Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mad Men Season 3 Finale

Mad Men (season 3) ended 2 Sundays ago. They used the JFK shooting as the penultimate episode so they would not have to crowd the finale with the JFK tragedy. Smart. I thoroughly enjoyed the Nov. 22nd episode. I had forgotten that Lee Harvey Oswald was shot live on national television. Truly horrific time. I bring this up because many of my parents' peers call that death as the end of an era or of innocence. That is very fitting considering how Mad Men season 3 ended.

The firm is reborn through a nice swindle with key players intact, Betty is divorcing Don, Big Red is back, the bearded douche (Kinsey) and Kenny Cosgrove are out, no one knows where gay Sal went, no more Brits, that wonderful office setting is gone, and yet it all feels empty. I loved that they had a focus on the agency and making moves with clients. Yahhhhh for not purely being a soap opera. What I did not like was a feeling that the writers didn't know how to write out the Brit storyline or keep Big Red involved, so they came up with this clever way to get the guys back on their own.


So Betty Draper is leaving Don for a guy she has kissed twice? That was pretty flimsy. The idea she'd build a 'lifeboat' for leaving Don does make sense and is 100% real. What is not real is to do it all for a man she's had very limited contact with, and to do it w/o proof of Don's infidelity. Weak. My wife and I both hated Betty though by season's end, so good riddance. I am glad Roger Sterling is more involved again after the weird path they had him going of his young bride, goofing off and drinking nonstop. I like how they had Don going after Peggy to join their new team, and it was nice to see. I wish she had made the leap and left for another company and more power, but this still sets her up for breaking glass ceilings.


As far as the ancillary players, I was hoping Kinsey (bearded douche) was going to confront Peggy about stealing his idea, which is what they were implying a couple episodes back. I want to know what happened to Sal. His whole closet gay storyline was interesting and entertaining. Why didn't they push the storyline of Sally being a violent child a bit more? A divorce will do wonders for that, so maybe they are saving that for next season. I'm glad smarmy Pete is there. My wife hates him because he performs his job of being a smarmy asshole to perfection. Where the hell is the teacher Don was banging who had a very "I'm not going to be ignored, Don" vibe about her? I want to know what happened. Loose ends only anger fans.


Here's part of the gripe, and why we may never know: when do they come back? Is it 1964, 1965, or 1966? If they skip too far ahead, the teacher affair, divorce, building the business, and Sal might be too much of a look back. Plus, you start to get away from the era from which this show resides. Coming right back in 1964 would be fun and allow for flowing continuity between season 3 and 4. Zooming through the '60s with touches to historical events is not what this show is about. It's going to be jarring if they come back and it's '66 and Don Draper is already rocking the non-slicked back hair. Plus, if they come back in '66 with an established office, it's going to feel more like the creator wanted to press 'reset' on the show and start over with the same principals. I want to see the struggles, I want to know how the Drapers split the kids, I want to know how they handle the Beatles and more rock acts. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that when the Mad Men crew comes back in season 4 next summer that it is 1964.
***Betty Draper was on Saturday Night Live last weekend. She looks better in 1960s clothes with the hoop skirts and rocket boob bras. No shape to her at all. She looks like a little girl instead of a woman. Ruins her entire look for me. Plus, I can't stand her character. Big Red goes back to no. 1 on my Mad Men eye candy list.

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