You know that with a title called Mad Man on a Great Lake, this blog has to have a post about Mad Men.
As many people, even those who don’t watch the show, know, the final seven episodes are airing starting tonight and, I for one, can’t wait. Since it first aired in July 2007, I have been immersed in the life of Don Draper (as played by Jon Hamm) and the advertising agency he works in. What many people at work feel about the Walking Dead, I feel about this show. American Movie Classics (AMC) has been showing all the back episodes from almost the beginning of the year and they, put together, show a perspective on an entire decade, and not just from confines of Sterling Cooper and its’ later incarnations.
While I admit to having a Peggy Olson fixation (as played by Elizabeth Moss), all the characters are interesting in their own way. Don Draper and his merry band sure got away with a lot of stuff in the 1960’s that wouldn’t cut it now (nor, in reality, back then either). I wonder how many class action sexual harassment law suits the women in that agency would have to file these days for behavior that went for the most part unnoticed in the 1960s? How different would Joan Holloway’s (Christina Hendricks character’s) career at the firm would have been like if she started in the 1990s instead of the 1950s as the show implies? It is also interesting, at least to me, how the series looks at advertising and the consumer culture of the period.
Another thing that is funny to me, and picked up by many a paid media critic, is how American television seems locked in the 1960’s. It’s kind of like how much of the best in British productions are locked in the years before World War II (think Downton Abbey). It’s possible that our popular cultures are attracted to those very periods because there were, to put it bluntly, before everything hit the fan. In the case of America, starting around 1970, conditions really did take a turn for the worse for the average person and, for the most part, this trend has continued in some form or another to this very day. Would a TV show of an ad agency in 2010 have the same critical impact as Mad Men has achieved or win as many Emmys?
Nevertheless, I will be definitely watching every new final episode starting at ten tonight to see where Don Draper left off, and what he will end up doing in 1970. Stay tuned?