The older I get, the lower my tolerance for fictional stories about people disliking themselves and those around them.
I’m not a fan of AMC’s Mad Men, I concur with Kevin Fenton’s assessment:
“With the exception of a few marginal characters who get to show human complexity as a sort of consolation prize for not having any power, everyone on screen is thin-souled and remorseless.”- Kevin Fenton
Additionally, I find Don Draper a vacant grey flannel suit1 struggling to retain the insatiable impulses of a teenage boy. I see him closer to a Kid’s In The Hall parody than the alpha dog of Manhattan’s advertising scene.
The remaining major characters are equally flat and free of redeeming qualities – and all are struggling to self-destruct faster than the other. Like The Office, none of the characters are working to improve their lives by leaving the crab bucket.
Then again, Mad Men is a fictional program, written by writers and performed by actors – not a documentary or a How To for behaving like a responsible adult.
On the plus side, the set design is gorgeous.
1. According to this Wikipedia entry, the show’s writers have make this connection in season two of the show.