Pawley's Island
Infinite Family

Don Draper and Jax Teller

Two of my favorite shows on television right now are Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy; I've been a fan of both since the beginning.

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Mad Men chronicles the wild and wooly days of a 1960s Madison Avenue ad agency; it's won numerous awards for its lead actors, writing, and spectacular costume and set design.

Sons, in contrast, is more of a sleeper hit. It follows the rough-and-tumble lives of a gun-running motorcycle club, and it's a great gangster show in same vein as The Sopranos and The Wire.

On the surface, these shows seem wildly different, but plot twists in both this week highlight how similar they actually are.

You see, they both have these wonderfully-complicated, brooding leading men (the dashing Don Draper and the rough-hewn Jax Teller, respectively).

Don draper Jax teller
And they both have equally-complicated, career-driven leading ladies who put up with all their partners' foibles (research director Faye, left, and surgeon Tara, right).

Faye Tara

And in both shows last week, the men betrayed their leading ladies by hooking up with younger, simpler, adoring girls. Don - in a singularly impulsive but not entirely unexpected move - proposed to his secretary (ick), and Jax turned to a stripper (double ick).

New York Magazine did a wonderful job analyzing what happened in Mad Men, noting that "Faye has so much to offer: smarts, sympathy, insight, lamp-rattling sex, genuine self-sacrifice." But in the end, she is "selling everyman comfort to a man who’s always craved his own unique drama." In the end, both men fulfilled their cliche, escapist fantasies, choosing uncomplicated, doe-eyed youth and admiration over pragmatic, mature love. What would Gloria Steinem say??

Mad Men critiques are quick to dismiss this as representative of the fate of women in 1965, but with SOA set in present-day California, it's a behavior that's all too familiar to modern women as well.

Maggie siff Interesting side note: before her turn as Dr. Tara Knowles on SOA, actress Maggie Siff played another career-oriented woman in Season 1 of Mad Men - department store owner Rachel Menken.





The comments to this entry are closed.