People reallly like this show; Critics, moms, and serial netflixers too! While I can appreciate the aspects of the show that are universally favored, it certainly wasn't the best show I've seen.
First of all, the series is seven seasons. That is a long ass time for nothing to actually happen. The only aspect of the show that really makes it worth watching is the parts where we get to watch complicated characters lost in the complexities of thought. The inspired genius of mainly Don Draper and Peggy Olsen is curious and certainly intriguing to witness unfold on screen. The idea of a genius is always appealing; you'll wonder why you aren't capable of coming up with the same, spectacular ideas as the ad men on Madison ave.
Instead of giving a breakdown of the seven seasons, I will, instead, encompass each characters' storyline from start to finish.
An insanely talented, alcoholic, disgrace of a man. What really happens to Donald Draper?
We begin the series with the perfect man; a well-respected ad man who is great at his job, has a beautiful wife, two adorable children, and a purple heart. As the story unfolds, Donald dabbles with infidelity on more than one occasion. The first the viewer sees of Draper's adultery is with Rachel Menken, a Jewish store owner who is her own boss. Don is so cavalier about the affair that it seems obvious that it is not his first time being unfaithful. Every season is the same for Don; drinking, cheating, and working. There are only a few exceptions.
The first one being Dick Whitman. So, Don's purple heart...It ain't his. Dick Whitman assumed the identity of his Lieutenant, Donald Draper after he causes an explosion that leaves him the lone survivor. This was a Gatsby-like moment. Dick wanted to start over, leave his past behind, and achieve success. He saw this opportunity to elevate his status and he took it.
Fast forward a couple of seasons--because, frankly, I'm too bored to talk about the whole thang--and Don's got a new beautiful wife they met when she was Don's assistant. I know...Soooo cliché! Things seem to really turn around for Don. He is committed to his new wife. He's a partner at his own firm. Things are going great.
Then, he STARTS SLEEPING WITH HIS DAMN NEIGHBOR! WHY, DON? WHYYY? His own daughter catches him in a pretty compromising position, too. Oh, the horror. The horror. So Don's pushed out of the firm, loses his wife, and reunites with the only woman he was ever himself with--Anna Draper (Not his wife--the real Don Draper's widow). Anyways, she's on her death bed and Don is sad.
Ultimately, Stephanie, Anna's niece, takes Don to some weird hippie retreat. Don thinks about things. It gets pretty deep. You think Don finally changes this time. Just when you're convinced of his redemption, we see him come up with the idea for one of the most successful Coca Cola campaigns. Lol
Peggy is all cool and great because she defies gender roles of her time. She becomes one of the first female copy writers. She deals with the "female problems" which were typical of her time. She starts as Don's assistant and gradually works her way up to the top.
Of course, she gets pregnant in the first season...something she didn't even know until she went into labor. It was Tom's. Everyone thinks she just got fat. Don visits her in the hospital and tells her to get her ass back to work and she does. The baby is like never seen or mentioned again.
I hate myself for thinking like this, but Peggy wuz tha main chick on the show and all I wanted was to see her in a stable relationship. I know, I know. I'm horrible, but Peggy was like annoyingly single until the VERY LAST EPISODE. I mean, she had relationships, but none that anyone ever liked. (I really think Tom had potential, but Trudy was so cute...I didn't want to see her get hurt!!!)
She friend zoned so many people. Not cool, Peggy. Not cool. Finally, she and Stan get together and I'm pretty sure that's all I ever wanted for her character.
Okay, honestly...Can we talk about when Betty was fat?! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? That horrible storyline honestly just ruins Betty. It was so stupid. There was no reason she got fat and there was no explanation of how she lost ALL the weight in the NEXT season. Ugh.
Basically she finds a new hubby after Don and he's sweet as hell. There's nothing else I remember that's particularly interesting. Bye.
Pete starts off kinda cute. I quickly learned that he's a whiny, spoiled, annoying lil brat. He is so heavily influenced by Don that he cheats on Trudy before their marriage. He has the good sense to be a better husband to her, so he's faithful until he's like, "Fuck it...I'll cheat. Don does it. NBD."
So he's got a pretty tumultuous relationship with the Ad men on Madison Avenue. He switches job titles, misses out on promotions, gets demotions, becomes a partner, moves to California, ect. But, like, most importantly, he goes really bald. Not cute.
Lucky for him, Trudy forgives him in the end and his ending is an absurdly happy image of them as a happy couple with their kids. OK.
While he's probably just as despicable as Don, Roger is just so damn charming that he gets away with it. He's really all about sex and booze, but he serves as a much needed comic relief character in a show that's sometimes way too serious for its own good.
There are serious plot points in his storyline, but they don't matter. Roget is likable until the very end. His serious scenes just get in the way of his charm. Blah blah blah.
JOAN!! One of my favorite quotes BTW: For the Jackie/Marilyn campaign, the men discuss who in the office is a Jackie and who is a Marilyn. They get up to Joan and someone says, "Marilyn" to which Roger replies, something along the lines of "Please, Marilyn is a Joan." It was pretty epic.
While she certainly has a much stronger presence than Peggy, she submits to her gender roles a bit more. She longs for the husband, wife, and kids, She dresses like a woman, and she doesn't look to move up in the food chain. That is until, like, halfway through the show.
I was a bit bothered by the fact that she let her husband push her around for a bit. That doesn't seem like something Joan would do.
Ultimately, she opens up her own firm and becomes her own boss.
DOES ANYONE EVER LIKE KEN? No? OK. Moving on...
Honestly, there are too many characters in this show. If you have even read this far, I am proud.
Here's a one-sentence summary of the rest of the characters that I deem semi-important:
Sally goes through puberty, Bert dies and haunts Don, Harry becomes the first like television head--a title he gives himself--or something like that, Henry gets in Betty's pants, Meghan is like an actress or whatever, STAN GETS WITH PEGGY, Paul disappears, Sal is basically gay and he disappears, Trudy gets her happily ever after with Pete, Lane kills himself, and Ted...well, honestly, FUCK TED.
Okay, so that's seven seasons of Mad Men. It's hella long and has its moments. I look back on it fondly, but it took a while to get through it. It is not super addictive.
Mad men is available on Netflix! Watch it!...or don't. I really don't care what you do.