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Mad Men, do you watch?

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by HollyS, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. HollyS
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    by HollyS » Jun 11, 2012
    I'm I the only one befuddled by the popularity of Mad Men? DH and I have seen most of this season's episodes, know the back story for the seasons that we didn't watch, but still . . . it eludes me. I don't understand why this is considered great tv.

    Am I missing something? Irony? Camp? What?

    It does, (ironically), remind me of some late 60s and early 70s movies. When vague and disjointed seemed so avant garde.

    Is there a significance to Don's dentist issues and hot tooth? Why is he unhappy? Why is he the one having hallucinations if Roger is the one tripping on LSD? Why move to bigger offices? Why is that an important plot point? And Megan's mother - - just here to give Roger someone to have sex with? Or is she important, and how?

    It all seems so . . . "So what?"

    If you are invested in these characters, and care about the show, please tell me why.
     
  2. sonnyjane
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    by sonnyjane » Jun 11, 2012
    I can't help but think that you'd be more of a fan (or at least would understand the characters more) if you watched all of the seasons, not just this one. This season is a little more "out there" than those prior. The prior seasons focused a lot more on day-to-day work and family. This one has some more dramatic themes for sure.

    I can't tell if you're serious about your questions or just being sarcastic lol, but I'll answer them as though you were serious.

    Is there a significance to Don's dentist issues and hot tooth? Not really, does there need to be?

    Why is he unhappy? His business is doing okay, but is new and fragile and could go down at any minute. He is divorced and re-married to a much younger person with very different goals, in other words, his second marriage isn't a cake-walk, so he's not super happy. Plus, just last episode, one of his co-workers killed himself as a result of his meeting with him... so I'd imagine he's feeling a teeny bit down about that.


    Why is he the one having hallucinations if Roger is the one tripping on LSD? He drinks a lot in general, he was getting gas in the dentist's chair, and he is always paranoid of his true identity being discovered.

    Why move to bigger offices? Why is that an important plot point? At their firm, a lot of your self-worth comes from your status/rank within the company, and what office you have is a part of that. There have been several episodes where size/location/type of office has been discussed. In their collective minds, bigger office = more success. They are still an up and coming firm trying to compete with the big fish.

    And Megan's mother - - just here to give Roger someone to have sex with? Or is she important, and how? Not super important at this time

    It all seems so . . . "So what?" Yes but, does TV have to have a profound meaning? It's entertainment.

    I love the show. I think they do a good job of capturing the stereotypes of the era. And like I said, I think you'd have a better sense of each character's role if you'd been watching from season 1.
     
  3. Enerchi
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    by Enerchi » Jun 11, 2012
    hahahaha!!! It took us 3 tries to get past the stereotypical sexist behaviours, typical of the 60's, when we started to watch this. Once we were on about the 4th show (because we were GOING TO LIKE THIS... whether we wanted to or not!) ... it did kick in and we DID love it! This past season was a dud tho. Just a lot of nothingness really. I think Sunday's show was the season finale... woop de doo.

    Don will never be settled or happy. He's just a lost soul, hoping the 'answer' is out there somewhere, but he is definitely more in love with wife #2, Megan, than he was with #1. I love Roger Sterling! and Joan and Peggy and Ginsberg and... and... and... but I can NOT stand Peter Campbell - such a weasel!

    Oh - getting a little whipped up here - if you go back and do watch the series, you will get hooked after a few shows but keep it in perspective, it is a pretty good representation of the life of an Ad man back then. My FIL *was* Don Draper! My MIL and DH can't get over the parallels (and yes... in all aspects...)
     
  4. NewEnglandLady
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    by NewEnglandLady » Jun 11, 2012
    I heart Mad Men. Granted, I don't watch a lot of TV, but find the writing to be unparalleled. I also work for an ad agency, which is why I started watching it. I saw a clip of Don Draper pitching in "The Carousel" during a meeting once and was hooked.

    1.) I don't know the significance of the hot tooth. It's probably a reference to the emotional pain that he's experiencing after having not one, but TWO people hang themselves because of him.

    2.)He's unhappy for a lot of reasons. Crappy childhood. War. Stealing Don's identity. Anna dying. People hanging themselves because of him. I don't know, he's got a lot of inner demons, I suppose. Plus he has to work with Pete--that would make anybody miserable.

    3.) The hallucinations aren't really new. Matt Weiner wrote in a lot of hallucinations from Don's past in Season 2, I believe (or Season 3, I can't remember). Anyway, I honestly thought that the tooth pain + hallucinations = brain tumor, but I've read that the hallucination of his dead brother in the season finale is probably representative of him letting go of the past. So yeah, I guess that makes more sense.

