This is a spoiler-free post: Mad Men, the drama series about ad men on Madison Avenue in the early sixties, is probably the most written-about show on the planet right now. So here’s just what you need – another post on the subject. The second season has just kicked off on BBC4 but I finished watching the series this weekend – yet another Saturday night leaves not even a ripple on the surface of my social life.
Anyway, I found this season so different from the first and so much more enjoyable. A friend of mine says she can’t watch Mad Men because it’s sexist, but I don’t know what to think about that. The early sixties were certainly sexist, but does this make Mad Men sexist? Surely Jane Austen is sexist then too? And how can I like it so much if it’s sexist? I think it’s just a period drama set in a time when women were in the workplace, but certainly not respected there.
There is an episode in this series that made me cry unexpectedly. Nothing particularly sad happened, it was just an accumulation of situations, thoughts and experiences of the women that made me a little despairing. Or maybe it was the fact that I related so much to one woman’s situation in the sixties that made me feel a bit desperate.
The writing behind this show is fantastic – it’s written by Sopranos writer Matthew Weiner – and the insight into the interior lives of characters like Betty (Alpha Male Don Draper’s trophy wife) and Joan (who breaks my heart) is particularly touching. Anyway, I just wanted to send out this love letter and tell anyone who isn’t watching it to switch it on. You won’t be disappointed. You might be depressed. But not disappointed.