First of all, I live in the wrong decade. I, like every male who has watched Mad Men, feel that I should have lived in a world where sexual harassment is not only accepted, it is actually in the job description of every executive at every company anywhere. There are tickle-fetish porn sites that are less degrading to women than the average account manager at Sterling-Cooper. Its true, women weren’t always treated fairly in the workplace in the past. We are all sorry it happened. If every other episode of this series weren’t devoted to showing how hard life was in the 60′s for everyone other than white males I would have enjoyed the show more. Of course, pretty much everyone who wasn’t a white male was treated pretty poorly in the 60′s… so there is that.
(PRO TIP: DO NOT WATCH MORE THAN 3 EPISODES OF MAD MEN BACK TO BACK! I WATCHED ALL FOUR SEASONS IN TWO WEEKS AND THAT WAS IN JUNE. THE LAST 2 MONTHS HAVE BEEN A HAZE OF CIGARETTE SMOKE AND SCOTCH. I can’t remember exactly where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing. I just know that I have 8 workplace sexual harassment lawsuits pending against me, and my company does not employ any women. I should really start reading some of these papers I’m constantly being served.)
As sharply produced as Mad Men is, I can’t help but feel like it isn’t a %100 accurate depiction of the decade during which the show takes place. I can’t know for sure because I spent most of the 60′s in prison, but I’m assuming that all women weren’t amazingly attractive 50 years ago. It seems like every secretary, waitress, babysitter, and stewardess in the 60′s was far more attractive than the average fashion model is today. If they ever invent time travel, I think I know where (when?) many men’s first stop will be.
Despite a bit of preachy-ness Mad Men is nothing if not character driven and beautifully written. The story lines are compelling and the dialog is generally witty and concise. If you are a sad shadow of your former self lucky enough to have a girlfriend or wife who watches TV with you on a regular basis. This show is an excellent compromise. Enough of the plot revolves around relationships, hat-wearing and meaningful glances for women to stay entertained. But there is also lots of manly handshaking, yelling, smoking, liquor drinking, and hat-wearing. And that will keep most men interested in the show as well.
So if you haven’t yet, go on Netflix and check out the first four seasons of Mad Men. Like almost every show on AMC it is, despite a few shortcomings, a masterpiece. I have no doubt that this show will continue to entertain its ever growing audience. It is a snapshot of our society as we tested the limits of our democracy in a world every bit as terrifying and unstable as the one we live in today. But this look back at where we have been as a country cannot help but beg one all important question: When are we going to finally see new episodes of The Walking Dead?