    4.) I believe the bigger office is one of the reasons the episode was called "The Phantom". Ever since SCDP was founded, there has been a phantom second floor. I guess it's a rumor that they started to make it seem like they were bigger than they were. Anyway, now they FINALLY have that second floor!

    5.) Yep, Megan's mom was in town to see Sterling. But it so happens that while she was in town, she convinced Megan that she should stop thinking about acting and just be a doting wife (ironic since Megan's father is the one who convinced her to quite SCDP and give acting another shot). Anyway, the doting wife bit is what convinced Don to get her the Baker shoes part...and in turn I think doing that favor for Megan left a bad taste in Don's mouth. Then again, their marriage has been doomed for most of the season.

    Anyway, I do find the writing to be very good. I like that there are no crazy plot twists--I think you find that in lesser-quality shows. And the characters are interesting, you can like and hate a character at the same time. Plus, the acting is pretty good.
     
  5. athenaworth
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  6. makemepretty
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    by makemepretty » Jun 12, 2012
    I like it just for the visuals. The mid century decorating, the fully made up women, the guys in suits. The gender roles and topics that were just starting to get interesting(gays, inter racial dating). It's just very cool, the whole show. I think I gasped the first time I saw a pregnant woman smoking with a drink in her hand. It's also strangely calming for such action going on.
     
  7. Deia
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    by Deia » Jun 12, 2012
    My sister got my into Mad Men. I watched the first 4 seasons in about 3 weeks. It was THAT good. Picking up in this season won't make as much sense to you, I also thik you should try watching the first season to see if you enjoy it. I liked the first episode in season 1, and was totally hooked after the second.There is alot of depth to the principal characters, which I like.
     
  8. OUpearlgirl
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    by OUpearlgirl » Jun 12, 2012
    This season wasn't nearly as great as the others.

    I kind of thought Don's hot tooth was a nod to the fact that he is aging and doesn't take care of himself.

    I'm ready for Don and Megan to come to an end.. Just ick!! I don't even actually think he loves her more than he loves Betty. For one, we were introduced to Don and Betty after 10 years of marriage, with him lying to her the whole time. In their first year of marriage Don and Megan sure have some major problems. Also, I think he was gone too much from Betty and he saw that it didn't work out. In some ways he seems to almost be smothering Megan, so she wont leave him, and that won't work either.

    I hope next season is more like the first 4, because season 5 was a flop.
     
  9. movie zombie
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    by movie zombie » Jun 12, 2012
    Don killed his brother that had idolized him....any man can't be happy that would do that.....to maintain his stolen idenity.
     
  10. HollyS
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    by HollyS » Jun 12, 2012


    Okay, now we're getting somewhere. I do remember, vaguely, that Don was living a lie about who he was. But . . . to kill your brother? Looks like he could be slowly going (dare I say) mad? He's definitely tightly wound.

    I thought "Betty" was a Stepford wife. (Not accomodating, just vacant.) Or was that all about hiding Don's true identity? Megan is all wrong for him, but who would be right?

    Pete's a slug. Slithering, slimy slug.

    Roger has no boundaries. But he has some great lines that make me laugh out loud.

    It's just that I can't find any reason to care about these characters. So that makes me wonder why I'm watchiing.
     
  11. iLander
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    by iLander » Jun 12, 2012
    i watched the first season, but it got so lame and tasteless, I just couldn't watch it anymore. :roll:
     
  12. sillyberry
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    by sillyberry » Jun 12, 2012
    ***SPOILER ALERT***

    I love the show. Love it. Powered through the first two seasons on DVD then watched the next three live. I love how fully fleshed out the characters are. How they can be lovable and despicable and brave and cowardly and human. How you care about peripheral characters like Ken Cosgrove and Trudy. How Paul Kinsey comes back as a Krishna. How the gun in Act 1 can show up in Act 37. It's so meticulously crafted. I just wish they would bring back Sal!

    Plus I really want in the middle of a Don-Joan sandwich. I would die from the hotness.

    I actually thought Season 5 had some truly spectacular episodes -- Mystery Date (Joan kicks Greg out!), Signal 30 (Lane punches Pete!), Far Away Places (Roger on LSD!), At the Codfish Ball (Megan's mother!), The Other Woman (Joan gets prostitued! Peggy quits!), and Commissions and Fees (Lane's tragic downward spiral!). Not to mention Megan singing Zou Bisou Bisou in the season opener. The season finale was slower than the penultimate episode, but it set up the future well, I thought. Don walking away from Megan in the fairytale set into the dark depressing warehouse...

    The one thing I didn't like this season was how the themes lost some of their subtleties. A lot of things were a little too on the nose where they would have been left unsaid.

