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Anyone Watch "Mad Men"?

  1. Feb 26, 2015 #1

    russ_watters

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    I'm halfway through the first season and I just don't get the appeal. Is it just an excuse for acceptable - even celebrated - misogyny and boorishness for men? I've heard criticism of "Entourage" for that, but didn't really buy it - in Entourage, the joke was on the biggest men (Vinny Chase and his brother were losers). Mad Men just seems so over-the-top that it is almost cartoonish to me, but unlike Entourage isn't supposed to be a comedy. And almost all the male characters are basically just clones of each other, so I have trouble telling them apart.

    Can someone tell me what I'm missing?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2015 #2

    Astronuc

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    Nope - I think you got it, Russ. I've not watched it, nor am I inclined to do so.

    Maybe it's something about the NY City state of mind - or something.
     
  4. Feb 27, 2015 #3

    Mark44

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    Contrary opinion: My wife and I have watched most of this series, and we have both enjoyed it very much. The main character is Don Draper. If you get into the series very far, you find that he is very creative, but very broken, having grown up adopted by a relative who runs a brothel. Even at that, he returns from the Korean War with a different name than when he went over. At any rate, we have enjoyed it a lot.
     
  5. Feb 27, 2015 #4
    Sometimes, I do watch.
    But not because of Don Draper. Because of her:

    http://www.beertripper.com/OffTopic/2011/Joan_Holloway/Joan_Holloway_red_dress.jpg
     
  6. Feb 27, 2015 #5

    Ben Niehoff

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    I think the first season is deliberately cartoonish. If you keep watching, people will begin to suffer consequences for everything they do in season 1. Believe me, it's not a celebration of anything. Everyone's life will fall apart.

    None of the characters are perfect, and none of them are completely likeable all the time. I think it's more an exploration of who they are, both good and bad.

    I think the main character might actually be Peggy. But I haven't seen season 7 yet.
     
  7. Feb 28, 2015 #6
    I don't watch this show so I probably shouldn't comment at all. However, I think I can say that whether or not a depiction of negative behavior is a veiled celebration of that behavior depends on the attitude you pick up from the unseen, and un-refered to, observer through whose eyes you are watching. That observer is all-seeing. It can look at any aspect of any of the character's lives, and it pretends to be neutral, but actually isn't. It is always functioning not just as observer but as editor. It makes choices about what to show you, where you should focus, and what to pay attention to. The cumulative effect of all those choices is what ultimately counts, and it can take some time before you start to see where this observer is leading you.

    Take Raging Bull and the Rocky movies. The attitude of 'the observer' in those films towards boxing is radically different. Raging Bull adds slowly up to being an anti-boxing film while the Rocky movies present boxing as a perfectly OK kind of activity.
     
  8. Mar 1, 2015 #7

    StatGuy2000

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    I'm certain that a significant percentage of the male viewers of Mad Men will watch the show for actress Christina Hendricks. ;)
     
  9. Mar 1, 2015 #8

    Pythagorean

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    Are you saying Russ's disgust in the misogyny was probably intentionally manufactured by the director/writer/actors?
     
  10. Mar 1, 2015 #9
    I agree with this. The misogyny is overblown early on but things change pretty rapidly as it is set starting in the 60s. I marvel at how well the show depicts things like furniture and knick knacks (sp?).

    I like it. There is no doubt people pay a price for their misdeeds. And there is CH...
     
  11. Mar 1, 2015 #10
    No. I'm saying the 'author's' attitude toward the characters can take a while to become clear. Case in point: A Clockwork Orange. Kubrick understands Alex, but does he approve of Alex? Does that movie add up to a recommendation of that lifestyle?

    So, what I'm saying to Russ is that, even though the 'author' is not inserting a big sign every 10 minutes saying, "This is a bad lifestyle! Do NOT try this lifestyle at home!", the apparent neutrality of the unseen observer through whose eyes you see the movie is belied by the sum attitude you end up with toward the characters.
     
  12. Mar 1, 2015 #11

    Pythagorean

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    I haven't seen Madmen, but what I was suggesting was that the creative force made the misogyny excessive knowing that it would evoke feelings of distaste. I feel like Kubrick did it too with Alex. First Kubrick wants you to hate him, then feel sorry for him. There's a fiction book called The Physiognamy that employs a similar tactic on the main character.
     
  13. Mar 2, 2015 #12
    :approve:
     
  14. Mar 2, 2015 #13
    But, it's not clear in Russ' mind that he is expected to feel distaste, and therefore he can't understand the point of it. He questions whether or not this might actually be a celebration of misogyny and male boorishness. So, I'm saying the neutral 'observer" through whose eyes you see the story (the one whose apparently letting the madmen run mad, unchecked) invariably ends up not being neutral at all, but it can take a while to see how things are going to add up in the end. Every scene, every line, every shot ends up having been carefully chosen to lead you to some final overall picture.
     
  15. Mar 2, 2015 #14

    russ_watters

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    Thanks guys. Yes, I agree that good writing is supposed to manipulate you in how to feel about what is happening. It can be a fine line between reporting on an issue and glamorizing it -- and yes, perhaps being provocative before getting to the point is part of the early hook (if it doesn't turn you off).

    Anyway, in ep9, Betty Draper reveals that she does, in fact, have a pulse and Peggy starts to use hers, so that's an improvement at least.
     
  16. Mar 5, 2015 #15
    After reading this thread a few days ago I've started bingewatching the series.
    It started out kind of awkwardly, but the series has excellent pacing. I never feel like there's too much or too little happening. Every season feels pretty fresh.
     
  17. Mar 5, 2015 #16

    russ_watters

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    How far along are you?
     
  18. Mar 5, 2015 #17
    Season 5
     
  19. Mar 5, 2015 #18

    russ_watters

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    Holy carp -- 5 seasons in a few days? Binge watching, indeed!

    I've averaged about an episode a day for the past two weeks.
     
  20. Mar 5, 2015 #19
    I sort of, tune out after a while though. I'll have the show on while I do my homework and stuff.
     
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