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Why Mad Men resonates in the pandemic era

  • "You can see our world’s present-day crisis peeking through the negative spaces in Matthew Weiner’s 1960s saga, which, like so many period pieces, is as much about the era in which it appeared as the era in which it was set," says Matt Zoller Seitz of his recent Mad Men rewatch. "If I ever had any doubts that the show was an all-timer, this rewatch cemented it. I thought I’d had my fill after having recapped its fourth through seventh seasons for The New Republic and Vulture, then going on to write the critical companion Mad Men Carousel. But I ended up watching the whole thing yet again because I was in lockdown while serving as a caretaker to my wife, Nancy, who was declining from metastatic breast cancer and would die of it in late April. We were joined in our rewatch by two of our five children, ages 22 and 17. The elder had already watched Mad Men, the younger was a newbie. Our three other teens dipped in and out; to my surprise, they were able to understand and enjoy individual episodes despite not having followed the story in detail, perhaps because the writing staff knew how to supply important bits of backstory without being obvious about it, and letting the characters’ personality quirks tell you more about the plot, and their own development as people, than blatant exposition could. As I wrote in the concluding essay of Mad Men Carousel, 'the show is built to last.' It’s built to last because, among its many other virtues, it makes these 1960s characters specific enough — and sometimes mundane enough — to become general, so that we can connect their experience of history to our own, whatever and whenever that may be." ALSO: Jon Hamm may be dating actress Anna Osceola from Mad Men's series finale.

    TOPICS: Mad Men, Anna Osceola, Jon Hamm, Coronavirus, Retro TV