Mad Men Season Five Premiere Open Thread
According to Wikipedia (to which I had to turn to figure out when we were), Mad Men is, in the wake of a 1966 Kentucky-Duke all-white Final Four bout to play Texas Western and be cast, some decades later, as the villains in Glory Road, about to introduce certain of its characters to the concept of race.
Everything else below the fold. (Yes, I know, I’m a day late — but I’m watching it on iTunes.)
Actually, I don’t have a great deal to say about the episode—Peter Lawler nails it with, “overly mannered, sort of boring, and needlessly sexually creepy.” It was also too long, and at times seemed scripted to fill us in on what happened in the gap between seasons. (“The company’s stable now, Pete.” “Well, stable is just another word for the backwards step between success and failure.”) Pete continues to be the most interesting person on the show; Roger is a man-child with an unhappy marriage; Don has a physically satisfying sex life; Peggy dates radicals and works for the Man. Nothing has changed—except that the new Mrs. Sterling got the best line (Roger: “Why don’t you dance like that for me?” “Why don’t you look like him?) and Roger accidentally integrated the firm.
I’m also beginning to wonder whether these between-seasons jumps, by now a staple of the show’s method, don’t undermine the narrative stability of the show. It’s the beginning of season five, and we’ve already covered eight years. Somewhere along the way, Pete shifted from a petulant brat to a halfway decent and constantly frustrated man whose expectations are always going to outstrip his reality. Peggy has kind of dropped into the background. Don, apparently, has figured out the whole question of how to be Dick Whitman and Don Draper at the same time. But because the seasons end at moments of tension that are then (partially) resolved during the off-season, it always feels the audience has never quite seen these developments. I’m beginning to suspect that the show is less about the characters than shuttling them through the sixties.
Of course, I disliked the first portion of Season Four until about mid-way through, when I began to see the story and character arcs take some shape, so we’ll see. (I also already paid for the full season on iTunes, so I’m watching all of it.) I also don’t know whether anyone really wants my running commentary/open threads around here, but I figured we (I) might like a break from the pending Commonwealth Apocalypse for this month’s show basically tailored at the audience of this blog.
Actually, Erik, I hear Mad Men makes a decent clip from advertisers because of that. I know The West Wing did, and I suspect it would be the same for Game of Thrones if it weren’t on HBO. Let’s get on this! (I expect a finder’s fee for the idea, of course…)