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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crazy for Mad Men

Guess what tonight is!


Mad Men is quite possibly the best show to come along since, say, House, or if we're talking AMC, Hustle. These are the gems of television today, my friends, and if you aren't watching Mad Men, you're out of your damn mind. Christina Hendricks is ON FIRE as Joan Holloway, she gives new meaning to the words "fierce" and "work it." Peggy Olson (played by Elizabeth Moss) is pretty much my shy, gingham-check and frumpy cardigan-wearing hero. Jon Hamm as Don Draper is just delectable, you could eat that man with some steak sauce and be happy for the rest of your life. Of course, it's not just the looks, the clothes, or the style that's unbearably wonderful, it's the dramatic tension.

Every time Don Draper goes home to his perennially diaphanous-nightgown-wearing wife Betsy (January Jones, winner of the Best Name Ever Award), you think, "Oh my god, does she know he's a sexy, sexy philandering bastard? Is he ever going to tell her about his parents?" Let's just say it's Gossip Girl for adults. I want to languish in my fantasy artists' loft smoking cigarillos, drinking scotch while watching Mad Men.

So, even though luminaries like Jezebel and New York Magazine's Vulture section are going crazy over Mad Men, I know what the true test of a great show is.

My PARENTS love Mad Men. They can't get enough of it. These are educated, book-reading, NPR-listening people. They wear glasses. They drink wine, rarely. Sure, they're Baby Boomers, no more than 10 or 12 at the time of Mad Men (1960), but they devoured the entire first season like it was manna from heaven and were doubled over in laughter and reminiscences every second. The glasses! The clothing! The Bob Newhart record! The cars! Keeping a plate in the oven for your husband! The office old-boys' club! (Note: My father remarked after the first episode that when he worked for a summer at Merrill Lynch in Manhattan in the mid-1970s, it was the callous treatment of women by male executives that turned him from big business. Good man!)

My one grievance, one nitpick, one little historical inaccuracy, is when Betsy Draper fleetingly mentions that she was in a sorority at Bryn Mawr. Bryn Mawr is a women's college, just like my glorious, Ivory Tower-ish alma mater, and obviously, single-sex institutions don't have the Greek system. The whole place is a giant sorority. You may have so-called "societies" on campus, for young ladies interested in the arts or in having afternoon tea (Smith College, adorable), where girls get to be legitimately uppity and snobbish. Those were the days, my friends, when proper young ladies went off to women's colleges to graduate with their Mrs. and a bright future in the suburbs. If you're nostalgic and/or curious about those days, definitely check out Mad Men tonight!

I'll be there in my giant plastic costume jewelry and pedal-pushers, lounging on the Taos sofa.

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