An Oral History Of Me Getting Into ‘Mad Men’


By Kevin Lobkovich

It was late 2014 and I had run out of things to watch on Netflix. I had heard a lot of good things about Mad Men, but I was still unsure.

Me: Yeah, when I was in high school my mom was always watching Mad Men. Everyone seemed to really like it, you know, but I was a little hesitant. It just seemed boring. Advertising? Why would there be a show about that? Why not make a show about dentistry or being a carpenter? I hated that prestige dramas usually meant expensively-shot TV shows where there are tense scenes where everyone tells story to avoid saying their feelings.

Despite my hesitation, I decided to give it a shot.

Me: I figured why the hell not? What else was I doing with my time? The first few episodes were pretty good. That Don Draper guy is pretty interesting. And all the ’50s stuff. Pretty cool.

But then, seven episodes in, I hit a wall.

Me: I just figured I got it, ya know? I saw what it was and sensed what it was going to be, and felt like I had my fair share. There are just so many episodes, why would I keep watching?

I let it go for over a year, content with the knowledge that I had given it my best shot. Then everything changed at a casual lunch. My friend, Jim, made a reference to Mad Men in order to inspire himself to work.

Jim: I said “Do the work, Don.” You know, as in, like, you’ve got to do the work. It’s not that deep. I don’t know why you asked me to be a part of this.

After that I was sold.

Me: I just fell back into it. I didn’t realize how complex it really was. The arcs are unexpected. That Don Draper keeps getting himself into scrapes. I don’t want to get too excited, but I’ll probably finish all of it unless I get bored or something better comes along or I forget about it.

I now watch an episode or two a week. It’s truly amazing where life can lead you if you are open to experience.

Kevin Lobkovich is working on his first full-length oral history of him watching a few episodes of Ballers.

Image by Honk Honk Photography/AMC.