Mad Men Season 3

#1
Regarding the premiere, that was... underwhelming. I was not a fan of the odd fantasy Don had of his own birth (which told us what we already knew), and the payoff of sorts to Sal's homosexual tryst was also unsatisfying. I'm unsure at this point if Matthew Weiner is attempting a Sopranos-style anticlimax with that (Don essentially telling Sal he won't tell, but to watch himself), or if this information will come into play later in the season, but, for me, it didn't work. I also thought the episode really failed to generate any excitement for the new season - last season had a weak premiere as well, if I remember it right, but I feel like it already had more balls in the air and more potential than anything shown here. Not awful, but this might've been my least favorite episode of the show so far. What did you guys think?

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#2
Couldn't agree with you more! The minute it started going into the Sal with the bellboy scene, i just lost it. i groaned--- OMG, another Brokeback Vito detour!!

i would have preferred it if they thought they had to go this route, then how about developing that relationship Sal had with the client from a previous season, where they actually had chemistry and some sort of genuine affection developing over their dinner date--, gay or not isn't the point. The bellboy scene had just a completely gratuitous feeling to it, to me.

And don't get me started on the stereotypical fling with a stewardess bit. Strange awkward dialogue at their dinner. Were people that fake and un-intellectual back then? (Not in our household, although i was just a babe of course!). Or maybe the fact that Weiner is young and imagining the sixties not so much from his own experience, but rather from what he fantasized it was. - Well- maybe that factor is really starting to show. Sure, the sets are perfect. But something was missing. Imo, this episode had to be the worst one ever.

The office firings had more a ring of truth to it, more believable. Those scenes were spot on to me,and i want to know more about what is happening to the characters. Its weird, i hated Pete at first in the first season. Then i came to feel a bit sorry for him and actually started to like him. Now after his tantrum with Ken, i'm back to disliking him intensley. At least for now! And i never did like his wife and her pretentious hats. Ew.

And what were the strange references to Sterling and Hong Kong? Wasn't quite following that.

And you are so right about the strange flashback to his birth- didn't have the effective use that flashbacks carried back in the Sopranos heyday. ANd that bit about the origin of Dick's name- just so cheesy and not believable at all. No one is that mean and cruel to name a child in that manner- again- seemed a bit gratuitous and over done.

There were some good moments to be sure, but overall, incredibly disappointing, and after this painful long wait for Season 3, i'm afraid they will have really lost their audience- especially newcomers. They needed a strong start, and this was a bellyflop.

However- the regular characters are still amazing and compelling, and of course i can hardly wait until next week, and i am about to go watch it again On Demand!! (so much for the thumbs down!) :icon_mrgreen:

p.s. here's an okay review: http://bluemoviereviews.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/review-mad-men-season-3-premiere/

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#3
Firstly, it looks like you're wrong - I just read that last night's episode had their largest audience ever. Hopefully they'll get the quality back up to par with so many more eyes are on them, or you're right, I fear they will lose their audience.

The references to Sterling in foreign lands, if I understood right, were that he was on his honeymoon in the break between seasons. The stoli and the cigars were things he picked up on his trip.

I sort of enjoyed the Ken and Pete rivalry. Speaking of what was discussed in the other thread, their conversation in the elevator reminded me of The Sopranos. They way they talked around each other, both under the impression they had gotten the job over the other and trying to soothe the other about it without directly stating anything, reminded me of some of the classic exchanges on our favorite show. One of the better scenes in the episode, although I'm not particularly looking forward to that aspect going forward (hopefully it won't be a huge issue in future episodes).

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#4
I thought the premiere was up to typical Mad Men quality. And as far as plot development goes on the show, I thought it was a little more lively than usual. The flashback at the beginning was an interesting choice. I dunno...good stuff I thought all around.

The problem I'm having with Mad Men is that it seems capable of going so far as a drama. And maybe this is the Sopranos fan in me, but I'm waiting for the show to just blow me away. I just don't know if it's really capable of doing that.

It's a very well-written, stylish show featuring characters that do/say clever and interesting things, and...what am I missing?

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#5
I thought it was pretty standard as well. It didn't blow my mind. But, in order to be succinct:

What I liked:
*The dream sequence at the beginning. It wasn't as masterfully done as Sopranos, but it was handled well. Especially the panning of shots as Don saw his past. As for it being overly harsh. First, this wasn't quite a flashback it was what Don thought or was told by others as to his history. And what he thought or was told (by his neglectful "parents") might purposefully be hurtful. Don has a decent amount of self-resentment, this had to spark somewhere...otherwise we are just chasing the ghost of Don Draper.

*Don's interactions with the flight attendant. On the surface this tryst is meant to seem routine. But it is a lead-up to the line that Don mentions "I keep going to a lot of places and ending up somewhere I've already been." Don baptises himself at the end of last season in the ocean of California. Apparently only to return to his old habits.

*The Firings. A good way to jump start things and make the audience concerned which of their favorite characters will be on the "bread line" next.

*Pete's arc. It is a perfect use of dramatic irony. Where you feel incredibly happy for Pete, but then watch his reaction and disappointment. Perhaps we can relate to that, but it struck me as baby-like. And reminded me of Christopher throwing a tantrum when he wouldn't get his way. And as much as that may sound like a criticism, it is not. In fact it pulls the viewer through a number of emotions, just as Sopranos did. One minute you love a character, the next you can't help but despise the new face they show.

