Last night’s TV line-up was all about the boys on AMC’s Mad Men, and all about the Girls Premiere on HBO.
Though I adore the women of Mad Men, last night’s episode had me feeling a turbulent mix of compassion, pity, and pride for the men. I felt compassion for Lane, who is good at his job as SCDP’s CFO, but can’t do account work to save his life. I felt pity for Pete, who is clearly so unhappy with himself, so much so that he has to overcompensate at work. At least now we have a better understanding for why he’s the pompous ass that he is. He reached such lows in last night’s episode that even Don Draper, the shows master philanderer, raised a judgmental eyebrow at Pete’s behavior. And then Pete got so mouthy in the conference room, that Lane removed his jacket and beat the shit out of him. It’s a token to the show’s genius creation of villainous characters that when Lane finally knocked Pete out, my husband and I clutched each other with glee and rewound the scene four times. What in the world did we do before DVR?
I felt pride for Lane for doing what everyone on the show has wanted to do themselves, and I felt pride for Don, for telling Pete what every philandering man needs to hear: keep it up and you’ll lose the best thing that ever happened to you. It was refreshing to hear in his own words that Don has finally learned his lesson, and that he now has the opportunity to help others learn from his mistakes.
Then there’s Ken Cosgrove. Oh, Kenny. You stole my heart last night. I saw in him a kindred spirit, someone who enjoys his day job, but struggles with whether or not it fulfills him creatively. I can’t wait to see him leave advertising and become a published author, so I can live vicariously. Ken Cosgrove, you’re my new hero.
Now let’s talk about Girls.
I have anticipated this show for months. The subject matter is something else I’m a little too close to…being 20-something in NY. I’ve lived it. I know it well. So, while I relate to the struggle and I empathize with the characters, it made me a bit queasy to go back to a time that was one of the hardest of my life.
Her parents cutting her off, her boy toy being too immature to respect her, she herself being too immature to know how to ask for respect in the first place, and too insecure to say “this isn’t good enough” when the respect clearly isn’t there, the lack of appreciation on the job and being taken advantage of when what you need is a nurturing hand…it was all so familiar it hurt to watch.
But to that effect, it was real. And that’s what makes good television. She was so likeable because she was vulnerable, and because she’s willing to show her vulnerable side, I’m sure she’ll help a lot of women her age feel better about their current plight in life.