‘Mad Men’: A binge-worth TV show

The first episode was released in 2007. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 May 2020

‘Mad Men’: A binge-worth TV show

AMMAN: On paper, “Mad Men” seemed like — at best — a niche, and quite dull, idea. Exploring the workings of a New York ad agency in the 1960s? Who cares? (Except for ad-agency employees, perhaps, keen to see their choice of occupation as dramatic and meaningful, rather than inherently loathsome.)

However, Matthew Weiner’s depiction of life at the fictional Sterling Cooper agency was one of the finest television shows of this century. First off, it looks spectacular: Weiner and his writers carried out intensive, exhaustive research to ensure the sets, costumes and props were historically accurate (hence the almost constant smoking and boozing), and with a budget that reportedly ran to more than $2 million per episode on average, they were able to create a lush, immersive visual style (Weiner has cited Alfred Hitchcock as a major influence) that rivaled big-budget movies. 




Matthew Weiner’s depiction of life at the fictional Sterling Cooper agency was one of the finest television shows of this century, the reviewer thinks. (Supplied)

Secondly, the casting and the cast’s performances were superb throughout. Jon Hamm became a global star for his portrayal of the agency’s complicated, conflicted, alpha-male creative director Don Draper; Elisabeth Moss was brilliant as Peggy Olson — Draper’s secretary who rises through the male-dominated ranks to become an acclaimed copywriter (with her own office!); John Slattery got most of the funniest lines as jaded senior partner Roger Sterling; and Christina Hendricks stole numerous scenes as office manager/office mother Joan Harris — charged with keeping the chaos in some kind of order, with varying degrees of success. They were supported by an ensemble cast who were equally adept at giving their characters an emotional depth rarely matched in primetime TV. 

Thirdly, the actors were aided by scripts in which powerful drama was balanced by biting humor; social commentary (particularly about race and gender roles) that still hits hard 60 years on from the period in which the series is set; great tragedies; and life’s big questions. Weiner showed real respect for audiences, providing a show that demanded and deserved their attention (this was not ‘background viewing’) and rewarded focus and inquisitiveness. Even the most minor of characters had three dimensions, and heroes and villains — as in real life — were often hard to separate. Indeed, they were often the same character in the same episode or scene. 

Five years on from its final episode, “Mad Men” still deserves its position as a benchmark by which other shows are judged. It may be a period piece, but it’s a compelling, aesthetically gorgeous, and timeless look at life.


Footwear designer Amina Muaddi celebrates ‘heavy-hearted birthday’

The celebrity-loved shoemaker celebrated her 34th birthday on Monday. (Instagram)
Updated 51 min 17 sec ago

Footwear designer Amina Muaddi celebrates ‘heavy-hearted birthday’

DUBAI: A birthday celebration during a pandemic and protests did not sound right for footwear designer Amina Muaddi. 

The celebrity-loved shoemaker, who is of half Jordanian and half Romanian descent but grew up in Italy, celebrated her 34th birthday on Monday.

It has been “the most heavy hearted birthday” of her life, she said on Instagram. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This has been the most heavy hearted Birthday of my life. 2020 is something else. From my personal struggles, to COVID, to the constant racial profiling of minorities, to the ruthless murder of George Floyd and the loss of so many other innocent black lives before his, my heart has been bleeding. I’m wondering what type of childhood trauma a man must have to become a racist scum who enjoys murdering an innocent black man on camera?! I’m thinking about the disturbed phobias his family must have instilled in him in order to create such a sadic murderer. These issues are rooted in our childhoods. It’s good to see the greatest social media activation bringing awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement, but it’s important to remember that this is not a trending topic. Racism is deeply rooted, instilled and spread from generation to generation. Changing a long term racist mentality would take too long and we simply can’t afford the time. This is where the anger comes from. Make sure you don’t raise new racists. Make sure you analyze properly the psyche of a cop before you admit him into your institutions, where some of these murderers masked as policemen are legally allowed to kill. Make sure you are not scared of the unknown. Ignorance is the only thing you have to fear. The darker the skin, the higher the level of racism experienced. George Floyd, I dedicate these beautiful flowers to you and to the countless other victims that came before you. Thank you for the wonderful wishes and for filling my Birthday with love even if I didn’t want to celebrate it this year. They moved me deep & helped my soul.

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“From my personal struggles, to COVID, to the constant racial profiling of minorities, to the ruthless murder of George Floyd and the loss of so many other innocent black lives before his, my heart has been bleeding,” Muaddi wrote captioning a picture of flower bouquets around her house.

The designer went on to express her frustration towards the killing of African-American citizen George Floyd, who died last week at the hands of US police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

“Racism is deeply rooted, instilled and spread from generation to generation. Changing a long term racist mentality would take too long and we simply can’t afford the time. This is where the anger comes from,” Muaddi explained to her 468,000 followers.

By the end of her heartfelt message she wrote: “George Floyd, I dedicate these beautiful flowers to you and to the countless other victims that came before you.” 

The current situation, however, did not stop influencers around the world from sending Muaddi their warm wishes. 

Lebanese influencer Lana El-Sahely and Egyptian-Moroccan-Dutch model Imaan Hammam commented on her post with sweet birthday messages. 

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty took to her Instagram story to post a picture with the designer to celebrate her special day.

“Thank you for the wonderful wishes and for filling my birthday with love even if I didn’t want to celebrate it this year. They moved me deep and helped my soul,” the designer responded. 

Muaddi launched her eponymous footwear line, famous for the signature flared heels in August 2018. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@kyliejenner poses in her Begum slingback in bright pink silk satin. #AminaMuaddi #AminasLadies #KylieJenner

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Her label’s lineup of distinct pumps, sling-backs, mules, boots and sandals in an array of vibrant colors and holographic designs have since garnered a loyal checklist of famous fans, including Dua Lipa, Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin Bieber.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@badgalriri posing in her BEGUM glass slingback pumps. #AminasLadies #rihanna #AminaMuaddiSS19 #AminaMuaddi

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