This is another post about Mad Men. I don’t think there’s another TV show I’ve ever written so much about. For me, and for many, it’s a seminal piece of work.
We’re now in the final season, the second half of it having begun again after a mid-season hiatus. On Monday I sat down to watch as it began again.
I’ve tried to explain many times what this show means to me, and why. For whatever reason I’ve always identified with Don Draper, even though in many regards we’re quite different. Where we’re alike though, is in the ways that really count.
I watched on Monday with what they call bated breath. It’s not uncommon when I watch the show. There’s a kind of pent-up tension as I watch expectantly, that only get’s let out at the end of the show.
The reason for this is because Don is one of those people who things happen to. It’s a TV program, entertainment, so you don’t expect a dull character. Even though he’s a fictional creation, he’s true to a certain type. There are people who always seem to be in the middle of things, whether they be overt and external or, often, within. Don is one such character.
He is a man living an eventful and dramatic life. But he’s also someone who lives a rich internal life, notwithstanding his external bravado. He’s a sensitive character, often at odds with it. Life would be easier if he were not so sensitive. He’s a man with a past, which periodically weighs heavily upon him.
Mad Men is rightly lauded for the attention to detail in how it evokes a time not so far away, but in many ways different, from our own. It’s a fascinating cultural study, and the narrative is a ripper. At the heart of it is Don though, and what truly mesmerises is his journey – his battles, his flaws, dealing with family, friends, and ultimately his inner self. It’s the journey most of us make, but in him, and in others, it is richer and deeper because there is more space inside of him. It reverberates and echoes, and plays an active part in how he lives his life.
I hold my breath because I find myself in the description. I think I too am one of those people things happen too. Much of that is an outcome of personality and character, as it is with Don – we enter into more situations, take greater risks because that is our nature. Things happen, and sometimes things fall off the back of the truck.
It’s innate too in the sense that some people create waves by their presence, whether it be in their behaviour or in the persona they present to the world. They create reactions, which often have a domino effect.
Like Don I feel myself deeply sensitive, and occasionally haunted by the things I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had. I pick up on things others don’t, am receptive to things that others are oblivious too. So does Don. Maybe that’s why I write. And maybe that’s why Don is in advertising. Both are creative outlets for that sensitivity.
I watch the show and know it, and feel it, and inspite of the differences between us, feel myself in Don as he continues on his wayward journey.