Sterling stuff

Mad Men is a peculiar treat. I recently gorged on the entire first series in a matter of days in anticipation of the second season’s arrival. I must admit that I was skeptical at first, but Mad Men is rare insofar as it can make even the most relentless critic get on his knees and sing its praises. I was convinced that people were being conned into believing that Mad Men, like the commodities they advertise in the program, was the necessary televisual product. I was also sceptical because, although it had a well-publicised return to British television, it is hidden away on a Tuesday night on BBC4. If it was that good, then surely it would merit a more prominent slot.

One day I decided to give in to the pressure and see what all of the fuss was about. From the first moment that I saw Joan sashay through the banks of typewriters and Don drink his first tot of ‘Old Fashioned’, I was hooked. I was completely captivated by the female characters’ nativity and the male characters’ latent vulnerabilities.

The tensions between the actors were so perfectly conceived in the silences of the first series that I was taken aback by their acting abilities. I know I sound gushing, but Mad Men got into my mind in the first episode and has refused to leave ever since. It’s like I’m addicted to a particularly creamy batch of Bailey’s, a comforting yet distinctly middle age addiction.

Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Mad Men. Before I started watching it, I never bought as many packets of Kettle Crisps (sorry, I refuse to call them ‘chips’, we are not American) as I have done in recent weeks. The last time I went to Tesco’s, I refused to walk out with the mandatory pot noodles, baked beans, mini pizzas and whatever sugar saturated alcopop was on offer at the time, choosing instead to fill my trolley with Brie, hummus, olives and rice cakes. And a Fairtrade Chocolate bar for when I felt like ‘being naughty’. Yum, the taste of a middle-aged woman’s life! It’s kind of beige, to be honest.

I don’t even understand why the program has had this effect on me. Perhaps its refinement and civility is urging me to be more civilised myself. They come from an age when it was impolite to wear hats indoors. I mean, people wore hats! And not beanies! But HAT hats! Hats that say ‘I am a business man’, ‘I have money’ and ‘I am probably having an affair but you won’t dare ask me because my hat is so exceptional’.

I would love to allude to the actual plot lines of Mad Men, but I really want everyone who reads this to go and watch it, not just to experience the rollicking first two episodes of the second series but so that I can find others just like me who can understand my new and unquenchable desire to shop in Laura Ashley. Save me from those florals!


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