I love Mad Men. It has great writing, great eye candy, beautiful set design and costuming, Big Red and the Redettes, and interesting characters. My fictional father, Roger Sterling, shows up and makes me smile. There is something weird going on this season, and not in the weird storyline department. Something is always weird in Mad Men world. There is a problem. It was bound to happen as this occurs whenever a contemporary era engages in nostalgia and uses the past as a framework for a fictional universe. They keep projecting today's problems or situations into the 1960s.
Let's run through some stuff set in 1968:
1. The divorce rate is pretty high for the show. Sterling was divorced twice, Draper, Joan, and now Pete. Hmmm, seems a bit high for the college educted crowd of today, let alone the 1960s.
1a. The SWPL Grantland writers must be watching a different show than me. Draper was banging Sylvia because she is a generational peer of Don, while Don can't relate to his Boomer wife.
2. Two women have made passes and made out with other women. Joan's old roommate in '60, and now Megan's costar in '68.
3. Megan crying at the '68 DNC protest beat downs. I guess a mid-20s woman might have cried, but somehow the national mood was shock and horror at the chaos in the streets.
4. The Harry-Pete "you're a racist/everybody uses the word racist all of the time" argument in '68. Sorry, this is 40 years ahead of its time.
5. Joan, playing cougar, sleeping with Bob Benson. A late-30s single mom with giant tits but still tips the scales around 180 is going to bang a much younger, handsome and successful Bob Benson. Not in 1968. Benson is swimming in punani with his resume. Holloway is scraping for an older guy, like Sterling, to stabilize her.
These are circumstances of today projected onto a 1960s backdrop. Here is the really funny reflection of current American society in this season of Mad Men. Weiner introduced "Bob Benson", and the Mad Men watchers have all of these little theories of what he's really up to or what his secret is. Maybe Weiner is sitting on the secret, but ahem, does everyone have to have a secret? Nope. Some people are just go getter, apple polishers in the business world. Pete, Sterling, Duck and Benson all represent a type of sales-account guy. I dotter, T crosser Mr Fix It. That is what Bob is. I think Weiner is mocking modern viewers with this. I dislike introducing Benson because with less than 20 episodes to go, Mad Men should be wrapping everything up, not expanding the horizon. I don't want to be distracted by new characters (you too Harry Hamlin). I want to see story arcs wrap up.
Viewers going nuts over what Benson might really be up to are missing the obvious point because they have been programmed to. Benson wants to get ahead. This season has been great for how Don and Roger's world is receding as the new world of business, typified by Benson style guys is rising. He wants to make money and be the best accounts guy he can be. Viewers going into stupid theories on his motivations are revealing more about their internal state and how manipulated they are by media's portrayal of 'normal people. Always hiding something, always up to something, the plain is really evil, and the dangerous males are really benign, single moms are desirable and saints, the disadvantaged aren't more likely to commit crime. You get trained for negative society and have a hard time shaking it off even for the flippant, fictional worlds you watch.