It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Mad Men is back tonight and I love me some Mad Men. I love its aesthetic, both costume and set design; I love the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) irony about the gap between the generation it is set in and the generation it is shot in; and I love the writing. A colleague of mine and A-Dubs pointed out that a number of the writers on the show are women, which makes it a particularly fascinating experiment. I think it would be a great text for a women’s writing course, given the complex relationships between the overtly chauvinist material, the women characters on the show and the period of burgeoning feminism, and the women television writers.
This shirtwaist dress is more Betty than anything else even though I prefer to think of myself as a Peggy, or better yet, a Midge:
Dress: INC
Bracelet: vintage Bakelite
My shadow: The Vampire Cat (he’s getting in on the Mad Men trend by looking up my skirt)
The skirt is a perfect circle, which doesn’t show up much here. I’ve actually worn it with the flats at a conference. On that occasion, the organiser of the conference, who was a gregarious Italian Italianist shouted across the room for all to hear, “That is a gorgeous dress!”
Flats: Dune
Gin: Bombay Sapphire
Cat: Vampire
Too much gin:
Shoes: Via Spiga, via Winners
And while I do think that the show offers a fascinating insight into social mores, both then and now, and I do want to teach a few episodes in my classroom, obviously this is the reason I love me some Mad Men:
I think you could bounce a quarter off of that.
Will you be watching Mad Men tonight? With a martini?

24 thoughts on “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

  1. I almost passed your website up in Google but now I’m glad I stopped by and got to read through it. I’m definitely more informed now. I’ll be recommending your site to some friends of mine. They’ll get a kick out of what I just read too. Kobe 6 Shoes

  2. Cynthia, I am also so behind on the TV everyone talks about. Then again, this may be self induced, as I just watch the same old episodes of Arrested Development over and over again.DM: Do you like British Office? I like it way better. In fact, I love Ricky Gervais just a little too much.

  3. Midge was Don's mistress in the beginning of season one. She threw her television out of the window. All of Don's mistresses, perhaps predictably, are the opposite of Bets: brunettes who are utterly independent, but Midge was my favourite.AUH, I'm with you on The Office; I can't bear to watch Michael, he's just too, too awful. For some reason, Mad Men–also often too, too awful–I find engrossing. And yay, G&G, welcome aboard!

  4. I adore Mad Men, but I'm still on season two. Thanks for mentioning set design! I sometimes pause in order to point out furniture and decor to the hubs, who agrees with me that the contents of Pete Campbell's apartment would look better in ours.I also adore that dress! Beautiful, elegant, versatile.The "too much gin" pose made me snarf my beverage.

  5. A-Dubs: Maybe that is the key – I have really low expectations when it comes to TV in general (I stuck with Grey's Anatomy for 4 seasons and am sad to admit that I still watch Desperate Housewives), but everyone's just been raving about Mad Men, so I expect it to be the best thing since sliced bread. A saying which, I doubt, has been even remotely popular since the 60's.I'd agree that it seems to fall flat. My boyfriend and I have tried on several occasions to watch it, and we both feel like an hour goes by and nothing has happened.

  6. I'll be watching online tonight. As soon as I finish the previous season so I know what's what. Also, I forget who Midge is. Who's Midge?!Now, about that wicked dress (LOVE Charlotte's description of it as "maybe a little beyond" – brilliant!) and the even more wicked poses (sweet summer gin! what have you done to DM?): welcome home, D-Med! I'm picking up a box of wine on the way home this eve and will call shortly thereafter.Finally, Anne: I also had a hard time getting into the show. But I watch now primarily for the fashion and the gender politics. Usually, I enjoy darker storylines in smart TV dramas, but I often find Mad Men gets carried away with presenting period-appropriate costumes, etc, so sometimes the drama falls flat (for me, at least). Maybe if you lower your expectations, you'll like it more?

  7. I don't watch TV, and haven't in years, so I'm out of the loop with the references. I do, however, love the dress & don't blame your colleague for exclaiming. That's not a usual dress. It's gorgeous, or maybe a little beyond.

  8. That IS a gorgeous dress! Damn.I've tried on a few occasions to get into Mad Men, and I just can't. What am I missing? The 60's are probably one of my favorite decades fashion-wise, and I do LOVE Jon Hamm (have you ever seen his appearances on 30 Rock?) so I *want* to like it. Maybe I'll give it another shot.

  9. Oh yes, I'm back in the provinces (some snooty Major General once asked me if I were "from the provinces"? Gah.). Will be posting soon about London styles (maxi-dresses were big there) once I get my act together. Could be a long wait …

  10. Thanks all! LHdM, I knew you would like this dress. It reminds me of your bicycle dress which I also want to borrow. SU, the Eames and Nelson props were for you (though, full disclosure, they are very good knock-offs). G&G you can bounce the quarters, I will bounce that off of something else … And AftK, you should definitely watch Mad Men, which I watch on-line (full disclosure, I don't have cable so I didn't actually watch it yesterday).

  11. That is a great dress. Love the print and the black and white. And the appearance of Vampire kitty. Does this mean you're back in the Canada?Also, had no idea that there were so many women writers. That is very cool.

  12. The gin photo is hysterical. Utterly fabulous! So is the dress.So, I live in the land of no TV. Which is fine, but it means that I am slow to discover new shows, because they require the dedication of a spot in my Netflix queue. The boys, as I call my dissertation writing group, have spent a lot of time discussing whether I would like Mad Men and have decided that I would, based on 2 factors: while a very different show, it is smart TV in the way that the West Wing was smart TV and they think I would be interested in the social commentary of the time in which the show was set as well as the social commentary of now. Particularly, I think, as it regards gender. (It was interesting to see your thoughts on Mad Men and gender because previously, I was not sure if the show was really interesting from a gender standpoint or if this is me being type cast because I am the lone girl in the writing group.) Anyway, that was a long and chatty way of saying that I am excited by your endorsement and think I may get on this bandwagon.

  13. Can I come over? I would like to say hello to Mr. Nelson and Mr. Eames. While I'm at it, Mr. Bombay too. The second photo is a perfect catalog pose. The gin photo is just…perfect.The dress is gorgeous. I with LHdM, when?

  14. I lurve that dress, too, and I might have shouted those same words to you at that conference had I been there! When can we be friends in real life so we can borrow each other's clothes???I will be dvr-ing Mad Men tonight because we're going to a Star Trek: TNG watching party over at Chez HD and tc-c.

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