Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why I Love Mad Men

     You may have heard about a little show called "Mad Men" that airs on the not so well known AMC. I came into the "Mad Men Craze" a little later than some, but I am now most definitely "hooked". I went out and rented Season 1, which I had missed, and devoured it on a binge that lasted for several days. You would think a show that is predominantly about "men" wouldn't amuse a woman so much, but I for me personally, I think it helps that I grew up in at least "part" of the shows era, and so am able to identify. I was born in 1963, and the children of the ever-so dapper Don and Betty Draper (husband and wife and main characters) would be a few years older than me if they weren't fictional characters. What most intrigues me about the show is the phenomenal acting ability of each of the characters. If you are not familiar with the acting on the show, at first viewing you might find it "over-acting" or even a bit campy. But this type of acting just works for the show. In a time when appearances were everything, and men like Don Draper had to put on a cool front, and women stuck in suburbia having a mental "mind-melt" like his wife Betty, the show really captures that very stifled time period. On the cuffs of the tight 50s, it exhibits men and especially women trying to change and become "more".
     My favorite character naturally is the amazing Don Draper, played superbly by Jon Hamm. Don lives in a conflicted world, which makes him a pretty interesting guy. He isn't what one would call a "good man" as he constantly cheats on his wife and always makes his world of work the number 1 priority. But he is a man trying to cope with the changing times.
     I find the show is a nostalgic resting place for me as I had parents that were somewhat similar to the morays of the time-period. My dad was a very smart and funny attorney (still is) and I remember him walking up from the train he took from San Francisco each evening in his wing-tipped shoes and briefcase, always to arrive for dinner by 6. My mom was classy, had a wonderful sense of style, be it clothing or decorating. We lived, for a while at least, in an elegant world of dinner music and candle-light on our table every night.
     People may call the early 60s a repressed and straight-laced time, but there was a beautiful simplicity to it, and raising my own children in today's world, I often find myself yearning for the simplicity of my childhood, and so wishing I could give them a simplier life.
     So, I love Mad Men for the same reasons I love Masterpiece Theater, because it takes me away from the violence of our world today for an hour or so each week -- an hour worth savoring for sure.

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