Monday, July 26, 2010

Last night I watched the season premiere of Mad Man. For some reason I thought the company was relocating to California (San Francisco), where the fellows shed their suits for black cotton turtlenecks and suede car coats. I was wrong.

The episode was bookended by interviews with Don Draper, one from an advertising trade magazine, the other from the Wall Street Journal. In the first interview, Don is cagey and reveals nothing, leading his colleagues to chastise him for a missed opportunity; in the second, he grabs the reins and speaks of the company as if it were the brain behind his face.

Meta highlight: the company has devised a TV spot that looks like content but in fact is an advertisement, something that, to my knowledge, had not been attempted until the 1970s. Later in the episode, a similar strategy for Dove soap is employed, for real.

Character highlight: Don likes to get slapped in bed.

With respect to tone, it felt as though the actors were dancing around the script, as opposed to embodying it. An odd effect, one that reminded me of what happens to all successful shows after the third or fourth season: self-parody.

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