You know that gut feeling that you have sometimes? Like a premonition that something is bound to happen? Well, I had it last year in December. I felt a short term addiction coming up. An addiction that wouldn’t go away and would ask for more until…well…until a new season would be made. In December, I finally bought the first five seasons of the Mad Men serie on dvd. Since then I tried to protect myself. By not unwrapping that dvd box with over five seasons and 50 hours of little getaways to the 1960s. But last Sunday I couldn’t help myself. I watched one episode. And BAM. It had begun. That Mad Men addiction entered my life. I was already introduced to the Mad Men serie a while back. However, so many series and so little time these days. Now I finally have the time to watch this serie.
Imagine going through a time machine and entering the early 1960s. Elvis is still alive. You only make calls with an oldskool dial telephone. Smoking is more than normal. In fact, it’s an essential part of your lifestyle. If you don’t have a cigarette in your hand, you don’t really live. Early research about the unhealthy side effects of smoking is being questioned. When it comes to business, men rule the (in this case advertising) world. Women who work (usually) have a job at a secretary and they run the typemachine world.
These are the heydays of classiness for both men and women. If you’re a woman, you’ll spend a lot of time pincurling your hair the oldfashioned way: with your hands and a lot of bobby pins. Oh and by the way: women wear skirts or dresses combined with handgloves when they go outside. Pants are a no-go. Unless you’re a man ofcourse. In which case you will always suit up. Casual Friday? Never heard of it.
If you’re entering a building, there is an elevatory guy who escorts you to the right floor. Starting with coffee in the morning is for the weak, so men start and end their working day with whiskey. Men are well-mannered and help you put on your coat. Besides that, they not only unzip your dress, but also help you zip it back up. Let’s also not forget the cheating husband and devoted housewife escapades. There is no secondlove.com but instead we have “happily married with a side dish”. That side dish is usually working in the office by the way.
So why is this Mad Men serie a great serie? First of all: there has never been a serie like this with a fictional setting in the 1960s that does give you realistic vibes. The main character is Don Draper. The actor who plays this role (Jon Hamm) really has the charisma of a “Don” and charm of a gentleman. Which means great acting and you won’t be surprised when you hear that Mad Men has won an Emmy award for Best Drama serie (and a lot more other awards). The role of women, either at home or in the office, has increasingly changed. For the good. In Mad Men, women are feminine women with skirts (Joan Holloway anyone?) and men are men. However, women in the Mad Men serie are not just portraited as shy personalities who have no voice. Besides that, men also have to deal with the difficulties of (married) life and other society changes in the 60s era. If you read between the lines and forget about all the technological developments, some difficulties are still alive and kicking in the present.
Aside from the story and characters it’s all about the worked out details and perfectly recreated 60s atmosphere. Which makes the serie so realistic and plausible. When you watch one episode you’ll get the feeling that you’re in the 1960s for 45 minutes. It starts with the intro when we see a silhouet of a man falling of a building. During his fall we see several typical vintage ads and slogans. The man ends up on a couch, sitting in a comfortable position and of course with a cigarette in one hand. Last but not least: for retro style lovers the hair, dresses, pencil skirts, gloves and shoes are a lust for the eye. Ladies, we all would love to
borrow have Joan Holloway’s closet don’t we?
Now I promised myself that I would not watch one season a day. Until now I am succeeding. I’ve only watched a half season this week. However, if you can’t reach me: I will be in my Mad Men bubble.
All pictures via Christina Saint Marche