Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Mad Men Seasons 1-5.
Not quite sure how it happened, but in a short time span, I've found myself without a single Mad Men episode to watch. Not long ago I knew it only as the show that lots of people liked and that won all the big television awards each year. Now I find Don Draper's "people do things" passing through my head frequently, reminding me just how acute and in-tune with the reality of human beings this program is. Of course it's a very particular type of human being this show is focused on, yet it's greatness lies not just in showing how ad men are mad men, but how ad men are men, how their decisions impact us because they are so close to us. If you were to watch a promo for the show, you might find it dangerously similar to 1960s soap opera, and in a way the dramatic tensions packed into every episode force such a comparison. Yet when the show is seen in full, one does not think of soap opera, but of craft, of master-class actors working with ingenious scripts that are all about finding new ways to convey information to the audience. Soap opera is when information is given to audience on a platter. Mad Men is information given like a slip of paper under a table, for it knows people, and we know them, too. Mad Men is a show that might take a little while at the start, but if any show deserves a chance, it's this one. With this and Breaking Bad, AMC serves as a reminder of what a joy a truly good piece of television can be.