I just finished watching the BBC’s miniseries, The Hour, a blend of spy thriller and 1950s newsroom drama, which really helped me put my dislike of AMC’s Mad Men into context. The Hour features kick-ass women who work in PRODUCTION and aren’t insipid twits relegated to making resentful cups of coffee or looking pretty in what looks to be couture. Mad Men‘s women “resist” patriarchy; The Hour‘s women kick it in the balls.
That BBC America can still do better than a US cable network when it comes to representing the 1950s (a time when there were in fact women working as advertising executives — something AMC’s Mad Men makes out to be rarer than an ivory-billed woodpecker). Even the dudes are better and more believable than the pretty boys of Mad Men and the friendship between Bel and Freddie is something I don’t believe I’ve ever seen on TV — a finely-wrought, believable friendship between a woman and a man that doesn’t capitalize on the stereotypical sexual tension that’s such a boring heteronormative plot device.
Hurrah for BBC America. I only wish they had more programming.