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Mad Men, Season Four

I’m going to exercise a bit of editorial prerogative here and put up a dedicated thread for anyone who wants to discuss tonight’s season premiere of Mad Men. With the Orioles in the state they’re in I figured, why not?

This is the only show on TV that I make it a point to watch every week. I’ve been there since the moment it hit the air and I plan on savoring every moment of the final three seasons. It’s just that good.

So, if you’re watching, here’s a place to chat about it. And if you’re not watching, well, talk about whatever.

13 comments to Mad Men, Season Four

  • neal s

    For those of you who watched it I’ll say this: that was one “holy shit” episode of television.

  • Tomás

    Love Mad Men too, but am over in German land so I need to caught up on it once I get home.

    Anywho though, came across this Salon article and slideshow last night. While I think they conflate the 2 (the show and the trend), the pictures they link to are still outstanding, especially the LOST posters. dear god I don’t like that show [LOST] and those posters made me cream!

  • Andrew

    Neal, I respectfully disagree. The brilliance of Mad Men is the avoidance of the atomic bomb, the sidestepping of the exclamation point in favor of a more sly sense of building and ruining and rebuilding. It was indeed a brilliant episode with more or less fifty different things going on which all worked to both differing goals and yet to one single goal, laid out explicitly and then left answered implicitly, without a “holy shit” moment, but indeed thousands of wonderful little marks and ticks and moments and feelings: Who is Donald Draper?

    “What do women want?”, he asked back in episode two, trying to sell aerosol deodorant, “A cowboy”. If anything, this premiere struck that bit just a hair too hard, made those particular pieces too easy to connect…but that’s still selling the point way too low.

    Also worth noting: SCDP is on 6th Avenue now, not Madison. This is in every single possible way not “Mad Men” anymore, and that’s bold and refreshing and all too AMC. Neal, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by not watching Breaking Bad.

    Tomas, woher sind Sie in Deustchland? Viele Freunden sind diesen Monat Marburg und Berlin gereist. Sonderbar Zufall.

  • neal s

    @ Andrew: I think you might be reading too deeply into what I meant by “holy shit.”

  • Andrew

    @ neal s:
    Maybe. All I’m saying is it isn’t a “holy shit” type of show. It’s quietly contemplatively awesome (to the definition).

    So good, so good.

  • neal s

    @ Andrew: I know exactly what kind of show it is.

  • Andrew

    @ neal s:
    Alright. Jesus. If you didn’t want me actually talking about it with you, just fucking say so and I’ll shut the fuck up.

  • Miles

    I watched most of the first season of Mad Men with my wife, and I’m not ashamed to admit I don’t get it.

    I see the cold sterility of the 60’s, the misogyny (which some men who I know that watch the show indicate that’s part of the reason they love it so – I doubt that’s the case here) and emotionally impenetrable characters that make me grateful for having grown up in the 80’s and 90’s.

    But that’s just me – enough people I respect enjoy the show for me to tag that mini-rant with a “I’m probably wrong… it’s just not for me. I’ll keep watching re-runs of Sports Night and The Wire.”

  • dan the man

    What the hell is going on?

    Both of you should just watch Wipeout instead. At least that’s what I do because I don’t have cable.

    Just rented Book of Eli. Good flick, not great, but good.

    5 days until the trade deadline. Make something happen, Andy. My new stance on Showalter is that I definitely think he’s going to take over starting next year and avoid the rest of this year’s trainwreck, or he’ll take over late in the season, like September.

  • neal s

    @ Andrew: hahahaha no, no. Simmer down. My “just fucking around” tone clearly didn’t come through there.

    I generally agree with you but if you didn’t feel at least a little bit of “wow” when Don (SPOILER ALERT) kicked Jantzen out of his office then proceeded to pull a “you want Don Draper, you can fucking have Don Draper” on the Wall Street Journal then you couldn’t have been paying attention.

    @ Miles: It’s definitely not for everybody. I think it’s the best show on TV but I also admit that I don’t watch that many TV shows so how could I know?

  • neal s

    @ dan the man: My gut and one thing I’ve heard both tell me that we’re still on track for Showalter. Thank goodness.

  • Andrew

    @ neal s:
    No worries. I hope that I’m beyond getting offended from people on the internet.

    I guess it’s hard to say exactly what I mean. It was very much a “wow” moment, but Mad Men’s “wow” moments are, for me, almost never the kind of thing that makes me stand up and applaud. They don’t rouse me, probably because they are seminal character moments first and foremost.

    Spoilers: Don standing up and trying to define himself rather than let “his work speak for itself” IS delightfully bold and moving, but in a very intimate way. My favorite of these moments is the at this point classic “It’s not a wheel, it’s a carousel”. The reaction of the Kodak boys in that scene is a lot more of what I get out of this show: Silent awe.

    Can I bring up another ongoing theme, nestled away neatly throughout the first three seasons which I think (if the premier is any indication) a front row seat now? The characters tend to make grand decisions at the end of seasons (Spoilers: Don trying to reconnect with his family – twice, Betty divorcing Don, SCDP breaking off, for example) and the show has very slyly always been about the ramifications of those decisions.

    It’s something very personal to me: it’s all too easy to decide, to forgive, to break up, to say you want these things. But doing it, putting in that work, dealing with the consequences of your actions? That’s where the drama is. I’m excited to see what happens next.

    Miles, Dan: I, too, won’t tell anybody what to like or not like (unless it’s expanded instant replay) but I will say that if you get caught up in the aesthetics and the pensive stares, you’re kind of missing it. A professor of mine once said that his favorite types of works (film or theatre or literary) were ones where the broad brush strokes were obvious and the artists and the audience could enjoy the work “in the corners”. Mad Men works magnificently in the corners (and, for me, also in the broad strokes, but YMMV).

    Unlike Neal, though, I love the tv format. Just watched Party Down this past week. Hysterical. Too bad it had to get canceled to get my attention.

  • Tomás

    @ Andrew:
    Ich bin im München für die Sommer, praktikum.