I've been watching Mad Men a lot. It's really incredibly beautiful. I know you're supposed to identify with Don Draper, but I wasn't prepared for how much I would identify with him. Life has changed since the 1960s, but in many ways it really hasn't.
I'm just finished with season 4. One thing that strikes me is how people have always used other people's lives to figure out how they're doing. It's so depressing. I often feel tempted to talk to Charlotte about this show as if these are people I really know, and as if this is something that's relevant right now. "Charlotte, you'll never guess Don is engaged. I know."
That's the mark of a truly exceptional piece of art, in my opinion. It's one thing for reality TV to present real lives to us, but it's something very separate to present fiction so convincing, so real on a meta level, that it's almost disappointing that it's not real.
I'm not an ad man. I'm not a salesman of any kind like Don. But I am Don. The episode I watched today, someone said "I hope she realises that you only like the beginning of things" and god I felt so attacked. Who doesn't like the beginning of things? Everything is so pure and uncomplicated (I refuse to use the phrase "pure and simple" in earnest).
I don't feel like I can honestly describe why I love Mad Men so much without offending someone in my life. It is a truly beautiful, and timeless commentary on society, masculinity, femininity, love, culture, work, family. This is art made by people who can communicate more exposition with a single frozen frame, than many can with seasons of TV. This is something expertly designed to make you feel something, and to question how you treat people, and your attitude to everyone who isn't you. It's designed to show you things that you do, and then show you how stupid those things are. It's really one of the most elegant and compelling pieces of storytelling that I think I've ever seen in my life.
And just quickly in closing. This is a TV show that runs for 7 seasons, about one doomed man and how he almost pathologically hammers nails into his own coffin. The number of times I've said "are you kidding me with this" whilst watching this show, is ridiculous. But also, the number of times I've cried, as Don sabotages his own life, or really profoundly hurts the people around him, exceeds maybe anything I've ever watched.
This is one of those shows I don't think I will ever stop watching, pondering, and learning from. I know everyone has already seen it but it's so incredibly perfect in every way that I feel like I want to tell you to watch it again.