Tough Love: One Fan's Subversive Mad Men Remixes Tough Love: One Fan's Subversive Mad Men Remixes

Tough Love: One Fan's Subversive Mad Men Remixes

by Nona Willis Aronowitz

March 26, 2012

For us fans, the anticipation of tomorrow night's Mad Men season premiere has us squirming in our seats. We love it for the drama, for the nostalgia, for the clothes—and for the way it smashes the very glamor with which it lures us in. Video artist Elisa Kreisinger has found a perfect way to ring in the new season that's part celebration, part takedown: subversive remixes. Kreisinger, who "consumes pop culture, critiques it, and then creates from it," is a huge fan of Mad Men. But she also wanted to tease out unexplored themes, call out the show's blind spots, and further claw at its carefully constructed facade. With her new Mad Men remixes, she wanted to "bridge that gap between being a fan and being a critic of something," she says. "Everybody is a critical viewer, and thank god for that." 

Listen to the women. Closely. Matthew Weiner has said that Mad Men is more about the struggle of women than anything else, but less critical viewers are often blinded by Don's tortured soul and the ad men's patriarchal bravado. So Kreisinger and mashup DJ Marc Faletti decided to draw attention to the show's strong, complicated, frustrated, bad-ass female characters—in their own words.

"We wanted to find the best lines that would tell a narrative out of context," Kreisinger says. "All these women are in a series of boxes, to illustrate how isolated they are both in their storylines and in the rest of the show." Even the chorus—"set me free, why don't you babe"—perfectly spotlighted the women's inner struggles.

For Faletti, the remix is "less about critiquing the show than a celebration of the women it portrays and a validation of their struggles." He thinks this is a way to give Mad Men its due props by driving home "how sincerely the show reflects the struggles of its female characters, not just from the bits of dialogue but all those shots of suffering and frustration we put around them... any doubts about the show's awareness of the sexism it portrays are hard to defend after seeing this."

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Tough Love: One Fan's Subversive Mad Men Remixes