Mad Men?

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went back to s1 out of curiosity. No show has operated at its peak right out of the gate (Twin Peaks being the major exception imo), so wasn't entirely surprised by the amount of stiffness or heavy-handedness, which I feel they managed to largely jettison as the characters got more comfortable and established. Direction also obviously got more confident too; the inclusion of several exterior skyscraper establishing shots comes off as clumsy and unnecessarily showy. It isn't hard in retrospect to agree with some of the criticisms of the show as reveling in shallow stereotypes - they go REALLY overboard with the predatory sexism, slow-mo shots of people smoking absolutely everywhere, the blatant racism. The constant sexual predation is a weird aspect that largely fades as the series goes on; in the beginning Ken, Kinsey, Pete, and Harry are like a relentless pack of wolves (do they just get less horny? more self-conscious? smarter? less assholish?)

Certain character aspects also seem half-formed or unrealistically framed. At series open Betty and Don have been married at least 5+ years, but in all that time she's never prodded him about his parents/background? That's a long time! Similarly, Pete just showing up at Peggy's door to bone her after his bachelor party, even though it's only been her first day (and her first day on birth control!) and they had like zero interaction previously, is p weird. Joan's willingness to reinforce sexist norms is also a little odd, saying typewriters are intimidating but that they were designed so even women could learn how to use them, for ex.

One character who is perfectly formed from the start is, of course, Roger.

Οὖτις, Friday, 12 June 2015 15:38 (four years ago) link


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