Jane After Dark: Mad Men, season two - Meditations on a stylish TV show
by Jane Boursaw, posted Aug 9th 2009 4:15PM
First of all, I have to say that I'm terribly distracted at the moment, because my daughter is watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even though I just watched it a few months ago, I wouldn't mind watching the entire series again from start to finish. But, alas, there are other things in my stack o' DVDs, so I'll have to be content with hearing it in the background while I work. She just watched the first two eps, and I had totally forgotten that Darla showed up in the very first episode. Interesting. Anyways...
I'll get back to The Wire -- I still have season five to watch -- but this week's Jane After Dark is all about Mad Men. Sometimes I fall deeply and madly in love with a TV show, and that's how it is with AMC's love letter to the 1960s. I raced through season one right after it was released on DVD, but stupidly waited for season two on DVD. I bought it last week and watched the entire season, devouring it like a hearty tenderloin that's perfectly cooked, so I'd be caught up for the season three premiere on August 16. If you haven't watched season two yet, spoilers follow after the jump...
Maybe the reason I'm so enamored with Mad Men is because I remember a time when men wore hats, women were supposed to stay home and have babies, gays and blacks were looked down on, smoking and drinking were part of the workday, and a pall of nuclear war hung over the world. Unfortunately, some of that still holds true today.
But the Mad Men sets alone, with their wood-paneled rooms, static-filled black-and-white TVs, and rotary phones are like a trip back to my childhood. I had to laugh (but not in a good way), when Betty just shook out their picnic blanket and left the trash where they dined in the great outdoors. Yes, people tossed trash out the windows of their cars back then.
Season two builds amazingly well on the foundation that was set in season one, and the characters' lives continue to deepen and get more complex. We learn a little more about Don Draper's stolen identity and the people who were affected by it. We learn that Betty is teetering on the brink of emotional collapse; all I could think while watching the last episode was, I sure hope she doesn't go the route of Kate Winslet's character in Revolutionary Road.
Joan Holloway, with her cool and womanly demeanor, is perhaps not as strong as we've been led to believe. The scene of her fiance attacking her behind closed doors in the office was disturbing, mainly because she just "took it" when she should have ditched him right there. Then again, he's a doctor, and even though she's Joan Holloway, she's wedged in that precarious era between women "taking it" and women "standing up for themselves."
And yet, mousy Peggy Olson seems to get stronger with each passing episode. I'm glad she finally told Pete about the baby, but he's such a wuss. I think he just said he loved her because she's moving up in the office. I don't get the feeling that he's been pining for her all this time.
Love Colin Hanks as Father Gill, and I'm fascinated by the gay Salvatore storyline. The writers aren't throwing it in our faces, but rather letting it build slowly and steadily. And Duck? He's a live wire ready to go ballistic at a moment's notice. He reminds me so much of Gig Young, though (everyone's favorite movie sidekick), it's distracting.
Really, all of the Mad Men characters are so fascinating to watch; it's hard to pick a favorite. What's your feeling on it? Got any favorite Mad Men characters? Looking forward to season three?
|Don Draper||89 (30.6%)|
|Betty Draper||31 (10.7%)|
|Roger Sterling||31 (10.7%)|
|Joan Holloway||37 (12.7%)|
|Peggy Olson||67 (23.0%)|
|Pete Campbell||6 (2.1%)|
|Paul Kinsey||3 (1.0%)|
|Salvatore Romano||5 (1.7%)|
|Harry Crane||7 (2.4%)|
|Ken Cosgrove||2 (0.7%)|
|Bertram Cooper||5 (1.7%)|
|Herman "Duck" Phillips||1 (0.3%)|
|Father Gill||2 (0.7%)|
|Freddy Rumsen||3 (1.0%)|
|None of these; I'll tell you in the comments below||2 (0.7%)|