Mad Men on AMC • Fifth Season Thread

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Noticing some typos I made above. Should be "Matthew Weiner has made some gross comments about how the ad industry is "still" all white", not "ad agency". x-post

Melissa W, Friday, 27 April 2012 16:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

can't believe this show is about perspectives and people have interpretations of those perspectives

GoT SPOILER ALERT (Gukbe), Friday, 27 April 2012 16:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

for ex. if the food tastes bad, I don't continue eating it and ordering more so that I can continue to complain about how bad it is to the people at the table next to me.

I think it's p. normal for people to keep up with zeitgeist-y things even if they dislike them, particularly if they feel the critical conversation is overlooking things they feel strongly about. substitute "the twilight saga" for "food" in your quote above and you've described 40% of my online interactions during 2009.

supreme sundae (reddening), Friday, 27 April 2012 16:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

why shouldn't someone wrestle with something they don't like? and melissa i really like your posts here

donna otm

THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Friday, 27 April 2012 16:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

why shouldn't someone wrestle with something they don't like?

it's just not an inclination I share. I have more productive, enjoyable things to do with my time.

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 16:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's one thing to critically engage with say, a book or a film you don't like. 5 seasons of a TV show seems a bit much.

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 16:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

yes tbh i was frustrated by your earlier posts, Melissa, but the long one you just posted is definite food for thought, thanks.

jed_, Friday, 27 April 2012 16:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

like I can critically engage with a couple songs and figure out why I don't like a them. Listening to the act's entire catalog seems more like being a glutton for punishment.

xp

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 16:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

I just always find it odd when people expend a lot of intellectual energy engaging with a piece of work they profess to hate.

― heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, April 27, 2012 11:10 AM (46 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i completely disagree w/ melissa but cmon this post is hilarious

man down (D-40), Friday, 27 April 2012 16:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

(spoiler alert: it can't be, or else Friends and Girls are also really nuanced portraits of race in the 90s and 10s)

what? it cant because if it could, these two specific examples WOULD be? have you ever seen a whit stillman movie?

man down (D-40), Friday, 27 April 2012 17:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

None of the women who worked general accounts were as mediocre at their job as Peggy appears to be

i never get the impression whatsoever that she's bad at her job? this feels like fiction

man down (D-40), Friday, 27 April 2012 17:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

sadly otm

THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Friday, 27 April 2012 17:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

madmen tends to feel like it could be a truly great show that often settles for good with flashes of stupidity and excellence. The last episode was SO good though tbrr

"in this super-sexy postracial age" (forksclovetofu), Friday, 27 April 2012 17:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

i never get the impression whatsoever that she's bad at her job? this feels like fiction

Well, that's the thing though. Impression is all the show operates on when it comes to Peggy. She is often said to be good, but whenever we actually see her doing anything related to a pitch, her idea is poorly thought out or needs significant finessing by Don to actually be a pitch rather than toothless brainstorming ("you can't frame a phone call"). She is never shown to be a heavy hitter that can get the job done on her own, and when we do see her solo her ideas usually aren't great and she can't land a pitch. It was actively weird when Don tried to say that her ideas were ahead of their time at the end of season 3 when he was trying to get her to join the new agency, when she hadn't actually created anything on her own that entire season.

I don't think the show necessarily means to portray her as bad at her job, but she's pretty much never been shown as being good at her job, and that's a pretty significant failure on the part of the show. When we hear about her, she's great. But when they bother to show her working, it's only when she's fucking up or collaborating with Don and not really contributing much. I honestly can't think of a time when Peggy has been shown as hitting anything out of the park or really impressing anyone.

Melissa W, Friday, 27 April 2012 18:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

wrong again

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

Peggy (w/Ken) breaking the firm's "losing streak" last season

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm sure there's others

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

Aside from Don winning the Clio (which Peggy played a part in), when was the last time he really 'knocked it out of the park'? I think the focus has shifted, as though we're meant to take for granted that both Don and Peggy are competent at their jobs, it's just how they're selling it that differs. Peggy's gambit last week seemed absurd and suicidal, but Don has taken similar approaches and they worked.

GoT SPOILER ALERT (Gukbe), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

wanna say there was something to do with Ponds re: Peggy but can't remember

also yeah this show hardly focuses on "the work" per se (the agency spent most of last season scranbling just to GET work at all)

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Peggy's gambit last week seemed absurd and suicidal, but Don has taken similar approaches and they worked

this was totally intentional tho. Peggy was very deliberately aping Don's diction, mannerisms and speech patterns - but it backfired for the reason some other (female) character previously noted, "no one likes a woman who acts like a man"

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

I agree. I don't think it was down to being bad at her job.

GoT SPOILER ALERT (Gukbe), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

with shakey and gubke here. there's every indication in the show that peggy really is remarkably good at her job. it's just that the show says this more than shows it. similar to pete's apparent excellence when we mostly just see him being a weaselly little dork. the problem is that the show doesn't devote much time to the day-to-day advertising work that sustains the company, not that peggy is poor at her job or a fundamentally unbelievable creation.

THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

the only thing they really show is that she works insane hours.

Porto for Pyros (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

the problem is that the show doesn't devote much time to the day-to-day advertising work

this isn't a problem. a show that did would be mind-numbingly boring.

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

cuz then every episode really WOULD end with someone selling beans or whatever

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

i still don't get the "there's no way a person with Peggy's story ever existed" jab from yesterday. like, what aspect are we talking about here? her promotion/career arc - or private life?

Porto for Pyros (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

remembered something else - it was Peggy's idea that was used for the ad that won the Clio

xp

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

i mean problem relative to how we understand the characters' relationships w their jobs. dramatically, it's obviously a good call.

THE KITTEN TYPE (contenderizer), Friday, 27 April 2012 18:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

Well, that's the thing though. Impression is all the show operates on when it comes to Peggy. She is often said to be good, but whenever we actually see her doing anything related to a pitch, her idea is poorly thought out or needs significant finessing by Don to actually be a pitch rather than toothless brainstorming ("you can't frame a phone call"). She is never shown to be a heavy hitter that can get the job done on her own, and when we do see her solo her ideas usually aren't great and she can't land a pitch. It was actively weird when Don tried to say that her ideas were ahead of their time at the end of season 3 when he was trying to get her to join the new agency, when she hadn't actually created anything on her own that entire season.

I don't think the show necessarily means to portray her as bad at her job, but she's pretty much never been shown as being good at her job, and that's a pretty significant failure on the part of the show. When we hear about her, she's great. But when they bother to show her working, it's only when she's fucking up or collaborating with Don and not really contributing much. I honestly can't think of a time when Peggy has been shown as hitting anything out of the park or really impressing anyone.

― Melissa W, Friday, April 27, 2012 1:07 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

in addition to what everyone else said, she's like 15 years younger than don! of course she's not as experienced or successful as him -- the dynamic (which is shifting) is that he's good at his job & she's a rising talent, and i think they convey that dynamic effectively

man down (D-40), Friday, 27 April 2012 19:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

On the bright side, SCDP isn't just riffing on the Volkswagon ad like a lot of their lesser competition seems to

mh, Friday, 27 April 2012 19:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think this raises the interesting question of the show's relationship to Don's supposed "genius"--is it agnostic on that front? (I'm thinking in particular of that amazing ep where Don says that kids are already nostalgic for the childhood they are in the middle of and not so much the "love was created by men like me in order to sell nylons.")

ryan, Friday, 27 April 2012 19:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

well he sure has been shown to be fucking up quite a bit over the last season and a half

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 19:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

this isn't a problem. a show that did would be mind-numbingly boring.

