We've been binge-watching a lot here, thanks Netflix for this new escape from our shitty Brazilian TV.
So, we've done Breaking bad, Better call Saul, House of Cards, The bridge, Orange is the new black, The fall, Homeland, etc, etc. Last week we surrendered to Mad men.
If you're thinking it's crazy I hadn't watched these shows before, it kinda is. I gave up series a while ago tired of waiting week-to-week episodes, and from watching four together it soon went to no watching at all. Binge-watching is actually a lot of fun, immersing in an specific atmosphere is much better than taking it by tiny drops.
Anyway, I absolutely adored House of Cards. I was seduced by the fight for power and mostly by Claire Underwood - wow, what a female character! If you've read any of my stories posted here or available for sale you've noticed I like strong women, maybe not feminists but strong, fighters, independent, survivors. That's who I try hard to be as well. Claire is not merely that, she deals the hands. I loved her.
A few series after, we arrived at Mad men. Well, here my head is knotting in a pretzel. Let me try to explain: Don Draper is a douchebag, jackass, prick but Jon Hamm is so handsome... You know how much I like tall, dark, handsome, deep-voiced Darcys. But he's scum! Am I allowed to like him and the show?
The sexism is almost unbearable to me.
And the other men in the show are just as shitty! Oh dear, the way they treat women is degrading, revolting, nauseating... Still I want to watch the episodes and find myself rooting for the beatnik lover who by now (we're wrapping Season 1 tonight) is my favorite character because she has power. In my POV, she's the only one who does whatever the heck she wants and breaks the big man time and time again. I loved to see him arrive in his perfect home broken, like the world was weighing in his shoulders because she didn't want to run away to Paris with him for the weekend. He had built a perfect home with a perfect little Stepford wife and still lets the beatnik lover carry him in a leash.
Good for her!
I've just released a book about second chances and leaps of faith where the characters are big cheaters, I can understand the dwelling one might find him/herself in, but come on!
My hubs says it's what men did back then.
'Really?' I ask in an ironic sneer.
'Yeah.' He nodded. 'My father, yours, that was how people thought.'
'But that couldn't be every man, I mean, this must be a saturated version of how a few people thought!' I cringe watching Draper arrive home expecting to find his dinner at the table, children in bed and wife coiffed and dressed for him to acknowledge (which he doesn't). 'I mean, in Bewitched, Samantha's husband was an ad man...' I'm a bit desperate.
'Ah.' My hubs raises his shoulders. 'Maybe religious men, a very few.'
I watch a couple more minutes teetering between nauseated and fascinated by the show. 'I think I'd have liked to be a man, you know?'
'Excuse me?' He frowns averting his eyes from the TV to me.
'Men have freedom and power. We're still fighting for a slice...'
He keeps silent because he understands.
We both work a lot but when we arrive home at night it's me who has to cook dinner, deal with our housekeeper and our son's homework. Rain or shine, child's fever or PTA meetings, whatever happens, he gets to keep his work schedule - I have to take care of stuff.
I digress, sorry.
OMG, how much she was undermined and abused in this episode... >.<
So, I've been searching education on Mad men trying to excuse my liking. Yes, I need it. It feels wrong to like Draper and his filthy workplace and life, his ways and reasons. He's such a good lead character-antihero-villain, I hope against hope he won't be excused - I believe a jackass can be a jackass just because he has the right to be a jackass. (that's one of the major reasons '50 shades' is so lame to me).
I've talked to friends, googled and after reading an interesting spot on 'nonviolent communication' I found Mathew Gilbert for Boston Globe. Thank you, Mr. Gilbert (even though there were 110 spoilers for me). It turns out that sexism is one of the major plots and one that isn't sugared throughout the seasons.
It kind of helps me understand the show and almost made my guilt for being drawn to it palatable. Kind of a masochistic way of studying of history. Urgh.
A few months back it seemed that wherever I went I stumbled upon a discussion on Austen's proto-feminism, a very touchy subject. I got myself in a few even for saying that for me 'it's hard to like Historical romance because people try to copy Lizzy Bennet and end up with a swooning sex kitten'. People understood I said Austen wrote (bad) historical romance, I said I unfortunately read bad copycats.
Anyway, I do hope that by the end of Mad men's final season I'll be more comfortable with the show, maybe even liking it freely as so many people have all over.
I also hope I can shake their abuses and don't let them inadvertently inspire me in any way.
And boy, how much they smoke!