I'm donning my white gloves, my teased bouffant hair, my girdle and my pearls this Sunday, in fevered anticipation. Yes, I'm looking forward to brunch with good friends Sunday morning and yes, I'll enjoy my monthly book club meeting on Sunday afternoon. But what I'm really dying for is the return of my absolute favorite television show, Mad Men, 9pm Sunday night on AMC.
Why aren't you watching Mad Men? If you are, I applaud your intelligence, verve and good looks and would like to buy you a vodka gimlet. But if you aren't, I'm here to scold you. Chide you, tempt you and shame you into watching. I know, I know. Pop culture choices are subjective. You don't like costume dramas. You look to TV for escape and don't like having to think too hard. You don't have cable. You get confused easily. You watched one random episode without seeing any others and didn't like it. You have a real life and no time for fluffy pursuits. Your skin crawls when too many people rave about something and therefore refuse to watch it yourself. You stopped watching TV once the Sopranos ended. You have kids and no time. You think I'm an idiot. You hate that one actress lady with the face who is in it. You think that show is offensive to women. You think TV is for the ignorant, unwashed masses, you are above all that, you like books. All of these reasons may be valid. But I must insist, with great certainty, you still should be watching Mad Men.
Why, you ask? Why should you ignore all of the substantial (baloney) arguments that you each logically listed above? Because it is simply excellent television. It is visually stunning with a perfectly stylized 1960's look, down to each fitted suit, drawn in eyebrow, motor car, and typewriter sitting on a young secretary's desk. It's thought provoking, it has depth and gravitas. It's a fascinating study of a time period and a place in our country that is glamorous and infuriating. It's mordantly funny and sexy like those constrained early 1960's, all repression and anticipated release. It's upsetting and emotional. It doesn't spoon feed the viewer, it's ambiguous and allusive. It's everything that high quality television should be, in my estimation. Frankly, I'm jealous that you have three full seasons of Mad Men to discover, while I must wait patiently each week for the next episode of season four. But while I have you here, it might be better that I assume you have no idea what this "Mad Men" business is that I'm blabbering on about. What is this show you are so ridiculously enamored of, Kassie?
So a brief synopsis straight from the Mad Men official website:
"Mad Men revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper, the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family values."
Sexism, neighborhood bird shooting, infidelity, creativity, babies, class struggles, office flings, bad parenting, race relations, competition, glass ceilings, clingy dresses, passion, cigarettes, revenge sex, self doubt, church socials, pain, death, mergers and acquisitions, smoking doctors, regret, betrayal, rape, and people riding tractors at office parties. Mad Men has it all. I could go on and on. This show moves me and engages me and makes me think. And that's more than I can ever say for The Bachelorette, or frankly 98% of what's on TV.
But realistically, I know you probably won't watch it. You have your reasons. But at least consider renting or borrowing season one and give yourself the time to watch a couple of episodes before you decide. You deserve it, and Mad Men deserves your attention. Still I know it may not be the show for you. Though I just might think you are wrong, Mad Men probably isn't for everyone. I think that's what I like about it. So let's make a deal. I'll try not to judge you for not watching, if you'll try not to judge me for wishing, just a little bit, that I was Joan Holloway.