I've got TV bipolar disorder. There are two shows I have been watching, and they are completely different. The first one is Mad Men, and the second is Call the Midwife. I'm sure everyone knows about Mad Men: set in 1960s New York City and the world of a cutthroat advertising agency, centered around Don Draper, the ever unfaithful yet ever unflappable mystery wrapped in a mystery man. He's not happy, his wife isn't happy, his ex-wife isn't happy. His children aren't happy. His coworkers aren't happy. They all do destructive things to themselves, and it's gorgeously filmed.
The second show I've been watching, Call the Midwife, is perhaps less well-known, and in its second season. Produced in England, it tells the story of a group of nun-midwives in east London during the post-war 1950s baby boom, and their young assistant nurses, especially Jenny Lee. The characters are sweet, cheerful, kind to each other but witty, sad at times but very happy a lot, especially when they have helped someone, and it's gorgeously filmed.
On the other hand, Call the Midwife leaves me feeling peaceful and uplifted. It is a much more realistic show in the sense that there is a wider variety of types of people. Some husbands and wives are loving and kind, some aren't. Some are good mothers, some aren't. Some babies are born easily, and others aren't. The poorest Londoners of the time are portrayed realistically, maybe slightly sensationalized because it is a TV show after all, but beautifully. Every show has a victorious moment, a realization for someone, a moment of sweetness or sometimes bittersweetness. And the thing I love the most about Call the Midwife is that the main characters are kind, helpful, and hardworking. They may struggle with insecurities or personal heartbreaks, but who doesn't? The writers of this show chose to portray women with real moral values and valuable skills, and even highlight those things.
So, while I can't stop myself from watching Mad Men, I encourage everyone to watch Call the Midwife. Both shows capture the mid-century nostalgia that we all have right now, but one is just hollow beauty, and the other full of nourishment.