Monday, June 8, 2009

Mad Men… Things Were Better in The 50’s

Ad Men (not people) are center stage for this period drama. Well not really, unlike the time which the show is set both genders are given equal opportunity on screen. Set in an advertisement firm in the mid 50’s, the show provides a window into an era which for most is considered a better time, but the characters are hardly plucked from the set of Leave it to Beaver or Happy Days. Focusing mainly on Don Draper, the show gives the viewer a unique and sometimes startling perspective on the era on the cusp of a revolution. Draper has a family, wife, kids, a house with a white picket fence, but he also has a mistress, a drinking problem, and is going through a mid-life/existential crisis (mid-life in the 50’s being about thirty-two). On a purely esthetic level the show is unmatched; with its rockwellian style the show can truly engulf your senses. The attractive visuals are tempered by the often disturbing (sometimes endearing) misogynistic overtones. As a show set in the 50’s it is less like a homage and more of a deconstruction, one may look at it as a cautionary tale, for those of us who love to sing the praises of past eras. There is a certain part of everyone that could find this show appealing, just in terms of abstract simplicity. Who doesn’t want to be that guy that can so smoothly sit in a gray wool suit, smoking a Lucky Strike cigarette and enjoying a cocktail, all the while being on the clock? (Probably the woman being patted on the bum after pouring the drink)

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