Mad Men is a great show to watch if you're of the opinion that Don Draper is the villain of the show. Sadly, very few people are of this opinion. He's a whirlwind obliterating the lives of everyone close to him. Though this isn't anything new. Anytime a show has a terrible self-serving person as their protagonist, like you can see in The Shield, The Sopranos or Breaking Bad, at least 50% of the people watching it miss the point entirely and start to glamorize these sociopathic brutes. It's actually pretty funny.
You can see this a lot when people idolize characters like Dexter, as if he's some amazing crusader. People will idealize these characters. Like Rorschach from Watchmen, all because he doesn't compromise. Mad Men is essentially about a shape-shifting sociopath that vents his frustrations by making stupid people buy useless shit. You can buy a copy of the suit he wears from Brooks Brothers for $1,000 bucks.
Then again, one could argue that the real protagonist of Mad Men is Peggy Olsen. Sadly, this theme is mainly glossed over with the idea that is in your mind that "Jesus Christ, America was just as terrible then as it is now" combined with some average drama. Who cares about woman's movement and what not back then, right? The only thing I should know about Mad Men besides Christina Hendricks is that people think it's funny how they drink at lunchtime and smoke a lot.. Oh, if they only knew the truth of the period.
Some could say that it's masturbatory idealization of an era when being white and male was even more of a cheat code in life for success than it currently is. Advertising is inescapable enough in this country without a TV show providing a shallow excuse for the industry to pat itself on the back for being so vital and interesting. And yet here we are.
But hey, maybe you should really see it for what it basically is "Don Draper - The Eternal Fuck-up No One Should Admire: The Show"
Then again, that's the entire point of the show. It's a criticism of patriarchy/advertising/society combined with a soap opera drama. Nobody should watch it with any other meaning. I mean, the whole intro should tell you that. It has an ad man jumping to his death while being surrounded by hallow advertisements.
Much like war movies have the effect of normalizing and creating social acceptance of war regardless of their perspective on war, popular culture that attempts to criticize or subvert a phenomenon will inevitably reinforce it through a combination of general low-level osmosis as well as via the subset who only consume the surface level of the program.
But again, I feel confident that many people miss this point altogether.
Why yes, let me just dump my caring, stable, mature psychologist girlfriend for a literal child who is also my secretary! Don sure is really irresponsible impulsive hedonistic self-destructive person who only looks good when compared to the idle rich, which even Mad Men cannot address as anything less than the insidious leeching scum of the earth. Want me to hammer the point home some more? This is what I'm getting at;
Don Draper is really irresponsible impulsive hedonistic self-destructive person
Walter Walter white is a really irresponsible impulsive hedonistic self-destructive person
Tony Soprano is a really irresponsible impulsive hedonistic self-destructive person
In summary, Don, Walter, and Tony are all bad people. It's really a point that middle class white people worship Don Draper because they don't get that he is a waste, hates himself and his life for all good reasons - which are that he's a big fat lie.
But hey, I should still be recommending the drink, because seriously, they are awesome and also make you look pretty badass.... unless you look like a hipster.. or you're fat and ugly. But even then, saying "Old Fashioned" to a bartender when they ask you what you want is smooth as hell.
I'm sure I sound as cool as I think I do, but in reality it's no better than when all the girls started ordering Cosmos after Sex in the City came out? But again, who cares? Do I really want to worry because I'm so desperately frightened of someone judging me to order a drink that I actually want? I know I abide whenever I pour myself a White Russian because of the dude.
He, if it's not for the feminist movement hidden under those layers of bad drama shit, you should watch Mad Men for the very rare instance of socialist one-liners. For example, character discuss how making over 80k a year is pointless because then you get taxed at 76% a client complaining that LBJ's social security and medicare plans were a pit stop on the way to Soviet Russia, and Don Draper complaining about the capital gains tax is a ripe 48%
In any case, you probably are watching Mad Men for all the wrong reasons. But hey, here's hope that maybe something will sink in that betters the world.