Mad Men’s best days have come and gone
What was once the best show on TV is now a very good soap opera.
Why? Because great writing can’t go on forever and, as a time period, the big changes of the 60s have come and gone on Mad Men.
Here’s why (IMHO) MM is heading the way of Dallas per the season finale (spoilers ahead):
• Don has a toothache – another not-so-subtle metaphor that the man of the early 60s is losing his edge, with some imagined glimpses of DD’s half-brother Adam. When a story relies this heavily on dream sequence type devices to pump up suspense, it’s running out of ideas. There’s been a fair amount of this in Season 5 (Don strangling an old flame in a dream to name one).
• Pete gets beat up—AGAIN. We know Pete is the mad man everyone loves to hate but Lane just kicked his butt a few episodes ago. This repeat smacked not only of ROI (running out of ideas) but of blatant audience pandering through BBG (beat up the bad guy). What’s next? WWF?
• Don just happens to run into Peggy at the movies. How convenient. And they have nothing but wonderful things to say to each other. Isn’t Peggy still a little pissed that Don treated her like the bottom of a bird cage for so long? I hope this isn’t a prelude to a romantic interlude.
• Heavy-handed dialog – ‘Are You Alone’. Groan.
• The ‘blah’ season ending. I haven’t felt this burned since the Sopranos ended. After caving in and getting Megan the commercial spot she wanted so badly Don is that easily disappointed and enticed to philander? Again? That’s it? DD’s about to chase more tail.
• Oh, the partners standing in an arty pose. Looking out at what? An era with a war in Indochina? Civil rights? Women’s rights? Student demonstrations? Psychedelic movement? It’s not clear, is it? Probably because Matthew Weiner doesn’t know yet.
Not to say there weren’t some nifty developments (as always): Megan grabbing the commercial spot for herself (showing us a side of her we’ve not seen before), Don delivering the payoff check to Lane Pryce’s widow and getting shown the door, the irony of the sudden success of SCDP on the heels of Lane’s suicide, Megan’s mother’s terrific dialog. But all of the interesting things revolved around the secondary characters. The arc of the main story and characters are…?
It was nice while it lasted.