mercoledì 20 giugno 2012

Mad Men (but Great Women!)

The Season 5 of Mad Men is over and this is very sad news.
I often say to my friends that I couldn't live anymore without TV series, and when I say this, they laugh, thinking I'm joking, but I don't. TV series make my life better. They’re a concentrate of what I adore in movies with an important difference: they last longer. Isn’t that great? 

I watch a lot of TV series, of different types, from different countries, with different plots, but Mad Men always had a special place in my heart. The other day I watched the last episode and I was trying to understand the reasons why I find this show (and this last season in particular) so amazing.
Well, guys, here’s my list:

The Inside
Forget about streets, roads, views of the city, views of skyscrapers or the countryside. 
Mad Men is never about the outside, it is just about the inside. The characters are always seen indoor: in their offices, in their apartments, in restaurants, bars or hotel rooms. It is very, very rare to see them en plein air. Even when they travel, all you can see is the inside of planes, trains, cars.
This, of course, has consequences on the series “way of being”: Mad Men is just about what’s going on inside each character. It is like constantly being inside their heads.
Don and Megan Drapers' Apartment - Season 5
The Style
No doubt about this: Mad Men is the most stylish series ever made. 
Maybe it is because I am obsessed with the 50’s and 60’s decades, but I can’t recall any another show having so much class. Elegance is an attitude, but for these guys is a religion.
The way they dress, their houses, their furniture, their bags, their shoes, even their ashtrays... anything, it is simply perfect. And the things I wouldn’t be ready to do to own one - oh, just one! - of these women’s outfits. I can’t really tell you…

Betty Draper, Joan Harris and Peggy Olson
The Cruelty
Life is cruel, but Mad Men is even crueller. 
There is no space for pity, in this show. Men are cheating constantly on their wives or girlfriends and usually treating women as inferior human beings, colleagues are ready to any ignominious act to be successful, mothers are awful towards their sons and daughters, women treat shamefully other women whose behaviour is nonstandard (divorcées, singles, women living with a man without being married). This cruelness’s grandiosity is even more powerful because never shouted, but always subtle. Covered by piles of good manners and chilling but gracious words. Basically, every ten minutes, we are obliged to remember how horrible human nature can be.
Don Draper, Lane Pryce
The Irony
Sure, this show is cruel but it is also incredibly funny. 
People are so clever that their dialogues are full of unforgettable jokes, smart answers and witty remarks. Some of Roger Sterling’s quotes are simply too good to be true. Just a small example taken from this last season: in front of a couple of colleagues who are fighting, he looks around and says: I know we should stop them, but hey, am I the only one in this room who wants so badly to see them fight?  
Simply irresistible.
Joan Harris, Roger Sterling... and whose baby?
 The Moral dilemmas
Do you want to know what Mad Men is all about? It is about moral dilemmas.
In each episode, characters are obliged to face small and big moral issues and to show how they manage to solve them. Most of the times they fail, but the audience is hooked, because these are the same dilemmas we all have or had to face at a certain moment of our life. The debates could be about anything: a problem at work, a family business, a lover’s request, a decision to make, a situation to understand, an opportunity to take.
We suffer, we struggle, we cry, and we feel compassion for them. Matthew Weiner is a genius in writing this kind of stuff. Just one example taken from the last season: Peggy offers to the new Don Draper’s secretary Dawn (a black girl) to  spend the night at her place because in Harlem there are some troubles and it is dangerous to get back late at night. When Peggy is about to leave her living room, where Dawn is sleeping, she realizes that her handbag is on a table near the couch. Weiner just shows Peggy’s look to her handbag. No dialogue. No moves. In just a fraction of a second, he shows us what racism was at that time in the States. Impeccable.
Dawn Chambers and Betty Draper
The Women
Warning! Spoiler about Season 5 (from now on).
Mad Men’s Women are quite amazing, and I personally suffered together with them for all the bad things they’ve been obliged to go through in all these seasons, but Season Five, well, is the season of their revenge. Joan finally get rid of the asshole she had married, Peggy takes the biggest decisions of her life: to move together with her boyfriend without getting married and to change job, and Megan manages to transform Don Draper, the man who saute sur tout ce qui bouge (a very elegant French way to describe a man who's unable to keep his penis in his pants) into a faithful and lovely husband. The only one who remains a bit in the shadow is Betty, Don's first (well, second) wife, but she is able to recover from a bad illness and even to show a bit of love for her daugther Sally (another little woman who reserves big surprises in this series). 
These women are beautiful, strong, smart, witty, adorable and unpredictable.
And tough and cruel, yes, but - hey! - what do you expect? They have to deal with Mad Men!
Peggy Olson, Joan Harris 
Megan Draper
Betty Draper, fat version
Sally Draper, the new Mad Men generation
The Loneliness
I really think the main theme of the whole series is the solitude.
If you want to know how lonely you can be in your existence, then watch any episode of Mad Men. Don Draper is a man profoundly unhappy and lonely. Due to his miserable childhood, and the particular events who made him change his identity, Don remains somebody very detached from other human beings. His nature is a tortured one; he is constantly unsatisfied, always trying to fill the void inside him by accumulating conquests (women as well as advertising campaigns). In this last season, his character’s evolution is incredibly interesting. Don seems to have found – at last – The Woman he was looking for. Megan is beautiful but also able to stand for her rights, her wishes, her self-respect. I personally think that this is a beginning, and not an arrival point, for Don. I don’t think Megan will be enough, for him, and I believe the final episode proves me right. So it doesn't surprise me that the last question asked to Don by a couple of young girls in a bar is: Are you alone?
Aren't we all? 
Don Draper, his sigarette, a Manhattan bar
And the only possible solution, I guess, is Don Draper's one: An Old Fashioned, please.
Make it double!

3 commenti:

  1. Now THAT'S a birthday present......fab post Zazie...I was hooked by the series too.

  2. As a former addict, I resisted this season but you convinced me otherwise!
    Going to go watch on iTunes
    Grazie tanti

  3. Thanks everybody... and enjoy the series!!!


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