married bosses can carry on affairs with the office girls. He seems perfectly fine with the morally-questionable arrangement. That is, until an elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine) he’s smitten with tries to commit suicide after being dumped by his callous boss (Fred MacMurray). It’s classified as a comedy, but I’d say it’s more of a dark comedy.
A scene in Mad Men that’s very reminiscent of the world Wilder portrays? In the first episode of the first season, new secretary Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) walks into the ladies room and sees an office girl crying in front of the mirror—no doubt jilted by a male co-worker. That’s just one example. The film and the TV show have that similar feeling of happiness just out of reach. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them both.
Stay tuned for more Mad Men comparisons. (Christina Hendricks channels Marilyn Monroe as Joan, January Jones is Grace Kelly incarnate as depressed housewife Betty, and the show is chock full of old movie references!)