Disagree with Shakey, agree with contendo. The excitement that was captured on S1E1 ("Lucky Strike: it's toasted") has never been equalled. The show had the opportunity to be a Sherlock Holmes / Law & Order style 'weekly puzzle', but has dissolved into the flimsy race/gender commentary (well said, btw, Melissa) and character-based melodrama. I still like the show, sure, but never as much as I did in the very beginning.

poxen, Friday, 27 April 2012 21:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

The show had the opportunity to be a Sherlock Holmes / Law & Order style 'weekly puzzle'

you think TV needs more of this why now

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 21:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

i like both, but L&O is about 100x the show that MM is

Mordy, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

you are insane

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

@ Shakey, you know what I mean, don't be like that. The (successful) ad presentations, as rare as they've become, are the best part of the show imo.

poxen, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure I know what you mean at all...? I hate formulaic procedural dramas, especially legal/cop ones (for all kinds of reasons), the idea that Mad Men would be better off being some kind of topical puzzle show strikes me as bizarre.

I'm not really interested in ad presentations themselves. they're only interesting on Mad Men because of what they reflect about the characters involved.

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

I feel like the real strength of MM is that it avoids either a "weekly puzzle," a "social commentary" approach, or a history-based Forrest Gump style boomer narcissism. the show seems totally unwilling to congratulate its viewers for their progressiveness (imo).

Instead, I think the most compelling thing about the show are the little burst of absolute weirdness (Roger barfing is my fav example, it almost seems surreal the way its staged and shot.)

ryan, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Maybe the show should be about an accounting firm. x-post

Melissa W, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

agree with ryan. it's an amalgam of all those things but it routinely frustrates their respective conventions. and the weird stuff - roger barfing, the lawnmower crippling, the LSD trip, dream sequences and flashbacks - are part of a lineage that comes from Twin Peaks via the Sopranos.

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

just like to pop in to say "roger barfing" was literally the moment i knew i was gonna keep with the show.

circa1916, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

I wish they'd mine the advertising angle a bit more, but it's a worthwhile undercurrent to have through the show. It's kind of the running joke that these people are trying to read people to sell stuff when they have such a difficulty reading themselves, and that they can ignore the larger world while attempting to understand it to create a fictional, simplistic idea of it to sell products.

Also advertising is about as disgusting a line of business as there is, so that's always there.

GoT SPOILER ALERT (Gukbe), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

xp @ Shakey, I was agreeing with contenderizer's statement that "the problem is that the show doesn't devote much time to the day-to-day advertising work that sustains the company".

What interested me most about the show isn't Betty's State of Mind or the Continuing Adventures of Joan... what interests me is seeing the characters talk through ad campaigns, have a moment of inspiration, pitch the campaign, run the campaign.

I mentioned SH and L&O b/c both are character-oriented shows that have "work" at their core. Not b/c I think Mad Men ought to follow a weekly formula.

poxen, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

TBH of all Melissa's criticisms the 'it's really boring and I hate all the character' one is the one I relate most to because I've found that about things everyone else was head-over-heels about in the past. The other arguments feel like her criticising it for not being something it's not trying to be, and I think the writers have valid reasons for not trying.

Peggy and Don's relationship is totally antagonistic but at the same time is kinda the way things work in real work environments - employee does all the work, boss puts a bit of dressing on it and gets all the credit, employee gets disgruntled. It's kinda parallel to Pete/Roger, except that you know Don actually respects Peggy in some way and Roger is genuinely useless whereas Don actually contributes something. And Peggy is less of an entitled dick than Pete.

Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

isn't this the same argument everyone else is having about Girls and race?

I think there are merits on both sides. I don't expect all entertainment to answer to all needs of every segment of society. But sometimes I expect more, too. It's odd that Star Trek: TOS managed to be integrated and not make a big deal out of it, I guess since it wasn't saddled with having to exist in the real world of its time.

akm, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

uh TOS made a VERY BIG DEAL out of it. First interracial kiss etc

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

see also: "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", numerous references to 20th century racism (Nazi planet, "Space Seed", etc.)

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

This idealized version of Mad Men that you are all describing sounds absolutely terrible.

Darin, Friday, 27 April 2012 22:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

I was agreeing with contenderizer's statement that "the problem is that the show doesn't devote much time to the day-to-day advertising work that sustains the company".

contenderizer only meant this was a problem in the context of evaluating how well Peggy (and others) actually are at their jobs, not that it was a problem in terms of the show itself. which I thought he made clear.

heavy is the head that eats the crayons (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 27 April 2012 22:51 (2 years ago) Permalink


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