The writing in season five is excellent, the characters are both fun and multidimensional (especially Wesley, whose story only gets more and more tragic), and it's just a great all-around season. Here are five reasons why I loved this season as much as any TV show (including Buffy).
I have to say, I really only started watching Angel out of respect for Buffy and Joss Whedon, and because I really loved the character of Angel (and David Boreanaz is not hard to look at). I was alternately watching Buffy and Angel at the same time (one disc of Buffy, one of Angel, and so on); it was a good way to do it, because there were a few crossover episodes that made a lot more sense watching them that way.
If Don were ten years older and this was 1972 instead of 1962, we'd be saying that Don Draper is going through a mid-life crisis. After spending last week contemplating a new future with the jet set, or at least getting the offer of a hobo-existence without the worries of finances or fidelity, Don was compelled to look back before making a choice. That phone call at the end of The Jet Set was to the real Mrs. Draper.
Back home, meanwhile, Betty is again faced with having to grow up. Between her father's decline, Don's disappearance and her rebukes of Arthur and Glenn, Betts has been forced to be more than she's been in the past. Sally's latest stunt shouldn't be a shock considering that she's snuck a drink earlier this season and clearly idolizes everything her father does.
Sally blames Betty for Don's absence, and Betty realizes that pain she's been feeling is just as acute for her child and she does something human about it -- she gives Sally the boots to cushion the blow of the truth that Daddy may not be coming back.
This isn't going to be the most earth-shattering news of the day, considering it's the most buzzed about show on television and just won Emmys for Best Writing and Best Drama. But it's good news for Mad Men fans: the series is THIS close to being picked up for a third season.
The Hollywood Reporter says that AMC has told Lionsgate that they want to renew the show for a third season, though the terms of the renewal depend on what deal they make with creator/producer/writer Matthew Weiner.
(S02E05) "This is America. Pick a job and become the person who does it." - Bobbie, to Don
Is there any other show on TV right now that packs so much stuff into one episode? So many revelations, so many character developments, so many nuances? People who only have the attention span for music videos have complained that "nothing ever happens" on Mad Men, but I say that more happens in an episode of this show than three or four of most other shows on the air right now.
This episode was amazing. Not only did we get the background story on one of the big mysteries of the first season (if this was Lost the message boards would be going crazy right now), we got to see a different side of a few characters and the very welcome (if quick) return of an old favorite. Though I wonder how her new situation will affect Don in the upcoming episodes.
(S02E03) "Some glib ad man, in that suit, cigarette perfectly in hand, not a hair out of place...here to tell him he's a bad boy?" - Jimmy's wife Bobbie, explaining to Don while Jimmy hates him
I was eating a sandwich (late dinner) while watching this episode of Mad Men, and you know what I was eating with it? Utz potato chips! I actually bought them specifically for the episode today because I knew that one of the plots had to do with an Utz account that Sterling Cooper was handling. This could be a trend, eating/drinking/using a product that a Mad Men plot revolves around. I'm not saying I'm going to be wearing Belle Jolie while watching an episode, but if there's one show that could make me do it it's this one.
Now, who does everyone think Jimmy was modeled after?
(S02E02) "Supermarket checkout girl? The conversation must be stimulating." - Joan, to Paul, about his new girlfriend
It must be hard to deal with the death of an actor on a current show. Not just the death itself, of course, but how to deal with the fact that the actor won't be playing the character anymore. On some shows, one of the leads dies, and you're left with either replacing the character with another actor, ending the show completely, or having the character die on the show too. I didn't think Mad Men would even deal with the character of Pete's dad (played by Christopher Allport, who died in January), since he was only in one episode of the first season. They could have easily referred to him, sight unseen. But they've chosen to have him die in the American Airlines plane crash in Jamaica Bay, and this could actually prove to be an interesting catalyst for future Pete stories.
(S02E01) "There are other ways of thinking about things than the way you think of them." - Duck, to Don
Pepsi had a famous ad campaign in the 1960s with the tag line For Those Who Think Young. That's the title of this episode, but it's not about the ad execs trying to come up with something for Pepsi. The episode is about change. More specifically, the youth change. A young, hip President is in the White House (with a baby), a stylish First Lady gives a televised tour of her home, everyone is having babies, and younger people are being hired by other ad agencies, and Sterling Cooper might have to as well.
But what types of changes are in store for the people of Sterling Cooper?
I'm not sure why anyone, at this point, hasn't seen the first episode of AMC's Mad Men yet (anyone who wants to see it, that is). The entire first season is up on iTunes, AMC reran the show after the first run, and the DVDs have been out for a couple of weeks now, so there have been a lot of different ways for newbies and fans alike to get caught up on the show if they're interested enough. And now there's another way: AMC has made the first episode available for free on its site.
If you become hooked on the show after watching this first episode (of course you will!), check out AMC on July 20. They're going to have a marathon of the entire first season starting at noon. The second season starts the following Sunday, July 27, on it's new night, Sunday at 10pm.
(After you watch chapter 1 after the jump, click here for chapters 2 and 3.)
Since today marks the release of the first season DVD set for Mad Men, I thought I'd pass this little bit of news on to fans of the show: they're holding a contest and the winner gets a walk-on role on the show!
Now, this isn't one of those easy "send an e-mail" or "mail in a coupon" type of contest. You're gonna have to work a little bit for this one. You have to go to the link above and print out a monologue from the show and film yourself doing it. Then you upload the video to AMC's web site. The winner gets a walk-on in a future episode and a free trip to Los Angeles.
(S01E13) "Who knows why people do what they do?" - Don
True story: About 20 years ago, I worked with a woman who was overweight. She wasn't feeling well one day - I think she had an upset stomach - so she left work and went to the doctor. She found out that she was 8 months pregnant. Not a month or two months, but about a month before the baby was due.
I thought of that tonight after watching the season finale of Mad Men. So many things answered and so many doors left open for a second season...
(S01E12) "Fire him if you want. But I'd keep an eye on him. You never know how loyalty is born." Cooper, to Don, about Pete.
I don't think I'm giving anything away when I tell you that at the end of this episode, Kennedy wins. But it's not really about that anyway, despite the title. The first half of the ep is all about the election and the different pairings we see at the Sterling Cooper all night party - Harry and Hildy, Ken and a secretary, even Sal and Joan, though not in the way you might think - but the second half finally explains what the deep, dark secret is in the past of Don Draper.
And the secret is...
I'm so happy to see Mad Men getting the recognition it deserves. It doesn't get Grey's Anatomy numbers (it's on cable) and it hasn't spawned devoted web sites like Lost, but it's critically-acclaimed, loved by those in the know, and has been given a second season by American Movie Classics. And AMC has some treats in store for fans when the season finale airs on October 18.
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