Before I started watching Mad Men, it never would have occurred to me that a story on television could equal – or even surpass – literature. Mad Men does just that.

If you haven’t watched the show, Mad Men is set in a 1960s ad agency. The show isn’t about advertising so much as it is about human nature and exploring the roles of men and women.

Season 4 just ended and not having Mad Men to watch and analyze has knocked me off my rhythm a bit.

So to cheer me up, I’m posting my favorite scene from the season finale – and perhaps of the entire series. This is where Peggy and Joan finally let themselves enjoy some camaraderie and rant about the men in the office:

It’s fun to compare it to this scene in the first episode in the series where Peggy and Joan meet for the first time. They’ve both come a long way since then.

The props and wardrobe are of the period and so fun to look at. I think the show is especially interesting for people born in the 1950s and 1960s because there are so many “my parents had that!” and “I wore that as a kid!” moments.

My parents were married in 1965 and season 4 was set in 1965, so it made me all the more interested in the details of the props, current events and wardrobe. As a result of Mad Men my oldest daughter and I recently paged through my parents’ wedding album to look at all the dresses the women wore then and it sparked some fun conversations. Much to my daughter’s delight my mom gave us her rainbow Pyrex bowls, just like the ones the character Betty has. We’ve acquired a few other 1960s housewares as a result of watching Mad Men.

As hyperbolic as it may sound, Mad Men is a window to the soul at times. There were a couple of times this past season I was reduced to tears out of painful self-recognition while watching a character act out of weakness or when making an emotionally honest statement.

So, if you’re looking for a thoroughly engaging television show to watch, Netflix has Mad Men and it’s also available for instant viewing on iTunes and Amazon.

At least half of the fun in watching the show is reading the commentary online the day after an episode airs. My favorite Mad Men commentary is here and here.

As you watch, keep in mind that a major theme of the show is that actions have consequences. You might not see the consequences in the next episode – or even in the next season. But they do happen.  It will also make you wonder if people (including yourself) ever really do change.  The show is like a novel in progress, and having that time in between episodes to ponder what happened is part of what makes it equal to or even superior to literature and film.


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Filed under: Stories/Storytelling


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