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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mad Men to Who's the Boss?

One released in 2007 and set in the 60's,

To the other, released in 1984 and set in their present time.

The common point between those two famous TV series?
The main character works in Advertisement and is career driven.

And that's about it for these shows could not be further apart from one another!!

Who's the Boss is a light hearted comedy show that presents us with a well functioning broken family in this modern new era. Angela is a successful advertisement executive, divorcee of macho-afraid-of-his-successful-wife husband. Together they had a child Jonathan, who despite living exclusively with her mum doesn't seem to miss his dad much.  Angela's mother Mona is an overly sexual character playing very occasionally her role of mother and grandmother. In the '80s, I'm sure such a character was a big gamble for the producers, because it could have easily shocked many families.
Tony is a retired baseball player and a single father of daughter Samantha. Originally from the Bronx, an unsavoury neighbourhood to raise a 12 year old girl in, they decide to leave and find a brighter place. Tony finds a job as a live-in housekeeper in Angela's house, quickly assuming the role of father figure for Jonathan, friend to Mona and stress therapist to Angela, thanks to his eternal good humour.
Some episodes are focused on their unusual arrangement, Tony the Italian man being employed by the Successful Lady of the house, showing that in the 80's such a family would certainly have been out of the ordinary but the common feeling was that change was in the air, and that there was absolutely no reason why this could not happen in the real world!!!
This was probably a feel good serie for people of America who, after the 60's revolution way of living found themselves growing up differently from their parents and had therefore no mark as to how to behave as a family unit.

Mad Men, on the other hand, represents everything women have been fighting for in the 60's. The show presents us with macho men drinking whisky at work, smoking what-they-thought-was-healthy cigarette, undermining women and their status. A world where women may work as secretary but soon move on to stay at home to be a wife and a mum as soon as the husband is found. Men find it normal to cheat on their wives with secretary while the woman believes her husband to be wonderful. We have the occasional career woman who takes no notice of her predefined status and goes on to find her spot amongst the men, but not gaining respect nor admiration from other women in the process!

Both series are thoroughly enjoyable though, I find myself addicted to both.

What I'm finding difficult to understand is whether the 30 years old almost-real situations from Who's the boss have reached American households leading TV producers to find the need to remind people of the "real values" by making up a show that shows how life was 50 years ago?
Do people in America now aspire to go back to the "simple " way of living where the woman stays at home and the man goes to work? 
Or is it just a human characteristic to just wish for the older days? Is that for the same reason we always go back to 60's 70's 80's fashion as well?
Are we just not ready for changes like we seemed to be in the 80's?

Or on the contrary, does it make women feel good that those days are over - which would be exactly what the TV producers would want knowing their target audience would be 25-45 years old women?

Personally, I loved the 80's and I think Who's the boss was imaginative and fun, and watching episodes make me feel happy. On the other hand, I usually cringe watching Mad Men and being so happy that that macho world is almost gone!! All in all, the objective is reached, I feel entertained and satisfied ;)

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