I’ve decided to give Mad Men another try–I really can’t stomach the reality TV shows that have dominated this decade, and I like to reward people who are trying to produce quality dramas for television. But, since so many of you whose opinions I respect took me to task for my skeptical post on this last year, I thought I’d take another look. I’m just about halfway through season I, and I have to say that I’m pretty much sticking with my original verdict: it’s OK for a diversion when I’m stuck in the rec room rotating loads and folding laundry (which is exactly what happened here at el rancho Historiann last night), but I’m a little tired of all of the “hey, in 1960, they did all kinds of stupid and dangerous things, didn’t they?” heavy-handed little in-jokes. (Like the hugely pregnant women constantly smoking and drinking, lots of drunk driving, and even an aside about feeding peanut-butter sandwiches to children while encouraging them to handle BB guns. Get it? Nowadays, we know that both peanut butter and BB guns are equally dangerous!) OK–we get it! We’re so much more virtuous and careful now, aren’t we?
One thing I appreciate about the show is its relentless exposure of suburban married misery, although it’s so unstinting that it seems over the top. Unfortunately, the show is guilty of one of the most irritating things about TV and movies today, which is the relentless focus on men’s lives and men’s stories. Continue Reading »