9 Frame Analysis | Mad Men

I chose to analyse the intro of a TV series called Mad Men, because it it a cartoon, as opposed to regular openings.

The first frame shows a man (a cartoon version of Don Draper) walking into an office, dressed in a black suit. The objects on his desk are only contoured, they are not actually drawn. This could connote the unimportance of whatever he keeps on the desk. A nice touch is the moving blades of the fan, which could show that not everything is dead in the office.

In the second frame, we see a close-up of the man’s shoes as he walks in, but this frame lasts for less than a second.

The third frame shows the whole office falling apart, while the man is still standing. Its intended meaning could be that everything around the man is chaotic, but he is able to resist (at least up to now).

In the next frame, the man is falling from a skyscraper (where his office was) and the entire building is covered in an advertisement showing a woman. A tiny reflection of the man is seen on the building, perhaps suggesting that people pay much more attention to sensual women than to average white-collar worker.

As the man keeps falling, the fifth frame I picked is a wider shot, in which more tall buildings are visible, all having their façades covered in huge billboards. This shows how dominant and aggressive the advertising industry is.

He continues to fall by an ad of a glass of whiskey with the text “Enjoy the best America has to offer”. This could somehow also refer to the man as being the best ad agent in the country. The whiskey is actually moving inside the glass, as if it was just poured.

The seventh frame is a first-person-view of the man falling between three buildings, while photos of what could be famous people are floating through the air underneath the buildings.

In the second to last frame, the man falls on top of the camera, his tie and suit being blown around by the air. When the man fills up the entire frame, the ninth and final frame comes in, zooming out of a black screen which ends up being the man sitting on a couch, with a cigarette in one hand.

Throughout the intro, actors’ names show up on the screen, with the title of the series being shown in the final frame.