Cathy's Blog

Binge-Watching Mad Men


Life was coming at me from every direction and had been all week. On Friday afternoon I decided it was time to get out of my doldrums, so I turned on the teevee and started clicking the remote. I perked up when I found a channel that was running a Mad Men marathon, from Season One to the penultimate episode before the grand ten-o’clock finale of Sunday night, a Super Bowl type event for Mad Men watchers. Early on in the series, regretting that I had avoided The Wire and The Sopranos because I had yet to understand that TV was no longer the vast wasteland of my youth, I became a steady Mad Men viewer.

Over the years I formed close attachments to Dan and Peggy and Pete and Joan and Roger and Sally and awful Betty–deeply flawed characters like myself who had also lived through the excitement and tumult and excess and moral ambiguity of the sixties. Now I was revisiting that story via the fast-forward-in-reverse, time-bending phenomenon of the bingewatch, and it was just what I needed to escape from the temporarily unpleasant reality of my life. That was Friday.

Saturday afternoon I was back on the couch, clicking the mute button during the commercials, dishes piling up in the sink, answering machine light blinking, ignoring the voice in my head that was getting nasty now–look at what you’ve become!

And yet, I may do it again today. I only got up to Season Five when I went to bed at one o’clock this morning. I am still caught in the time warp of the bingewatch, and I may or may not wash dishes or return calls until after tonight’s sad farewell. Whoever thought, back in the days of Gilligan’s Island, that the cliff-hanging television drama series would end up being the greatest entertainment medium of our time. More satisfying than Dickens. Longer than War and Peace. Look at what we’ve become.

May 17, 2015

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