‘Mad Men’: Beyond the Shiny Objects

By M. E. Strayhorne

Finally caught up with Mad Men, a smoldering series to get you through the bitter cold. If you haven’t yet seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again–it’s easy to get lost among the shiny objects.

The series protagonist, Don Draper, is a tragic allegory–the poster child of an ad for ‘getting what you want’. And like the old platitude warns, be careful what you wish for.

To women, Don is the idea of completion, suggesting intimacy in some form; to men, a reflection of their ideal selves, though each falling into his own narcissistic abyss. Peggy, an allegory of the changing audience, embodies the ambiguities present during the evolution of gender roles triggered by the World Wars and manifesting during the mid-20th century. Don respects Peggy, though begrudgingly as his most challenging audience and humbling force–she is an effective gauge between his relevancy and obsolescence.

But, like the ideas and promises behind all great ad campaigns, Don is tragically evanescent and deceptive. The actor John Hamm does a phenomenal job selling the viewer on Draper’s elusiveness. It’s a thrill being drawn into the world of Mad Men by the talented cast as you watch Draper draw in the characters of this smoldering tale.

For more, take a look at this piece published in The New Yorker: The Weird Agelessness of Don Draper (Neima Jahromi, May 16, 2015) (blog headline photo reposted from this source, courtesy of The New Yorker).

© Mary E. Strayhorne ALL RIGHTS RESERVED