Man Men S1 – A Study In Authenticity
I’m a little behind in the watching of plenty of tv shows but I asked for the 2 season Mad Men box set last Xmas and got it. Only now have I gotten around to finishing the first season.
Mad Men struck me, initially, as a good show. The production value was high, the actors were good, and it was all pretty good. But I wasn’t hooked. I just didn’t see the overall point. Maybe I’d simply watched too much LOST to realise that not every show needs to have an overall season long mystery arc? I liked the show but I took a pretty big break in it mid-season.
I eventually came back to it because I wanted to keep going. It was good enough to warrant me keeping it up and I just didn’t feel like I could give up. I had the damn two season as a gift and I only ever hear great things about it so I resolved to continue and am so glad I did.
There is a great episode in the middle of the season where the main man, Don Draper, ends up in an apartment with a bunch of hippies. They all view him as a square and there’s some great heated argument between about selling out to the system and being able to work within the system. It’s pretty thought provoking stuff but it’s Draper’s kiss off line that completely hooked me with the show. There are cops outside and the hippies are hiding scared. Draper says he’s going out and they tell him he can’t go out there. Draper pops the hat on his head and says, “No. You can’t go out there.” He walks out of the apartment, the cops treat him with respect and never even think to question him, and he goes about the rest of his life. It’s golden.
It interested me to find, later on, that there is a bit of an overall mystery to the series but it’s not the usual Desperate Housewives mugging that shows try to emulate now. It’s a slow burn, and nothing massive, but it still has ramifications for the characters. It’s all about Don Draper’s past and the tale is well woven.
The supporting characters are all interesting and fun, except for when they’re not. There’s the usual stuff you’ve probably heard before, that’s it’s funny because it presents the times as they were, full of testosterone and chauvenism. Yes, the show is all those things you’ve heard, but it’s also excellently written and acted. There’s nuance on the screen and it must be applauded.
It’s also interesting to note that people have gone crazy over Chrsitina Hendricks. She certainly is a great looking actress, and great at her job, but she’s certainly not the usual stick you see on magazine covers, and I think that’s great as well. She a full figured lass and her character has a fair degree of charm and back bone to her, which is nice, though I don’t even think she’s what you’d call an average size as they keep touting her. She’s got a massive bust but the rest of her body isn’t really proportional to it, but if she raises the ideal of a more flexible body ideal then I’m all for it. I also want to mention Draper’s wife, January Jones. She is a spectacular actress and turns all those 60′s blonde tropes on their head.
I must also say, as my final summation of why you should watch this show, that the season one finale nearly made me cry. There’s a very emotional set of scenes with Draper involving him and his thought sof his family and I will admit that it completely got to me. It was superbly done and I can’t think of very many other shows that could get to me like that. It was pretty damn well done.
If you haven’t seen this show then you need to give it a chance. After one season I guarantee you’ll be wanting more. It’s like watching an old tv show from that era but then getting to see these people behind the scenes as well. It’s real, this show, and you’ll be amazed by how real it all feels.
Posted on August 19th, 2010 by ryan
Filed under: television