There is so much bullshit going on in the world today. As I have repeatedly documented, the elections on both sides of the border have truly turned into theatre of the absurd. The economic crisis is gut-churning. The traffic congestions, health care issues and pollution messes have become front burner causes. It is enough to make any thinking person plan their escape to Fantasy Island. I have discovered a far better tonic and it comes fresh to my television every Sunday evening at 10:00 pm. I speak of course, of the wondrous little jewel from AMC called Mad Men.
If you have yet to join the ranks of the "Mad Meniacs", I need to plug this phenomenal gem of a show. Last July, as the husband and I sloshed through the sewage that was summer television, we desperately searched (it seemed in vain) for anything that wasn't geared toward the dumbasses of our society. The reality dross and the DVD experience had exhausted our intelligence to the point that we began an internet search for something (anything!!) with a modicum of smarts. I stumbled across the first 6 episodes of Mad Men and we proceeded to watch them in succession without a break. In short, we were hooked from Don Draper's first leering glance and we have been like crack addicts ever since. It is like watching Shakespeare in Kennedyesque clothing! The writing and episode constructions are nothing short of brilliant and the acting is tour de force. Jon Hamm (the cool and calculating Mr. Draper) is perfection and the supporting cast is unbelievable, from the smarmy office suck-up Pete, to the on the-edge Mrs. Cleaver-like wife, Betty. I love the spot on sets and costumes (I think that we had some of the Draper furniture in our home in 1965!) and the realistic portrayals of sexism, racism, anti-semitism, smoking, drinking, and parenting. I have heard the criticism that there is no action and that the stories are slow to unfold, but I think that those people don't appreciate the subtle brilliance that is this show. True! There is no Tony Soprano ready to whack the world. Instead, there is the brilliant Robert Morse's character dispensing the wisdoms of lily-white 1960's America while in his stocking feet! True! There are no chase scenes or cops and robbers. Instead, there is the underlying struggle between the sexes and discovering who really possesses the power. I am absolutely transfixed this season as I am watching the pieces of Don's world slowly crumble. I can't wait for the next episode.
Usually, when I enjoy a show this much, it is doomed. (See Studio 60!!) This time, I think both AMC and I are in for the long haul. Mad Men is nominated for 16 Emmys this weekend. If you haven't yet added this wonderful viewing experience to your weekly habits, I urge you to do so. Go purchase season 1 on DVD and play catch up. It is certainly worth your time. Tell them, Dawn sent you!!!