Monday, September 20, 2010

Mad Men, Season One

I picked up season one of Mad Men on DVD because everyone and their Emmy said it was great.

The setting is Manhattan, 1960. An advertising agency and the people that are employed there. The men drink, sell stuff to the clients, harass their assistants, drink, cheat on their wives and drink. And smoke.

It messed with my head straight away because last year when our CEO (a lady not much older than I) was first promoted, a friend and colleague was nearly in tears. She said, “I am so proud of you girls. You and C – and J-- and (names a couple of other professional ladies in my age group) have all done so well. You don’t understand what it was like when I was young. Have you ever seen Mad Men?”

I hadn’t.

“Well, it was just like that. The drinking and the grabbing and the crying in the ladies room.”

So the first episode is introducing the characters, none of whom I find particularly sympathetic. The men are beyond insufferable and the women are dependant and powerless. The second episode is literally called, “Ladies Room”. With the crying. And I was ready to call it a night.

But not long after that, something started to spark. Perhaps it was Rachel, the young lady running her father’s department store. She appeared to have a brain. Or Betsy, the perfect suburban wife, beginning to show dimension. Or Peggy, who might be a real career girl, rocking the lipstick account. I started rooting for them. And then they would disappoint me. And then I’d root for them again.

Every character (even the men) had their moments. Sometimes, I wanted to slap them and sometimes I thought, “OK, then.” And sometimes I was pretty impressed. Seriously – Peggy explaining to a room full of the merits of the weight-loss tool (later named “Relaxiciser”) without imploding was pretty smooth.

This could all crash and burn pretty easily, but I think I am in for Season 2.

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