"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Friday, March 23, 2012

Countdown to "Mad Men": Spotlight on Race
Posted by Jill | 6:13 AM
No one knows for certain in what year season 5 of Mad Men will be set, but I'm speculating it's going to be 1967, because it seems that the New York Times may have spoiled it today:
“Mad Men” returns to AMC for a fifth season on Sunday, and times have changed — again. African-Americans are now picketing on the street, chanting for fair employment and equal opportunity. It’s a tinderbox summer of riots and protests, and the reception from some who are working on Madison Avenue is less than supportive. Advertising may be a cool profession that draws talented, sophisticated people, but even some of them can be bigots.

The Watts riots were in 1965, but since Matthew Weiner tends to time-jump by about two years at a time, and since Kiernan Shipka, who plays Don Draper's daughter Sally (in whom I take a particular interest since Sally is approximately my age) is now twelve and usually plays a year or so older, I'm betting on the summer or fall of 1967 -- when riots took place in Detroit and Newark, NJ. place.

This newsreel, clearly scripted from the "Respect Police Authoritah" "ZOMG...Negroes!!" (sic) point of view, shows what the riots looked like for people like Don Draper:

In 1967 the U.S. had two worlds colliding in terms of race. At the same time as American cities were exploding from police brutality and institutionalized poverty, white Americans were inviting the first interracial buddy team into their living rooms as Robert Culp and Bill Cosby (who won three consecutive Emmys for his performance) starred in I Spy. People today know Cosby as Cliff Huxtable, the sweater-wearing dad from his eponymously-named show from the 1980s, but in I Spy, Cosby was kind of badass:

Now today Cosby would get the girl too, but this was still pretty groundbreaking stuff in 1967. A year later, Diahnn Carroll would play a black nurse with an impossibly angelic child, and then in 1971 Norman Lear would create All in the Family and in 1972, set the entire notion of the Black Person Who Didn't Make White People Uncomfortable on its ear by introducing proto-teabagger Archie Bunker to Sammy Davis Jr...

...which laid the groundwork for the urban Good Times:

But all that is in the future as we head into Season 5. I can't wait to see how Roger Sterling manages to keep his foot in his mouth in his dealings with race and how Don Draper deals with the emerging recognition that black peple buy products too.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
Anonymous The Vodka Party said...
I can’t wait for the Mad Man premiere and I plan to celebrate with an authentic 60s cocktail party. I’ve been archiving original, early-60s party recipes on my blog and love the real Mad Men-era flare of the swinging vintage hors d'oeuvres and cocktail recipes. I especially like the Avocado Dip (like a frothy guacamole) and a Moscow Mule to wash it down. Here’s my guide to throwing the perfect 60s vintage cocktail party: http://thevodkaparty.com/how-to-throw-an-authentic-mad-men-era-cocktail-party-the-inside-skinny/

Anonymous Rishathra said...
One other racial milestone on TV happened in that era: James Kirk (white boy William Shatner) kisses Uhura (black lady Nichelle Nichols) for the first interracial kiss. That would be somewhere around 1966 (can't recall exactly without looking it up).