When a show becomes an object of cultish adoration, and the fans assemble to worship together, there’s always that moment when it’s just . . . not as good as you expected. Or hoped. Or remembered.
He goes on to comment cleverly on a show I know little about. (I have referenced Lileks before, as he is perhaps the best at capturing the era. Oddly, there is also a Lileks link in a post about Bethany's old blog. Her brand new one is Bad Data, Bad, sidebar.) I have caught some spillover information about the Mad Men phenomenon. I imagine I would have mixed feelings about it.
It takes a special artistry to get a period feel exactly right. You have to condense the telling details enough to chime the right notes, or it's not art, it's just tedious. Verisimilitude isn't worth watching, because it's too much like your own life even now, with boring people, laundry to do, and errands to run. Yet neither can you descend into simple stereotypes, as has been done too often with the late 60's. Let's have her wear a paisley minidress! Let's have him talk about The War with a friend we know smokes marijuana but he doesn't! Put Jimi Hendrix posters on the wall!
Okay, actually you can do that. Happy Days did it for years. Happy Days is also the show where the phrase "jumped the shark" comes from, you may recall.
So I would be charmed by the touches they did get right, but shake my head at the ones they just missed. We store knowledge about eras in compact form, because that's how we store all knowledge. Yet when you see something "representative," you often recoil and say No, no one would actually have said/worn/done that. The magazines of the period would let you think so, but it wasn't so. Such things would likely jerk me out of whatever plot was on. It is thus precisely the sort of show my sons should refuse to watch with me, as my comments would be infuriating.
Unless of course, setting me up so they could enjoy watching me making comments was the point. Jonathan did that with "A Mighty Wind," a movie in which they got the music right by going only 20% over-the-top, but got the era wrong by going 40% over.