MM@M: "The Beautiful Girls"

Posted by julian On 7:55 PM
This week's episode of Mad Men "The Beautiful Girls" contained no movie references -- unless you count Faye calling Don "Mr Bond" (we think we heard that?) when he pried too much into her business with other ad agencies -- and a few celebrity name-droppings in a pitch meeting. What we did get is a lot of forward movement on Mad Men's quest to illustrate the 60s itself as a character. Vietnam is starting to scare these familiar faces and the burgeoning civil rights movement is starting to interfere with their perceptions of self.

Beautiful Girls: Joan, Peggy and Faye (Betty not pictured)

Mad Men probably won't win any new fans with that bad neighborhood mugging scene, since they've already been criticized in some quarters for the (mostly) all-white cast. But Mad Men's focus has always been a very specific type of people, ad men in midtown, and the show is doing a beautiful job of reflecting how people actually deal with change. I love Peggy's initial dismissal when confronted with racism "I'm not a political person!" and the way this bled into her own ideas about sexism and then to actual guilt about her culpability in working for racist organizations. This strikes me as an honest and realistic depiction of the way that people actually deal with change. Usually people respond to things based on how and when they affect them or their loved ones personally or they put off dealing with it at all until the social tide swings far enough towards a new way of thinking that they have no choice but to either jump on board or refuse the tide of progress and become ultra conservative. You can see this in the way straight people deal with the gay rights movements and you can see this in how native citizens deal with immigration issues in their own country, wherever that country may be.

Hopefully Mad Men will give us a movie to discuss soon... but this season is just on fire.

Further reading for Mad Men fanatics:

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