1) When ad executive Jim Hobart tries to lure Don Draper away from Sterling Cooper, part of his pitch goes like this:
What, you want to sell corn? We do a show about Indians.
This reference smacks of "political correctness" to me. I.e., "Let's have the actors mention Indians to show how much more aware we are today than people were in 1960." In reality, 1960's people probably went years without mentioning Indians in any context other than "cowboys 'n' Indians."
Speaking of authenticity, perhaps the most interesting part of this DVD is the "Establishing Mad Men" featurette. The creators explain how they achieved the authenticity that has made the show a hit. Below is a key sequence of comments:
For Matt Weiner, authenticity is the sort of penultimate thing in this show. And he has images in his mind that he constantly tries to convey to us so that we don’t go in a direction that he feels is wrong for the period.
I was very reality-oriented, and I kept pulling people back. I’m like, they’re like, this is Don’s car, a 1959 Cadillac, the most beautiful car ever made. 1960 Cadillac. I’m like, guys...I know, but no. You know, I don’t wanna do that. I want it to be like what I grew up with.
Matt, at one point, had asked that we put an Etch-a-Sketch, the toy, for a bunch of kids to play with in the back of the car. And when I did my research, I found out, even though our show takes place in April of 1960, the toy wasn’t released until the summer of 1960. And Matt wanted to keep true to the period, so we cut out the Etch-a-Sketch.
We do it for ourselves. It just allows us to be true to the time period, and the environment where we’re working in. Keeping the historical accuracy allows the characters to develop the way Matt wants.
The creators of most reality-based dramas say they want their shows to be accurate. And many of them--such as the Mad Men staff--go to great lengths to achieve it. Why would they do this if doesn't matter? Have the studios entrusted millions of dollars to these creators even though they're obsessive-compulsive idiots? Or do these creators understand something about filmmaking that their "it's just a [blank]" critics don't?
What the apologists mean
Although the apologists can't or won't say it, we can guess what they're thinking. It goes something like this:
P.S. If authenticity is the penultimate goal, I presume good storytelling is the ultimate goal.