Mad Men Midseason Madness

9 May

I don’t know where it all went wrong, but I’m so glad it’s back to be right. Mad Men, that is. We are several episodes into the new season and I can finally say with confidence, Mad Men is actually GOOD again. Great even. I can’t get over how well written this season is, and how it actually keeps my attention, and doesn’t just drone on while I fold my laundry, or do a thousand other things around the house that never seem to get done. Mad Men is back, with a vengeance. I’m not sure what has changed: new writers? Jon Hamm directing? Perhaps it is the era we’ve found ourselves heading into, in the show. Whatever it is, it’s working, and if you aren’t watching it, you are missing out on something special.

The world became obsessed with Mad Men in the summer of 2007, and we continued to watch through every mistress, every cocktail, and every boring second we spent watching Pete’s life pass by. The first few years were something great, but still had its moments of drab. In the years just before the “quiet” writers’ strike, the show had become mundane, and I found myself just watching ’cause I always had. It’s like that show you watch on TV that would make a great movie, but then they drag it in to six seasons and suddenly there’s a polar bear on a remote island and you question whether or not the writers are sober, EVER, writing this crap. The style has always been there, the fascination with the past, and watching the events up to JFK’s assassination unfold were nostalgic and gripping to relive for some. But let’s be honest: Mad Men had become “old hat”. The outfits seemed to come in repeat. The arguments were the same. Roger still womanizing, Don still hating his life with Betty but somehow still making children, and Peggy, poor Peggy, always be a side character and not getting her fair share of spotlight. The highlight for most was Joan and her curvy attitude and bright hair. It definitely wasn’t Pete’s sweatiness that brought people back every week. Why does that guy always look so greasy??? Sure, Mad Men had it’s moments of excitement. I mean, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time Roger had a heart attack with one of the twins and Don had to slap his face to remind him his wife’s name was Mona. I still snicker when I hear that one replay in my head. What is it about men and twins?

I recently heard someone say that they couldn’t watch Mad Men because of all the sexism. They said it really bothered them and they just couldn’t stand to watch it replay on TV. I should’ve told her to take a walk around. We do live in Texas after all. C’mon! You’re telling me the sexism, (which to me is few and far between, not to mention funny at times), on the show is too much for you to handle, but living in the deep south doesn’t bother you…at all? If anything I think Mad Men has been a beacon, a little light shed on how men and women settled into what they thought were their roles. My stone cold example lay in this past week’s episode. Don “let” Megan quit her job at the agency because she wanted to follow her dreams. If he were any kind of A-typical 60’s man, shouldn’t he have told her to take off her shoes and get in the kitchen? Instead he and her were working side by side, something which he thoroughly enjoyed. I do believe it broke his heart a little when she quit, but he also understood the importance of letting her follow HER dreams, and not just be in his. He didn’t want her ‘to wind up like Betty, or worse, her mother.’ While Don has his faults, I think he’s shown everyone that he appreciates having a woman in the office to challenge him. He does and always has with Peggy. He believed in her and gave her an opportunity when no one else would. She stands up to him and puts him in his place when he needs to be put there, which is often. Ok, I get it, all the women are secretaries, and they all wear dresses, and most aspire to be housewives. Isn’t this still something we see every day anyway? And something we definitely see a lot south of the Mason Dixon line. I’d have to say to each their own, and I’m no more ready to throw stones at a glass house than anyone else. Mad Men just brings certain era-appropriate issues to light. It throws these issues that were swept under the rug for years and puts them in your face, but in that classy, stylish kind of way. You know, like the back-handed compliment from a frenemy.

Something a little less serious, is the style to which Mad Men has always alluded. It’s officially the swinging sixties. And things are getting into full swing. Young women like Megan are chasing their dreams instead of succumbing to their husbands’ aspirations. Peggy is moving in with her boyfriend. Not to mention the colors and patterns are getting more and more vibrant! I don’t know what it is about the 60’s that makes me wanna get up and dance, but I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong era. The sixties brought about shorter skirts, louder music, and the beginning of the free-love movement that the 70’s are utterly famous for. There is definitely a change in the air. Poor Don. His daughter Sally is about to be a child of the sixties. I see more drinking and grey hair in his future.

So Mad Men has finally gotten better. The stories are better. The characters are more fun and complex. The drug use is as blatant as the drinking. I have to say I’m excited for the 60’s. I’ve been told I have an old soul. Apparently, my soul loved the sixties, because I can’t help myself and I can’t get enough of them. Why is Mad Men so much better this time around? Is it just because they had more time to work on the storyline? Is it the era we are wandering into? Is it the deliberate care they are taking to build each character for you? Is it because Betty is heavier than her normal, unfair, perfectly thin body? Nah, that can’t be it. Maybe it’s the fact that Roger is back on the prowl and we know disaster is looming around the corner for that guy. Oh Roger, you       never disappoint. Whatever it is, it’s working and I am hooked again. And I’d bet another Pete affair that you’re hooked as well.

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One Response to “Mad Men Midseason Madness”

  1. The Fashion Foot July 11, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    Another Mad Men fan!!! Love it, especially the part about the fashion. I think a lot of people overlook the underlying messages and meaning behind the clothes worn, like, for example, the fact that women are starting to dress more racy and sexy. Check out our blog about the women’s clothing 🙂 http://thefashionfoot.com/2012/07/10/the-fashion-of-mad-men-part-ii/

    P.S. We wrote one about men as well http://thefashionfoot.com/2012/07/03/the-fashion-of-mad-men-part-i/

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