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Thursday, May 03, 2012


Debbie Tropp

Oh Karen, this is just great. Again, you tapped, almost frighteningly, into the inner workings of my psyche. I am, of course, and predictably, both a Mad Men and Downtown Abbey addict (what else would you expect from a child of the 60s who graduated from Bryn Mawr.) I find Mad Men so compelling because as someone who is four years older than you, I actually HAVE the dimmest recollection of the years that Mad Men covers, remember accepting as absolute truth in my grade school years that women could only become secretaries, teachers and nurses (if they were *forced* to work at all), that I would only as worthy as the man I could attract and marry, that I should always defer to men intellectually, that I should grow up to be a lively and attentive conversationalist and companion, that pants were unbefitting a young lady unless the temperature was SO cold that you might be in danger of serious frostbite (we were prohibited from wearing pants to school until the seventh grade unless the daily high temperature was expected to fall below 20 degrees.) The tone of the show seems SO right to me. OTOH, I *also* remember how glamorous and convivial adult life appeared to be at that time--the emphasis on dinner parties, "wine and cheese" gettogethers, dressing up. Adults didn't let their kids dominate their lives but gave primacy to *their* entertainment. People made time for family cookouts, picnics, relaxation, simple pleasures. A fascinating mixture, to be sure.


Great, observations, as usual, Karen. These are the only two TV shows I watch, and, like you, I've been obsessed with both of them. Last year I blogged about Mad Men, and, again like you, I was struck most by the "mad women" and their lives.
See "A Working Mom's Mad Men Obsession," at


Great article. I too have been obsessed with Mad Men and Downton Abbey. I didn't at first see the connection. Then the other day I realized that if one were to choose the 2 decades of the 20th century when women's rights surged, it would be the 1910s (ending with suffrage), when DA takes place, and the 1960s.
In both shows, while the men (Don Draper and Lord Grantham) are the central characters, they are not the movers. They stand still while the women in their lives cause and struggle with the changing roles of women in society.
I'm pleased to see others made this connection.
And of course the shows have in common complex characters, great plots, great dialogue, etc.

David and Deb White

Themes and scenes from Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs and others inspired us to write a new travel guidebook: Beyond Downton Abbey ( No Mad Men travel book, so far, but someone's going to write it!

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