ENG – What Mad Men’s characters have in common (1st season)

For some reason there’s always a cause for not seeing a television show the first time you heard about it. It might be the same one that makes me avoid reading a book I’m already interested of when it’s fashionable at the moment. I always take my time to escape from all those comments that can influence me for and against the work before having the chance of seeing it for myself. That happened to me with Mad Men, another show everybody’s talking about.

I’ve been thinking about these characters for the last week trying to figure what they have in common and why they always looked so stressed and sad, moving in circles. I’m convinced there’s much more than this, deep in the bright darkness they seem to live. That’s why it took me so long to locate the light that guides me into the distinctive trait flying over the heads of these fictional publicists and their world. The enduring sentence making them feel half alive is frustration. Otherwise why do they live in that glamorous environment of the early sixties in the United States, proper to a romantic novel, and are seen miserable as much as their past was? The idea of thriving is a constant goal. From the housewives to the political leaders, who walked on the thin line between the social progress and the capitalistic revolution, to the clients of Sterling & Cooper and the creative executive’s team, all of them feel the pressure of not losing themselves for different purposes.

In this way, there is someone who apparently doesn’t feel the need to be different. This is Helen Bishop, a divorce woman who moved into the Draper’s neighborhood to act as the nemesis of Betty Draper. But even though, at some point Helen drifts by a foggy consciousness of her mother role when her son gets obsessed with Mrs Perfect. In this first season everything pretends to be much more than it is and that’s what makes this show a price jewel at the broadcast scheduling. Under the appearance of a good looking life, the real life collapses letting us glimpse an unstable house of cards, catching us in a sophisticated amber trap on which we can knock down our skeptical mask of viewers-too-used to-great-shows of these days.

But, as any house of cards, just a single little breeze and any unfortunate movement supposes an earthquake of massive proportions. That’s when Cubik’s rube turns into The Butterfly Effect. That’s what we’re waiting for after a beautifully orchestrated begin.


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