Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mad Men

I like Mad Men. The show started as culture shock - offices filled with drinking, smoking, outdated gender roles - then it settled into a nice little groove of existential dread. The characters and period detail are great and a lot of fun.

I am, however, getting a little tired of the show's lack of story. Plot developments are minor and glacial. There's not much more forward movement than a sitcom. In its characters and its era, the show's a fascinating snapshot, but it's largely a collection of frozen moments. Episodes and segments are almost interchangeable.

Don Draper's a particularly bad example of this. Half of his screen time is taken up with sulking and scoring. Particular instances of this scenario are fun, but taken together it's repetitive. We don't get a fuller picture of Don, we just enjoy variations on a theme.

That said, I was psyched that the "Don's going to California" episode ended with Telstar, a fun track by the Tornados, produced by Joe Meek. Meek wildly experimented with studio technology, attempted to communicate with Buddy Holly's ghost, and ended up the latter half of a shotgun murder/suicide:

Also, last Sunday's episode featured a few characters discussing Bob Dylan. In the real world of the early 60's, Syd Barrett wrote a song about early Bob Dylan, called Bob Dylan Blues. For Syd, it's a remarkably straightforward and coherent effort, charming as it gently teases:

Have you guessed the cheesy, tenuous connection between these two and the show? 60's era madmen.

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