Television: Mad Men, "The Doorway"

Okay, so after having skipped out on most of last season (I think I watched four episodes before wandering off out of sheer boredom), I thought I'd try tuning back in for the sixth season premiere. I'd read about had been happening, so I wasn't lost or anything. But I continued to be bored.

At the start of the episode, Dan Draper and wife Megan are vacationing in Hawaii. This stretched-out opening is like being forced to watch someone's vacation home movies. While I understand the need to maybe show Don as an old fuddy next to his young, up-and-coming actress wife (and later we would see him losing his touch), it didn't require quite so much footage.

It was about this time I quit paying very close attention. Peggy was fielding a crisis with an account where she works now, Roger's mother died (and Don puked at the funeral), Betty was going to lengths to look after some girl named Sandy who plays violin . . . Oh, but then Roger's shoe shine guy died, too, and that's when he broke down. John Slattery continues to be the best thing about the show, the only character with anything very interesting happening. He tells his shrink how nothing in life changes, or at least nothing in life changes him, and it's true. He stands inside a circle of chaos. People die around him and he's just Roger. Until the moment the shoe shine kid's family sends Roger the shine kit. Apparently that was Roger's breaking point.

The episode punched up the whole mortality angle with heart attacks and doctors and deaths and such.

And Don? He goes back to his old tricks, cheating on Megan with a friend's wife. It did give me pause to consider the dynamic of Don's and Megan's relationship. She is the career woman, the rising star. Is cheating the way Don reasserts himself?  Not that this excuses him. And it might just as easily be that old habits die hard, or that Don gets bored when saddled with a domestic situation.

In truth, though, I found the whole thing something of a drag. Like last season, I'll probably try a couple more episodes, but if it can't hold my interest, I'll be hopping into bed with other shows instead.

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