Well, not really. I still have a book to finish up – The Girl Who Played With Fire, which is excellent by the way. And had to finish watching The Wire and Dexter. Now that I’m all caught up I will definitely start going down through the list. I have already cast on the Monkey socks, and will probably start watching Breaking Bad this weekend.
I have already watched all seasons of Mad Men previous to starting this project, and honestly am shocked it isn’t #1 on EW’s list. Although, I haven’t seen the other shows so I have very high hopes. Mad Men is an astoundingly good show. It’s a drama about the Madison Avenue advertising industry in the early 1960s. It highlights both the work and home lives of the characters, focusing especially on the Drapers, Betty and Don.
There are so many things I love about this show, probably first and foremost, the wardrobe. This show is amazingly detailed in their attention to making it as authentically 60s as possible, and the clothing is absolutely fantastic. I read recently that most of the clothes are made for the show. I think they should start selling them, the beautiful poofy dresses and aprons that Betty wears, to the sexy pencil skirt and tight ensembles that Joan Holloway, office manager, struts around in I’d wear them all.
It’s odd for me, a child of the PC, hyper conscious, generation to watch this show where everyone is smoking all the time, even pregnant women, and people carelessly throw bottles and cans out of the windows of moving cars when they are done with them, not really caring about litter. In one episode early on Betty and Don’s daughter Sally runs into the kitchen with a huge plastic dry cleaning bag covering her from head to toe. Her mother says “Sally Draper! I hope my dry cleaning is not on the floor” Sally says, “No!” and off she goes to play space man. I could go on and on about the things that seem so dangerous to my modern mommy sensibilities but the show is more than just that.
The show highlights the evolution of women in home and in the workplace at a time when things were changing rapidly, yet each small step was a difficult one. I also appreciate the range of women cast in this show. For the first time a major character, Joan Holloway played by Christina Hendricks, in a show I watch is the same size I am. January Jones, as Betty Draper is of course a knock out beauty in the classic sense i.e. thin and blond, but her role actually requires that she be. It wouldn’t make sense for Don to be married to anyone less stereotypically beautiful.
Mad Men has an underlying tension is understated yet present in every episode. Sometimes the plotting is a bit slow, but that strange undercurrent pulls you along, unable to tear your eyes away. I should note that I watched this show like I watch all shows, which is to say on DVD all at once, and this show in particular lends itself well to this type of viewing.
This show gets a double thumbs up. I highly recommend it. So far the critics are 1-0.