Sunday, April 25, 2010

A TV Show You Have To Watch

Having just finished the incredible third season of AMC's Mad Men it was high time I tried to explain the brilliance of a show that is way too underrated for its own good. This is not a show for the casual viewer: there is a complexity at work that is at times, completely daunting. It took me deep into the third season before I had the sudden ephiphany about how I could tie my love of Mad Men into a blog ostensibly about books. However, it can be done.
One of the best things about the show is how it ties literature into the dense, knotty plot. The plot by the way, is inherently too complicated to explain - it is about happiness, and the illusion of happiness seen through the eyes of a man who has everything. It is about his wife, and his office and it is about the 1960's.
Each season, and there have been three so far, the show displays one book that the characters are reading. Thematically, this book comes to represent many of the themes explored in the season. Without too many spoilers, they are Exodus by Leon Uris, Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O'Hara and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbons. The first season is about a man waging an eventual conquest on all around him and carving his own place - a better place - within the world. The second season focuses on this man fighting to reconcile the two halves of his own self within the larger context of his own happiness as well as that of those around him. The third season details the slow and ultimate decline.
I cannot wait for the fourth season.
Mad Men is the kind of show that can be watched over and again and each season so far has contained a scene so utterly moving and powerful that it simply blows the viewer away. The third season in particular contains one of the single best episodes of television I have ever witnessed.
If you have not watched this show before, rent it, buy it, beg for it...but watch it, and watch it soon - the fourth season is about to start.

No comments: