1) I confess, I haven't seen any of the episodes of this season's Mad Men. Our landlord's cable plan doesn't have the channel on which it airs in Ireland and the U.K. My computer has freaked through my other methods of seeing it, and I am too cheap to get it on iTunes. Thus, all my information comes from reviewers and recappers. These have deteriorated over the years, especially the comments section where you get a real sense of just how Dr. Philed and Oprafied people have become in understanding even fictional relationships. "The right person," "become a better person," blahblahblah. Do these people not watch the same show that I have watched for four seasons? Do they not see the same characters? Are they overwhelmed by how pretty these characters are, especially Don? Do they understand nothing about characterization or continuity? Do they understand nothing about the concept that change does not always mean for the better and can sometimes mean that the characters manipulate external change to their own end rather than to become "a better person"? What does "a better person" mean, anyway?
2) Wasn't there an African American Barbie named Dawn back in the 1970s? I had a paperdoll Barbie set, and I seem to recall a black Barbie named Dawn, with a big Afro, go-go boots (god! I loved my own white go-go boots!), and an A-line dress of swirly bright colors.
3) Why do all of the Mad Men reviewers/recappers seem to miss that the Peggy story line, in which she has to hire a young, male copywriter, is slightly different than all of the men's story lines? (See: Slate, Alan Sepinwall, A.V. Club, Tom & Lorenzo, Deborah and Roberta Lipp, Salon, Washington Post, Maureen Ryan )The older men may be threatened by the younger men, fearing replacement; but Peggy is of a generation in which the perfectly capable, talented and extremely experienced woman must train subordinate men to prepare them for promotion above her. The best the can do is suggest -- as it appears another character in the episode did -- that he will be promoted because he might be good and all of that meritocratic shit, not because of the "glass ceiling." Jeez! Did these reviewers/recappers never see 9-to-5?
4) Why does Betty have some of the more intriguing, subtle stories, yet the writers or the actress or something always make her seem loathsome? Do the writers have some serious Mommy issues? Because, damn! Maureen Ryan has a nice breakdown of the problems with the way the character is depicted. Ryan's is sympathetic to some degree, without liking the character, and I particularly like that she zeroes in on the fact that the writers have not created a life for Betty outside of the scenes with her. What does she do all day? What interests her? Her horseback riding was the last time they showed her as having anything like a hobby. I also remember that great episode in the first season that ended with Betty, cigarette perched in her mouth, shooting pigeons in her housedress. A little more of that, please! Betty is a character that helps me understand my mother a bit more, although my mother was closer to Peggy's or Megan's ages at the time -- or the groupie's. She had the same issues of frustration, the Feminine Mystique, not really liking her children, and feeling downright old at 35. Being her kid was not so easy, but looking back and understanding her as a woman, I can see why she was so miserable. I wish the Mad Men writers could be so just with Betty.
5) Would a wife in 1966 really taunt her husband with the information that her paycheck was her own to do with as she chose? It seems those conversations did not take place until a decade or more later? Would that have even been legally true? Would she even be able to have her own bank account in 1966?
6) Also, not to defend the husband because he is genuinely loathsome, but isn't it more appropriate for him to be embarrassed and angry that said wife, who is also an employee, would do something short of a striptease at what was essentially a business function? To the other employees, especially in the context of her having been promoted not for any discernible talent (or active ambition) but for marrying the boss, she must have seemed like she was saying, "I may be an underling, beneath all of you in the office hierarchy, but I have power over the boss because I am fucking him." That's a bad mix in any situation at any time. That whole story is off in a lot of way, anyway.