Friday, August 27, 2010

Mad Men: Why I kind of have to force myself to watch it

There's no question that Mad Men is one of the best dramas on TV. The whole package works so well bringing you into this totally different era. I'm too young to have any firsthand knowledge of the 50s and 60s so it's all kind of a novelty to me--the fashion, everyone smoking and drinking at work, the attitudes towards women and race. And the advertising world is a perfect setting to illuminate what American society was like back then. The acting and writing is top notch, with really well-developed and complex characters and surprisingly twisty plotlines.

But despite all this, I generally have to force myself to watch the show. It's still summer, and there isn't a whole lot to watch on TV, but five episodes of the new season aired before I finally got up the motivation to catch up. Why? Because well, I just don't think Mad Men is a fun show to watch. I mean, there actually is quite a bit of humor in the show (in large part due to Roger Sterling one-liners) but there's always this undercurrent of...creepiness. Everything always just feels so unsettled and like a disaster waiting to happen, and sometimes episodes have this really deliberate, labored pace with long, quiet, drawn out scenes of the characters just being...creepy! Don, Betty, Peggy, Pete, Sally, that awful Glen...they can all just be really creepy! Sorry I keep using that one word but I can't really think of a better one.

I mean, once I get going on the episodes, I don't regret it. I really liked what the writers did last season, really shaking things up with the bust-up of both the Drapers' marriage and the original Sterling Cooper agency, and this season it's been really interesting to see the results of those changes, especially in Don. I'm glad Joan is back at work (though her husband is yet another creepy one...) and one of my favorite things about the show, Don and Peggy's strange and complicated but close relationship, continues to be explored.

But the creepiness factor is just always there! So while I have no problem saying that Mad Men is one of the best shows on TV, I can't really say it's one of my favorites. Am I the only one who gets overly bothered by its creepy atmosphere?


Kevin said...

hmm I don't think I would have thought of the word creepy to describe the show. But I can kinda see why you're using it. Everything is recognizable but is foreign at the same it could be an alternate universe. sort of.

burkie said...

i've never seen it.