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A Few Scattered Mad Men Season Five Thoughts

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Sad times for Don and Megan

For a more expansive, in-depth look at Season Five, I highly recommend everyone read Eric Deamer’s full season review yesterday. Here, a few minor observations (spoilers throughout):

– Great season. After the third season that was a bit choppy, the fourth was outstanding and the fifth even better. We all hate 18-month hiatuses, but they can have positive repercussions.

The finale wasn’t one of the better episodes of the season, but creator Matthew Weiner is emulating his old show The Sopranos in that regard- there was always a whole lot more going on in the second-to-last episode than the finale. I did, however, love the final scene of the finale, which was exactly the right ending.

– With the new season Mad Men has, in my mind, overtaken Breaking Bad for the Best Show on TV title, although we’ll find out starting next month if the show’s AMC stablemate can take the crown back. I wouldn’t count Louie out, either.

– I’m not sure which was more of a slap in the face to January Jones- putting her in a fat suit for the whole season, or barely including her on the show. Not that I’m one to defend Jones as an actress, but I felt bad for her.

– Similarly, I’m not sure which is a bigger insult to Jaguar- the implication that they make business decisions based on acts of prostitution, or the repeated message that their cars are terrible.

– Roger Sterling’s discovery of LCD was probably my favorite extended subplot of the season. But how did he have two heart attacks in 1960 and then stay healthy in the seven ensuing years, despite going through two divorces and not curbing his drinking or smoking whatsoever?

– I think of Peggy leaving the firm being for Mad Men what the Tony/Carmela separation was for The Sopranos- a pivotal moment in the series, that the show hit out of the park from a  writing and acting standpoint, which I completely expect to be reversed before the series is over. How will it happen? I’m guessing Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce at some point merges with her new firm. That’s how Entourage (ugh) got Ari and Lloyd back together.

– Was Matthew Weiner an L.A. Law fan growing up? (Looks like he was.) That show had two key moments- one of the partners dying in his office in the first episode, and Rosalind Shays falling down the elevator shaft- which were both eluded to on this Mad Men season.

– I’m disappointed that the season ended a few months shy of the Six-Day War. I was really looking forward to a triumphant speech by Ginsburg.

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