Television: Mad Men Premiere

Happy people are boring. You don't read a book, watch a movie, or go see a play to see people who are happy. You go to see people who have problems, issues, flaws.

Until now, Mad Men's Don Draper was an "all of the above" kind of guy. But the season 5 premiere reduced him to happily married and terribly boring. Okay, yes, he and his young new wife had a minor spat over her throwing him a surprise birthday party (he didn't like that), but by the end of the episode they were besotted once again. Boooooring.

One could argue (a) this episode has set Don up for a fall, and/or (b) the focus is no longer Don so much as other people in the office. And my father would point out the show has always been boring. But I've always found it to be an interesting kind of character study—except, based on the premiere, Don is no longer an interesting character.

Okay, point (a): Don's being happily married has blunted his edge in his work. ::shrug:: Now that he's happily married, he has something to lose (namely, Megan). ::shrug:: I kind of don't care.

As for point (b): It is an ensemble cast. And I wouldn't mind seeing more of Peggy and Roger. But Pete is a drain and Lane . . . He could be interesting, if they'd give him better story lines than worrying about money all the time. Joan, meanwhile, just made me want to roll my eyes.

I was told by various fans that the premiere was simply meant to set the stage. Sure, okay, but those two hours dragged. Advertising is a form of economic communication—it's about getting a lot of information across in very little time or space. The Mad Men preem could have, should have done the same.