Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who's Bad?

Longtime readers (HA!) may remember my post about the movie Juno awhile back. if you don't, you can read it here. Okay, I know you won't bother, but it was a good one, so I'll give you the short version: It was basically every Lifetime MOW with better acting and should have been about Jason Bateman's character and the tragedy of marrying the wrong woman. It's as American as apple pie.

Anyway, Juno was on HBO recently, and I watched it again (Well, most of it.) I still really liked Jason Bateman and kind of hated Juno (especially that part where she says she's 16 and she knows stuff. Whatever, kid. Go get a job!), but did find more sympathy in Jennifer Garner's character, so I'm not a total wanker. Am I?

This came on the heels of Season 2 of Mad Men showing up OnDemand, which I ravenously dived into. So far, I think Don Draper is written even better this time around, and I actually found myself rooting for him to have affairs. I was talking about it at work, and one of my co-workers said that she watched most of Season 1 in a marathon one holiday weekend. Another colleague asked if it made her want to slit her wrists. Que? That thought would never cross my mind. Just the opposite, in fact. I would be in Heaven.

These are not isolated incidents, by any means. I may be going to a level beyond cynicism ("showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one's actions, esp. by actions that exploit the scruples of others," according to I may be shifting into evil. It would be kind of scary, if I believed in good and evil.

I believe that there is no right or wrong, just what you do or don't do, which is determined by whatever values you have in there. I choose to do what I feel is right, just like Jason Bateman's character in Juno, and Don Draper on Mad Men. It may not coincide with what a lot of other people feel is right, but that's their opinion. But when you look at these two examples, we see how times have changed. Juno is a hero for getting pregnant at sixteen and giving it up for adoption. Peggy Olson, the cute-as-a-button-secretary-turned-copy-writer from Mad Men, is scorned for having a child out of wedlock and giving it up.

I don't mean to turn this into an analysis of two pop culture polar opposites. That all just came to me. The point is, I guess, that not everything should be looked at one way. Juno was universally praised for depicting a heart-warming tale of an irresponsible teenager fucking up and then whining about it a lot. Mad Men is also universally praised for depicting grown men behaving like teenagers (only there's far less whining), but there's nothing heart-warming about it. It's a dark, angry show that makes you think about things, and suicide, I hope, is not one of them. For me, sometimes being bad can be good.

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