Mad Men: Where Have You Been All My Life?

BlogHer Original Post

Like everything else in my life, I got into Mad Men about three seasons after the whole world declared it "the best show on television" (a title I firmly give to Dexter, by the by). It's not that I hadn't had the opportunity to watch it, it wasn't as though I hadn't been stunned by the sheer amount of people with the cartoon gravitars a la Mad Men on The Twitter and The Facebook, I just didn't understand what was so awesome about Mad Men.

Until I got laid up with a particularly virulant bug and was told by my husband, in oh so many words, that I was to "get my ass on the couch, OR ELSE." I didn't know what "OR ELSE" meant, considering that I can out arm-wrestle him, but I imagine it had something to do with dunking my hand in warm water while I slept or something. I got my ass onto the couch and curled up in my ancient blankie, prepared for a hot date with Netflix.

Netflix, it turned out, had some better ideas for me. Instead of suggesting shows, "Like Storage Wars," it suggested that I watch Mad Men. And because I was too sick to fight Netflix, I hesitantly popped on Season 1 Epsiode 1 of Mad Men.

I laid there through it, trying to understand what, specifically, the rest of the free-world saw in the show. Sure, the costumes were brilliant. The dialog was sometimes wry, sometimes witty, but really, the show made me wanted to drink and smoke. Badly.

Image courtesy of AMC

But I was too sick to try and find something else to watch. Season 1, Episode 2 was a little better, but still, I didn't see the appeal. At least, not in the "Imma change my avatar to a cartoonified version of myself," kind of way. I have weird taste - what can I say?

By the middle of Season 1, I was sort of getting it. By Season 2, I got it. And I loved it.

So when I finally realized that I, too, could work the DVR (I'd previously assumed one had to be able to use telekinesis or gnomes in order to make the DVR record anything but Dora the Explorer), I began to record the newer episodes of the show, watching them happily it bursts.

This season, Mad Men pulled out all the stops and had me hooked like BOOM! I still don't have a cartoon Mad Men version of Your Aunt Becky as my avatar, but that's mostly because I'm lazy and getting a cartoon avatar sounds like more work than is worth it for me.

*Spoiler Alert*

This season of Mad Men saw a number of changes to my now-beloved characters: Joan left her husband, who'd really been leaving her to go back to war, a freshly single mother, learning what it took in those days to get ahead in life. Her choices had me both grimacing and cheering for her (I am probably in the minority here). But she got what was coming to her - a partnership with the guys. No small feat in those days.

Peggy sacked up and decided that it was time to do more with herself than work under Don Draper. I'm hoping she'll be back as a partner next season on Mad Men, having given the other ad agency the finger, but I'm doubtful.

My staunchly feminist mother will be proud of the next words I utter, so please don't tell her - I don't want her to get a big head or anything. Peggy, Megan and Joan are excellent reminders of how things once were for women in the workforce, and it's those women right there that allow me to say, "I will become XYZ" and not have the free world laugh at me because I'm "just a girl."

(unless, of course, I insisted that I was to become an opera singer, because well, my singing has been likened to two cats wrestling in a moving dryer)

The most interesting transformation to watch through the seasons (remember - I watched them all within a month or so, which meant that I got pretty eye-of-the-tiger about it), was that of Betty Draper now Betty Francis. She's gone from being a slinky, sexy socialite, to the Matron of the House. I have to wonder how much padding it took to get January Jones to appear so matronly - she's such an adorably wee thing!

But watching her transformation; seeing how miserable she is, especially while standing next to Megan Draper, Don's NEW sexy, slinky socialite, well, it's incredible. You got to give the girl credit for trying to go after what she thought would make her happy - a life with Henry Francis. It's a shame that she's so damn miserable.

I still can't talk about the suicide of Lane Pryce without tearing up - what a sad, sad situation that was. You could smell it coming a mile and a half away, it just didn't make it any easier to see that he'd chosen suicide as a means to an end. Suicide is never, ever the answer.

The season finale of Mad Men was fairly anti-climactic (how does one, exactly, write the follow up to a suicide without appearing garish and obnoxious?), truth be told, but it left enough dangling story threads and new twists for next season to be good - hella good. Changes, I can tell, are a-coming for Mad Men.

And I, for one, can hardly wait to see what they are.

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