Monday, July 26, 2010

"Mad Men" Is Back!

It's fascinating to read what others have written about last night's 4th Season premiere episode "Public Relations" of AMC's stunning -- and there's almost no other word to describe it -- Mad Men. The series is cold and crisp and beautiful like a priceless diamond -- not the warmest gem out there, but so mesmerizing, utterly desirable and impossible not to look at.

Mad Men is Mid-Century America Kabuki, with its own kind of stylized costumes and a series of carefully constructed and elaborate tableaus where nothing is ever obvious and everything promises another layer of meaning left behind for us to peel away. Spoiler Alert: Here's a recap of the episode, but don't watch if you haven't seen it yet.

There's an interesting special interactive feature "Seeing History in Mad Men" from The New York Times, which has been thoroughly covering the return of MM with several recent articles. Last week they spotlighted different aspects of the series here, as well as looking into the use of period-appropriate language on the series with this "Mad Men-ese" story. Alessandra Stanley gave a look forward to Sunday's premiere here, and Ginia Bellafante wrote about it today.

Vanity Fair has a nicely detailed piece by James Wolcott, and The Onion's AV Club has a great overview of the episode here, too, and a few enlightening videos. I count myself among the folks who already knew what Peggy and her coworkers were riffing on with their "John...Marsha" routine, but it's evidently not exactly a universal pop culture reference point.

I also love Advertising Age and their coverage of the premiere episode, which of course contained a major scene involving the industry publication preparing a story about Don Draper et al's new agency. Rance McCrain writes about the portrayal of Ad Age in the show, and Larry Dobrow offers up a media industry-centric look at the episode. Both are great reads.

Also wonderful on a continued basis is the "Mad Blog" from Media Post Publications. Writer Dorothy Parker covers each episode with special insight.

If you've seen the first episode, you know that Mr. Draper got his freak on a bit, as seen below. Again, Spoiler Alert!

We've said it here before -- as TV series go, Mad Men is a slow burn. Too slow? Maybe a little, sometimes, but we've also said that it's more like a work of art than a TV show. We're supposed to look at it longer and deeper than the average TV show, so that's okay. We like a show what takes its time (with a deep nod to the great Mae West.)

Be sure to visit AMC's Mad Men site for much more information and behind-the-scenes features that will add to your appreciation of MM.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Kabuki. What a perfect description for this stylish, classy show. Sometimes I feel like Mad Men is not so much painted with a brush. Actually, some would (as you point out) complain that it feels like watching paint dry. I always get the opposite impression. The hour flies by and I am always shocked and disappointed when it is over. I wish Mad Men was two hours long. Loved the NY Times and Vanity Fair write-ups. I saw a comment on Entertainment weekly which said they thought Sally Draper was going to grow up to join the Manson Family. HA! I said the exact same thing in a post a year ago. Great re-cap Lisa!