Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Farewell to Season Two of Mad Men


Was there ever a more poignant moment than Peggy telling Pete...well, you know if you watched it. If not, I don't want to ruin it.
Or the last two words of the episode.

The emotional content of the series picked up this year. Some might say it became more sentimental, soap-operish. But for me it suited the era. The machinations of the advertising business can only hold my interest for so long.

Instead the writers chose to spend more time off-shop with the cast of complex enigmatic characters that we will never fully understand. If there are occasional minutes when we can read their hearts and minds, there are others when they stand obscured in the shadows, just out of reach.

If my memory of the sixties holds true, and it not just a childish and mistaken impression, people were far more reticent, remote, aloof. It was the late sixties that changed all that--that made us feel we had to spill our guts, share our innermost thoughts.

Does anyone around then share this recollection?

This tune from the sixties captures it all for me and accompanied Betty's bar cruise perfectly.

Or check out this marvelous discussion on the Newark Star Ledger:

(Hat tip to Wallace Stroby)


Todd Mason said...

Well, this show is largely set among the aspirants to wealth, the employees and executives of a small Mad Av agency, and those trying to marry into wealth, Pete as much as any of the women in the secretarial pool or on the switchboard. Those folks, to get along with the other aspirants, were encouraged to keep a stoic front, and still's not just a homophonic pun that Episcopalians are "God's frozen people."

You'll note that the women in the less-well-rewarded positions are much more likely to be boisterous, and even the "ethnic" and geeky younger ad "creatives" are much less guarded when no boss is watching/judging. Also, "Don"'s brother far less guarded, perhaps to his own damage.

Certainly, this series handles its "enigma" (or multiples of same)much better than such as LOST, which attempts richness thus and most achieves pompous goofiness. I did enjoy the solidifying of how "Don" was so successful in his lifelong masquerade.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't have much memory of secretaries gabbing, just trying to move into the group of frozen people themselves. Although I find "rich people" hard to watch (Dirty, Sexy People sets my teeth on edge) the people here seem to wear it like a haircloth.

Todd Mason said...

They, the wealthy in MM, are mostly comparitive failures, or still aspiring.

Then again, those who I've rubbed shoulders with who've inherited wealth have tended to be uncomfortable with it and sensitive about that. Not all, some have been Ws, some found a constructive way to be comfortable with it, but the simple majority.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've only been able to catch a few episodes of Mad Men but it looks interesting. It's especially informative in how it captures the thinking of people in those times, how they were so casual, for example, about littering.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hi Charles. That was a hard episode to watch. The picnic and its callous treatment of the beauty surrounding them. Unfortunately, I remember being that callous.

Todd Mason said...

Then along came THE SILENT SPRING and the Ad Council and spoiled littering for all of us!

pattinase (abbott) said...

HA! Nothing ever gets by you without a clever retort, Todd.

Todd Mason said...

Remarkable, given all the emotional violence the characters visit upon each other (with the rare actual violence, as with at least one office rape), that what really startles us is their littering.

Todd Mason said...

(blushes). Thanks, Patti. (single tear runs down mostly Caucasian but partly Cherokee and Iroquois face.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hey, I'm partly Cherokee. 1/64th maybe.

Todd Mason said...

A Johnny Cash sort, eh? Three of my 16 great-greats were Cherokee, apparently. The other grandparent for my grandmother was Irish. On my father's side, there is the vague certainty, so to write, given some orphans and other figures of mystery, of some Iroquois (Mohawk?) ancestry of some sort. Supposedly, my Mason line is descended from the Serially Monogamous or Polygynous John Mason, charterholder for New Hampshire.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Irish, English, Welsh, German, Cherokee. But mostly German.

Todd Mason said...

Italian, English, Cherokee, French, Irsih, German, Iroquois? Hard even to be Swiss, like yourself. Yank mutts.

Linda McLaughlin said...

I think Todd has a good point about the reticence being more of a class thing than just the time period. My mother's family was poorer than my dad's and less inhibited, though I think family stuff was generally kept more private than now. I'm sure people of the time would be horrified by the public airing of dirty laundry we see nowadays on so-called "reality TV". Shudder.

Mad Men is brilliant and I'm going to miss it. Does anyone know if it has been renewed?

And FWIW, I found the scene of Joan's boyfriend raping her in the office more shocking than the littering scene.

Sorry to be so late commenting.