Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Mad Mad World
First came the recognition. "Hey, that's my Aunt Dorothy's dining room furniture." We identified all the old brand names, the furniture styles, the sport coats, the commercials...of course the commercials. That was the initial appeal of Mad Men. The story line never really surprised, after all it's not like we didn't live through those years ourselves. But now, as Mad Men, the popular AMC produced TV series begins its fifth season, I'm finding that it has a particular, if not singular appeal to my generation.
Oh sure we could always go back and look at the re-runs of old 50s and 60s sit-coms. But Father Knows Best and Ozzie and Harriet don't feature the smoking and drinking that were so much a part of a Boomer's childhood. Mad Men offers the diet, the sexism, the racism, the duplicity in all it's arrogant glory.
I've heard the show is painful to watch for some. That could be, but I dwell on the humor. There is one scene that exemplifies this beautifully. Shortly before their divorce Don and Betty Draper take their growing family out for a picnic in the park. Of course they smoke through the little repast taken under an elm tree on a beautiful patch of green. When it's time to go, they gather up the kids, pack up the leftovers into their wicker basket and then dump all the trash on their blanket onto the ground and just walk away. No trashcan, no concern for littering, no consciousness of what they've just done. Was it really that way? For some, it was.
What fascinates me now is what is on the horizon. I don't care about the ins and outs of the relationships, the ins and outs of the corporate structure, or even what happens to these people as they age. My eyes are on the prize that's just about to be explode on the scene. We've got the twin catalysts of civil rights and Vietnam waiting in the wings and it's going to be a hell of a show. Soon to follow will be a tsunami of Feminism and another couple of political assassinations.
It's fairly easy to see which characters will sink and which will swim in this ocean of change about to break. So for now, enjoy the lull of high balls, the twist, and Crisco. Cause something is happening here and we know what it is, don't we, Mr. and Mrs. Jones?