Stick a fork in Mad Men, season one is officially over for this viewer. To celebrate, I officially Mad Men-ed myself (if you hadn’t gathered it yet, the picture to the right is not actually me, but Enid from the film Ghost World). I’m alright with season one being over, mostly because I’m so looking forward to the next seasons I have to watch.
The first season, as a whole, was very enjoyable. I thought the first half was pretty slow starting, but by the middle and end of the season I was completely hooked. It’s hard to believe that HBO actually passed on this show – to be honest this show seems like it would be a better fit on HBO than AMC. But AMC lucked out and so have the dedicated viewers of the show.
One of the best qualities of Mad Men is that it’s incredibly rewarding to watch. The tiny moments of foreshadowing make the more dramatic plot twists a great pay-off for the viewer. In the beginning, I complained that the characters didn’t have many redeeming qualities and actually, they still don’t. But they are magnetically complicated and now that I know enough about their damaged histories, I care to find out what happens to them. The more I know about the characters the more I want to keep watching. Their lives seem risqué, even from the vantage point of 2008, when the first season aired. Despite the risqué subject matter, Mad Men manages to execute everything – unexpected pregnancies, office affairs, suicide, dark pasts, and homosexuals still in the closet with dignity, elegance, and class.
The first and following seasons of Mad Men have done well critically. Obviously, I don’t disagree. Some reviews, usually international such as the Mark Greif review in the London Review of Books, have criticized the show for “failing to do anything except congratulate the future” and called it an “unpleasant little entry in the genre of Now We Know Better.” I won’t say he’s dead wrong, but I will say he’s definitely failing to see the bigger picture. I will also say he could accuse me of the same thing. Really my biggest complaint is the lack of humor used in the show – of course it’s not comedy but Mad Men has a very sly, dark, and ironic sense of humor, and I would have enjoyed seeing them employ it more often.
I feel like I’ve tackled most of the major questions I wanted to answer about Mad Men, so in lieu of repeating what I’ve already said and making useless jokes, I would like to present the best hits of Couch Commando’s Mad Men blog posts from the first 2/3 of the show:
I’m very glad I went with Mad Men for this blog project. While it wasn’t far out of my viewing habits, who knows when I would have gotten around to watching it. And at least this time I had a place to gush about my favorite parts. I’ll definitely continue to watch the show. It’s always difficult to wrap things up, so instead of a lame attempt at summing up the whole season in one sentence, I’ll leave you with a video that does it better than I can (beware, NSFW):