Mad Men (and Women)

July 30, 2008

The much-hyped second season of Mad Men just started. I was one of the few people who watched the first season — there weren’t many regular viewers, but apparently all of the media critics and industry insiders have been watching religiously. The first season Mad Men won the Golden Globe for Best Drama and Best Actor, and now it has been nominated for 16 Emmy awards.

I won’t get into describing the whole show, but I will briefly say that it’s an interesting and unusually-paced period piece about advertising executives (and their secretaries, wives, mistresses, etc.) in the early 1960s. Two of the actors had prominent roles on Joss Whedon shows: the charismatic Christina Hendricks, Saffron from Firefly, and the less charismatic (but maybe on purpose?) Vincent Kartheiser, who played Connor on Angel. His character just got involved in an infertility storyline.

Kartheiser plays Pete Campbell, a recently married (less than a year, I think) guy in his mid-20s. When he comes home from work on Valentine’s Day, requisite box of candy in hand, his wife informs him about the pregnancy announcement of his co-worker’s wife, and then she starts to cry. She then disdainfully tells him about a pregnant woman with two small children that she saw on the street. She describes her feeling that there is a club that she can’t join. Frankly, she comes across as a little whiny. Pete reassures her without reassuring her, and it is clear that he does not currently share her desire for a child.

Meanwhile, a woman in Campbell’s office has recently given birth to an illegitimate child that Campbell fathered, making it clear that male factor issues are not the problem.

This episode made me think about infertile couples in which one (usually the woman) has a stronger desire than the other for a child, and how much more difficult the experience would be without a like-minded partner. Even though DH doesn’t talk about it as much as I do, I know that he wants a child just as much as I do. With IVF #1, he was more disappointed than I was. IF is never easy, but without DH’s support, partnership, and shared goals, it would be so much worse.

I would be watching season 2 of Mad Men regardless of the new IF angle, but I am excited to see where the storyline goes from here. I’m not sure if Campbell’s wife will become less whiny and more sympathetic, or if his perspective that he isn’t ready for children will be the focus. I am sure that disclosure of the love child will be prominent. I’m also pretty sure that the wife won’t get pregnant anytime soon, because ongoing infertility is much more dramatic.

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2 Responses to “Mad Men (and Women)”

  1. Nity Says:

    I think this phrase says it all ‘because ongoing infertility is much more dramatic’. That’s sad but true. If only the media were kinder to us IFers…

  2. thalya Says:

    Thank you for pointing out that he was connor, I totally hadn’t spotted it but the voice in particular is very distinctive, isn’t it? I will look forward to watching it when it comes to the UK.


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