Jackson residents Michael Busbin and Brian Kendrick have gone mad for “Mad Men.”Tonight is the season finale of AMC’s hit show about love, life and business at a Manhattan advertising firm. Currently set in the 1960s, “Mad Men” premiered in 2007 and is in its fifth season.
It has become a pop culture sensation, influencing everything from hairstyles and fashion to cooking, decor and entertaining. Because of “Mad Men,” Busbin and Kendrick bought a retro home in northeast Jackson.
“It has the grass cloth wall paper and all the cool retro vibes of the ’60s when it was built, kind of like Don Draper’s new apartment now,” Busbin said. “We have updated some of the features of the house that make it more fashionable, but we still have some of the features that are ’60s-inspired, such as the rock garden in the living room. We love Eames molded chairs, scoop chairs, Panton chairs, and anything with that ‘Mad Men’ vibe. That is how we like to live in our home – cool and relaxed with a splash of ‘Mad Men’ style.”
The two also recently commissioned local artist Ginger Williams to create a set of “Mad Men” nesting dolls.
“She told us to pick our favorite characters from the most liked to the least liked,” Busbin said. “We started with Don and ended with Pete, the smallest character on the show to us. It is funny to see them all nestled together, and Pete is about the size of an ant, much like his character.”
“Mad Men” is about advertising executive Don Draper and his firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Last Sunday, Busbin held a “Mad Men” party at his Jackson home.
“We have a group of friends who love to dress up and just chill,” he said. “There’s something kind of fun about leaving behind your worries of today and taking a step back in time.”The Mississippi State University grad, who works as an education historian at the Eudora Welty House, said it’s interesting to glimpse into the past and see how different, and yet similar, it is today.
It was also funny watching the things that we think are taboo today that were customary during that time,” he said. “For example, drinking at work, drinking and smoking while pregnant, and littering the highways after a picnic on the side of the road. It is interesting to see just how far we have come in our society.”
It’s also fun to see the historical references, he said.
“There are things that are said that are not politically correct,” he said. “We see how far we have come in all types of equalities.”
Busbin said the message of the show is humanity. “We all make mistakes and will continue to make mistakes,” he said. “It’s how we deal with those mistakes that makes us a better person. … They are all messed-up characters, trying to survive in this world. It makes it fun to see that craziness was around even in the ’60s.”
“Mad Men” madness has spread throughout Mississippi. Biloxi resident Holly Cox has watched the show since its premiere. My 21-year-old niece is addicted too ,” she said. “We watch together now when she is home from college.”
Sarah Everett said husband Jon is a devoted fan.
“He knows every episode by heart,” she said. “He has a friend who worked in advertising, and he relives this guy’s life through ‘Mad Men.'”
Jackson resident John Nicholas said doesn’t wear retro clothing, but has “started drinking more Brandy Alexanders and Tom Collins.”
He said he the show is more “intellectually stimulating and enjoyable than any other TV show.”
“We do not believe that the creator attempts to romanticize the era,” he said. “The writers do a great job of infiltrating historic events (positive and negative) that portray the ’60s for what it was; a tumultuous time period when society was transforming in an array of different aspects.”
–LaReeca Rucker, The Clarion-Ledger