Mad Men: Caillou for grown-ups
He’s just a guy who’s 40. Each day, it’s debatable whether or not he grows (emotionally) some more. He used to like whoring, he’s Don Draper.
I love Mad Men, but I know that a lot of people don’t. The main reason being, according to my very unscientific research, is that the pace is too slow. You know which other show people hate for being to slow? Caillou. See my earlier post on the vitriol that Caillou inspires in parents. Or don’t; to sum up, many parents think the show is boring because very little happens. It’s a four-year-old boy going about his day. My response: the show is not for you, parents. It’s for the child, who gets taken in seeing his or her own experiences reflected on TV. They are engrossed so we can go off and do something else for 20 minutes. Like read a recap of Mad Men on EW.com.
True, the pace of Mad Men seems slow. It’s not 24, nor is it meant to be. The show isn’t littered with car chases, hostage crises, or melodrama (although that was some good action last week, when Lane…you know what, I’m not going to spoil it. I know it can sit on a DVR for the better part of a week. But it was pretty exciting!). It’s like Caillou for grown-ups; its languid pace allows adults to see themselves in the events of the lives of these intricately developed characters. I can lose myself in the show, and sometimes laugh, and sometimes feel uncomfortable, because I can relate on some level to many of the struggles of Joan, Peggy, Betty, or even Pete Campbell (though probably not Bert Cooper or Roger Sterling), trying to figure out their roles and lives, just as Caillou does when he struggles at school or gets pissed off at those twins who live next door. There may not be a lot of fireworks on either show, but this inner turmoil shining through is what keeps you riveted – in a preschooler way or in an adult way. Are you telling me Caillou didn’t have major inner t . when he got freaked out by his creepy neighbor? Who turned out to be just a doll after all?
Mad Men works this way on a macro level as well; I am not old enough to match the age of any of the characters on the show (Don Draper is about the same age as my grandfather, who pounded the streets of New York at roughly the same time), but it is fascinating to watch the events of a decade that formed such an important part of our national consciousness today. Let’s see, can I draw a parallel about Caillou? Is Caillou macro in any way? A Canadian way maybe? Nah, better not push the analogy too hard.