Thoughts on Mad Men season 1

I had 2 episodes to go on the first season of Mad Men and I was trying to decide if I liked the show or not and then I suddenly went to Target and bought the second season.  I guess that’s a sign.  When I thought about it I realized that the main reason I wanted to keep watching it was to see how all the cheating turns out.  I can’t help it, I’m curious.  And that’s such a soap opera reason to want to watch something, right?

I do have to say that the production values on that show are particularly impressive.  Just like the other 2 AMC original shows I’ve seen (Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead), Mad Men looks like a movie.  Like a really good movie.  It takes place in the 60’s.  1960 to be exact (for the first season at least).  It really is amazing how flawlessly they pull it off.

I heard somewhere that one of the neat things about Mad Men is that it paints a picture of a time that a lot of people feel nostalgic about but the themes are hardly things you’d be able to look back on with rose colored glasses.  The men have huge egos.  They harass the women openly and it seems that most every male character is having an affair.   For the first bit of the season it seems that they’re just going to keep getting away with it but things start to unravel later on, which seemed fitting.

The storytelling is quiet and subtle and you nearly feel that you can read the characters’ minds.  That’s usually something relegated to novels because it’s trickier to pull off visually in a movie or TV show.  But they seem to pull it off somehow.  Conversations are often in the metaphoric realm and the characters could be talking about advertising but they could also be revealing who they are and how they think.  And it causes the episodes to hit you in a deeper way than you might’ve expected.

Case in point:  the 12th episode “Nixon vs. Kennedy” takes a turn in the last 20 minutes that makes you suddenly think that the writers just might be telling a much larger story than you thought up to that point.  It’s like the whole thing spreads wide and the possible scope of the show might be epic.  But I’ve only seen the first 13 episodes so I don’t know if that carries through.  I do know that after that episode ended I sat in my chair for about 15 minutes in the quiet and thought about what I just watched.  And I felt like I could’ve sat there much longer but I couldn’t help starting up the next episode, which made for a late night.

I think I like the show.  I would recommend it to some people.  Some people I know would probably really like it.  Some might get tangled up in the subject matter but I think everybody would agree that it’s a well made show.  But that’s not always a deciding factor for if you want to watch something.

I just know I’ve got the 2nd season right here waiting to be watched.

    • craig
    • December 31st, 2010

    really excited to watch this now! I have downloaded a bunch.
    Finishing the second season of Bored to Death soon. I was kinda having the same question, wondering if I really like it or not. And I think I really enjoy it, but I have nothing of this kind of praise for it.

    • Jeff Grant
    • December 31st, 2010

    I don’t know if they have Costco where you are but they’ve got whole Mad Men seasons for only 12 dollars at the one by me. Hope you enjoy it when you find it!

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