Underwhelmed by the Mad Men: Days of Our Mads?
Here’s what going wrong:
1. The old suspense over Don’s real identity and what would happen if he got found out – one of the big arching threads of the first couple of seasons – has been resolved. Now everybody knows, including Don’s bimboesque second wife Megan. Don’s first near-wife is dead and forgotten. No replacement for her interesting character or the story line yet.
2. Men stopped wearing hats in the mid-1960s.
3. Piling cliche upon cliche, Don’s second wife is catty, immature, a poor housekeeper, and sings bad songs while forcing Don to endure a most-unwanted birthday party. How more obvious can you get? A Roy Lichtenstein canvas over the fireplace spelling out “THIS MARRIAGE IS DOOMED”?
4. The one new character who got some camera time this week, Michael Ginsberg, is even more annoying than Pete, while Pete continues to annoy as always. Sal is gone forever, and Bertram Cooper (Robert Morse) is not on camera long enough to make one hope he’ll break into A Secretary Is Not a Toy.
Joan showed up unexpectedly at the office last week in a cocktail dress and hasn’t been heard of since.
Weird Glenn stayed at the old neighborhood.
Trudy’s wearing house dresses, depressed and nagging…in the ‘burbs. Yet another cliche.
5. Betty got fat. For a show that cashes in on the stylishness of its characters, having the Grace Kelly look-alike in a fat suit is probably not a good thing, since it brings to mind endless (cliched) Oprah lamentations about hating one’s body, yadda, yadda. However, the writers probably came up with this plot device since January Jones is pregnant.
It would have been more interesting, however, to have a blissfully pregnant Betty happily married to a Republican while living in full Victorian splendor in a Castle on the Hudson. It may have even caused Megan to exclaim, Zoot alors! from the middle of her Danish Modern apartment.
Which brings me to the last issue,
6. Politics appears to be rearing up its ugly head:
Two, count ‘em, two digs at Republicans: George Romney, then governor of Michigan, enduring a put-down “Romney’s a clown!” (by a John Lindsay Republican, fer cryin’ out loud, which makes one wonder who’s beclowning who), which of course is a dig at Mitt Romney because who’s the Romney in the news? how many Mad Men viewers know that George even existed?
and an anecdote on Charlton Heston, then a Democrat who at the height of his fame marched with Martin Luther King, Jr, in Washington. Of course this was not mentioned.
Heston supposedly “had great weed” and met Harry Crane naked at the door. Wish I had been there, but still,
Republican fans of the show (and I am one) will now have to worry about more of this straight through to the end of the season
while enduring the rest.
Has Mad Men jumped the shark? Will the Mad Men hold up to the mid-1960s? Will I give a damn?
Take it away, guys!