    One note: Don didn't really kill his brother, but caused his brother to hang himself. And then Lane hangs himself after being caught by Don for his embezzlement. I think the "hot tooth" represented letting secrets fester...hope they'll go away and pretty soon you're left with an abscess and may lose your whole jaw.

    Anyway, not everyone likes everything. You don't have to watch just to be a cool kid. ;)

    PS -- I do think it is a show that benefits from analysis, which is why I read all the analysis of each episode I can find. For anyone interested in Mad Men fashion, Tom and Lorenzo do an AMAZING job analyzing the episodes from a fashion perspective.
     
  13. iugurl
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    by iugurl » Jun 13, 2012
    I think this season is the worst season yet. I wouldn't really judge the series by this season. You said you haven't watched the other seasons right? The first few season, IMO, are far more interesting. This season is blah. I hope next season is more exciting, otherwise I may stop watching. (I will probably continue watching and complain about how much better it used to be :mrgreen: )
     
  14. GemFever
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    by GemFever » Jun 13, 2012
    I kinda felt like I did have to watch it, just for that reason. Marathon-watched Season 1 and some of Season 2 on Netflix, but had to take a break for a week, and then couldn't bring myself to return to it. It was all lovely scenery, clothing, the little details from the era... having a picnic and then tossing your bottles out in the grass... the little things that were awesome. The treatment of women was fascinating. But in the end, to me it felt like it was too much about poor, tortured, pretty Don Draper. After a while, his self-loathing got to be too much. It is a beautifully made show though.
     
  15. Tacori E-ring
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    by Tacori E-ring » Jun 14, 2012
    I love the show but I agree you have to start with season 1, episode 1.
     
  16. Imdanny
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    by Imdanny » Jun 14, 2012
    I haven't seen it but from the sound of it I'm not sure it would make much sense to me.
     
  17. smitcompton
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    by smitcompton » Jun 14, 2012
    Hi,

    Start with the first season. It does portray the era amazingly well. Don Draper will never be happy. You will hate him one minute and like him the next. Pete is turning into a Don Draper IMO. I wish they would bring Sal back too. Its my favorite show, but this season was not as good as the others, but I wouldn't miss it.

    I think the writing is terrific.
     
  18. movie zombie
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    by movie zombie » Jun 14, 2012
    this is based on real life and real stories. saw a "making" of and interviews with those that lived it.
    so many think the 1950's were so very great. Mad Men removes the illusion.
    it is also a good look at an economic group of that time. it certainly is not your working class poor of that era.
    and it is accurate re women and their roles. anyone remember when Betty goes to the psychiatrist and Don calls him to get an "update" which in this day and age we'd find horrific and in reality was a checkup to see if Betty suspected his affair?
     
  19. smitcompton
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    by smitcompton » Jun 14, 2012
    Hi,

    I'm not taking this to be in the 50's. I think its mid 60's to early 70's. I use as an example the fact that a womans cigarette is coming out. I'm assuming that its going to be EVE cigarettes, a long skinny cigarette that made us feel more classy and feminine.
    Don gives a fur cape to a woman--to me 60's. More women working late 60s--not 50's

    Of course--could be wrong

    Annette
     
  20. movie zombie
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    by movie zombie » Jun 14, 2012
    late 50's going into early 60's.
    the woman that Peggy is based on was an interesting interview......
     
  21. sillyberry
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    by sillyberry » Jun 14, 2012
    I believe the show starts in 1960 (the Kennedy-Nixon election is a storyline in the first season) and they just ended season 5 in early 1967.
     
  22. movie zombie
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    by movie zombie » Jun 14, 2012
    yes, you are right....the interviewees talked about late 50's/early 60's.
    i don't separate 1958-1961 very much......of course, being 10-11 at the time probably has something to do with it!
     
  23. TC1987
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    by TC1987 » Jun 16, 2012
    I never watched MM until last fall/winter when AMC started running MM on Sunday mornings at 6am. I bought DVDs for seasons 1-4 and loved those seasons.

    Season 5? It shocked me how much it never happened. LOL The earlier seasons were well written but Season 5 was not up to par, quality-wise.
     
  24. TC1987
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    by TC1987 » Jun 17, 2012
    Btw, for those who enjoy active discussions of Mad Men episodes and characters, the TWOP Man Men forum is worth dropping in on.
    http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/

    Betty and whatshisname's big house is the Stimson House in Los Angeles.
     
  25. CharmyPoo
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    by CharmyPoo » Jun 18, 2012
    I actually love Mad Men but was really disappointed with this season. That finale was no

    Then again .. I have been disappointed with all my faves this year - Games of Thornes wasn't great either.
     

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