Monday, August 24, 2009

Love Among the Ruins

Mad Men's crowning glory is it's innate ability to identify cultural turning points and touchstones and interweave them into the fabric of their story so we can watch their effect on the characters, making their story the story of a generation.

In this week's episode, the series nailed one of the big ones with aplomb - Ann Margaret in Bye, Bye Birdie, and also subtly hinted at things to come. And while most people think of Ann's affect on the boys in 1963, Mad Men directs its focus on Peggy, arguably the show's most interesting character at this point, on the basis of her mystique alone.

The movie version of Bye, Bye Birdie baffles me (compared to the stage show, the movie is an old-fashioned acid trip), but Ann Margaret's appeal is unmistakable, even 46 years later. She can't sing, she's not all that attractive, but as Sal says (to paraphrase), she's got "that." Ann Margaret is the moment, and watching the characters watch her results in the suspension of our disbelief several stories up. It is 1963. In this way, Mad Men is a show about time travel in more ways than a show that's ABOUT time travel.

All for now.


JACK! said...

She also sang in The Who's Tommy.
And rolls around in baked beans. And several Elvis flicks.

And Elvis nailed her. Oh yes.

Anonymous said...

Not that attractive? I no longer trust your judgment. She's on my list of the 15 most plowable women of all time.

Red Delicious said...

Anonymous, if that is your real name:

I would like to see your list, but in the meantime, Ann Margaret is no Trudy Campbell. Just sayin'.