Disappointed in Mad Men - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We watched "Maidenform," the last Mad Men but one, tonight. I have to say the show is disappointing me. I feel like they are going for the big ugly moments, but the stories aren't adding up the way they did, and the characters aren't convincing me.

In the episode (SPOILER), Duck abruptly shoves his loyal dog out the front door of the office building. In the rain.

I guess that is supposed to make him out to be about the worst imaginable shit there is. Because abandoning your dog onscreen is one of the lowest things you can do. (In real life it's repulsive, too. But for some reason on TV, serial murder is more forgivable than abandoning a dog, while in real life people take it more seriously.) Apparently he's angry because his wife is remarrying, and can't keep the dog because her fiancé; is allergic. So he takes it out on the dog. Rather than, say, trying to give it away.

The dog, mysteriously, once outside, runs off into the night. I can't imagine any dog that would do that.

Don, for his part, discovers that he has a "reputation" as an adulterer. He seems pretty upset about it. Considering the gusto with which he sleeps with other women, you'd think it wouldn't come as a shock to him. He seems almost ... ashamed.

All big moments. But they didn't add up, for me. They didn't enlighten me about the characters. They seemed forced -- big moments for the actors to act.

(The dog running off just felt like an animal wrangler mistake, or maybe no one was on set who has ever had a dog.)

Last year the big moments were there, but they felt earned. And I'm having trouble caring about any of these people; they're all so awful to everyone around them.

What do you guys think?

Labels:

7 Comments:

Well, I can't speak to the larger issue, but the proximate cause of the dog-in-the-rain bit was that Duck was staring longingly at a bottle of whiskey and his dog was looking at him reproachfully. He's a dry drunk, if his ex-wife is to be believed.

By Blogger Matthew Dessem, at 11:55 PM  

The dog was the most heartbreaking moment I've ever seen in television. We don't see him fall off the wagon, we see him reach for a bottle, but stop, the dog's look making him guilty. So he marches the dog downstairs, across the lobby and locks him outside.

It doesn't make him dispicable, it creates pity. It's heartbreaking weakness.

By Blogger Dan Abrams, at 1:20 AM  

As far as Don's behavior goes, a recurring motif of the season is Don's willful blindness to himself.

For example, when the country club emcee had the veterans in the audience stand up for applause, and Don saw the loving look of respect in his daughter's eyes, it pained him -- because he knew his "veteran" status is largely a fraud. There have been a few such incidents this season.

It's increasing the pressure on Don's intrinsic conflict: the man he really is and the man he pretends to be. For his illusion to work, he has to buy it too.

It's not unusual for a dirtbag of a human being to think of himself as a "good guy," and when confronted with evidence of his dirtbaggery, freaks out and grows angry. His self-image crashed against reality, and he hates that.

The series is building to a point where Don will crack under the pressure of his conflicting identities. But it won't happen for a long time.

By Blogger Harvey Jerkwater, at 11:40 AM  

Wasn't there a constant device on The Sopranos where they showed Tony as a loving, misunderstood pussycat then immediately showed him to be a heartless monster? The idea being, presumably, to say, "don't get too attached to this scumbag, viewers". I think Mad Men does the same - their utter commitment to the reality of the characters is such that we have to take the warts with the warm fuzziness. Because we're all like that.

By Blogger blogward, at 5:02 AM  

"It's not unusual for a dirtbag of a human being to think of himself as a "good guy," and when confronted with evidence of his dirtbaggery, freaks out and grows angry. His self-image crashed against reality, and he hates that."

This is so true. I've seen it again and again in real life.

By Blogger Eme Kah, at 9:46 AM  

I agree about the dog moment. I was actually thinking about asking Matthew Weiner about it at the WGA panel on Weds. It does seem big for a show that's usually so subtle.

But, I would also say, wait for the next two eps. I believe they are redemptive.

By Blogger Jen D, at 4:24 PM  

Weiner said, "You can't sustain a six-page scene if people don't sip their drinks where I tell them to. I have a lot of non-verbal moments in my scripts that are very meaningful."

This explains why I think the pacing is soo sloow. I have many problems with "Mad Men", one being I don't think there's much meat to it.

Another problem is- things happen and then... nothing.

And another- Weiner beats the "this is a man's world and woman are here to serve because that's what the era was" beats to death. We get it. it begins to feel like filler doing nothing for plot or story.

I feel better now.

By Blogger Big Tex, at 9:19 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.