Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Mad Men obsession

My Mad Men watching turned into an obsession. I'm just a few episodes away from the end of season six right now, which means I'll be in the same boat as all the rest of the fans very soon who have to wait impatiently for the next season to start.

It's so unlike all my other favorite TV obsessions, though. For the most part, I have a tendency to fall in love with one or more characters that compel me to watch regardless of how good the writing/storytelling may be (like Revolution, I know how flawed it really is, but just don't care because of how much I adore Miles and Monroe). That's not the case with Mad Men. I don't actually like very many of these people. In fact, some of them, I downright detest. But they so completely fascinate me, and the writing is just so layers, I can't look away.

If anyone has made me feel bad for them, it's Joan. I wasn't an early convert, but as the show has progressed and the world she was able to navigate so effectively has changed to make her particular skill set obsolete, I've grown more sympathetic to her plight. The episode with the Jaguar dealership guy in season five is the only episode the entire series that made me cry. To see her put in that kind of scenario just broke me. Sure, she has benefited from it, securing hers and her son's future, but how she had to get there should never have happened in the first place.

My feelings for Don and Peggy are more ambivalent. I feel like I know them at this point, but they don't really evoke emotion in me at all. They're more like incredible character studies than anything else, which is so antithetical to how I usually respond to stories that it's a little boggling to me. Don's grown less interesting over the years, since he's been reduced to repeating his unhealthy patterns, but I've invested so much in finding out where he ends up that there's no way I'm giving up on him until the very end.

Then there's Pete, who makes me rage. There was a period in the middle where he started becoming more tolerable, but with season five, that's taken a reverse again. At least his wife Trudy recognizes it now, which makes me respect her all the more (though there was a time I would've colored her with the same brush).

You know what it really makes me want to do? Write stories set in the 60s. I only wish readers were interested in that era enough to make it worthwhile.