Maaad Men

Monday, November 23, 2009

Maaad Men

...and I have to write it in that manner 'cause I don't have a font installed that allows the representation of a "long a" to differentiate Cable AMC's all-time most popular show from a group of angry males.

Although I watched the debut of "Mad Men" back in July 2007, I bailed out shortly there­after, seriously disturbed by its depiction of a particular period in my own lifetime.

(I initially thought it was set in the mid-'50s, but learned it was actually 1960.)

Were we, as a gender, that awful?

I've thought long and hard on that subject, and concluded that we probably were.

You've come a long way, baby

It also makes me understand that "You've come a long way, baby" holds far greater sig­nificance than just as a slogan for Virginia Slims.

One of the elements of that series which I instantly recognized for its period accuracy, was the ubiquity of cigarettes and liquor in that particular time.

Ye Gawds and nicotine-stained fingers, every­one smoked, and after 4:00 pm... often before, as well... many had a glass in the other hand!

So, are male attitudes toward women also ac­curately portrayed?

I shudder to think if they are!

Oddly, my sister, two years my junior, avidly follows the show, and urged me to give it another try, so I picked up on it a month ago, knowing what was coming, historically, and watched the final five shows of season four.

I have no idea of what I might have missed in the intervening 33 shows, but an impression I'm left with is that there aren't any discern­ible "likable" characters, so it is a measure of the skill of the show's writers that the series continues its popularity.

The writing may not attain the level of HBO's "The Wire," arguably the best-written show in the history of the small screen, but it offers a solid narrative with good dialogue and, import­antly, no "groaners."

So despite criticism leveled at the series, I find it neither "unwatchable" or "inauthentic."

Main character "Don Draper" (Jon Hamm) is an even more compelling one that I would have thought when the show started, and as rotten a husband as he is... his ultra-attractive wife (January Jones, and how perfect is her charac­ter name of "Betty!") isn't much better.

He's deceitful... not just as a philandering spouse, but his entire life is a sham it turns out... and cruelly dismissive as a boss, but we find ourselves rooting for him anyway.

I also note that the office round-heels, "Peggy" (Elisabeth Moss), has certainly pro­gressed, not just in station but in spunk... she's one baby who has come a long way.

I can but hope that we have as well.


So, were we that bad back then?

A compelling case that we might have been... aw, hell, that we actually were, is supported by some of the advertising from that period.

From 10 most bizarre sexist adverts published last Friday:

Del Monte Catsup adv.

The "look" puts this Del Monte adv. right in the time frame in which "Mad Men" is set.

And if it doesn't cause males my age and older a certain amount of uneasiness, then it's true that "old ways die hard."

And I can't wait for season five to start.

Mad Men graphic


1. Matlynn Carville said...

Vestiges of the old ways die hard; still spilled all over golf course junkets, halls of finance, and big business. Who knows? Evidence of their stubborn persistence may very well exist in the hind brains of some current unenlightened, x-chromosome deficient Neanderthals!

This may be one reason our current President has a strong popularity with women, enlightened males, and the young. Sadly, it also explains his unpopularity with the people who hate him--he's a REAL challenge to their status quo. Glory Hallelujah!

THAT boy is about to break the glass ceiling for us. He brought a WOMAN onto a golf course! Not only is he demonstrating his respect for the equality of females by symbolism, he's putting his money where his mouth is.

His first Supreme Court apointment was a woman. His Secretary of State? You got it. My Mom would be ecstatic.

I agree with you, Dean. The show Mad Men makes my insides feel queasy; and I hope it's not a pendulum swing back to that "simpler" (but uglier) time. It should also be a warning for those who take women's equality issues for granted. Most of the world's women do not enjoy even our 80% of men's pay. The price of our "success" has been more work hours, more sacrifices, more exposure to danger. It is a price we need to pay for future generations. Americans need to lead the world in issues of equality.

Um, do you happen to remember "Neanderthal" Bush43's National Security Advisor and subsequent Secretary of State?
– Dean

2. Matlynn Carville said...

Gee yeah, yes I do.

Hey... she didn't bear any relationship to BIG Oil, did she?

Plus she was conveniently also a minority?

They also had an indighted{sic} Latino Attorney General, didn't they?

The word cynicism never ran truer.

Seems to me Republicans STILL like to use their women the old-fashioned way. Just ask Sarah Palin. They let her spark the place up, then shot her down like an elk in the helicopter lights. Why did they do that? For entertainment, for blood sport?

"Mad Men" still live.

What are you carrying on about?!? Off our meds tonight, are we?

Condy Rice only got where she was because she's a member of a minority? And because she was a Republican appointment she must be in the pocket of big oil?

Are you listening to yourself? If a man said that, you'd call the statement "sexist!"

But your brain in gear before engaging your keyboard next time!

3. Hampton West said...

My sister graduated high school in 1961 and went to work immediately at McGraw Hill in New York. She cannot watch Mad Men - it's too good at capturing what the business world was like then - I picked up the show in the 2nd year and I love it. My wife finds it too slow, and has made the comment "even the children are scary." There are no heros, and I don't think Don Draper is even an anti-hero - there are no heros period. Look forward to next season!!!

4. HighHatSize said...

Smoking and drinking. AHHH! It was nice being immortal.

Email address is not published
Remember Me

Write the characters in the image above