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Comments

J

I need to start watching this show religiously.

Right now I just pretend to so I can hang out with all the cool kids at the water cooler...

mernitman

J: You could Netflix Season 1 and start from the top... I bet you'd be out-cooling the water-cooler kids with your insights in no time.

Annie

I've tried to get into Mad Men, watching the entire first season, but couldn't. I didn't care for the characters and they didn't make it interesting enough to get over that hurdle. Similarly, I feel The Wire also had characters I didn't care enough about, but I thought it was sculpted so well that I hung on, but only till season 3. I haven't made it past that yet. Thots?

mernitman

Annie: I don't know you well enough to draw any profound conclusions from your resistance to MM (and/or THE WIRE) - after all, taste is taste - and bottom line is, if you don't relate to the characters in a story - any story, of any length - then it's simply not material that'll resonate with you. But maybe you like your dramas to be more dynamic? As in, you tend to enjoy the compressed dramatic arc of a kick-ass feature narrative... as opposed to the slow, simmering, incremental and episodic treatment of a story where the grades are less steep?

Stephanie

Billy, Was looking to see what you thought when I decided to check out your blog. I couldn't agree with you more in your assessment of the series and last night's finale. I had just commented on Ellen's site in a similar way about Don and Peggy's little exchange as he tries to get her to come to his agency. Ad men sell us stuff we need to reinvent ourselves after a hard fall and that's what the show is about really underneath it all. Can't wait for next season!

Stephanie

BTW, in the most relevant ad that I saw today, Brooks Bros is selling the updated MM suit! Yes, that is what they are calling it. The ad assumes that men will want to look like these iconic ad execs. Well, who wouldn't want to look like Don Draper?

mernitman

Stephanie, that's hysterical about Brooks Brothers, especially given the unconscious subtext, i.e. You, too, can live a lie as a made-up person, while being unfaithful to your wife (and judgmental about her affairs), betraying your original family, as well as occasional lovers and co-workers according to whim, and be essentially miserable... but look SO COOL at the same time!

Laura Reyna

I thought I would like this but watched one episode & it left me cold.

Not funny or interesting or insightful. Just very dull. Maybe I caught a bad episode...

I'll try renting the DVDs & watch it from the beg.

(PS I love Jared Harris & I'm hoping I can stick with MM long enough to catch him.)

Annie

Interesting observation about the slow simmer vs. the quicker dramatic arc. I'd say yes and no. I love shows that simmer and build, but if the payoff isn't there or I don't enjoy the ride (aka the characters, story swerves) then the show will leave me cold. For example, I thought Everwood was actually quite good and it was kind of a slow show/build. I reallly liked how they used small moments to get to the big moments, if that makes sense. With Mad Men, it feels very built and inorganic - sterile.

mernitman

Laura: I believe the proper old phrase is "That's what makes horse racing." But you're right, maybe trying it from the top will affect your take?

Annie: See cliche invoked in comment to Laura, above...

Abigail

An exquisitely written show, I wager that Mad Men is ultimately more appealing to mature audiences, those who have been alive in years closer to the actual era and been able to watch our culture evolve from post-war reconstruction through to the current commodification of the commons. It's poignant, wistful, nostalgic, and frightening all at the same time. For so much of our culture has turned retro as of late what with the ramping up of societal punishment of those who step outside of social (esp. gender) constructions, narrow attitudes toward, and marginalization of the "other", and media-sanctioned misogyny. All this as a result of Patriarchy's last-ditch desperate efforts to retain power. But I digress...

Mad Men is a masterpiece.

mernitman

Abigail: I quite agree (obviously), and thank you for the digression.

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