Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Mad Men Season 1

Why are there no black people? It's as if this is set before
the success of the Civil Rights Movement...
Image: larryfire
Having recently started watching Mad Men, I decided to see what our old friends on Amazon made of the first season. I shouldn't have looked at the one star reviews really... I was just asking for trouble:
After seeing that this won an Emmy for best dramatic series, I decided to buy it. I hadn't seen it on TV, and watch most series on DVD. I got through 3 1/2 episodes, and, with nothing at all happening of any interest (This is not an action programme. It's more of a character study. I have a suspicion that you may have thought this programme was about a mad axe-murder or something) - aside from all the blatant attempts to constantly remind the viewer that it was 1960 (I know. They should have put some mobile phones and iPods in so that it could be more modern...) - I gave up. I don't see the point; the characters are cardboard cutouts (Well, characters such as Roger Sterling aren't really fleshed out till later. You can't complain about 2 dimensional characters when you haven't given the series enough time to really establish the supporting cast), the dialog is flat (I didn't think so. I know, to settle this we'll turn to the professionals. In 2008 Mad Men won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series. It was nominated again in 2009. Then won for a second time in 2010. I think I win this one, eh?), the storyline, or what little there is, is uninteresting (Again, the characters are far more important than the storyline, which is, I'll grant you, slow). Others like it, and it's beyond me why. (No offence, but perhaps you're just too thick to get it? Oh wait, I did mean to offend)
Then there's this clueless reviewer from America:

This time we go back to the early 1960's and the Kennedy years where Hollywood attempts to replace our memories of a much more innocent, moral and gentler American with a dark degraded and dysfunctional culture (I'm sorry, but this version is actually true. The series has been praised repeatedly for being very accurate especially in regards to the sexism and racism of the time and the heavy drinking and smoking displayed by most characters). In this version all housewives are depressed and seeing shrinks (No, one housewife is depressed and seeing a shrink. That's quite far away from 'all'), all husbands cheat (Yes most do, but not all. Besides, the programme would be pretty dull if everyone in it was perfect), everybody drinks, smokes and slaps their kids around (Again. This is the sixties. What would you expect?). The critics like to call this show intelligent, they don't say why and I'm not sure either (It's because it doesn't patronise the viewer. It doesn't tell you everything, it lets you work many things out for yourself. I, and many others, find it quite refreshing). Maybe it's because of the liberal and gratuitous references to the holocaust and nazi's (which are completely out of place in a conference room in an advertising agency in the 1960's) (Not in context they weren't. On one occasion they were talking about how the German Volkswagen had gone to a Jewish ad agency. And on the other Draper was comparing something to the holocaust. Two incidents that make sense in context is hardly gratuitous or out of place). If you like shows that are anti-christian you'll like this (What? Where the fucking hell did you get this from?). After all if you write the script you control the content, right? (What does this mean? Are you suggesting that people who like this show wrote the script? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I would remember that. Seriously, what's this got to do with anything? Are you mad?)
I also like this paragraph from another review:

WHERE is the color? There was surely more to the 60's black experience than tending elevators or serving sandwiches to the man (Not in 1960 there wasn't. Why do you think Martin Luther King did so much campaigning? Because blacks were treated too fairly? This series is set in the upper echelons of an ad agency. Black people wouldn't have been able to get promoted that high. Read a book, moron). How brazenly backward for the writers and producers of Mad Men to blatantly ignore this pivotal point of cultural history. It makes me gag. (Perhaps this just isn't the focus of the show, did you think of that? The writers can write what ever they want to. It's their show. I imagine at some point in the future there will be a major black character. When it's historically accurate to do so. Perhaps you should stick to watching Forrest Gump)
Till next time gentle readers! 

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