Download Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the Television Series by Scott F. Stoddart PDF

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By Scott F. Stoddart

AMC's episodic drama Mad males has turn into a cultural phenomenon, detailing America's preoccupation with commercialism and photo within the Camelot of Nineteen Sixties Kennedy-era the US, whereas self-consciously exploring present preoccupations. The 12 serious essays during this assortment provide a huge, interdisciplinary method of this hugely appropriate tv express, studying Mad males as a cultural barometer for modern issues with consumerism, capitalism and sexism. themes contain New Historicist parallels among the Nineteen Sixties and the current day, psychoanalytical ways to the exhibit, the self as commodity, and the "Age of Camelot" as an "Age of Anxiety," between others. a close forged record and episode advisor are incorporated.

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Like Adam and Eve exiled from Eden, each couple — Don and Betty, Pete and Peggy — must leave the thoughtless “Paradise” of prewritten gender roles and rewrite their relationships to one another on more equal terms. They must become in their daily lives the easy Don and Betty in Rome — a momentary reprieve from their social scripts that ultimately, and significantly, erupts in Betty’s greater discontentment upon their return home — the first time that Betty voices her unhappiness to Don (“Souvenir” 3:8).

Don, of course, wins this particular “shootout”— he is, after all, our frontier hero — and yet nothing changes; Pete seems barely able to recognize his defeat. Nevertheless, despite being the anti–Don — although he has the pedigree that Don does not have, he lacks Don’s winning looks, easy charm, and creative ability — he similarly rebels against the standards of society being forced upon him, particularly the domesticity that his marriage to Trudy demands. In Pete’s character are echoes of George Babbitt, the eponymous protagonist of Sinclair Lewis’s satirical 1922 novel.

The gender archetypes still linger, but nearly all are subverted or indicted. But Don’s flight west, the culminating act for all great frontier heroes, fails to resolve his fate. Even the attempt at a fresh start as Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (rather than be subsumed by McCann Erickson) seems unlikely to provide the final fulfillment of the regeneration myth unless the burgeoning enterprise can cast off the naïve notion that it is, once again, reinventing itself completely anew. What happened? And why now (or then, as the case may be)?

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