Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Klosterman’

Goodbye, Friday Night Lights

July 20, 2011 Leave a comment

This blog probably wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for Friday Night Lights, our favourite show to recap and obsess over these past couple years. I’m ashamed to admit this but I haven’t seen the final episode of the series yet (I hate it when real life gets in the way of TV life, which is a far more fulfilling experience anyway so GET OFF MY BACK, MOM). But the end of a critically acclaimed—if under-watched—series means the inevitable torrent of essays, analyses and tributes to the characters that occupied so much space in our minds and hearts. On that note, I thought I’d link to a couple great FNL articles on the new Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman blog Grantland: “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Couldn’t Lose: An Oral History of Friday Night Lights” and “HIPSTER RUNOFF’s Carles on the lessons of Friday Night Lights.” Here’s a taste of the first article, a quote from series creator Peter Berg:

I remember I went to NBC, and there were about 10 people in the room. [Kevin Reilly] and I looked at each other, and he said, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I want to build up this all-American quarterback, this hero. This wonderful, beautiful kid with his entire future ahead of him. His biggest decision in life was whether he was going to take a full ride to UT or Notre Dame. He’s got the hot girlfriend. He’s got the loving parents. And he’s going to break his neck in the first game. We’re going to create this iconic American hero, and we’re going to demolish him.”




Don Draper, Advertising, and Free Will

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s a little surprising that Mad Men hasn’t touched on one of the more famous campaigns in popular advertising: the Cola Wars. While most people over the age of 20 remember the Pepsi/Coca Cola rivalry as a phenomenon of the 1980s and ’90s, the two companies were battling it out for marketplace supremacy long before the Pepsi Challenge. Pepsi’s “For Those Who Think Young” campaign began in the early ’60s as a way of tapping into the appeal of a burgeoning counterculture that held youthfulness as its most valuable asset. Thomas Frank writes in The Conquest of Cool, “this new species of marketing is concerned with nothing other than the construction of consumer subjectivity, as manufacturers and advertisers attempt to call group identities into existence where before there had been nothing but inchoate feelings and common responses to pollsters’ questions.” The Cola Wars of the 1960s represented a new era of marketing aimed at the symbolism of a product as opposed to the product itself. As business historian Richard S. Tedlow notes, “There was no such thing as the Pepsi Generation until Pepsi created it.”

Tedlow may not exist in the world of Mad Men, but his ideas echo throughout the series. In the pilot episode, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” Don’s new client, Rachel, admits she’s never been in love. “What you call love,” he shoots back, “was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.” This line tells us two things about Don: he is profoundly cynical about love and he believes that advertising has the power to not only evoke but create the feelings that most people associate with love.  Read more…