Monday, August 2, 2010

Mad About Don?

I am not going to post extended comments on each episode of Mad Men, like I did about Lost, because there are others who do it so well.  Sure, Doc Jensen covered Lost but at length.  Sepinwall covers MM clearly, sharply and briefly, so there is not much for me to add.

But here are a few comments on last night's Christmas episode:

First, this show's Christmas episodes turn TV on its head, as these are usually pretty dark.
  • Don takes advantage of his secretary after failing to close the deal with the nurse or the social scientist.
  • The firm's biggest account and db, Lee of Lucky Strikes, makes a mockery of Santa by coercing Roger to play the part.  But then again, he was responsible for getting rid of Sal, one of our favorite characters on the show.
  • Glenn, the son of a neighboring divorcee, breaks in and trashes the house.  What a great Christmas gift!?
Second, I am not sure how I feel about Matthew Weiner, the showrunner, as the boy playing Glen is his son in real life.  Is his son always this creepy (which would be bad)?  Or does Weiner train his son to be creepy (eewwww!)? 

Third, what is up with Peggy?  A virgin?  Um, no.  But I can understand a bit of her ambivalence as her boyfriend is really not very interesting/dynamic/attractive.  No, she does not need a Don, but a guy with some personality other than neediness might be nice. 

Finally, while on the road back from Lake George, I listened to a podcast by Sepinwall and Feinberg where they wonder about Betty Draper and her relevance for the show.  Mrs. Spew ranted suggested that they are missing the point.  Betty is, according to my wife, terrified, which explains much of her behavior.  She does not understand what she should be doing or what her role is, especially as she has ambivalent views about motherhood.  Mrs. Spew guesses that Betty is likely to become engaged in that other 1960's movement (civil rights has been the more obvious and recurring one)--Feminism.  While Mrs. Spew is not a dedicated watcher of the show, she thought the first episode of this season was pretty revealing. 

I am not entirely sure (having seen more of Betty's bad parenting from day one), but I do think that if the show is as much or more about the 1960's than it is about advertising, then it makes sense that Betsy, along with Peggy and Joan, are struggling with the changes in the roles women play.  The show has been much more obvious about Peggy and Joan facing the challenges of the role of women in the 1960's, but Betty is the only mother that gets heaps of attention.  Something to think about.

Oh, and one last note: what is up with Roger's second/trophy wife, Jane, making nasty remarks to Don about his divorce?  Sure, Don helped cause the breakup with his philandering, but Jane deliberately set out to destroy Roger's marriage (since Don would not comply).  Hypocrisy?  Just a bit.

The show is still every engaging, and it will be interesting to see where it goes.  Your thoughts?

1 comment:

Wendy W said...

I didn't know Glenn was Weiner's son? That IS creepy in so many ways.

Mrs. Spew is very wise, btw. I can only try to imagine what it was like for women back then. Some of the things that go on and things that are said make me cringe - it was certainly difficult to be a woman in that world.

Oh, and I hate Jane - always did and always will. I will always love Don, though - you know how us women love the bad boys. ;)