SPOILER ALERT! If you aren't caught up on Mad Men, stop reading now.
I’m a huge fan of Mad Men, but lately I’ve had trouble feeling quite as excited as I probably should for this new season. Maybe I’m taking it for granted because it’s been on for so long, in contrast to something like Game of Thrones, which is still new and exciting to me.
Or maybe it’s because the last season was so overtly damning to nearly every character: the agency of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce swallowed Pryce whole and prostituted Joan and drove out Peggy. The show, via none other than the dream-ghost of Don’s dead brother, came out and basically explained to Don, and us, that a rotten tooth was a metaphor for Don’s soul or whatever. Roger unintentionally exposed Sally to “dirty” sex. Pete was punched in the face repeatedly, and everyone watching it with me cheered each time, even though the second face-puncher was a far greater monster than Pete could ever aspire to be. And as for Megan, I'm not saying she's a gold digger, but...
So what hope do these characters have? More importantly, can we care what hope they have? Can we get ourselves worked up, for old times’ sake? For… nostalgia? For the good old days of 2007, a time before Skrillex, before the Ikea monkey, when people still sometimes gathered around the soft, forgiving glow of actual televisions, with loved ones— can we reach back to this place we ache to go again, and feel a twinge in our heart more painful than mere memory—