Bill Clinton loves 'Mad Men' but notices how sad everyone is

mad-men_lFormer President Bill Clinton spoke about health care yesterday, but managed to drop in a few thoughts on everyone’s favorite period drama, Mad Men. From the Sun-Times:

“You ever watch that TV series Mad Men?” Clinton asked. “If I keep watching this program, will I ever find a happy person? Great television. Good drama. But a lot of really painful reminders in that show about how black people were supposed to run the elevators…were supposed to ask permission before they get on an elevator. The way women were treated is appalling….”

Okay, let’s go there: Is everyone on Mad Men unhappy? Maybe. But are they markedly more unhappy than characters on contemporary-set dramas? I don’t think so. Is Pete really sadder than, say, Izzie Stevens? Is Don more cynical about the human condition than Gregory House? Does Sally Draper have more to cry about than Jenny Humphrey? I’m not convinced that our ’60s set is more miserable than our modern one. Except for Betty, I guess.

What sad sacks did I miss, PopWatchers? Who’s the biggest downer in prime time?

Comments (22 total) Add your comment
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  • Chris

    Everyone is very unhappy and trapped in Mad Men. Betty is trapped in an unhappy marriage (although that may be about to change). Don is trapped by his own past. Peggy is trapped because of her gender from greater career advancement. Salvatore is trapped in the closet. This all makes the characters sad because they’re trapped by conventions of society that exist to a lesser extent today.

    • paige

      exactly. Theyre all trapped… Except for Kenneth Cosgrove???

    • Chris

      PS- Bill Clinton is totally Don Draper.

      • cusegirl

        You may have a point there Chris..good observation!

    • PMD

      Very well said!

  • Corran

    Who said Clinton was comparing television shows? He was just giving an honest observation. I love Mad Men, but is this really an important topic for discussion? Why don’t you guys put up a popwatch about Carrie Prejean threatening to leave Larry King “Inappropriate” Live. Now that’s something worth discussing!

    • Hrfe

      They already did…………

  • jen

    Does no one find it hilarious that a man who treats his wife like a business partner and other women as fast food, is commenting on the ‘appalling” treatment of women in the 1960s?

    • Sofia

      Yes, the irony there was clearly missed.

    • Laura

      You took the words right out of my mouth, Jen.

  • Anthony Cantu

    It is telling that your examples cull from unhappy characters across several different shows to compare to each of the characters in just one, Mad Men. By doing so, you may have just disproved the very point you were trying to make.

  • beelkay

    And that’s why I don’t enjoy dramas! Who needs to soak themselves in gloom and cynicism and fighting?

  • kelsey

    Let’s get one thing straight here: no one is as cynical about the human condition than Gregory House.

    • Gorsh

      I don’t know. Detective Pembleton seems to have helped him regain some of his faith in humanity.

  • Eric

    Sally Draper has WAY more to cry over than J Humps. If Little J cried, her racoon make up would run.

    But Ken and his haircut was the happy person on Mad Men. So he never had any storylines and got left behind.

    I don’t know that everyone is unhappy, they’re just unsatisfied. They want more. Which is hopefully what most driven people want.

  • Abby

    He’s actually complaining about the treatment of women? Was that a joke?

    • fancypants

      he’s married to Hillary. say what you want to about Clinton, but it’s clear he likes strong, independent women.

  • IanMcK

    Martha Stewart

  • danoregon

    The show is called Mad Men. That wasn’t a big enough clue?

    • fancypants

      the title refers to the fact that the male characters work on Madison avenue in NY in the ad world, not necessarily that women/minorities will be treated like second-class citizens or that most of the characters will be unhappy.

  • Jane

    Oh Bill.. like you haven’t pulled a couple Don Draper moves yourself!

  • fancypants

    former President Clinton’s words really ring true for me when i watch Hitchcock films, fim noir, films made pre 1975. i am an absolute film geek. i love watching old films and reading archived reviews and learning about the process it took to create great films. but as a black women it is really hard to watch all these great films and not be dismayed by the portrayal of blacks in them. especially Hitchcock films (my absolute favorite)–the only time you ever see a black person is when they’re the help.

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