MAD MEN Moderne amerikanske tv-serier, Bo Kampmann Walther, BA ES2011 – 11.10.11
agenda • Mikro-kosmos (poster sæson 4 og title sequence) • De skøre ideologier .. • Flash forward til den kreative klasse • Vouge • Cultural politics • Følelsesmæssig distance (eller resonans)? • Diskussion: hvad er ”quality TV” ..?
Jason Mittells kritik • I believe the three core types of pleasure that they take from the show (and that evade me) are in the visual splendor of its period style, the subtextual commentary on American history and identity, and the emotional resonance to be found with the characters and their dramas.
STYLE • I see its design as an artifice, echoing the thematic exploration of advertising as the dominant site of constructed imagery defining post-war America’s visual culture – according to the subtext running throughout the series, commercial culture creates idealized surface images that obscure deeper truths or cultural anxieties. Mad Men is critical of consumers buying into the constructed imagery of advertising, but does the show’s highly artificial stylistic sheen serve a similar function?
2. History and culturalpolitics • Yet despite these interesting cultural engagements that should make me appreciate the show’s intelligence and political savvy, I find the effects of Mad Men‘s retrospective gaze more frustrating than engaging. • In many ways, Mad Men‘s social critique functions similarly to the ambivalent politics common in many contemporary advertisements, especially for beer. In this beer commercial logic, male protagonists are presented as unrealistically stupid, offensive, and clueless, and we are invited to mock them – but simultaneously, we are encouraged to want to be like them, hanging out and enjoying their beer.
3. Emotional distance (vs. Resonance) • Our investment in the storyworld is lodged in the characters’ struggles and motivations: • Yet I find all of these storylines uninteresting, as I ultimately don’t care about these people. The romance plots are the stuff of fairly conventional television melodrama, upgraded into the more culturally validated realm of contemporary quality television. • Mad Men ‘s characters suffer from the contradictory ambivalences that mark the show’s visual style and politics as well – we are seemingly supposed to find them both appealing and repellent at the same time.