These are just awful people!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

These are just awful people!

With two exceptions, the characters portrayed in cable AMC's "Mad Men" are truly terrible, men, women and children alike!

I watched the debut on July 19, 2007 out of curiosity, and after spotting my friend Jack O'Connell (as a Metro-North club car barman), I resolved to watch more of the series.

By week three, however, the show was making me so un­comfortable, I bailed out for another six years.

It's not that it was poorly acted or badly written... on the contrary, it scored high marks on both those counts!

What it was was like narrative fingernails on a blackboard the way it held a mirror up to my worst actions of 50 years ago, actions my mind had mercifully submerged.

I remember that time and many of those people... coming out of the Eisenhower '50s into 1960, when virtually every­one smoked constantly, a cirgarette in one hand and a drink in the other.

I grew up with those adults as role models... is it any wonder that the first thing any of us wanted to do was smoke and drink, a badge of a maturity that few of us actually possessed.

What was the most distressing of all were the attitudes, especially about females and to a lesser extent, minorities.

(Minorities, i.e., blacks 'cause Hispanics were a rarity and the only Orientals ran Chinese restaurants.)

Even when I began watching again two seasons ago... it has progressed to the late '60s by then... the knuckle-dragging attitudes, the wide-spread alcoholism and the casual philandering, while somewhat reduced, were still very much of the mise-en-scène.

With tonight's cablecasting of the series finale (episode #92), AMC started re-running "Mad Men" several months ago in three and four-hour chunks early Sunday mornings, and I watched them all, in sequence.

They were tough to watch, with cringe-inducing moments casually included five-to-ten per episode, all easily rec­og­nizable as "Yeah, I knew those people!" or, worse, "Aw, jeez, that was me!"

It occurs to me that those of my gender were fortunate that the opposite sex decided to act out by burning their bras in the late '60s, insteading of taking an icepick to us while we slept.


1. Scarlett said...

So which are the two characters you exclude from the "awful/terrible people" list?

"Peggy Olsen" (Elizabeth Moss) who starts out as the naïve, eager to please secretary who, by sheer dint of her talent and determination, becomes a crackerjack copywriter. Yeah, it looked like she was going to be the office round heels, but she's proved to be a tough little cookie without a malevolent bone in her make-up.

The other is "Megan Calvet Draper" (Jessica Paré, Don's second wife through no particular fault of her own. She does her best to meet his needs, and while she could by today's standards be deemed "a trophy wife," he's still a philandering alcoholic.

2. Hampton West said...

I have to agree with you. I think you're right most of the characters in the show did not have very many redeeming values. The show was so realistic that my older sister who went to work in publishing in 1962, refuse to watch it... it brought back to many painful memories.

I'll forever wish that I'd had more of an opportunity you talk about this show with Steve Frankfurt when he was my neighbor just over Turkey Bridge.

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