An individual whose identity I have chosen to protect—even though she didn't ask for this protection—sent me a fun link wherein someone has matched Mad Men characters up with counterparts from Beverly Hills 90210.
Okay, this is a fun link and not meant to be deep analysis. BUT, I think there are some deep points hiding here. The big one to my mind is that the audience for Mad Men grew up on teen soap operas and those teen soap operas set a lot of the basic structural ground work for how they (we) understand this sort of drama. I guess what I am saying is that this may start as a bit of a joke but look deeper and I think we can see a lot. (By the way, it's really interesting to do this with Sex and the City and Richardson's Pamela.)
One area I disagree with my unnamed source, who was a big 90210 fan whereas I was not, concerns a comparison that she was dismayed by that I thought was rather apt. This one:
I thought that was a particularly perceptive connection because of something not mentioned in the text. And I say this as an admitted know-nothing about 90210. I never saw an episode from beginning to end . The only bits I ever saw were because I happened to be in a room while other people were watching and generally, when that happened, I got out as soon as I politely could.
But because of that I noticed something interesting about the gap between the objective description of Steve Sanders and what he was like every time he stepped on screen that I saw him. And the same is true of Roger. Write out the known facts about this guy and he just doesn't seem impressive.
But here is what I noticed, every time I saw Steve Sanders walk into a 90210 scene he was the obvious father figure. When some other character's life was coming apart, he was the only capable of behaving like an adult.
And I'd say this and hard-core 90210 fans would say, yeah he is behaving well in this scene but generally the guy is a jerk. And every once in a while he would be a jerk just enough to reinforce this but most of the time-that I saw anyway—he was the emotional rock on the show.