Things I Learned From “Mad Men”

After seeing the show Mad Men get all sorts of accolades I started watching it.  Due to having a 3 hour commute a day, I went through the first season in a couple of weeks.  It’s all about an advertising agency in Manhattan in the 60s, and is pretty interesting, if for nothing more than what appears to be a pretty accurate and complete look at life 50 years ago.  More interesting for a thirtysomething to see what life was like in my parents time than a walk down memory lane like it is for one of my aunts.  

Once you get past the “ha ha look at the crazy things we used to think and do back then!” that’s thrown in your face (to remind you it’s the 60s and letting your kids play in large plastic bags was just fine) it’s an oddly compelling show, even though it seems like there isn’t any real point to the seasons.  Most shows have an over-arching storyline to each season, whereas this one seems (so far) to be mostly showing you life, and the ups and downs of the various characters.

However, I did learn some things from it:

  • Smoking.  Everyone, and all the time.
  • Drinking, all the time, is not only acceptable but expected.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, in the office, in meetings, and everywhere in between. Apparently businessmen in the 60s all had a bottle of scotch (or 7) on their desks all the time.
  • Womanizing and non-politically correct attitudes towards women.  Slapping ass, sleeping with the secretaries, utilizing the famous “casting couch”, and betting on underwear color, then chasing down and tackling omen at parties to see who won the bet…. all perfectly acceptable.
  • Men make all the decisions, deal with all the money.
  • #1 No one is homosexual.  #2 If you were, see #1.
  • Did I mention everyone smoked?
I’m not saying these attitudes were good, but I have to say that the drinking in the office thing, some days I would have no problem bringing that back…