Friday, April 16, 2010

What about Mad Men?

Who watches Mad Men on AMC? I liked it the first season. The Don Draper character was enigmatic and mysterious. The melodrama was laced with black comedy.  The aspects of the culture at that time that we now consider politically or culturally incorrect were emphasized in a manner arch and mundane at the same time.

I don't like it so well now but I still watch it or will, whenever the next season of seven or eight episodes appear.

I am sorry that the Drapers are apparently getting a divorce but only because it may mean that there won't be as much screen time for their daughter Sally. I think that she has turned out for me, to be the most interesting character on the show.  She would have been 3 or 4 years younger than me at the time that the series depicts. Close enough. Her circumstances and experiences weren't so similar to mine but I knew a lot of kids like her and there are enough similarities to my own life to make it interesting.

Sally isn't  a little match girl growing up with any kind of material want. She doesn't even have any other children to be envious of in terms of familial affluence but her life seems sterile and lacking in expression of genuine affection or concern, especially from her Mother, Betts. It is obvious to her from early on, the values that her parents try to teach her have nothing to do with what is really right, fair or  likely to bring any real satisfaction into her life. She struggles through life, trying to make up her own rules and goals by trial and error. She does bad things but not out of any kind of evil intent. Sometimes it's to get attention and sometimes it's just existential experiment. You can almost see the lessons she is learning and the implications they will have on her development. She's turning into a much different person than her parents expect. Isn't that the way it was for all of us that passed through the late Fifties and early Sixties, on the excruciatingly long road to puberty?

There are a lot of girls like Sally today, women too but it's different now that they are a common part of the culture. Now the little girls teach each other to be that way. It's not the same as working it out yourself, even if you end up at the same place.

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