For whatever reason, I arrived late to the Mad Men phenomenon and only recently started watching the show. My partner and I watch an episode whenever we have some time, and after about nine months, we're a few episodes into Season 3.
From my perspective, the show started off slow, but then picked up speed as the seasons have unfolded. I understand that the primary focus of the series is on Don Draper, followed by the story of Peggy Olson, but in my humble opinion, the women of the show make it the most interesting.
Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson), January Jones (Betty Draper), and Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway) have some pretty tough acting tasks to complete in the first two seasons of the show, and that's continuing into Season 3. Specifically, I think of the moments where they show glimmers of vulnerability as they try to navigate the overwhelmingly masculine world of the 1960s, and I can't help but think that they are doing something really special work. Their willingness to buy into the stereotypes of the time period while also fighting against them makes me pay extra special attention to their transformations as actresses. They rise to the challenge each time and leave me wondering what will happen to their characters next.
For playing characters that have taught me lots about maintaining dignity in the face of adversity, for their willingness to reach into very dark and uncomfortable places with their character work, and for lighting up the small screen in very different yet compelling ways, the actresses of Mad Men are the artists I admire for this week.