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Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the Television Series
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The series is the brainchild of Matthew Weiner and I learned it is based entirely on monitoring the effect of change. And though Mr. Weiner is clearly fascinated with the early sixties, the show is meant to parallel the changes experienced in this last decade. He is interested in knowing whether people in tumultuous times "recognize that change is going on?"
At its base level, the series centers on capitalism, clear roles regarding the sexes and races, and unchecked hedonism. Those topics make for a great soap opera but Mad Men's appeal is in the search for deeper meaning and connection. All the struggles and conflicts that make up the storylines are predicated on a rejection of the status quo.
The series is akin to an episode of The Twilight Zone: the characters are trapped in a world they have contributed to but one in which they want to escape...it is a nightmare of their own making. And many would argue that we find ourselves in exactly the same dilemma today... "Mad Men offers the schadenfreude-filled message that their predecessors were equally unhappy - and that the bleakness meter in American life has always been set on high."
Mad Men's brilliance goes back to the first season when it began with "classic literary archetypes".Read more ›