“I don’t even know what it is. You spend your whole life thinking you aren’t getting it, people aren’t giving it to you. Then you realize, they’re trying. And you don’t even know what it is.” That’s Mad Men in a nutshell.
Browsing: Mad Men
“Don’t waste this.” “The Milk and Honey Route” seems to stretch on and on, and yet to be over in a minute. Every scene of the episode contains multitudes, and I was both grateful for all we got, and sad it had to ever end.
“This was a hell of a boat, you know?” It’s unsurprising, late in its run, that Mad Men is getting a little nostalgic about what once was.
There’s something about losing that lends everything permanence. Victory is fleeting, and leads only to arrogant plans for the next big conquest. Defeat, though, is sobering. Defeat is a small reminder of mortality, a tiny inkling of the biggest battle you’re ever going to lose.
“We know where we’ve been, we know where we are…but it’s gotta get better. It’s supposed to get better.” Life is a series of moving targets. We set goals, we make plans, we have dreams. We achieve those goals, or we don’t; we watch our plans come to fruition or fall apart; our dreams spring to life or wither on the vine.
Mad Men is transparently a show about illusions, but its also, at its core, a show about how spells tend to be broken, how our best efforts to fool ourselves tend to fail. When Peggy Olsen had her baby and Don Draper visited her in the hospital, he told her “It will shock you how much this never happened,” and, to a certain extent, that’s been true.
“Is that all there is?”
It’s a question that has lingered over much of Mad Men’s run, as characters amass more and more and yet find themselves unsatisfied with their wealth and accomplishments.
So much of Mad Men is about people past their prime or worrying they are past their prime, that the ever-changing world has shifted under their feat and lost its use for them. “Waterloo” begins with the idea that Don Draper is past his prime…
Is there a better song to encapsulate Mad Men than Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”? A bittersweet ode to times gone by sung by a man with at least his own agency, his own steadfast obstinacy to cling to, but also a self-congratulatory pat on the back by a man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and…