Being the kind of gal who keeps her finger on the pulse of pop culture, I recently watched series one of Mad Men. I know, I’m totally zeitgeisty. Here are my top four thoughts on it:
1) Don Draper is “good with words”. We know this because the other characters tell us in every scene.
2) Joan has a super foxy body. We know this because the camera zooms in on her super foxy body in every scene.
3) The world is a bad place for anyone who isn’t white and/or a man. We know this because of the sexist/racist jokes in every scene.
4) Peggy Olson gets fat. We know this because.. well you get the point. We all get the point, and this is my problem with Mad Men.
I know this is all kinds of blasphemous and I’m ready to be converted but.. EVERY SCENE. Come on. You’d expect that in a film, but in a TV show that’s been lauded as better than the Wire? Better than
Jesus the Sopranos? I don’t think so. My second issue is that for a show that claims to explore all these gendered rules, why is Don still the main character? Wouldn’t it be, you know, more interesting to have Peggy front and centre?
I like it, I really do. But in the same way I like Coronation Street, or Silk. It’s easy to watch and therefore good entertainment, but at no point do we have to work for anything. It’s all there, nicely laid out for us and we have handy flash backs to keep us firmly in Don’s world. Watching the Sopranos is a full sensory experience; you feel tense or scared and it’s everything that’s not said that makes the show work.
With Mad Men everything is said and it doesn’t make me feel anything. Which is perfectly fine and enjoyable, but I’d expected my mind to be blown. I will of course watch the second series, partly because my leg’s still broken, but mainly because I’m nothing if not a sheep who wants to fit in. But Mad Men, you’ve got some work to do if you want us to be friends. I’m disappointed in you.