Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mad Men

Matt and I have taken to watching the AMC drama "Mad Men." It won the Emmy the other night for best drama series, and we agree wholeheartedly. I never watched "The Sopranos," but one of the writers and producers of "The Sopranos" is the exec producer on "Mad Men," and Matt says the subtle-yet-brilliant way characters are developed on the two shows is quite similar. It really is a brilliantly written show.

If you haven't heard about it, it's about people working in an ad agency on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s. The cultural differences depicted between then and now are positively hilarious. Not just the constant smoking, but the ubiquity of liquor in the office (I once had a dream I had a full bar in my office. It was a good dream. In that same dream, we'd hired Whoopi Goldberg as an African American fiction editor.) No one wears seat belts, and when a child is playing with a dry cleaning bag completely over her head, the mom gets mad because the clothes are all over the floor, not because the child is potentially suffocating herself.

The treatment of the women in the office is so appalling by today's standards that it, too, is hilarious. The men don't even call them "secretaries," but "girls," as in "tell your girl to type up that memo." (I received an e-mail at work the other day addressed "Gentlemen," so maybe things haven't changed as much as we think.) The crowning moment of all this eye-popping chauvenism, however, came in an episode we watched this morning on DVD. (We didn't start watching til Season 2, so we're catching up via Netflix.) A woman who, by season two, is a copywriter and the only female non-secretary in the office, impressed one of the men with her tagline-creation skills (which, we presume, leads to the promotion by the end of the season). The man is telling all his male colleagues about how brilliant her ideas were, and says...

"I tell you, it was amazing. It was like seeing a dog play the piano."

Yes, that's right. Seeing a woman think was like seeing a dog play the piano.

For this and other gems, we highly recommend you check out the show. It's on Sunday nights at 10/9 central on AMC.


Anonymous said...

Some very witty Episcopal priests at this Episcopal young adult leadership conference I was at in Houston last weekend were recommending this show as well! I'm gonna have to set the DVR to record it!

Anonymous said...

PS - ROFL about your dream.

Anonymous said...

I finally got around to watching the episodes I'd recorded after I got back from Greenville last night - you're right, it IS good! I am hooked now!


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