Monday, August 17, 2009

Mad Me(n)



I have spent much of my adolescence/early adulthood espousing the evils of television. Robs you of intelligent thought, tricks you into thinking you have real relationships with imaginary people, creates a sense of entitlement for an unattainable lifestyle, breeds disappointment and despair about reality versus the fantasy lives portrayed by Hollywood actors. The list goes on. I have judged and muttered about parents who let the television raise their children.
I'm not really sure where this sanctimoniousness was born.
But then there was Lost.
And I was (am) hooked.
And then I had Edward. And the time PBS programming buys me. It's priceless. We have our limits around here, but just a little Sid the Science Kid here, some Word Girl there, and the occasional Super Y (Oh.... and Curious George and Clifford and...). It's educational, right? (OK. No, I don't really buy that. But it's treat. For both of us.)
Then Brady brought home the first season of Flight of the Conchords. And I adored those guys. And they did make me feel like I had a couple of really funny friends. Friends whose lives I didn't actually have to get involved in. They just make me laugh, then I can turn them off. No fuss, no muss.
But my current obsession, and it's a rare thing for a TV show to make this list, is Mad Men. There's been a bit of hype. And my curiosity is insatiable. And the library had the first season. And ohmygoodness, I was not disappointed. I love Art History because I need a visual context- truly fascinated with the story of civilization. How we went from living in caves to trading on Wall Street- with pictures.
And this show opened up so much for me, in a historical way. It's personal, too. The generation hits home, in a sense. I was stunned by the gender roles. The family dynamics. The wars. The corruption.
Really, visually and sociologically fascinating. Dark and sad, but sometimes very funny, mostly bittersweet and beautiful.
And also, I just found this on Etsy. I was just lamenting that we finished the first season, and the library doesn't have the second. What is a girl to do? Just buy the second season. That's what you should advise.
(the photo is from the official Mad Men website at amctv.com)

4 comments:

Eralda LT said...

I am hooked on Lost, too, and currently on True Blood. We, too, like PBS and the shows you mention. So unlike me.

I understand your feelings exactly, though, but I feel like good television is good storytelling in visual form. And it's ok. So go ahead, my friend, get the second season. Tell me how it is, because I may follow on your footsteps :).

Nickolini said...

I know what you mean about being tricked into having relationships with imaginary people. We watched the whole series of Six Feet Under on DVD earlier this year. We felt close but infuriated with this train wreck of a family and when it was over we kind of missed them. Not sure that is healthy.

Sunny said...

I'm definitely torn in this debate. Effective art (and storytelling) should draw you in, make you a part of it. Catharsis and fantasy have an important role in the human psyche. But at what point do we go too far? A recent study reports that the more tv watched, the higher the risk for depression (and the ensuing lifestyle choices they are likely to make to self-medicate): http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/03/science/sci-tv3
That said- I'm ordering the second season. I miss them too much, it's making me depressed.

Sunny said...

Nick. You're avatar is frightening.