Tami and I, joined by Renee from Womanist Musings and Fangs for the Fantasy, watched this week’s ep in horror: yes, at Peter Campbell’s state of perpetual swaglessness and Weiner’s needless explanation of Don’s sexual hardwiring, but most importantly, the frosted lipstick on the lips of Phyllis, Peggy’s Black executive assistant. And you can read on in horror, knowing that we got lots of spoilers in this roundtable…
Tami: Lots of collaborations in “The Collaborators”: the sexual sort, the political sort (North Korea and the Viet Kong), the business sort…
We talked about the theme of evolution, death, and aging last week. I think those things continued in this week’s episode of Mad Men. The gigolo persona that seemed so sexy and exciting in early seasons is getting old and starting to stink.
Renee: Only if you mean running in as many ways as possible, from the lives which the characters have created. For me it was another sign that what people are told to want, or rather what will make them happy, is not, in actual fact, what they need or desire.
Tami: It occurs to me that we’re just months past the Summer of Love when this episode occurs. And the ethos of “free love” seems to have filtered down from counter-culture into the suburbs and tony Manhattan living rooms. Even good Midwestern girls and middle-aged, Catholic doctor’s wives are trying to get a piece. But “love” really isn’t free when you’re a grown up.
“Mad Men Remix.” Illustration by Brian Sanders; remixed by Tony Puryear.
Why did I write an episode of Mad Men with Negroes? And by that I mean with “Negro” characters in it, not with.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Anyway, why did I write an episode of TV that I know will never be made?
ThoughI work as an actress and have pitched and sold a television series or two in my time in Hollywood, I’m not a writer on Mad Men,so this episode won’t appear anywhere but here. Why, then? And why negroes? Aren’t we finished with all that? In honor of the Season 6 premiere, let me tell you about it.
I like Mad Men. A lot. I like the subject matter (advertising); I like the cast (Don Draper is hot); I like the look (sexy Eames meets Op Art); I like the writing (Matthew Weiner is a storytelling beast). I love the writing.
I have only one issue with Mad Men (OK, with a bunch of shows, but let’s stick with this one): I’d love to see more diversity. I’m a Black actress, so diversity is an issue that comes up for me. A lot. Mad Men, Game Of Thrones, Girls, Veep–these are cool shows, except for the fact that they would really rock with more people of color, series regulars or otherwise. I complain, wtf?…and bemoan, WTF!…but alas, for all my years in TV, I’m not able to make a difference in my own living room. Or am I?
I knew for a while I wanted to write a piece on Mad Men and race. After Double X accepted the piece, I re-immersed myself in the two previous seasons, wanting to make sure that I did not miss a single reference to race or a character of color. However, digesting that much Mad Men at over a three week stretch was a horrific challenge – the world painted by Matthew Weiner is grim, and as each episode marched on, I found myself wanting to step through the screen and grab a scotch and a smoke myself.
Instead, being a nonsmoker and a light drinker, I chatted with G.D. of PostBourgie while watching:
me: I am going to die if I keep watching so much mad men G. D.: lol son we’re doing our weekly recaps which season are you on? me: about to cross into 2 me: My lord Pete Campbell is a little shit bag Can’t they kill him off? G. D.: pete’s…complicated. me: Pete is a shit bag. A total pile of privileged fecal matter. All the characters on mad men are fucked up, but he has no redeeming qualities. G. D.: keep watching me: I’m up to the Nixon election You know they never mention race there either Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World