Two years ago, we shared our vision for a 1980s-set series in the tradition of AMC’s Mad Men. Our dream TV show about the Decade of Decadence would feature a Manhattan-based group of yuppies…Wall Street. Mini-blinds. Leather and chrome lobby furniture. And don’t get us started on the fashion!
Now that Mad Men is in its 7th and final season, we’re revisiting our vision of ’80s-fabulous fun on television. With a few updates, of course. Keep in mind that when we first envisioned Rad Men, The Wolf of Wall Street hadn’t yet hit theaters. The film was definitely a step in the right direction, but now it’s time for the ’80s workplace to thrive on television. Welcome to Rad Men 2.0!
Welcome to the glamorous world of Wall Street yuppies and the complicated lives they lead. Amid the power suits and limitless cash flow is a group of stockbrokers so influential, they are known as Rad Men to all they meet. They live a life of excess and follow a questionable moral code. Yet at the heart of the smoke and mirrors is a story—their story. Because these men just want to have fun. Let’s meet the players…
Rad Men Characters
Mad Men Counterpart: Don Draper
With a collection of designer suits that would make Duran Duran jealous, Brad Baker is the star of Wall Street brokerage firm Gilding Hooper. Admired for his no-nonsense advice to clients and the ability to excel at his job despite long naps while under the influence, Brad seems to have it all. But beneath his gelled coif lies a troubled mind. While serving in Vietnam nearly a decade earlier, Brad was ordered to hunt down a deranged Special Forces operative who’d fled to the jungles of Cambodia to become the leader of a powerful cult. When carrying out his secret mission, Brad befriended a photographer turned cult member who soon met his end during an unfortunate run-in with a tiger.
Brad (formerly Brent) quickly assumed the man’s identity and returned to the U.S., where he met his future wife, a model named Janet. Together with their children Heather, Marty and Shawn, Brad and Janet live the American dream until their inevitable divorce. When Brad meets aspiring actress Morgan, he decides to give marriage another try. If only Brad were faithful while clubbing with clients in Manhattan…
Mad Men Counterpart: Betty Francis
A former Jordache model, Janet Yantis marries Brad without knowing much about his past. But the designer wardrobe his job affords her goes a long way in cushioning the blow of his infidelities. Yet something just isn’t right. Is it her daughter Heather’s suspension from school after fighting with a classmate over a Cabbage Patch Doll? Or perhaps her son Marty’s addiction to Tetris has contributed to her diminishing sense of control… Once Janet opens her eyes and begins to see Brad’s imperfections, life as the lonely wife of a Rad Man no longer satisfies her. Which is why politician Gary Yantis easily sweeps her off her feet.
Mad Men Counterpart: Megan Draper
Morgan begins working as Brad’s secretary, and he asks her to serve as his children’s nanny on a vacation to Epcot Center. While experiencing the magical world of Disney, Brad and Morgan fall in love and become engaged. After their wedding, Morgan tells Brad that she wants to leave Wall Street to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. She initially struggles to find work, but soon Morgan is cast as a regular on the popular daytime soap Ryan’s Hope. Will her love affair with acting prevent her from noticing Brad’s love affair with half the women in Manhattan?
Mad Men Counterpart: Roger Sterling
Dodger Gilding is a partner at Gilding Hooper. He may not be the brains behind the operation, but he had the smarts to recruit Brad Baker, who he discovered while shopping for a teal sectional at the suede sofa boutique where Brad did the bookkeeping. Dodger lives in a suburban New York mansion with his elegant wife Crystal and their teenage twin daughters Amber and Tawny.
While he is a success at work, the real trouble begins at home when Amber fails her driving test, and Tawny’s hoarding problem is revealed as more than 100 pair of neon legwarmers are discovered in her closet. While Dodger conducts an on-again, off-again affair with office manager Dawn Ferris, his marriage later ends when he cheats on Crystal with Brad’s new secretary Kimberly (who he later marries then divorces). Disillusioned with life in the ’80s, Dodger is clearly looking for something more. Which he eventually finds by reaching a state of enlightenment while consuming a mixture of Mountain Dew and Pop Rocks.
Mad Men Counterpart: Joan Harris
An office manager with an affinity for leather miniskirts and New Wave music, Dawn runs a tight ship. But don’t let her beauty distract you from her go-getter attitude. The only one who really knows what’s going on, she is the resident taskmaster who keeps the corporate fridge well-stocked with wine coolers and Tab. Dawn soon desires more than the office manager lifestyle can provide her, and before long she finds herself in a power position as a partner at Gilding Hooper.
Mad Men Counterpart: Pete Campbell
Competitive and unethical, Kip Randall is the model Gilding Hooper employee. Yet at times his overeager attitude is too much for Brad Baker to bear. A newlywed with a wandering eye, Kip seduces naive employee Kelly Coulson while keeping his wife Brittany in the dark. Though desperate for big-name clients, his youthful energy and collection of skinny ties impress the partners enough to land him a corner office. As Kip becomes more successful, his family life becomes more tumultuous. His marriage quickly deteriorates, but he finds great comfort in spending nights at the office clutching the ray gun he stole while at an employee team building event at a local laser tag facility.
Mad Men Counterpart: Peggy Olson
Wide-eyed and ready to learn, Midwesterner Kelly Coulson moves to Manhattan and begins her career at Gilding Hooper as Brad Baker’s secretary. Though quickly derailed by Kip’s advances, she manages to regroup and impress the partners with her financial know-how. Quickly promoted to stockbroker, she trades in her culottes for pantsuits and discovers the wonders of the crimping iron. Determined to “have it all,” Kelly vows to be an example to working women everywhere.
Mad Men Counterpart: Freddie Rumsen
It is Eddie who initially discovers Kelly Coulson’s financial capabilities when she’s able to convince a bank not to close Gilding Hooper’s account after they overspend on lacquered furniture for the lobby. Eddie’s humor is clearly an asset to the office, yet he is asked to take a six-month leave of absence when he’s propelled across the length of the corporate gym after misjudging the appropriate treadmill speed while under the influence of a certain white powder.
Rad Men Theme Song
We just couldn’t think of a better Rad Men theme song than “Neon Noir Nightclub” by Noir Deco. It’s the perfect mix of synths and drama. Have a listen, and enjoy the video featuring artwork by Syd Brak:
Rad Men Interiors
Rad Men sets are modern, shiny and infused with the smell of cash. What better way to celebrate Wall Street corporate life than by gold- and silver-toned decor with a powerful gleam? From mirrored wall art to metallic sconces, shiny statements abound in the lobby of Gilding Hooper. Marble, potted palms and brass signage evoke the elegance of a bank’s interior. Would you expect anything less from this successful brokerage firm? For more on the decor below, click here.
Behind the mini-blinds of Brad Baker’s office window is a world of black leather furniture, ’80s Deco tables and yes, more potted tropical greenery. Masculine with a hint of Neon Noir, the space is the ideal setting for ego-charged meetings, after-hours mayhem, and of course, naps. For more on the decor, click here.
Now if only our dream of Rad Men could become a reality…
LOL I’ve often thought that it would be great if Mad Men were set in the 80s. Your Rad Men idea is awesome. I would definitely watch it!
Thank you for your kind words, Alana! I still can’t believe the series has ended. But I’ve been enjoying Halt and Catch Fire, set in the ’80s and also on AMC. Thanks again for your comment.
Thanks Kate, I hadn’t heard of Halt and Catch Fire before now. I’m in Australia but will find out how to watch it.