Watching Mad Men Through my Fingers

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Mad Men was so hard to watch this week, and it probably deserves better attention from me, but I happen to be up freakishly early thanks to Jet Lag and a cold. Boo.

When Pete demands that Hollis discuss his television in the elevator, it’s an extremely uncomfortable viewing of privilege. Damn, Pete, you can’t just demand the right to interrogate Hollis just because you feel like it! Except, of course, you can. This scene had an echo for me later when Betty’s friend says they should have “forced” Carla to stay. I can quite get a handle on how the Drapers are about race, compared with their peers. I mean, they’re far from perfect, obviously, I think most of us remember Betty Scarlett O’Haraing with the maid at her Dad’s house. But Betty just responds that Carla has her own family and deserved some time off, which seemed like more than a lot of people would do. (See: Pete.)

I also flashed back to the first ever episode when Don did basically the exact same thing Pete does with the busboy at the bar and his brand of cigarettes, only Don does it much more smoothly. I’m aware that as a viewer I was more comfortable with Don’s questioning. Is that only because he did it more smoothly? Is this the difference between Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush? Both bad people, one just looks less embarrassing doing it?

The part that really hit me was Betty’s labor scene. January Jones acted the hell out of that and good for her. It was so upsetting to see her shackled to bed, crying, and being spoken of like she wasn’t even there. It made me understand for the first time why my mother, and so many women my mother’s age went for all natural child-birth. Coming from the future I was all, “Whatevs, an epidural is no big deal.” But this twilight sleep thing is a big, traumatic, terrible deal. I couldn’t believe how dehumanized Betty was, even to the nurses, and how disturbing to “wake up” and just have a baby in hand. No wonder Betty is fucked up, she’s done this three times now.

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One Response to “Watching Mad Men Through my Fingers”

  1. Erika Says:

    My exact reaction to the birth scenes. I’ve rarely been so disturbed.

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