Mad Men Season 5- Will there be Rebellious 60’s Siblings?

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?


About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
This entry was posted in Baby Boomer, dysfuntional family, half siblings, Mad Men and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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