The critical favorite has lost a lot of social ground to the likes of Westoros, Heisenberg and the zombies. Does it matter? Read more>
Not a bad read if you’re into social media trends stuff. But I have to say, I will take Mad Men's superior storytelling and let Game of Thrones have the social buzz and count myself a winner on that bargain.
Still waiting anxiously for the day that GoT is old too. Hahahahha. IDEGAFA.
I think a lot of people talk about Mad Men on social media. Almost everyone I follow watches it and talks about it. The issue that it is not translating into ratings like a Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, that have grown and expanded their audience versus Mad Men that has had its lowest ratings in years.
I somewhat want to blame Matthew Weiner for this issue. He had AMC sign-off on almost all of his demands for secrecy which makes it very hard for the show’s big cast to promote the show in various media and also create a lot of jealousy, frustrations, and backlash across social media and the industry- that has turned its cold shoulder on Mad Men since Season 5, after Weiner got that new deal with AMC that included those demands met.
Shame. The first two episodes are some of the best stuff since Season 4 (and I really liked Seasons 5 and 6 so this is a huge fucking compliment).
A lot of people do talk about MM on social media, I think they’re just saying that not as many people do as who talk about those other shows. Of course a part of that will be an effect of the lower ratings.
Yes I think you’re on to something with Weiner who lost a lot of love with those negotiations.
I also think that for a lot of people, Mad Men was fun to talk about not because of its depth and what you could learn from it, but the aesthetic and the 50s vibe. When the show became more 60’s (I know that it was almost always set in the 60’s but starting with S4 it started to actually FEEL like the 60’s as we know it now), it became part of the modern era, and that felt much more like “us”, and not “long ago and far away”. I think that made it lose some appeal for people. The grey flannel suit in the show was no longer cool, it was being replaced in its in-universe cooldom by brown leather fringe jackets, and that’s not as “exotic” to contemporary America as Don Draper. The Eisenhower era and its king, Don Draper, was appealing to people on a superficial level and when it went out of fashion on the show, I think people lost some enthusiasm. IDK, it’s a possibility anyway. Usually when you’re talking about buzz in large numbers, it’s just not going to be the facets of the show that make it critically acclaimed and deep. It’s going to be all the superficial stuff like Betty’s dresses and Joan’s hair and Don’s suits and Roger’s sexist jokes (or Game of Thrones' shock value titty scenes and zomg badass dragons etc etc).
I have to say, while I totally understand why people are cool towards season 6, which I think is the season that least lived up to its potential, I utterly LOVED season five and I’m still perplexed why it’s considered a lesser season. I loved it far better than season four, I will watch “Lady Lazarus” and “Signal 30” and “Far Off Places” more often than I’ll watch “The Suitcase” TBQH. (Admittedly I don’t quite understand why “The Suitcase” is supposed to be the ultimate episode of this show.)
Season 4 to me is just the most consistent season in terms of thread line. Although it is not flawless, Betty is at her absolute meanest for a lot of people that season and I still am not a fan of the lead up to how Roger and Joan conceived Kevin, it felt pretty effortless. It helps it is more office-focused and just plain more focused and disciplined that I think the show does not necessarily have to do, but Mad Men had to, at least, have that before they got too late in the sixties. ”The Suitcase” is an impressive bottle episode of the two best characters on the show basically representing what they are in the business of at that agency, which some critics take as also the way Mad Men is made but that feels almost too deep-reading, but to me there was more to Season 4 than that episode that is part of a larger thread-line. I think those other episodes you mention play more as vignettes, stand-alone episodes that to me are among the best in the series. People who think Season 5 is a lesser season are crazy and that is not just because I think everything that comes after “The Grown Ups” in Season 3 far out-does everything before Season 3’s “The Grown Ups” (I do love certain episodes before that, however).
But back to your point, early on in the show there was this weird wink-y, ‘Let us look back at these people doing and saying some things we cannot do today’. There was this uncomfortable near enviable air from a subset of viewers who, as one example, loved Roger saying something racist jokes but never realizing he is probably one of the most depressing characters on the show. In a way, I would say the show early on catered a bit to that effect. Not so much on the superficial level, but it in the insistent contrast of ‘this was in the past’ moments that I think Matthew Weiner and his writers have shed a lot of after Season 3 (the weakest, most adrift season, in my opinion), when the 50s spiritually ended in the Kennedy assassination. Basically, I think that moment in history and the show itself feels like an emancipation of a certain dry, overstayed air that I took from not just the 50s seeping over into the 60s, but also within the show.
I am still a bit vexed that the show’s awards dried when, for me, it shed a lot of the superficiality and associations, that include some in the fandom, and got better and more interesting. To me earlier Mad Men could often feel like characters impressing themselves with their words to a larger group of people or a person next to them than something fuller and realer that I have gotten from Season 4 on up. The show goes from people who believed their lies and hid their truths to now in a gray area of realizing their lies and their truths have consequences but are troubled about what they can do. I guess people find that aspect very uncomfortable. For me, Don’s Hershey moment actually personally interrogated me on my own personal issues. I have to imagine it hit others that way.
As far as Game of Thrones, it is just not my thing. But I am not overly mad at that show. It did not rob Mad Men of awards like Homeland did and boy, Homeland Season 1 beating Mad Men Season 5 and Breaking Bad Season 4 is one of the most hilarious, dumb decisions in that Emmy category- even more than when 24 beat The Sopranos. 24 felt like a for better or worse zeitgeist pick that reflected its period. With Homeland, it still greatly troubles me that people confused that show for being good. Game of Thrones feels like something had Paul Verhoeven been in his creative prime at this moment would have had a hell of a time doing. In fact, I would watch his version. Screw adaptation, I prefer messing with people.