*Don's (lack of) reaction to Sal on the plane. I was so glad to see Don not mentioning a thing about seeing Sal with the bellhop. Out of all the characters, Don has no room to criticize anyone for pretending to be someone they are not.

*The ending with Don in bed and telling the story. Very emotional and a great job by Jon Hamm.

Stuff I didn't care for:

The new crew...I am just never a huge fan of new cast members on my favorite shows. I enjoy the ones we already have, and quickly become annoyed with others who are stealing screen time. This, most likely, will change in the next few episodes after I get to "know" them. But for right now...not too interested.

Sal: I REALLY like Sal as a character. I just think it would be less cliche and angsty if he was a character which the audience knew without a doubt to be gay, but never was really able to act on it. I don't know, having him act and discovered seems done (like the Sopranos, which this show is already mimicking pretty heavily, Don being kicked out of the house, etc). It just would be great to see him constantly in turmoil over living a life that he doesn't want (great tv anyway, not great for him!)

That pretty much surmises my thoughts. And I can't wait to see where things go from here!

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#6
hey guys! just wanted to join the discussion here even though i have far less of my own analysis to throw in.

i noticed this season premiere was written by matthew weiner. that is kind of a rarity, is it not? after seeing that I definitely expected more. im a bit bored with the plight of the closeted homosexual in the 60s storyline, but it's OK for a few laughs. I can almost guarantee he gets outed this season and probably fired and gone from the show. how much longer can they drag that out?

weiner obviously loves stories about closeted men who are in impossible situations. makes me wonder how much he was involved in the vito plot (as one of you mentioned). probably a ton.

anyhow, the show still has great potential. it really gives the vibe that tragedy is just around the corner for every single character. i watch it with a certain level of horror and anxiety.

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#7
I thought the first episode was very good.

Mad Men, like Sopranos, has so much depth and symbolism. I actually like the British takeover..I think it is a great addition to story. The office is in a "London Fog".

Its only the first episode..so I'll wait a few more episodes until I judge how this season is going. But overall..satisfied..excited and can't wait til Sunday

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#8
Hi everyone- back from a business trip, so i just caught up on last two episodes. Definitely picking up. Obviously i wasn't too crazy about the first one, but of course in retrospect its all tying in now- just setting a certain slower pace i think, for perhaps the whole season? Or maybe what i took to be lackluster was really just a slow build up to much more down the line.

And what a show last night! Don was awesome as he handled Bett's Dad problem and making it so he could live with them. Just awesome- and he totally won her heart all over again. I actually am building up more respect for him, even though he had a sort of affair and was looking like he was going down that old path like Tony kept doing in spite of his best intentions.
The Jane thing- a bit odd. And with Joanie- does anyone understand what was up with the conversation about her husband's surgery problem? Did he screw up and they had to stop discussing it? Was he not selected for the resident surgeon job or something?

Ah, whatta great show! :icon_biggrin:

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#9
I think I'm disagreeing with some of the sentiment here by thinking the show is actually losing momentum as the third season carries on.

Stop me if you think Mad Men deserves to be considered as it's own entity outside of The Sopranos but -- 1) There are just too many parallels to be drawn between the two series and 2) look where we are posting these comments ;)

With that digression out of the way, Mad Men , for my tastes, is starting to be a little too enamored with itself and it's attention to period detail and less concerned with, I don't know, plot and movement. The Sopranos would drift and meander, but I thought it was able to do that because there was such a rich history to the show that it added character development and nuance to the broader strokes of the meaty substance that was already there. Plus, you knew that the meandering would often directly lead to more gripping and dramatic storytelling. The two tones of the show worked beautifully together on The Sopranos, but that balance is off at times on Mad Men.

I think that's the word that I'm searching for -- drama. I like Mad Men. I really do. I think I just want it to move me more dramatically than it does. It does so many things so well, but it leaves me kind of empty.

Re: Mad Men Season 3

#10
i guess time will tell if its 'jumped the shark', but for now, i think i will just see where this is going- (but i definitely wondered that when i watched the first episode). Maybe the point is to pull away from so much office-centric storyline to the slower homefront. They're leading up to the birth of the baby- perhaps it will turn out to be another boy and Betts will be disappointed. Or the opposite, and she will be more satisfied in her character's role than in the past season.

btw- is that a new actor for their little boy? Doesn't at all seem like the first 2 seasons, and not nearly as much 'presence'.

Perhaps most of the audience just can't relate that well to the office plot as it wraps around advertising and the peak of the Manhatten scene- there was probably only a small minority of the country's population that was in the Draper family's circumstances, whereas most people can relate to the homelife scenarios, regardless of the occupation of the "breadwinner". Its definitley a more east-coast thing. Out here in California, the glamour at that time revolved around the aerospace industry for sure, so those episodes hit home more for me, in terms of childhood memories. Surprised they don't bring in the Barbie and Disneyland bit- maybe they will. Pretty significant out here, and a significant impact on the culture. I'll bet they'll turn Sally into a bulemic trying to achieve that 60's "Twiggy" look if the show ever gets that far into her teen years...She seems to show increasing behavior issues every episode...

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