Well, now that I have an i-pod and i-tunes, there’s a way to get Mad Men without subscribing to some expensive, crappy cable TV package I neither want nor need. i-tunes sells a season pass for $20 ($30 for HD), which seems like a total bargain. The only downside is that I have to watch the show on my computer, so Fratguy and I snuggle up in bed and balance it on our laps together. (Too bad it’s such a completely un-sexy show!)
Here are my thoughts so far (3 episodes in). As the fankids say on the internets–spoiler alert:
- So far, this season is all-Don, all the time. Ugh. Who cares? He’s divorced. He’s depressed. He’s destructive. Who cares?
- Here’s some random advice for those of you who might be in the same situation: keep your pants on. Don’t bang your secretary. Don’t try to bang your only friend’s adorable college student niece, who will find you ridiculously old and pathetic.
- All of the women’s clothing is terrible. Everyone is dressing like Peggy now, wearing some version of wallpaper print fabric suits and dresses.
- Mad Men continues in the tradition of sitcoms and soap operas everywhere in that a baby was born, but then disappears almost completely until he can walk down the stairs and introduce himself as a school-aged child. WTF?
- Sally Draper just might have a part in an interesting story line. Too bad she doesn’t get one herself! She’s merely the object of a strange boy’s interest–kind of like the rest of the women in the show. (Today you are a woman, Sally. Mazel Tov!) Oh well–like I’ve said here before: I’m not convinced that this show has a feminist perspective. Centering a show around men–even if we’re supposed to see that they’re pathetic, destructive, and wholly undeserving of their unearned privilege–is still a show all about teh menz. The women (and girl) characters are so much more interesting than the men, but the camera still follows Don, Roger, and Lane into their offices, shutting all of the women (Peggy excepted) out of the picture. So far, this season appears to be worse than the previous seasons, with Betty sidelined by her divorce from Don, and Joan sidelined by her marriage to Dr. Douchebag. (I can’t be bothered to look up this character’s real name.)
- The one woman in the boys’ club at work–Peggy–hasn’t been given anything interesting to do beyond look uncomfortable at the things the men say, and a rather unattractive boyfriend who is unworthy of her. What a waste.
If you’re in the mood, Undine offered a number of really interesting insights about MM a few weeks back–go check her out, too. And in case you missed it, Tenured Radical had a kind of sideways post about MMthat was more about postfeminist fantasies about how sexxay it was to live in a world in which women couldn’t rent apartments or take out mortgages in their names alone, or have their own bank accounts if they were married, where people drank alcohol all day long, where pregnant women were expected to resign the moment they showed (or were fired), and where the classified ads specifically advertised “men’s” and “women’s” jobs. Awesome!
A truly feminist show would show all of that aggressively, all of the time. A faux-feminist show will allude to that occasionally, and then follow the boys into the board room. See, to have a feminist show, it needs to be about women a great deal of the time. Believing that we can have feminism without women’s lives and women’s stories is like believing that we can do gender by only looking at masculinity in history. Perhaps it’s necessary, but it’s hardly sufficient.
Are you watching? What do you think?