TV Review - Mad Men: Season Four - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

TV Review - Mad Men: Season Four

I know I'm going against all the critics and a good swath of America, but the first ten minutes of season three's finale nearly put me to sleep. In fact, this show makes me drowsy almost every time I watch. Needless to say, the business politics of season three's end had me yawning.
Created by Matthew Weiner (The Sopranos), the series follows a couple of men who work for a New York advertising agency in the early 1960s. The conclusion of season three saw those men decide to start their own agency, a lame attempt to breath life into a show that's essentially dull, and dull for long waves.
During most episodes, the soundtrack has little to no musical score. There was an interesting piece of music during Betty's hallucinations while she was having her third baby, but that was about it. I suppose it's at times meant to symbolize the quiet desperation of all of its protagonists, but honestly who cares?
The only stuff of interest in season three were Don Draper discovering Sal's homosexuality and then Don's subsequent marital strife. Yet, Sal was quickly eliminated and the marital strife was nowhere near as powerful as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road.
Jon Hamm plays Don Draper, one of a cast full of well-dressed men who constantly smoke. Despite having a knockout wife and three great children, Draper has affairs. He's one of the best ad executives in the state, and, in seaon four, he, his smugness, and the other tailored-suit-wearing white men struggle to grow their new agency.
Being that this series takes place prior to the Civil Rights Act, and concentrates on the upper middle class and higher, there's a significant dearth of minorities here. Occasionally, the makers of this show will charitably drop a black or Hispanic maid to keep up appearances. None of the characters are racist, however, as they'll every now and then pitifully mention the plight of poor Negroes as they sip on their cocktails. Anna Camp (True Blood) played Draper's newest, almost affair, Bethany Van Nuys, and she passed the Negro sympathy card.
When it came to the world of advertising in the mid-20th century, didn't we get enough via the character of Darren on Bewitched? Darren came up with some great campaigns that would put Don Draper's to shame. Yes, he had supernatural help, but even if he didn't, Darren would still advertose Don Draper under the table.
Bewitched was also made in the 1960s and was set in its present. This show is a period piece and at times feels like it. Besides feeling dated, this show includes an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia. It's one interior set after another. I guess the show doesn't have the budget to recreate a 1963 Manhattan street filled with vintage cars.
I suppose the first episode of the fourth season had a little excitement at the end. Draper got angry at his clients and kicked them out, but it just doesn't compare to the cut-throat advertising antics of Amanda Woodward, played by Heather Locklear in the original Melrose Place.
Two Stars out of Five
Rated TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hr.
Airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on AMC



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