Mad Men Cleans Up

AMC’s Mad Men, which returns for its second season next Sunday, won three of the 11 Television Association Critics Awards last night. Stars Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss got so excited, they were smoking real cigarettes at the after-party.

The show, set in the ‘60s, features extensive retro dress and behavior, including billows and billows of smoke from herbal cigarettes. But a lot of the actors puff the real ones when the cameras stop.

TV Mad Men
Mad Men stars Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm with executive producer Matthew Weiner.

The critics named Mad Men – top drama in the September Emmy race with 16 nominations – as outstanding new program, outstanding drama and program of the year.

HBO’s John Adams took down two TCA awards, outstanding achievement in movies, miniseries and specials, and individual achievement in acting, for star Paul Giamatti.

NBC’s 30 Rock matched that performance. It was named best comedy, and star and chief cook and bottle washer Tina Fey got the best comic-acting award.

“It’s a great time to be in broadcast television, isn’t it?” she enthused. “It’s like being in vaudeville in the ‘60s.”
Later, when accepting the best-comedy-show award, she apologized, “The rest of the cast could not be here tonight because NBC is broke.”

PBS got two prizes: The War, for news and information, and WordGirl, for best children’s program. Saturday Night Live impresario Lorne Michaels won the career achievement award, and HBO’s The Wire received the Heritage Award, which is given to a program that ran at least five seasons, “whose content has had a positive impact on TV, society and popular culture.”

John Adams executive producer Tom Hanks showed up to accept the show’s award, which gave everybody a thrill.
Mad Men’s Hamm underscored the current celestial vs. swampy duality of TV, accepting the drama prize. He thanked Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Flava of Love, Rock of Love and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, “for pushing the envelope so far that way, that there was a place … where we could sneak in.”