Somebody Convince Me: Mad Men Edition

Mad_Men_season_5_cast_photoWelcome to “Somebody Convince Me”, our new feature where we turn it over to you, the readers.  Speaking for myself, I have a lot weird pop culture hang-ups.  Shows, movies, or musical artists that I refuse to participate in for whatever reason.  With this new feature, we are going to let you convince us that we are wrong. Up first on the docket: Mad Men.

I have had so many people try to tell me that I would love this show and then there is all of those awards and critical accolades.  All that set aside, Jon Hamm in a 60’s era suit should be enough to sway me, but I have never been able to convince myself to dive into this one.

I should mention that I watched the pilot and the second episode, but decided that the characters all seemed too despicable and their problems too dramatic for me to see myself getting invested.

Convince me that I am wrong!  Or are my concerns valid and I should just count this as a pop culture blind spot?

Ellen

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2 thoughts on “Somebody Convince Me: Mad Men Edition

  1. Hey, I somehow stumbled onto this post, so I’ll give this a quick shot:

    I’ll just copy and paste a bit of what I said in my review of the Season 7 première – “One of the reasons Mad Men is one of the greatest TV shows of all time is because Matthew Weiner has a very special relationship with his audience. Similar to David Chase, David Simon and David Milch (a nice trinity of Davids, as it turns out), Weiner doesn’t pander to his audience. He doesn’t spoonfeed us. he’s telling us a story earnestly, and we can choose how much we invest in that story. And it’s a story about Don Draper. It’s also a story about Peggy Olson, and Roger Sterling, and Sally Draper, and numerous others.”

    I have watched a plethora of TV shows, and I would be hard-pressed to find one that is nearly as realistic in its portrayal of the human condition as Mad Men. If I were to put it in a less supercilious way, I’d say this: the characters the show follows can be very unlikeable, yes, but, conversely, there are moments of staggering humanity interspersed throughout the period’s sexism and debauchery. While it’s easy to get distracted by the show’s setting (sets, costumes – I mean, Christina Hendricks, come on – etc.), Mad Men isn’t a show about cool, slick men-about-town during the 60s. Don Draper is a successful, charming and likeable guy on the surface; it’s when Mad Men delves beneath that surface, and starts showing the damaged man on the inside that it really hits you how utterly unique the show is.

    If you dismiss it on the basis of its first two episodes, you’re doing both yourself and the show a huge disservice – persevere! I started the show two years ago, when I was 14 and wasn’t exactly the most patient of people, and I hated it. But it quickly grew on me, and it really is a marvel at how fully realised its characters are. It’s as close to a living, breathing world as you’re going to get in a piece of fiction. Fast forward to now and I’m feel positively lucky that I will be able to look back in the future and say that I watched one of the most important shows ever while it was still airing. Give it another go, because I almost guarantee you won’t regret it.

    Nice blog, glad I stumbled across it – keep it up!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! You have given me a lot to think about. Also, I hope this doesn’t come off as patronizing, but if my calculations are correct you are 16 and I have to say that you are an amazing writer. So YOU keep it up!

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