Saturday, 12 September 2009

What Would Don Draper Do?

There's a link to a quirky blog below on how Mad Men's Alpha male, Don Draper, would handle the problems that life throws at you. 'Don' often offers his 'advice' with copious examples drawn from the series. It's funny in a strange kind of way with its interplay for audiences between the alienation felt within late modernism and our post modern attitudes and sensibilities towards it. Mad Men offers a post modern representation of a late modern world.

Set against real events in the early 1960s fictional characters experience situations and dilemmas which expose unconscious feelings and beliefs that we no longer find appropriate. Each episode has several scenes where there are attitudes, feelings and actions for post modern audiences to gawp at and reflect on. In Series 1 a young child mixes a martinis for her parents. In a rare scene of idyllic family bliss in Season 2, Jon Hamm's Don Draper reveals his thoughtlessness over the environment as he hurls a spent can of beer between some trees after a family picnic in a beauty spot; his wife, Betty (January Jones), shares this lack of concern as she casually flicks her blanket clear of of food-wrapper garbage and leaves it on a grassy bank as the family returns to their car. We no longer think or do things like this. The 'garbage' motif is cleverly echoed later in the same episode when a comedian justly accuses Don of sleeping with his wife. The comedian angrily sums up the shell-like Don with "You know you're garbage!"

Other episodes feature casual racism, sexism, ambition and class. The programme provokes 'intelligent' audiences into thinking about our unconscious ideas and attitudes - our ideology. Audiences are not expected to be passive viewers. They are expected to be active by reflecting on the present when comparing it with the past. It is this active participation of the audience that makes this ground-breaking programme so post modern.

Roger Sterling is as un-PC as it is possible to be. As well as being born with a silver spoon he has silver hair and a silver tongue:
Here's a link to quotes favoured by the viewers of AMC

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