Thursday, August 23, 2007

mini review: mad men

[picture of our mrs. reynolds stolen from the new york times.]

i started watching this show for three reasons: 1, creator matthew weiner wrote for the sopranos, and i'll take what i can get until david chase comes out of hiding (but i won't stop believin', har har); 2, whedon-y alumni are on it, namely "yolanda" from firefly (pictured above) and angel's creepy prophesy son who apparently inherited pappy's potential for face bloat; and 3, because i have no life, no life to the point where i am almost lifeless enough to require the help of a prophesy myself if i ever hope to at least partake of the act that leads to procreation.


i stopped watching this show for three reasons: 1, it moves like creeping jesus, because for some reason, non-hbo cable dramas have this idea that nothing compelling has to happen before act (commercial) breaks, like they don't care if we come back after the commercial because they have our cable dollars, anyway, and when your show is about advertising, ie, about how commercials are made, thus being in some ways an ad for the ads you're going to be forced to see, a little suspense never hurt anybody; 2, it's about advertising, which in any era is kind of awful, especially in the late 50s/early 60s, when everything was awful across the board;

and 3, which is the big one, i repeat, things in the late 50s/early 60s were awful across the board, unless, of course, you were a white man. white men, republicans especially, get so hard at the thought of returning to those idyllic days, because, even though women were treated like second class citizens and black people were barely treated like human beings, mr. whitey had a picket fence and his kids didn't swear and his wife prepared three square meals of red meat and vacuumed wearing heels. on this show, the secretaries are manhandled, the wives are cheated on, the black people are virtually invisible...and when your show is more artifice than substance (the stakes never feel that high, but our protag's bathroom fixtures are period accurate!), when there's no real tension or story to distract you from the details of the era, then the era itself can either be a boon or a distraction. or, as far as i'm concerned, a real hindrance.

and maybe other people don't have this problem, or they find the search for the perfect cigarette campaign to be more way more compelling than i do, but i spend less time focusing on the thin plot than on what boring dicks these characters are. i wouldn't want to watch a show this dull set in a pre-civil war plantation master's house or in the cottage of a quaint german family right before world war II, either (although "the pope: the early years" might have a large built-in audience [of people who aren't me]). this show is basically a nostalgia showcase for a time that most people are not, should not be nostalgic for. my prophesy though: this show will be the respected jewel in amc's crown and return until their crinoline budget runs out, because while women can't legally be groped in the work place anymore and black people can run for president, the white man's status is still going strong. and he's expecting his steak now.

ps: this show is set in 1961, and while the women on it aspire to secretarial school and finding the best smoke for when you're pregnant, during that time my real life mother was in school at the university of chicago, soon to be one of 11 women in her class (of maybe 100 people total) at harvard medical school. so FUCK WHITEY. and belated happy birthday, mom. my gift to you is not dvds of this show.

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