In case you haven’t noticed in the last eight years, Mad Men‘s a pretty big deal. In anticipation of its final seven episodes, which begin tonight, Jody’s looking back at her favorite moments from the show’s entire run. We’ll miss you, Mad Men.
Our journey begins in Season 3, Episode 3. Since “My Old Kentucky Home” aired way back in 2009, a couple people have asked me if Joan is why I learned the accordion.
(By the way, I play the accordion. Poorly. Nowhere near as well as Christina Hendricks does, so don’t ask me to play the song below.)
While I can see why they would ask—I’ve been an ardent viewer and evangelist of the show since I spent a sick day watching season one back in January of 2009—that’s not the case. I got into the accordion shortly before this episode aired, when I noticed that the instrument was staging a quiet comeback in punk and indie music and wrote an article about it for my student magazine at San Francisco State University. In my research, I visited a local accordion teacher and sat in on some group lessons. Though I’m normally extremely careful not to let my journalistic life bleed over into my personal life, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the accordion’s “romantic…full, rich sound.”
Mad Men has always spurred day-after discussions about the show’s time and place. After this episode aired, it sparked a brief public curiosity about the instrument. It also led to some deeper blog discussions about the history of music being performed in the home, the tradition of teaching instruments and the ’50s-’60s trend toward all things French—something my geeky heart loves learning about, and loves seeing other people learn about, too.*
I will examine more serious and artistically relevant scenes in the coming weeks, but for this first installation, I thought I’d start with something light. In an eight year run full of some of the most complex characters, detailed designs and altogether immersive experiences ever to exist on television, I’ll mostly remember Mad Men for that time Joan made the accordion cool for a hot second.
*I read a blog post about this subject a while back, but of course I can’t find it now.