Mad Men, season five starts next Sunday. I can’t wait .We will be transported back to the bloody, psychedelic, tumult of social change in the 60’s = Mad Men style
Don and Betty Draper and their poor damaged kids, oh so stylishly stepped into our homes 4 seasons ago. We baby boomers were back in the carcinogenic rooms we inhabited in the 50’s, inhaling all that second hand smoke. In the first two seasons many of us watched again as our parents got progressively drunk. As late 40’s and 50’s kids, we were schooled in all the vices but followed the family rule to never speak of them. We were taught to be seen not heard, do as I say not as I do, as our parents puffed away, and drank themselves stupid. What Mad Men lets us see are sibling rules of the 50’s brought to us by Don Draper and the Silent Generation.
Betty Draper’s relationship with daughter Sally, played by Kiernan Shipka, should be especially flammable this new season and promises more tangled plot lines as Sally and brother Dick become 60’s pubescent, rebellious adolescents. This season I suspect, Sally begins to understand how powerful she is and perhaps what chaos she can create for her cold, clueless, divorced parents, mirroring the, growing turbulence of the ’60s.
Mad Men is both a glimmering and gruesome guide showing us the social change that happened to men and women from the 50’s to the 60’s. Women like Betty Draper had to graduate with a Mrs. Degree. College educated women could only be secretaries but like Peggy Olsen, then perilously climb out of the typing pool and begin to break that glass ceiling.
But one great social change in the Madmen plot that isn’t talked about much is the change in the lives of siblings. Siblings rules in the 40’s and 50’s included to be seen not heard and never rebel, rules that icy Betsy Draper imposes on Sally and Dick. In the 60’s along with the Viet Nam war, the assassination of both Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King, all hell broke out with teenagers, siblings and families .Teenagers turned into insurgents, like Sally is about to be in Madmen. Families divorced like Don and Betsy did in the 50’s and stepsiblings like Bobby, Sally and Glen were forced to move in with different parents, seeding the rage that many felt the rest of their lives.
Sally’s going to the first Mad Men “teenager”. They existed before her, with 50s Elvis mania and Dick Clark’s Bandstand, but the rebel with a cause teenager, of the 60’ -determined-not to become Don and Betty –- may be acted out in Sally. She may be getting ready to get even with Don but especially Betty. She’s already smart enough to know that the hand she’s been dealt is a losing one and Betty and Don are the dealers. She could kick and scream and protest and throw off the shackles of her old family rules and maybe get something better. Who knows what, but tune in Sunday.
Will Sally slap Betty, will Bobby start smoking pot, and will they both hate Glen? What will the” Marlboro Man” Don Draper do now?