Monday, September 6, 2010

On Perfection

I'm going to talk about TV a bit more with a big rundown tomorrow night as the first season premiere comes Tuesday, but a quick note. Tonight's episode of Mad Men is why it is the best show on TV. It's not just that it might be the 3rd or 4th episode of the year where one could say, "This is the best episode yet," but it's the imagery and the narrative fortitude.

The second someone mentions Clay-Liston, the first thing one thinks about is the famous picture. On top of that image, they used Don betting on Liston as a continued metaphor for how history is beginning to pass him by. Clay is the future of the country in so many ways. Add to that the storyline of Anna's death and how Don's fear of actually hearing the news is crippling him because he knows Anna is the last vestige of Dick Whitman, of who Don really is. It's a big reason why the drinking has gotten so out of control. But, avoiding the phone so he doesn't hear the actual words, Don knows for sure with the vision/dream of Anna's ghost. At the same time, he knows that all is not lost and that he can be himself with Peggy. That, on top of what's become of Duck, makes me wonder if Don is going to come out of the other side of this drinking thing soon. My only reservation is how often AA is brought up this season (and again tonight). Building on last year's "I'll spend the rest of my life trying to hire you" moment, the show continues the platonic "love" story of Don and Peggy and that is something that is difficult to pull off. Most shows don't even try to be that complex. That's why most shows aren't the best show on the air.

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