Thursday, October 8, 2009

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 3, Episode 8 “Souvenir” (B+)

Seeing Betty fully back in the spotlight is a truly marvelous thing. Betty finally kisses another man, though the experience actually brings her closer to Don. Being with someone else reminds her of the possibilities and adventures she doesn’t think she can experience, and therefore she wants to get away on a romantic vacation to Rome. Who knew that January Jones had such a good Italian accent? Watching Betty and Don play their little game at the outdoor café was mesmerizing, and Jon Hamm and Ms. Jones really are terrific actors. It seems that Pete just can’t keep his hands to himself when his wife isn’t around, and his dalliance with the nanny next door didn’t go too well for anyone involved. Seeing Joan on his trip to the department store really was a huge surprise, and their semi-personal but very strained interaction was pretty stunning, especially the way he kept asking her how she was. Peggy and most of her co-workers at the office were completely absent from this episode, and it’s always strange when a series features a summer episode in the wrong season of the year. This happened on “Rescue Me” this past season when they walked around in the snow in mid-July, and here the feeling of summer just isn’t there as fall gets colder and colder. It doesn’t detract much from the episode and it can't be helped, but the effectiveness of true summer series like “Burn Notice,” “Royal Pains,” and “Swingtown” is mainly due to their seasonal appropriateness and feel. There’s not much that can bring down this show though, and jetting off to Italy certainly can’t hurt. Conrad Hilton is quite a character, and he’s certainly going to leave his mark on Don.

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