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Sad Men

August 7, 2010

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I tried. Really, I tried. I wanted to enter the world created by Mad Men, but after nine episodes, I can’t invest anymore time or brain power. It’s disappointing because I was looking for a richly textured, well written show with complex characters with engaging storylines. Unfortunately, Mad Men don’t offer much of what I’m seeking and is – well – boring. I don’t need to care about the characters to invest in their conflicts, but I do need to care about their conflicts. And dinosaurs unaware of the coming paradigm shift is a totally snooze festival.

It isn’t just the exploration of racism, sexism and every other -ism, as though our relationship to those things are distant memories, or the slip shod snooze inducing manner in which those topics are explored. No, it’s the parade of potato faced people with silly problems of their own creation and the staggering amounts of horrible window treatments – leave them shits bare; it’s better than fugly ass curtains and blinds – that have sent me running for the door.

Also there is just not enough Joan. My god, the way people carry on about Joan I expected to see her – and not the bland and tediously earnest Peggy – heavily featured, but find myself fast forwarding through the boring hippie mistress and whiny wife parts for like two minutes of Joan shutting it down in various fitted outfits and utterly glamorous hair. It’s a lot of work for two minutes of pay off. Sadly, in the end, the payoff is not worth the effort exerted.

I am open to other interpretations, so feel free to point me towards Joan centric episodes and ones featuring someone serving Sterling Cooper’s ass like Arthur Ashe. Don’t worry about spoiling things for me. This show’s trajectory is so transparent that every single one of my glib predictions of the show turned out to be true.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2010 4:03 pm

    I’ve tried to watch Mad Men as well and find it to be utterly boring. I think it might make for pretty wallpaper with the sound off as I vacuum or something. But it’s just not watchable to me. A couple I’m friends with who liked it at first have gone sour on it. While watching a rerun of SATC recently my friend remarked “Wow, there was more dialog in that one scene than in an entire episode of Mad Men!”

  2. August 7, 2010 5:08 pm

    Whew, one more hyped up show I don’t have to watch.

  3. August 7, 2010 6:51 pm

    @Chriso, I love that Carrie’s politician water sport loving boyfriend from season 3 plays Sterling! That’s the only part that is slightly interesting.

    Jon Hamm = Ken Olin. The key to enjoying this show is finding that Ken Olin clone hot and desirable. I don’t find him attractive; he’s boring.

    I was hoping for something along the lines of Six Feet Under; I liked those restrained, freeze dried white folks. LOVED the Fishers. Mad Men doesn’t have any heart and those people are all asshats.

  4. bumerry permalink
    August 8, 2010 11:13 am

    Agreed about Mad Men, ugh. The “remember before we were post racial and the Bechdel test was always passed” meme wears on this white-ass social worker too.

    I think they think they’re being ironic in that curious version of irony without the self awareness that dumb people like. The producers probably all say utilize when they mean use too. (That’my favorite descriptive definition of irony, one that makes 2nd graders giggle.)

  5. hsofia permalink
    August 8, 2010 7:25 pm

    My favorite episode of Season 1 was The Hobo Code. I just loved that hobo. I just kept rewinding and rewatching that scene where the Hobo does the chalk markings, and right before he leaves. That actor blew me away in that little role.

    I liked the show a lot, but wasn’t attracted to Jon Hamm at all. In fact, the only person I find attractive is Joan. For a Joan-centric episode, definitely check out the one where Marilyn Monroe dies. I think it was Season 3.

  6. August 9, 2010 9:22 am

    I agree with you on pretty much all points — except regarding Jon Hamm… I find him quite watchable.

    Even so, I’ve been hooked. Maybe it’s because I was born into the era in which the series takes place, or maybe I just relate to the idea of dinosaurs lost in the paradigm shift.

    Anyway, I find it improves in season 2 and beyond (I’ve just started season 3). I like the fact that it’s flawed and yet still entertaining.

  7. nobigwhoopdawg permalink
    August 10, 2010 9:04 am

    This is timely for me, because I just finished catching up on Mad Men. I guess I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but I think the show could have easily been called “Don Draper Is (Mostly) an Asshole.”

    I loved seeing non-skeletal women being fierce (ohgod Joan), I loved the fashion (I now have the urge to wear dresses, heels and nylons everywhere, even though I do not own any of these items currently), and I loved the decor/obsolete technology (I have a shiny black rotary phone that my husband doesn’t understand my attachment to).

    I’ll admit it took me forever to really get into the characters/story, and even then, it made me cringe a good amount of the time.

    We haven’t met, but I’m attached to your office supplies blog in an unhealthy way. Pens are my porn.

  8. August 11, 2010 8:33 am

    Mad Men is slow, slow, slow, no bones about it, and all these tiny tiny things happen along the way, then usually everything kicks up around episode 9-10 of the 13 episodes season. I’m not saying that to trick you into watching the show further, because I don’t mean to say it gets THAT awesome, but it does definitely improve beyond 60s art direction and anachronisms. It’s DEFINITELY no Six Feet Under, and I’m sorry you even though they could be related!

    I find Don Draper compelling to watch, but I’m not swoony for him. I personally connect to Peggy too, because while I love Joan and want to be/fuck her, the reality is my inner self has much more in common with her dowdy insecure fumbling ways. Though I think I’d figure out I was pregnant before giving birth — yes, season one ends with her on the bathroom floor and finally putting together what the weight gain was about. Guess it was another one of those surprising episodes of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant!”

  9. August 11, 2010 8:36 am

    I also have a theory that this show is resonating with so many of a certain age bracket (white) people because it is helping them/us understand their parents more. My father was army, but my mom was in the secretarial pool of the phone company in the mid to late 60s.

  10. hsofia permalink
    August 11, 2010 4:43 pm

    Raymondj – I have heard many, many people say this. I’m not of that generation, but I did feel like I was getting some insight into the childhoods of some of my older, white friends whose families desperately tried to be the Cleavers. This may sound unnecessary but keep in mind that I went to an elementary school that had FOUR white kids in it (two sets of siblings), and I didn’t befriend any mainstream WASP types until I was in my late, late teens.

  11. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    August 16, 2010 11:20 am

    raymondj, I think you’re onto it — Mad Men mania is directly tied to upper middle-class WASP Gen. X’ers quietly freaking out about their parents’ impending mortality. Gen X’ers also love watching the shamelessly rampant abuse of cigarettes and liquor.

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