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SaraKay Smullens

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Mad Men Was Beyond Maddening: A Season Five Betrayal

Posted: 03/27/2012 5:45 pm

OK, fellow lovers of nostalgia. We know just who we are. We are those who love to put our feet up for terrific diversion -- knowing in Mad Men we will experience phenomenal style and extraordinary period accuracy over substance -- and so what! For four seasons we have lived with cardboard figures who manage to typify a time when many believed that barriers finally broken could lead to a more humane population.

We visit the furnishings and fashions of this time, kicking ourselves for not saving that brooch, lamp, chair, dress or those shoes or earrings. Those of us with daughters in their twenties and beyond call to discuss all about Mad Men or watch it with us. They scream out in mock horror when we say that we had a dress we did not keep which was exactly like Betty Draper's, and have the photos to prove it. Oh, what fun! Oh, what luxurious diversion!!

And these discussions sometimes even lead to substance: How has America evolved? How have we addressed our challenges? How should we? What has changed, and what has not? And even -- Can ideals ever become more important than materialistic emptiness?

Then finally Sunday evening, March 25th arrived, our "supposed" two hours of the beginning of Season Five's Mad Men. This was an evening we have been anticipating for 17 (we counted!) months. We would finally see Joan with her wee one, not fathered by her baby/bully surgeon husband, but instead by her baby/bully Madison Ave. boss. We would learn at long last learn about Betty and Sally and Pete and the rest. We would once again be whisked away to this particular time capsule of adultery, identify theft, betrayal, racism and sexism, as well as the impact of imposed cultural norms on family relationships and individual fulfillment.

There we were in anticipation, feet up, pillows propped, popcorn popped, mother and daughter and friend to friend conversations waiting. And what did we get? Relentless commercials, growing into every five minutes as the second hour progressed. The intrusions were merciless, causing what was a dull two-hour experience seem even duller. Those in charge surely know the precise timing of this degrading insult to loyal viewers. There we sat, like the manipulated buyers of the products foisted by the "I don't give a damn just so the money rolls in" crew at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Yes, considering the realities of corporate life, on the screen and off, perhaps we were naive to expect respect for our long and loyal wait. Still, shame on those who developed and allowed this financial strategy. They would have been far wiser to curtail their greed, understand that enough can and should be enough, and that on screen and off people can get angry, very angry, when taken for granted and manipulated.

Follow SaraKay on twitter at SaraKay1710

 
 
 

Follow SaraKay Smullens on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SaraKay1710