Monday, May 26, 2008

A Mad Internal Dilemma

The first series of Mad Men has sadly come to an end here in the UK, but this does mean I can now talk about it without fear of spoilerage. Not that spoilers could really have ruined a show as perfectly lackadaisical and unaffected as this was. It may be the best television show I've ever seen (I say maybe). And, finally, I can air perhaps my greatest grievance about this show: I just can't figure this man out.

In case you, for some absurd reason that must be rectified post-haste, didn't see Mad Men, that's Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), a junior account manager at the advertising agency Mad Men revolves around, and he is both a complete bastard and an alarmingly charming man. He tried to blackmail his way to the top, treated both his wife and a secretary Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) with misogynistic contempt, and yet I remain unconvinced as to whether we're even supposed to see him as the bad guy. Although, really, Mad Men is that type of series that doesn't really have a bad guy, because what it has instead is a bunch of characters who are all, really, both bad and good, morality in flux; what with our lead character (John Hamm's bewitching Don Draper) being an advertising genius yet bedding two women who aren't his wife and secretly hearing his own wife's psychiatric sessions, and confident secretary Joan (Christina Hendricks) revelling in her bold sexuality, these are all people who come from fascinating positions in society and make different choices for different reasons. It's been said that not much happens in Mad Men; but the only truth to that statement is that things don't happen very loudly, because Mad Men is full of political confusion, sexual repression, moral ambiguity and all that stuff that makes today's best television so damn good.

So, yeah. If you haven't seen it, you better get on that. And I'll get on actually wrapping up 2007 and trying to kick this blog back into life again.

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