I was wrong about Mad Men.
A few years ago, I was working in an ad agency, and got a chance to see the pilot for Mad Men before it aired in a meeting at work. I watched the show, and thought, meh. I mean the high point was that it featured John Slattery, who I'm sure you will all remember played Dennis Martino, the love to hate principal on my favorite show of all time that is not on DVD, Ed. But, I was convinced that I wouldn't be able sympathize with a married main character juggling three chicks, no matter how classically handsome he is. Plus, Peggy's bangs.
So, this summer when my roommate borrowed the entire series from a co-worker, I wasn't enthused. She started to watch the first episode as I made dinner, when the second episode started, I decided it would be perfect background noise while I gave myself a french manicure. At the end of the third episode, I said, "we're going to watch another, right?" I was hooked. We watched all three seasons in like a week. I currently think it's the second best show ever made, behind Ed.
This wasn't the first time that I've had a bad first impression with pop culture. In fact, I've been wrong a lot. I'm ashamed to admit that I have had attitude about Harold and Kumar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anchor Man, scary movies, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Glee, Arrested Development and The Office (U.S., seasons 1-4). I'm sure I have described everything on this list as both lame and my favorite. (Author's note: I tend to call too many things my favorite.)
There are two reasons why I do this. First, someone I know likes it too much, and thinks that I would LOVE it, if I just gave it a try--and then they tell me that like 10,000 times to the point where their requests just become noise. And, second, I can be a judgmental bitch. I may be stubborn in my resistance to art that I deem unworthy to me, but I do understand that first impressions are not always accurate. Sometimes things grow on you, your relationship with a show, movie or artist evolves or your life changes and you begin to appreciate things differently. So, I'm sorry, Harold and Kumar - I usually hate the glorification of drug use on screen and I was mean to you in the beginning, but goddammit, you are HILARIOUS!
More than anything, I tend to be wrong about music. A lot. So, here's this week's list. My list of shame. Music that I was totally wrong about. What are you ashamed of fair readers? Sound off below. Tell me how wrong you've been.
1. Britney Spears' "Toxic" - When I first heard this song, it was for a project I did for school about censorship and the FCC. Apparently, the video was banned or something, and I am a nerd. I originally thought this song was shrill, the lyrics were unintelligible and, well, it's Britney Spears. But, in the years that followed, it's totally become my booty shaking anthem. And, I learned to lighten up, and enjoy this purely fun pop song.
2. Bruce Springsteen - The Boss was one of those artists that caused me to immediately change the channel/radio station, most likely because people call him The Boss, and I think that's stupid. But, something has happened in the past couple of years, and he's been growing on me. I heard Born to Run on the radio a few weeks ago, and even though, I've heard it before - it just blew me away. That band! That energy! Those lyrics! It's totally changed how I feel, and has since caused me to start a Springsteen Pandora station. I only know the hits, but damn . . . good stuff.
3. The Decemberists - I've resisted nothing more in my life than one of my friends' insistence that I listen to The Decemberists. (I'm actually trying to get this friend to listen to Mumford and Sons, and he's totally resisting, which is the inspiration for this article.) I don't fancy myself a hipster, and I thought they were a total hipster band. But, my friend hounded me for a year and went as far as giving me their entire catalog, which I immediately put on my iPod and didn't listen to for another whole year. Then one day, on shuffle, I heard The Rake's Song, an awesome song about a guy who kills his kids (which I probably shouldn't admit to people). All of a sudden, they were cool with me, and they're one of the top bands that I'd like to see live.
4. The Rolling Stones - This is embarrassing. You know who likes the Stones? Old people. My parents' friends. So, basically, they were the definitive lame old person rock band. But, in my post-college years, I started to listen to a lot of classic rock. Then I heard it. The boys choir opening to You Can't Always Get What You Want. It was totally my gateway into developing mad respect for a band that I had previously been happy to make fun of to anyone who would listen. I was so wrong. I actually hope this list is almost done, because I really want to go listen to Paint it Black.
5. Kanye West - I'm not a big rap fan, and other than Jesus Walks, the first thing I knew of Kanye was his relationship with the media and that he seemed like a selfish and disrespectful person. But, then I started to really listen to his music - his lyrics are so smart, the hooks are amazing, and it totally transcends his well publicized beefs with MTV, George Bush, Taylor Swift, The Grammys, Matt Lauer . . . you know, on third thought, no. It doesn't. Yeah. Sorry. I can't stick up for this one, no matter how much I want to. Looks like I was right after all.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks!