Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome back "Mad Men"!

And away we go!

First reaction: I am, truth to tell, just a wee bit disappointed with the S3 premiere. The writing was more uneven than usual, to my mind - some parts didn't ring quite true, and some themes/storylines lacked, well, freshness, though it's too early to tell where some of them are going.

However: There were excellent moments, as always, and I DEFINITELY think the episode planted some very, very promising seeds for the rest of the season.

WARNING: MANY spoilers below

Things I loved:

-Pete v. Ken: Awesome setup for the rest of the season, and the contrast between the two of them was hilarious.
-Pete's little dance of joy
-The look on Don's face when he saw what was going on in Sal's room. Also his reaction later to Sal, and Sal's reaction to his reaction. Great acting by Bryan Batt throughout this ep.
-All of Roger Sterling's five minutes he had onscreen. And I don't even like the guy (John Slattery, though, is marv)
-Bert Cooper's taste in art strikes again!

Things I didn't love/things that felt forced:
-The vapid flight attendants, esp. the blond one (btw, was she or was she not supposed to have a Southern accent?)
-Related: Don cheating. It's just...getting old.
-Don's "flashback" sequence at the beginning (though of course it couldn't have been a true flashback - more of a reconstruction based on what he knew, I guess)
-The meltdown by the head of accounts after he got canned. It was funny at first, and then it wasn't.
-Don being able to reassure the anxious London Fog guys in five seconds and about as many words. I mean, it was a good line, but really, I wasn't buying *them* buying it.

Jury's out:
-The Brits. Especially the new non-secretary who's a dead ringer for Pete

Favorite comment thus far from Television Without Pity:

"Needed more: Peggy, Roger with a drink, cigarettes, Joan.

Needed less: Dippy stewardess, Pete whining, Trudy (although her hat can stay)."

As the chappies from Putnam Powell & Lowe (which I keep thinking of as "Dewey Cheatem & Howe" in my head) would say - brilliant!


Blogger EC said...

I read too many spoilers before watching the first episode, so nothing really caught me by surprise. I regret having read them now, but it was quite a wait to make it to the S3 premier.

I won't go into this episode at length, but here are three thoughts:

-The Great Depression era flashbacks always look too clean. The people look too shiny, in spite of their humble circumstances.
-My favorite line of the episode was Trudy, instructing Pete, "Don't go to the well; there's no water there," when he tells her that he wants to share the good news with his mother. Although, he may have been in love with Peggy, I think Trudy is a good fit for him. She understands how to handle him in "petulant child" mode. It will be interesting to see their relationship develop, after all of the stress that they had in S2 (this is also a foil of sorts to the Draper marriage, Campbell and Trudy are more equals).
-I don't think the whole Don cheating bit is getting old, I think that he can't help it, because women seek it out with him. When Sal mentioned that he had never seen a flight attendant that game, Don's response was classic with his, shrug, "Really?" Like Joy, Bobbie Barrett, and now, briefly, Sherrie, women seek him out, and the show asks, Can he change, and say, "No"?

6:29 PM  
Blogger lylee said...

1. Yeah, I generally haven't loved the childhood flashbacks - they feel very stilted, perhaps partly for the reasons you mention.

2. They've come a long way since the end of season 2, haven't they? Trudy's a trooper, in her own way. Kind of an interesting contrast to Betty (though I'm still sympathetic to Betty).

3. Yeah, that line to Sal ("Really?") and the raised eyebrows made me laugh. But I think it's becoming a bit too much, all these women throwing themselves at Don. I mean, ladies, he's hot, but he's not *that* hot. Or maybe I just don't personally have the hots for him, though I like Jon Hamm.

I thought this week's episode was much stronger. And even more seeds are planted! (Admittedly some of them less subtly than others) Show is officially back.

2:45 AM  
Blogger ToastyKen said...

Hey EC told me you were blogging about Mad Men, so I'm back. :) My favorite moments also included Betty's comment about her daughter's tool use.. and I liked Roger's obliviousness in his entrance. "It wasn't easy, you know."

And yeah, Don's tagline for Sal was amazing!

I feel the Pete-Ken thing is a bit contrived, but I guess it's kinda meant to be.

7:17 AM  

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