Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I’m Watching: Mad Men (Season Premiere)

Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 1 “Public Relations” (B+)

This really is the Don Draper show. Peggy couldn’t have said it better when she told Don outright that everything everyone does is to please him. As this Emmy-winning show returns for its fourth season, it’s even clearer how much of an influence Don has on everything that goes on around him. His simply not saying someone has such a drastic influence on how his profile is received, and his fury at the clients who weren’t open to hearing any of his ideas was even more indicative of just how much he runs things. His behavior is certainly self-destructive and won’t long go tolerated by those who don’t fear him, a group that encompasses his partners and Peggy on a good day. Peggy and Pete’s plan to have the women fight over a ham was actually quite clever, and it’s a pity that Don couldn’t even take a second to congratulate her before ripping her a new one for having to call him and ask for bail money. Everything is not blissful for the newly married ex-Mrs. Draper, and Henry Francis has to juggle convincing his mother of Betty’s good nature and not getting caught in between Don and Betty in the midst of a vicious argument. The new structure at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce will definitely take some getting used to, and that process should be an intriguing and enlightening one. All of the actors, most notably Jon Hamm and Elisabeth moss, still turn in powerhouse performances, and it’s a great thing to have this show back.

7 comments:

G1000 said...

Whoo-hoo! I just found out that AMC does put the episodes on their web-site. I'm going to watch this one later today.

Great news for me.

G1000 said...

Just watched it. Great, great episode. I'm really not sure how you can give most "Mad Men" episodes the same grade as "Burn Notice" ones. As much as I enjoy both shows, they're so far apart in terms of quality. This was an easy A for me. I thought it was fabulous.

Richter Scale said...

I loved it too! I did notice the pace was a little quicker on this one, but it made everything exciting. Also, I love the new Peggy. Her new look and confidence shows just how much this woman has grown (by the way, Abe, the plan to have the two women fighting, that was Peggy and Pete, not Don).

One thing though, Betty Draper is a spoiled bitch! I really hated her this episode. I hated how she handled Sally at dinner (say what you will, Sally did not deserve to be humiliated like that), and I hate that she thinks she deserved to be living in Don's house and that it's an outrage that she should pay rent on a house she doesn't even pay for. I hope Henry dumps her (his mom is right and saw Betty exactly for who she was).

G1000 said...

Okay, that's a little harsh. Betty's been through a whole lot. Don lied to her so many times. I agree that's no excuse for the way she's treated her kids, which I make note of in my review. Nonetheless, she's still kind of a victim.

Richter Scale said...

That might be true, but I am very sensitive when it comes to children (part of why Sally is one of my favorite characters on the show) and the way Betty treats her is unforgivable. Don may not be the perfect parent either, but when he's with the kids he's much better than Betty. When Sally was afraid of the new baby, Betty just tried to buy Sally's affection for the baby with a Barbie, but Don actually took his time, understood the problem and found a way to calm her down. I loved that. Also, I seriously hate the way Betty behaves, how shallow she is and even though Don cheats and lies, when I look at Betty I kind of don't blame him.

G1000 said...

I agree with most of what you say, but I do believe that Don's cheating is part of what has made her this way in the first place. I agree she's a terrible mother, and Don certainly is a better parent.

But Don's actions are still pretty despicable. When you get right down to it, there are very few people on this show that are very likeable. Cooper, Pryce, and Peggy are about the only ones I can think of. It's a great show, but still... not a lot.

Movies with Abe said...

It's a definitely an interesting discussion to be had. Richter, thanks for the correction on the typo. And G1000, we've disagreed in the past about grades - generally speaking, a B+ is the average for me, and indicates that I was satisfied. Because I tend to watch shows I like, most episodes pretty much satisfy me. B starts to indicate that something wasn't quite right, whereas A- or A is truly superb or above average. It's not a perfect system, but I think it works pretty well.