You know, I often talk about the fact that television can help you make small talk with potential new friends, but it can also prompt some deeper discussions with your current friend list. Part of the fun of watching favorite shows is to talk about them, but there are some shows that naturally prompt a deep discussion afterward. Lost was one of those shows. (I never watched it, but friends that did really liked to debate the episodes.)
This week, I've found that Mad Men has prompted some very interesting conversations with friends and even potential friends. I'll admit that this last episode took me a day or two to even digest fully. It was that good.
The episode titled "The Other Woman" was shocking and unlike any of the previous episodes, but conversations with my friends quickly traveled from that of the show to other related topics like a woman's worth, feminism, advertising, and "how things were" in the 60s.
I'm a huge fan of the writing on Mad Men, and think one reason the show has become so popular is simply that it gives us so much to talk about after each episode. I've chatted with my mom about life in the 60s, I've talked with people about the advertising campaigns, and I've even struck up a conversation or two about the fashion.
So often we're told that watching TV is "passive" and not helpful to social interactions. But I personally believe there are a lot of good shows on TV that can provoke wonderful, heartfelt, deep conversations. TV doesn't have to be something you do to "turn your brain off" and relax without thinking about. It can be something that helps you connect with another person.