TV Roundup: Mad Men, #15
So far, the list looks like this:
21. Kids In The Hall
19. How I Met Your Mother
17. The Simpsons
16. The Daily Show
That show, as the title of this post indicates, is Mad Men.
Hey, it's not that I don't love the show - this is my list, nobody is forcing me to rank shows in a particular order. It's more that, while I know I love Mad Men, I didn't realize how much I did until I made this list. I am pretty sure that this show, much like Dexter, this could change in either direction before the show has run its course. The fourth season doesn't even begin until this Sunday, so there's plenty of time for them to screw this up. Still, those three seasons thus far have been really, really great.
Read more if you are so inclined...
What kept this show rising in my rankings was one simple fact: There isn't anything I dislike about this show.
That sounds simple, but even some of the shows above this - hell, most of them - have a plot line, or an entire season I'm not crazy about. I can't really say that about Mad Men, a show that in my opinion has consistently made great choices in design, tone, plot ... the list goes on.
The writing, direction and acting are all top rate. If you were to ask me who the worst actor on the show was, for example, I would struggle ... for a long time. The first season or so, I would have reluctantly chosen January Jones as Betty Draper -- but Jones -- and the character of Betty -- has been fantastic since, and was even just nominated for an Emmy for Best Actress for the role. If that's your worst actor, you've got an incredible cast, which Mad Men indeed has.
Because, unlike my father, Don Draper is not a likeable person -- or at least, he shouldn't be. He is a liar, an almost compulsive adulterer, and he drinks throughout the day and night. And yet...how can you not at least somewhat root for Don Draper? Hamm plays him perfectly, charming both the women in his life and the men who work with him - and in the process, the audience. And in truth, Draper isn't alone - there's really nobody completely likable in the entire show, with the possible exception of the utterly alluring Joan Holloway, played by Christina Hendricks.
In this so-called TV Roundup, I'm going to try desperately to not put spoilers in here. So, I will just say this - Mad Men occurs in the real world, and real-life things happen both as part of the plot and in the background. The first season opens and Sterling Cooper (the ad agency where the ad men - 'Mad Men' - work) is doing pro bono work for the Nixon campaign in the 1960 election. It's also where you'll meet indelible characters like Donald Sterling (John Slattery), Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), Sal Romano (Bryan Batt), Peggy, Joan and many, many others.
This show is dark -- depressing as hell at times, cruel and biting at others. But it's also incredibly funny at other times (I'm thinking in particular of a lawnmower scene that is all of these things, for one). I can't wait for the fourth season to start, and I hope the series can last a few more years after that. Mad Men is absolutely the right choice as my 15th favorite show.
And since we're in that higher territory, a new series of questions to close with:
Do I own this on DVD? No, I don't.
Do I want to own this on DVD? For sure, I want to re-watch the entire series already, so I think that makes this a yes. But I'd want to wait until the series was over before making this call for sure.