A Very Rare Mad Men Post
Even though this blog does not reflect it, for thirteen lucky weeks out of the year, I am obsessed with Mad Men. This season, we’ve seen the very sloppy decline (and the beginnings of the possible recovery) of Don Draper, but I’ve been fixated by what’s happening to New York City in the background. Way back at the end of Season 2, Matthew Weiner provided the road map for the Big Apple’s downward trajectory, in an interview with Alan Sepinwall, “I made it grayer and darker in New York, part of the point of the 60s is the focus is going to change from New York, and by 1972, New York is going to be a disaster. At this point, it’s on its way down and California is on its way up.”
In Season 4, I feel the idea of New York’s gradual decay is being hit home hard as the series skips through 1965. In S4E4, the normally proud, native New Yorker, Pete Campbell, complains about “some client yammering about how dirty the City is.” In episode 7, we get vermin, a mouse scurrying around Don Draper’s office and a large cockroach at a Greek diner that Peggy mistakes for a dog in the Parthenon painting. In yesterday’s episode, a politician tries to recruit Betty’s second husband onto the John Lindsey bandwagon, the same Lindsey who’ll go on to become NYC’s mayor in 1966, and a man who later took most of the blame for New York’s transition to urban disaster in the 1970’s. Even though the show’s flawed hero, Don Draper welcomes in summer to Mick Jagger crooning (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, at his feet are piles of litter:
While I don’t know where Weiner will take Don, he’s showing us that New York is heading the way of Sally’s reading material.