I’m unsure of the this blog’s target audience. I was brought in by Brian to add content to the site; we can all see how that’s paid off. So, for the sake of my own sanity, and laziness, I’m going to assume you’re a technically oriented crowd. Knowing that Zach and Brian are both software developers and that half of these posts are game-dev related, that’s a safe assumption.

I’ve been watching Mad Men quite a bit recently. I started watching around season two or three and wasn’t entirely enchanted with it. The show was extremely busy: too many characters and too many storylines. Every episode would faithfully follow each character, devoting each a bit of screen time. While each episode is an hour long, the net result is that the story (or stories) move along painfully slow. I was hooked, however, by the style and period of the show. Mad Men is a period piece, plain and simple. The attention to detail, artistic cinematography, and beautiful style of the show (it is about an ad agency in New York, after all) would not relent it’s hold on me.

The show’s a bit different now. In the current season (four), the writers have done a good job focusing on the main characters; Don Draper and Peggy Olson. Previous characters that the show spent a lot of time following, Pete, Roger and Joan, have essentially evaporated with the exception of tangential exploration through Peggy or Don. However, as deceptively titled as this post is, I’m not really here to talk about the quality of Mad Men. As I mentioned before, Mad Men is a period piece set in the early-to-mid 1960’s. The plot of the show is intimately tied to the social issues of the day: racism, sexism, the emergence of feminism, and the widely accepted use of tobacco and alcohol, especially in the workplace.

The stark contrast of society 50 years ago and today forces the viewer to examine the status quo from a future frame of reference. What is socially acceptable today that will seem ludicrous 50 years from now? Back to my original point, I’m a software developer. For better or worse, I don’t spend much of my spare time thinking about society. It’s typically consumed with technical thoughts: how do I prepare for application updates, how do I make a fluid and transparent user experience, what is causing my software to crash?

Watching Mad Men has forced me to take a look at society today and make some of my own conclusions about my values and morals. If you’re of a technical bent like me, I really recommend checking this show out. Netflix has the first three seasons (I think), although not on streaming. If you appreciateĀ aesthetics and design this is a great show to watch. Worst case scenario, the show may move a bit too slow. Hopefully, as in my case, the show pays off in more ways than one.