Oh Mad Men, What are you Doing?
Mad Men’s sixth season two-hour premiere was Sunday night.
I fell asleep twice. It was boring, stilted, and over-indulging itself, ladies and gentlemen. My better half and I turned to each other several times during the premiere and said out loud, “What is going on with that? This is bad.”
Season Five came out with a bang! Zou Bisou Bisou!
Season Six? Not so much.
Don Draper seems medicated with the way he interacts with his world. They’ve changed the self-introspective star into an indifferent sot who half the time doesn’t answer direct questions. I counted three distinct moments in which Don was asked a question and instead of replying, he just ignored it completely. That’s not great writing, as the show wants us to think, that’s sloppy! It’s drek! I know the show’s creator wants me to think, “Ooo, Don Draper is ignoring the concerns of lesser people around him and he’s still struggling with the issues of his past.” NO! If he’s struggling with his issues, make him interesting and fire witty comebacks or snarky remarks at people. His silence isn’t interesting. It makes you look like you forgot how to write your main character.
Betty Draper is back on the creepy-wagon. I’m not exactly sure why we’re watching her. Betty’s fallen in love with another lost adolescent now and I wish that revealed something about her character or Don or her current relationship, or was even mildly interesting, but it’s not. Watching Betty talk to drifters and squatters while searching for some lost girl was predictable and dull.
Roger Sterling is keeping things sharp and snappy, at least. I like his therapy sessions, they remind me of Tony Soprano sharpening his mental teeth. But Roger’s reactions to events like his mother’s funeral are growing unbelievable. Did anyone buy his fake over-the-top rage at seeing his ex-wife’s husband? We all know he just wants to sleep with Mona again, that’s been true at every point in the show about every woman Roger’s ever met. His mother’s funeral isn’t a realistic time to dwell on that again, is it?. Plus, there was the crying scene. Everyone watching called out how he’d break down as soon as he was alone in his office with his former shoe shiner’s kit. Too predictable again, guys.
Is it me, or was the dialogue repetitive? Megan tells Don to get some sleep, she has to go out and be an actress, Don – get some sleep, she loves her job, Don – get some sleep, tell Roger I’m sorry I couldn’t be at the funeral, and Don, get some goddamn sleep.
In addition to the dialogue woes, did everyone on the cast visit the January Jones seminar on line delivery during their time off? It’s all well and good if we have just one person on the cast who regularly reacts within a scene like this: “Um, well, I’m going to say my line now.” Think about Betty saying exactly that, then think about the premiere. Yeah, I thought so.
Really, Mad Men’s main problem is this (and I’m stealing this from the greatest morning show ever, the Tony Kornheiser Show), show creator Matthew Weiner would like to stand atop the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and shout to the world, “See, David Chase! I’m smarter than youuuuuuuu!” He’d like to invade your home and say that to all of us, too, and Mad Men is his vehicle for doing so. It’s great!
But after five seasons the show is leaving some of its best and integral stuff behind: the office. Mad Men is about Madison Avenue, advertising, and the men that ran that world. It needs to stay on Madison Avenue to keep its heart and soul. I want to see less of Betty and her husband and hear more pitches and people working on ideas. It’s fine that they’re trying to push Peggy as the new Don Draper. We all see it, we all like Peggy, we know what you’re doing with her, but she’s going to be Don Draper Lite until she steals a client out from under him with an amazing idea. I don’t care about Don’s Hawaiian revelations about giving a bride away to a fellow GI, let’s see his next brilliant counter to a client’s short-sighted demands.
What I am trying to say really comes down to this:
Stay in the office, Mad Men, that is only place where the show remains interesting.