Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Masked Drinker's Bourbon Pairing: Mad Men

The Masked Drinker was having computer problems, so I have posted this week's article for him.

--The Colonel

A main fact about me is that obviously I am extremely wise. I have been dropping twenty dollar knowledges on you from the inception of this blog. But my role as educator need not be limited to how to guides for bar living. Starting this week, I’m also going to occasionally talk about booze pairings. Specifically, I’ll be talking about bourbon pairings.

Now when I say this I don’t mean foods you should eat that go well with bourbon. I love bourbon more than I love a lot of people, but it’s not exactly refreshing or thirst-quenching. And the rich, caramel overtones in truth blend well with very few edible things. No, when I talk about bourbon pairings I’m going to be talking about experiences, media, and non-edible concepts that are great in and of themselves, but pushed along to splendor with a nice glass of Kentucky’s finest.

Today I want to talk about a television show that goes so well with bourbon, partially because it’s so often consumed by the characters of the show. That show is Mad Men. Now, 99.99999999999% of TV makes me wish the robots would finally rise up and destroy the puny humans, but every now and then something worthwhile gets by. Upon seeing ads for a show on AMC of all places about advertising guys in the fifties, I was certain that this would not be one of those worthwhile times. Hokey jokes about “Hey, back then people sure did act different!” and some weird deification of the world’s most disgusting business.

Well I was wronger than a Klansman in Bed-Stuy. While the first couple of shows did have some snickery, “Boy, wouldn’t it be great if we had a machine that could copy papers for us?” moments and the constant smoking seems to overdrive the point home, quickly something far more subtle comes through. The show, in truth, is actually about the societal change this country went through in the mid-twentieth century and, more importantly, how that affected different people.

The show covers all sorts of people, from executives to housewives to children to the nearly-invisible black help . . .and each person reacts to and is affected by these changes differently. Some fear it, as it represents the end of their control; some fear it because it gives them control and they don’t know what to do with it.

Both the writing and the performances are pretty goddam sublime. January Jones turns what could be a typical frustrated housewife into a vibrant, discordant ball of petulance and neuroses. Jon Hamm, handsome guy extraordinaire, plays Don Draper so perfectly that every revelation both fits and shocks. Anyway, there’s countless places to read up on what makes Mad Men so damn good, so I won’t belabor the point.

What I really want to talk about is that it’s a damn fine show along with which to drink. The characters drink pretty freely, at home, at bars, and at work (oh, how I wish . . .) and they drink well. Lots of bourbons and ryes consumed throughout an episode. But here’s the catch, folks. Don’t drink in your ratty old t-shirt with that band you don’t even like anymore on it. Dress the part. In Don Draper’s world, men and women dress well, all the goddam time. At the very least, have a pressed shirt unbuttoned with a loosened tie. You’ll feel better. Ladies, put on a dress. Match your underwear. Make your drink an occasion of awesomeness.

But if any of you assholes want to make a drinking game out of it, I will personally crawl through your internet tubes and shit on something you love. Drinking isn’t a game! Drinking is an art, it’s a life, and it’s a pleasure. You heard me! Don’t fuck around.

So, I hope you enjoy this bourbon pairing. Mad Men Season 1 is available on DVD and season two probably will be soon. Make a party of it and live it up. Enjoy a drink, enjoy a cigarette, enjoy your friends, enjoy the show, and enjoy living in a world that can completely remake itself when necessary.

Mostly the drink.

pictures again stolen, I almost feel bad, but these dudes are awesome

1 comment:

  1. DUDE. I don't know what I could say that you didn't already say wonderfully here. But my two favorite parts:

    (1) "Handome guy extraordinaire"...indeed. I think I've elaborated more than anyome has ever wanted to know on this.

    (2) "Drinking is not a game." THANK YOU!

    Also, you've singlehandedly convinced me to try drinking bourbon (which, I've never really been a fan of) and watching Mad Men while wearing either my January Jones pink striped collared dress, or my Joan-like cowl neck mustard minidress. All I need is a Peggy outfit.