Home for the holidays
This could just be the result of returning to the suburbs for a lackluster holiday season, but after two days of being saturated with TV, its occurred to me that the decade pop culture’s been channeling lately isn’t so much the Depression-era twenties, but rather the post-war fifties. The dark side of high suburbia, specifically. This week marks the opening of Revolutionary Road, the film adaptation of Richard Yates’ 1961 masterpiece about the quiet devastation of the suburbs and the thin line (Hudson) that separates Greenwich Village from Westchester. It’s been getting pretty tepid reviews — Slant and Slate attacked it for shortchanging the book while saluting Sam Mendes‘ directorial skills — but in all fairness, if you’re making a disaffected suburbs movie, its hard to top Kevin Spacey bathing in roses. Meanwhile, on the smaller screen, Mad Men has assumed comfortable dominance as this year’s hit TV show, offering viewers the pleasure of airing the dirty laundry of a decade smugly wrapped in “Leave it to Beaver” values. Also, it’s amazing to see how much smoking, drinking, misogyny, and infidelity can fit into one 45 minute block. Perhaps this all can be attributed to the fact that with our own national troubles looming, there’s something truly gratifying about debunking the myths behind America’s most prosperous recent decade.