Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Mad Men

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 11, 2012

“Mad Men,” the title of a hit television series plays on words “ad men” which is the center of the story, set in the 1960s, where smoking, drinking and womanizing are part of the everyday workings of an advertising agency. I am intrigued by their choice of the word “mad” in the title, as the association with mental illness catches my ear. In the last episode of this season (no spoiler, I promise), a woman is placed in a mental hospital in order to “control” her mind, according to one of the partners, Pete Campbell. His rage about this action gives heart to his otherwise heartless and sad character. It is fascinating also that the title is “Mad Men” as opposed to women, implying that only the men are relevant to this story. The women are mere accessories. Yet, the women, including the Sally, the daughter of Don Draper, the main character, give spice to the drama of men running an advertising agency with ruthlessness and charm. The women add a sense of a previously persecuted gender which is now on the verge of developing self-assertion and personal power. The men are “mad”, but the women are moving towards more sanity, thereby making the men less “mad”, or so I hope the future seasons demonstrate.

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