Dear Don Draper, Yes.
We didn't have a tv when I was growing up. So the story goes. We had this little 9 inch black and white set that I think was on the kitchen counter, so I have vague memories of watching Welcome Back Kotter while my my mom washed dishes. The kitchen had avocado green linoleum floors and a national geographic map of the middle east on the door that led to the dining room. You get the picture.
My parents finally broke down and got a tv just in time for the 1984 olympics. I call this period the beginning of the end. I had watched tv at friend's houses. I remember the dawn of MTV, the astrounaut, the guitar riff. Al the neighorhood kids would be crammed into the Osborne's living room watching it. They had 8 kids so they had to have tv... But there was no laying around in pjs staring at the tv in our house. We read books, or played records, or TALKED to each other (I know!).
Who shot JR? Oh Sue Ellen, put your drink DOWN!
The 1984 tv was quickly followed by a vhs machine. Hello world. Like any person who's been deprived of something, I latched on like a starving newborn. Saturday morning cartoons? Yes. Facts of Life (my first crush on George Clooney)? OH Blair! The Cosby Show? I wanted to BE a Huxtable. Kate and Ali? I'm embarrassed to say that the day of the Challenger explosion, I got ants in my pants about watching the non stop video of the event, and told my parents I thought maybe it was time to turn the channel, but secretly I was just afraid of missing Kate and Ali. TV made me a monster!
I went to boarding school in Maine, and then didn't have a tv in college, so there's another large pop culture tv gap in my brain. I sort of missed the whole Beverly Hills 90210 and the beginning of the Friends era. When Nipper Knapp and I got married, I did have a tv, but no cable. This would not do. We got cable, the full monty, movie channels and all. During certain times of the year we have special sports packages that allow him to watch every minute of every game in the world. We don't have a tv in the bedroom because I think that's bad juju. But for as much as I grouse about there being too much tv in this house, and that reality is killing good tv. I still love it. We almost put our cable on hold for the summer after the Tremé season finale (I know I've said this before, but, Tremé is the best show on tv since The Wire). But then True Blood Started. And Hung, and Madmen is starting any minute. We watch Deadliest Catch, and United States of Tara, Nurse Jackie, and 30 Rock, and until it cancelled (BOO) Parks and Recreation. We tivo all kinds of documentaries, and American Experience on PBS. Jack is pretty much learning to read by watching Super Why and Curious George. It's not all bad.
Tabitha enjoys her first pall mall of the day
I went on the AMC website and made a Madmen version of myself this morning. I don't smoke, but my Madmen self does. Her name is Tabitha, and she's wearing a dress that looks like something out of my grandmother's (my mom's mom) house. Tabitha doesn't take any guff from anyone. She listens to Maria Callas on the radio and drives herself to the salon on Saturday. She doesn't have a junk drawer in her kitchen, but she does have a jadite green pantry. There is a missing year in Tabitha's past where she may or may not have been shacked up with a painter named Juan Pablo in a villa in the south of France. Know one really knows. Every June 7th, she calls in sick and ties one on in a dive bar near that place by the train. She's been known to get in fist fights with men twice her size. Tabitha is an animal lover and has 2 goldfish and a chinchilla. She hates pedants, but loves a good matzo brie. Like who doesn't?
Tabitha's first day at Sterling Cooper was a doozy'