Our HDTV’s have digital tuners. The condo we live at gets a digital antenna signal. So we get our local channels in HD for free. Everything we really care about watching can be watched on Netflix and Hulu, and almost everything else can be bought on iTunes of Amazon Video Store. We have a PS3 in the living room, a Roku 2 in the bedroom and a Wii in the spare room. Buying even 6 shows per year would only cost around $200, and that is only about two months worth of the cost of Cable TV. It’s been regret free thus far.
We cancelled after all our fav shows had season finales. The combination of no new episodes and no Cable has allowed us to try some new things. So far I’ve given Mad Men and Sherlock a shake.
Everyone MUST watch the BBC Sherlock. It. Is. Amazing.
This is about Mad Men though. This show has been on for five years now, and has critical and fan acclaim. I’ve honestly heard nothing but good things about it. So I gave it a shot, and about four episodes into the second season I’m done. Washing my hands of it. Why? Read on…
Mad Men is about an Ad Agency on Madison Avenue in New York during the 60′s. The main character is Don Draper; a hard drinking, hard smoking, mysterious womanizer who is the dynamic and mesmerizing head of creative at Sterling Cooper. The man could come up with an ad to sell ice to eskimos, and it’d work. He is surrounded by a supporting cast including his wife and kids, various colleagues, secretaries, clients and his two bosses.
Part of the shows acclaim involves how accurate to the time period the show is. Everyone smokes like a chimney, including pregnant women. Black people are only shown to hold jobs like nanny’s, elevator operators, waiters, etc… Women are possessions and treated like lesser beings. Most of the men cheat on their wives, secretaries are told to show off their legs or figure more. It was a different time.
In fact, the first episode deals with figuring out how to advertise cigarette’s after the government has regulated that they can’t cite health studies on the benefits of smoking. During the course of the season they deal with how the Nixon/Kennedy election was advertised. Don Draper starts the show in the bed of one woman, shows interest in a female client, and ends the episode going home to his wife.
As I watched the first few episodes the most I could say to anyone was that the show was slow, dry, but still interesting. The demonstration of the 60′s is extremely interesting. But that only lasts so long. The novelty of it wears off.
I stopped watching the show because once the tropes of the time stop being interesting, you are basically left with a bunch of characters that are fundamentally bad people. Horribly sexist. Everyone cheats on their wife, while also treating their wives like servants. Every single main character has done something reprehensible:
- Draper’s wife buys a swim suit she thinks he’ll like. He berates her and calls her desperate, and that night is having sex with another woman.
- His boss cheats on his wife, has a heart attack while doing so. Once back to work for a few months, he’s back at it.
- An account exec cheats on his fiance the night before their wedding, then again with the same woman months later. Then when his wife can’t get pregnant he berates her, then picks up a model after a casting call and sleeps with her.
- The girl he has sex with the first two times ends up pregnant. She doesn’t know it until she’s in labor, thinking that she was just getting fat. She gives it up for adoption and acts like it never happened, never telling the father. Then—even though she is kind of a repressed girl who doesn’t flaunt her self around—when she isn’t being included in copy meetings, she totally sluts herself up and joins the boys at a strip club where they are entertaining clients.
- An executive has a couple of professional setbacks, and starts to slide back into alcoholism. His ex-wife gives him back the dog she took during the divorce, and when the dog is looking at him while he’s picking up the bottle, he walks the dog down to the street and kicks it out.
- At the end of the first season Don Draper has an epiphany, and it appears as though he’s going to give up his womanizing ways and recommit to his wife and family. You think maybe he’ll try to be a good guy. In the next season it takes him about 2 minutes of being alone inside a car with another woman before they start a tryst. And while she is a bad person also, he does some pretty bad things to her.
You can only look past their behavior as being “from a different time” for so long, and eventually it just becomes too much. I don’t want to watch a show about awful people. You are supposed to care about and relate to the characters in shows you watch. At least some of them. Even soap operas have SOME good characters who aren’t awful people. I suppose people who regularly and repeatedly cheat on their spouse can relate to these characters. But there isn’t anybody there to relate to that is a good person. Nobody seems to struggle or worry about their bad decisions. In the end it really just turned me off. And from what I’ve heard, that sort of things just continues through the series.
I’m not interested. Give me good and bad. Even give me gray. Don’t just keep piling on the bad and trying to pass it off as being morally gray.