Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Obsession with Mad Men

I blame my mother.

I was perfectly happy hating Mad Men, AMC's huge Emmy-winning hit set in the early '60s at a big-time ad agency. It existed, I ignored it. All was right with the world.

But then, my mother started watching the Men every Sunday night. She didn't even think she liked the show; she was just addicted. I ranted and raved, but nothing could stop her.

Then, one Sunday night, with nothing to do, I was flipping through the channels when I saw it. Faced with either watching my mortal enemy or staring at the ladybug on the wall, I watched an episode entitled "A Night to Remember".

From that moment on, I was hooked.

I hated the not-all-there set design. I thought the writing was slow and poorly done. I believed the direction sloppy and tired. Most of all, I wanted to despise all the characters.

But I didn't. Instead, I liked them. I liked former model Betty, protagonist Don Draper's wife trapped in a loveless marriage. I liked Peggy, once a receptionist, now a copywrighter. I liked Sterling Cooper, Don's slimy boss. But most of all, I loved Joan. (See her? That's Christina Hendricks, the actress who plays Joan. She's so pretty...) The bombshell office manager was given the duty of reading soap opera scripts to look for advertising opportunities. She did it so well they made a full-time position out of the job, then made her train her male replacement. The pain and resignation Hendricks managed to portray was stunning.

So, unfortunately, now I like Mad Men. I watch it every Sunday. I catch reruns. I think I'll buy the first season on DVD. It's a sickness. It's even more embarassing than being hooked on phonics.

The finale is tonight at 9. Where will I be? Right in front of the TV, hoping to find out what happens when Don's perfect, manufactured life finally falls apart. And I may even record it.


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