Mad Men Series 3
First let me say, I always buy the whole series of a TV show and watch it in batches of 3 or 4 episodes at a time because I’m interested in the story arc and character development.
I keep watching this show because it is like a time capsule. As I sit there watching Betty, heavily pregnant, smoke and drink blissfully unaware of the damage she’s doing I think, what a nice piece of writing/directing.
Someone complained when the first season came out that there were no black people in it or, if there were, they had subservient roles. (A few black people have turned up since). This isn’t a story about the emancipation of the blacks in the US in the 60s. It is a story about the advertising world of Madison Avenue and it would be anachronistic to show a black man working in advertising with Don Draper. (If someone can prove me wrong, I’m happy to be corrected). The way women and blacks are treated in the show is accurate for the time.
And that’s what I find fascinating. Betty and Don Draper could be my mother and father. Not that they drank, smoked and had affairs, but the limitations of their life choices were the same. My mother had three career options, teacher, nurse or secretary. And women were expected to stop work when they got married. The clothes, the cars and the furniture are all from the period when I was a very small child. So, for me, this show is a trip down nostaglia lane.
Watching Salvatore try to hide he fact that he’s gay, watching copy writer Peggy battle to have her abilities recognised, watching head secretary Joan be passed over when she could run the place, watching house wife Betty’s quiet desperation as she describes herself as a pampered ‘house cat’ makes me very relieved that I don’t live in the 1960s.
But I do feel the show would be a little stronger, if it veered one step closer to social commentary. There is so much material to work with. What do you think?