Mad Men

Feminist Writers on the ‘Mad Men’ Moments That Made Them Cheer and Broke Their Hearts

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Whether or not it was a “feminist show,” Mad Men broke ground by zooming in on the experiences of women, specifically experiences related to misogyny. From office hostility to restrictive roles in suburbia to power dynamics on dates and in marriages, the show left no stone of sexism unturned. As a result, recaps, essays, and water-cooler discussions about the show became an entryway to talking about all kind of gender-related issues. For a large group of writers — one that included but wasn’t limited to TV critics — Mad Men helped fuel discussions on sex, rape culture, harassment, internalized sexism, race, class, reproductive rights, sex work and more. So, as the show draws to a close, we asked some of our favorite feminist writers to name a moment or plot arc from that resonated with …Read More

How ‘Mad Men’ Used Music to Recontextualize ’60s Pop Culture

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For a TV show to be as instantly canonized as Mad Men has been throughout its seven-season run, nearly every aspect of it needs to serve a distinct purpose, to be thoughtful. For that TV show to be historical in nature, the details need to be meticulous. And for that TV show to be about the 1960s, one of the most controversial and turbulent decades in American cultural history, it needs to walk a very specific tightrope — one that carefully navigates the generational divide that defined the late ‘60s. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, one of the most influential players in the music-on-TV revolution of the early ‘00s, have achieved all of this — and with plenty of irreverence, humor, and hidden meaning to boot.
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‘Mad Men’s’ Characters Know the American Dream Is a Lie — But That Hasn’t Saved Them From Buying In to It

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If seven seasons of Mad Men have taught us anything, it’s this: advertising doesn’t sell products. It sells a way of life. And, perhaps more importantly, it sells consumerism: the idea that there’s always more, and that you shouldn’t only aspire to those things, you deserve them. In this respect, it’s the oil that greases the wheels of capitalism — it creates demand out of desire rather than need, encouraging people to spend money on an ongoing basis. This much, of course, we know already. But as Mad Men comes to an end, it’s become clear that virtually all of its characters have bought into variations on this idea — and, ultimately, that is what’s responsible for their enduring unhappiness. As Leonard Cohen once wrote, “You are locked into your suffering/ And your pleasures are the seal.”
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How ‘Mad Men’ Appropriated the Ethos — and an Icon — of ’70s Cinema

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Amidst all of the con-man shenanigans and cancer drama of this week’s Mad Men, there was one tiny, throwaway detail that gave this viewer a surge of delight. As Don lounges in his motel room while awaiting the leisurely repair of his car, chatting with his young doppelganger Andy, he casually sets down the paperback he’s been enjoying and, hey, wouldn’t you know it, it’s The Godfather. The show’s always taken great pains to put the books of the moment in the hands of their characters, and make no mistake, a paperback of Puzo’s bestseller is a snug fit for the mid-1970 timeframe. But from our vantage point, The Godfather is more than a motel paperback — it’s one of the great movies of the 1970s, and its appearance in Don’s hand plays like a subtle acknowledgment of the debt Mad Men has always held to the cinema of the era.
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‘Mad Men’ Owed Betty Draper a Better Ending

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If last week’s Mad Men swan song for Joan was a combination of triumph and tragedy, the show’s crushing farewell to Betty Draper Francis this week seemed like it was supposed to strike the same tone. Betty may be going out, but she’s doing so on her own terms, dictating how pretty she wants to look in her casket and refusing the kind of treatment that she believes may prolong her life for a few month but won’t improve its quality. Her mournful yet determined climb up the stairs at the college where she’s taking classes was the symbolic capstone to this theme, a testament to her indomitable will, the very quality she brings up with pride in her less than warm, but oddly satisfying, chat with Sally.
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‘Mad Men’ Season 7 Episode 13 Recap: “The Milk and Honey Route”

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If New York City is the center of the universe and Los Angeles is its sunnier fun-house mirror, then what, in the world of Mad Men, is everything in between? Aside from isolated trips to woo clients in cities like Detroit, we haven’t seen much of the middle of the country in the show’s seven seasons. But in this week’s “The Milk and Honey Route” — named for sociologist Nels Anderson’s Depression-era “Handbook for Hobos” — both the action and the symbolism of Mad Men shifted quite suddenly to the Midwest.
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This Week’s Top 5 TV Moments: #LastDressEver

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There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up? To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling the five best moments on TV each week. This time, Netflix rolls out its latest dramedy and Peggy Olson roller skates into the future. 
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Flavorwire’s Guide to May 2015 Television Finales

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So far this week, we’ve said goodbye to the debut season of Gotham and the fourth season of New Girl, signifying that we’re gearing up for the saddest time of the year: the end of the television season. Sure, we have a few anthology series and summer comedy  burn-offs coming up, but the real meat and potatoes of TV — the  prestige dramas and superhero thrillers and addictive sitcoms — are going on hiatus or, in some unfortunate cases, ending forever. Here’s a quick guide of May’s TV finales so you can make sure to follow your favorite shows through to the end.
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