Mad Men’s premiere tonight left me feeling flat.
It had a few watercooler moments, like Don’s new wife doing a “burlesque,” but it only promised and hinted at anything deeper coming up. Of course, they did open with the protest for equal employment and closed with its conclusion, which was done very smoothly, as I’m used to with this show.
But you see, I’m not one of those Mad Men fans who watch for the sex or for the more Soap Opera-style drama. I watch for the moments where it is elevated to high art, above watercooler moments. When Don’s advertising campaign proposal tie-in as some kind of wild metaphor for the everyday problems in the episode. I also watch for the great characterization, which shows off the ’60s-chauvinism theme so well by forcing these characters to fall in line with the passage of time.
Yet this was a re-introduction. It’s had a hiatus, and Mad Men is wonderful at not hiding the fact that time should have passed off screen. Jon Hamm’s daughter Sally has clearly grown a foot and now speaks in a very (comical at first) deep voice even for a woman. So they just wrote some back story to catch us up a little. Don Draper got married off screen, sparing us a cliche wedding episode. Pete is growing unhappy with family life. Sterling seems to be fading into the background against his will. So it was a catch-up episode.
I’m just looking forward to the inevitable story line of what happens when they hire a black secretary and soon after realize the vast market they’re ignoring (something the ad industry realized around the late ’60s) thanks to her pulling some kind of Peggy and rising up the ranks. That’ll be juicy. My kind of juicy.