Liberation

Explaining the 'Mad Men' Effect

Why is everyone obsessed with Mad Men? The sex-, smoke- and alcohol-fueled world of AMC’s hit series Mad Men has inspired copy cats from ABC's Pan Am to Banana Republic's '60s-inspired clothing line. Los Angeles Times columnist Gregory Martinez has a theory to explain the immense popularity of a show that features unlikable characters, disturbing sexism, and shady business dealings. “Americans like liberation stories." What makes the show so appealing is a nostalgia for the war within the hierarchy of the early 1960s, right before birth-control clinics flourished and hippies camped at Woodstock. Today’s liberated society doesn’t have a bad guy to take down, something audiences long for as they watch the powerful authorities and societal norms of the '60s begin to crumble.