Mad Men and Modern U.S. History
Since both Historiann and Clio Bluestocking have posted on this, I thought that as a recent U.S. historian I would weigh in on the subject of the AMC series “Mad Men.” I have to side with those who say the show is very entertaining and extremely well-written. if it weren’t on so late at night, or if I had a DVR, I’d watch it more often (looks like I’ll be getting it on Netflix)
I would add that it’s a great way to remind ourselves of the way things were BEFORE the women’s movement — perhaps it should be mandatory viewing for women (and men) who think feminism was “irrelevant.” As to historical accuracy, the costumes, sets, hairstyles, mannerisms, and so forth are very similar to those of TV shows and films from circa 1960 (e.g. “The Apartment” — on of my favorite films. In fact, the male sexual misbehavior in Mad Men appears to be modeled exactly after that in this film, except there’s no Jack Lemmon to serve as a moral center).
In contrast, CBS’s latest attempt at historical fiction, Swingtown, set in the mid-1970s, is really boring — which is saying a lot for a show about sex! If you’re really interested in getting a feel for the material culture of that decade, “The ’70s Show” is the best. [seriously, Donna’s wardrobe could have come straight out of my closet circa 1977).