the circular runner

what’s so great about Mad Men?

In humor, life, media, observations, writing on March 3, 2012 at 7:28 am

NOTHING.

NO!  I’m sorry.  I’m trying to be more open about things. I’ve only seen one complete episode and a handful of others I couldn’t finish because I could not get into a show about corporate dudes of yore who look like modern-day hipsters.  I’m sure there’s a lot more going on.  I’m sure that people think this show is great television for some reason I am missing.  I don’t get the appeal of skinny ties and suit pants, personally.  (I get a lot of that with the hipsters walking around SF.)  I also don’t get the appeal of people who drink all the time and make their living selling shit, either.  But I can’t imagine it’s the profession of the protagonist that would turn me off.  I like Braking Bad, and that’s about a meth dealer.

In my younger days, I would belabor this question–even more than I do now.  I would seriously wonder why it is that I missed the boat.  To a certain point, I still think there are explainable/empirical reasons why people like the things they do, and though it’s ridiculous to admit this, I still kind of hope that if someone can explain their likes, I’ll get it and join.  At the root of this, if you haven’t figured it out, is insecurity.  I feel like odd-man out, and I don’t want to be odd.  It’s all just a little too-high school except that the stakes are higher than the fear of not being in the cool group.

Here’s a question that arises for me: what if the real mad man is me?  And by mad, I actually mean, untalented.  What if my lack of seeing the greatness of a supposedly great show is is a sign that when it comes to greatness as a storyteller, I got the short end of the stick?

I’m 40.  It took me most of my 20s to discover that writing was something that made me feel good.  It took my 30’s for me to decide and to admit to myself that I wanted to make storytelling a career.  I’m a late bloomer. I accept that–most days, I try to.  But at the end of the day, am I kidding myself?  Am I on the path and I just need to keep at this until the day I hit with something?  OR, am I the writer’s equivalent of the community theater actor?  That guy who loves to do his craft but who ends his days doing King Lear at the Elks Club.  No way to know.  So I keep on writing.  But it’s hard. (How’s that for wisdom?)

I’ve decided that writing is kind of like love.  You throw yourself where your heart leads.  You have to go on and love even if you don’t know for sure that that love will pan out.  No guarantees, right?  Hate that.  Hate it Hate it. Hate it.  Not as much as I hate Mad Men, but it’s close.

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  1. I wish I’d known you liked Breaking Bad! I’d have sent you my other book, too. It’s about a soccer mom who becomes a cocaine dealer. More or less.

    And I take your point about Mad Men. I’ve seen every episode, but I think it’s over-hyped, and the story arc of each season always disappoints me. Yet I still watch it. This may be the definition of insanity.

  2. Finally. Some people who agree with me about Mad Men.

  3. Well… I love Mad Men. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t understand how anyone who loves good stories well told and loves writing couldn’t love Mad Men. I really don’t. But I know tastes differ and perhaps it’s just not your thing. It sounds to me like you’re turned off by the superficial aspects. Hipsters aren’t a part of my life in any way and so I find your comments about hipsters in Mad Men to be totally bizarre. Yet I respect that we all bring our own experiences and prejudices to the table when we view a thing. Maybe you need to give it a few more episodes. Couldn’t hurt.

  4. I do love the way Mad Men looks– all that mid-century stuff, the clothes, the smoke-filled rooms, etc.– so I watched it for awhile for purely visual reasons. I was briefly amused by the sexism and alcoholism and the fact that everyone is still so un-psychologised. But the story never grabbed me. I don’t think that means I don’t appreciate a good story well told or that it makes me odd, either– it just didn’t sink in. Oh well. There are so many great things out there, so don’t waste your time with something that doesn’t resonate.

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