Friday, April 15, 2011

My Suspicion

I have a suspicion. I don't expect it to be popular, and I don't expect many people to agree with me, but here it is: I think Mad Men is a farce.

In general, I'm not a big TV watcher. Ok, that's not strictly true: I do watch TV, but I find it hard to keep up with new shows. Mostly, I'll just watch six hours of Frasier in between checking the movie channels to see if anything starring Whoopi Goldberg is on. Man, I love Whoopi Goldberg. As I write this, I'm wearing a dressing gown and watching Ghost. Its two o'clock in the afternoon.

But back to my original point: Mad Men. When Mad Men came out, I was absolutely sure it would be my thing. It was complex and glamorous, and I seemed to forever be seeing publicity stills of the female leads smoking while wearing opera gloves. So I gave it the chance that I rarely afford over-hyped TV shows: I actually watched it. And with that in mind, I have something to say: I think it's time that we, as a culture, got over Mad Men.

Popular Culture is on the phone, and they want you to know you're wrong

Yes, it's beautiful. The costumes are sumptous, the actors are shiny, and despite being a heterosexual woman, I find myself in occasional bouts of lust with Joan Holloway. But I can't help but thinking that both Mad Men and the cult that surrounds it is quite vapid. There is an extraordinary amount of mincing involved, and I feel like whenever the storyline focuses on the female characters all we're getting is a sneak preview of this years Fall collection. Because obviously, Mad Men is just so good that it has to penetrate every level of culture.

And then there's Don Draper, the supposed hero of the show. At least when women love Mad Men you know that it's mostly for the awesome clothing, but when men love Mad Men it reaches new levels of insufferability. Any dude I've ever talked to that it is into Mad Men seems to lament that they weren't born in a time where their word was law and their secretary could fix them a high-ball. Lets face it: Don Draper is a douchebag. "But hes so complex!" I hear you cry. Don Draper is not complex. Hes a dick. From what I can gather, hes mean to people. Hes a negligent husband, and an even worse boyfriend. The world seems to have taken to him on the grounds that he has a gravelly voice and looks well in a suit, but I just don't think that's enough to base international obsession on.

He'd probably make some snarky comment and walk out.

I'm not saying I hate Mad Men, or even that it's a terrible show. It's just not very good. The writing is dull, and seems to perpetaully be leading up to a bi-series bizarre plot-twist that never seems to fit quite like it's supposed to. The show seems to obsess over its period setting so much that it can get away with basically anything and assign it to some divine ideology that "that's what it was like back then". What the show doesn't seem to realise is that people weren't different in the past. Ideas were different: cultural understandings were different. But people were still human, and more to the point, they were never mannequins.

1 comment:

  1. I was lusting after Christina Hendricks before this show even came out. How, you ask? Firefly. I basically had to stay sitting down whenever she came into a scene.