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Anxiety MutedAmerican Film Music in a Suburban Age$
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Stanley C. Pelkey and Anthony Bushard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199936151

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936151.001.0001

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Late-Adolescence in the American Sixties

Late-Adolescence in the American Sixties

“The Twist” and the Twentysomethings in AMC’s Mad Men (2007–)

(p.224) 12 Late-Adolescence in the American Sixties
Anxiety Muted

Samantha London

Oxford University Press

When Mad Men debuted, it was lavished with praise for its authenticity in portraying American life in the 1960s. Created by Matthew Weiner, Mad Men excavates the trying social issues from this tumultuous time—civil rights, gender roles, and sexual liberation—and renders them as real issues in the lives of its complex characters, paying special attention to that era’s emerging twentysomethings. The show overflows with these young adults who enjoy an extended adolescent period, where they have affairs, try out new ideologies, and resist adulthood. This chapter examines two early scenes from Mad Men to untangle the complexities of this generation and their revolutions. Both scenes use versions of “The Twist” underneath activities of Mad Men’s twentysomethings, and through devices both explicit and implicit, distill the Zeitgeist of this generation and encapsulate the enormity of the adolescent wave sweeping through the 1960s that helped shape our understanding of the Sixties.

Keywords:   Mad Men, The Sixties, Late-Adolescence, “The Twist”, Civil rights, Gender roles

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