Monday, November 9, 2009

Mad Men - Season 3

I'm not sure what to think of this season overall. The scenes in the office continued to be consistently fascinating looks into the rapidly changing business world of the early 60s. But I don't feel like I got enough of that, especially in the second half. At times it felt more like The Don and Betty Show than anything else. Important, life-changing decisions are being made by some of the supporting characters, and it's being overshadowed by the family drama going on at home. It's not that that stuff isn't interesting, I'm just not sure it's the reason most of the audience watches.

I'm not sure I liked the way that certain storylines were handled, either. Sal is a gay man, though only the people watching ever knew until this season. It seemed like they were building it up to be a big game changer, but there's a pretty abrupt interruption of the arc, and they made it seem like the little they did with it is all they're going to do, which would be disappointing. And scenes like the lawnmower were great, but made me wonder why they're so rare on this show. I understand that it's trying to be realistic, and insane things like that can't happen with regularity. But the fact that they were willing to go there once made me wonder why it's not shocking more often.

The last three episodes though were outstanding, with the finale being my favorite of the series. Something momentous finally happens with Draper marriage, and Don shows some actual vulnerability for once. We see one of the most infamous events in American history through the eyes of these characters we've grown to understand. And the biggest business uprising in Sterling Cooper history occurs, setting in motion some events that I am completely excited to watch unfold. On one hand it was the perfect way to shake things up before they shut down, on the other I'm going to totally hate waiting another year to see what happens next. I think I'd still give AMC's other show the nod for best on television, but the last few weeks have closed the gap.

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