Mad Men again

Catching up on Season 5 on dvd I am again amazed at the quality of this show.  The scripts are incredibly well-crafted. Within a minute or two we go from initial encounter to serious stuff.  Don comes in as Joanie goes beserk at receptionist.  He asks what’s up. Joan withholds, then, in her office, she admits to heartbreak: hubby served divorce papers.  Don, gallant guy he is, takes her to test drive Jaguars, a potential new client.  They wind up drinking and confessing long suppressed feelings.  She intimidated him; he didn’t send flowers like all the others. She found him hot but would never act on it.  A man eyes her. Don, still in early love with Megan, his new and incredible wife, takes his leave. We don’t know what Joanie does but can guess, knowing how she is. But Don gets hell at home for coming in late and drunk and not calling. Megan can’t stand his cavalier way but they clearly love each other.  All this in minutes.  And when Joanie gets flowers later in the program, guess who sent them?

For a tv show where dragging things out is often a key ingredient, ala the classic soap operas, Mad Men leaves little waste, little hesitation. Within a line or two we expose character flaws and deep yearnings, weaknesses and strengths. And every character has more than one side, none are set ups for the others.

If only every show were this complex, and others are too–Game of Thrones for one–I’d reconsider dropping my Direct TV service soon given that so much is a wasteland. Can you imagine a restaurant where, if you order steak, are told Great and that comes with mashed potatoes, french fries, potato chips, baked potato and potato au gratin.  I don’t need the fries. Sorry, that’s not an option.  It won’t be long before someone figures out the Hold Them Captive So We Can Pay Exorbitant Prices for sports events and other things, will crumbe in the face of a reasonable, appealing, affordable alternative.

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