It’s finally happened. Matthew Weiner & Co. have finally turned in an episode of Mad Men which AJ, Kenn, and Joe simply don’t like. Well, not simply; this show never does anything simply. There are good things in “New Business,” which is mostly about old business, including a parade of Don’s past lovers and the return of Megan. It’s the new business itself, Don’s dalliance with waitress Diana, which proves more of a problem. The gang discusses whether this is the show just spinning its wheels, trying something new, or building to something greater. Plus, don’t miss another exciting installment of Hamm Watch!
Zou bisou bisou, here’s to another season of Mad Men. Seasons 5 gets off to a start with awkward burlesques, hot cleaning action, a trademark Peach Pussy Power Play, and much more. The episodes under discussion are the two-part premiere “A Little Kiss,” in which it’s Don’s party and he’ll grump if he wants to; and “Tea Leaves,” wherein Betty’s, uh, put on a few pounds. Plus, don’t miss another exciting installment of Hamm Watch!
Don makes another pilgrimage to California in the Mad Men season 4 finale “Tomorrowland,” while AJ, Kenn, and Joe engage in some exquisite girl talk about the man’s complicated love life. What makes this trip different? What do Don’s decisions say about him? Who is Don Draper? The boys try and get to the bottom of things. Plus, don’t miss another exciting installment of Hamm Watch!
As Mad Men season 4 winds to a close, things seem to be falling apart for damn near everyone at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. This week, AJ, Kenn, and Joe chronicle the various disasters in “Hands and Knees,” in which we discover Lane has a sweet tooth for chocolate; “Chinese Wall,” wherein Megan goes above and beyond in her secretarial duties; and “Blowing Smoke,” in which Don actually finds a use for The New York Times.
Don Draper is a serial philanderer. Walter White is a meth kingpin. Nicholas Brody is a (possibly) reformed terrorist. Nucky Thompson is a gangster. These are not men who do good things. Why, then, do audiences hate their wives so much?
Don, Walt, et al. are enormously popular with viewers, and rightfully so. They’re not necessarily good people, but they’re not strictly bad people either; they’re contradictory, complex, nuanced, comprised of all the elements that make for great drama. If, like myself, you enjoy reading reviews or seeking out online reaction to each episode, though, you’ve probably noticed a worrying trend. Though many applaud the behavior of these characters, all murderers (save Don) and adulterers (save Walt), they’re a lot less willing to afford their wives the benefit of the doubt. Look, I’m not here to be the Moral Police; I’m not interested in discussing the pros and cons of infidelity, especially considering most of these characters’ wives are guilty of same. (Sidenote: I, uh, hope we can all agree murder is bad.)
And it’s not like I don’t get the appeal. I don’t watch Breaking Bad just because it’s a devastating portrait of a man sacrificing everything he holds dear at the altar of power. I also watch it because it is freaking awesome when Walt pulls off the perfect heist. How giddy did the classic “RUN” moment make me? Answer: very. And at the end of the Mad Men season finale, when Don gave the honey at the bar the patented Draper Stare…goddamn. As a viewer, I know full well how thrilling and visceral it can be to watch these men do their dirt. The problem is when you view them as the heroes of their respective stories and any attempts–especially by their wives–to curb or question their behavior as hindering their quest, whatever you think that is. The numbers show that not a whole lot of people actually watch Breaking Bad, and I know that its small but loyal following contains some of the sharpest TV viewers around. But the Internet would also lead me to believe that a bunch of folks would be okay with a show where all Walt does is make meth, kill people, and become the most awesome greatest badass superhero on the planet.