Mad Men: It’s Also About Mad Women

I have recently started watching Mad Men.  It took me a long time to decide whether or not to watch it after I saw one episode on a flight and absolutely hated it.  But everyone, whose TV judgement I trust, insisted that it was a great show.  However, the real clincher for my decision is the current GOP war on women.  Since it seems that the Republican party is hell-bent on taking us back to the 1960’s—actually to the 1800’s if they could—I decided that I had to watch it.

I am now halfway through the second season and, considering that Mad Men is now on its 5th, I have a long way to go before I can give my final verdict.  There are, however, a few things that I can already say about the show:

1.  It’s depressing: slow-paced and angst-ridden, this is not an escapist’s show. Depending on your current age, this series shows you the world of your parents when they were in their twenties and thirties or when they were young children, and it was not pretty.  I am not referring to the horrible bee-hive hairdos, the blood circulation-cutting girdles, or the impossibly wide skirts capable of hiding a couple of toddlers underneath them.  No, I’m referring to a time of rampant sexism, racism and such homophobia that gay men were neither out of the closet nor happy.  As for gay women, those existed even less than their heterosexual sisters.

2.  It’s brilliant:  from the performances, wardrobe, and sets to the scripts, character development and story lines, you don’t watch Mad Men, you live it.  Maybe that’s precisely why it’s so depressing.

3.  The series might center around Madison Avenue advertising execs, but its name cannot be more appropriate.  This is a show about sex-craved, power-crazed, alcohol-and-smoke-ridden men with too much money and too little conscience.   But it’s undoubtedly also a show about mad women:  a little crazy, suffering from a collective neurosis for having to deal, but not being able to communicate, with these men; and full of repressed anger at the men and the system that considers them inferior.

So, do I like the show?  I don’t know.  I like certain aspects of it, I hate the world it portrays.  I can see why so many Dems believe that, especially when it comes to women, the GOP is living in some kind of Mad Men induced stupor and I’m afraid that they’re not wrong about this.  It’s enough to drive us women a bit crazy, but better that it drive us angry, so that come November we can stop those who would like to take us and our country back instead of forward.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch and promise to get back to you when I finally catch up.

 

 

image:  grantland.com

 

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