Why You Should Give Mad Men a Chance
I know what you've been doing. And don't I know that that's a creepy introduction to this article, but yeah, I know what you've been doing. You've been looking at Netflix trying to figure out what to watch next. I also know that you've seen Mad Men in a list of television shows and you've either dismissed it as "too boring" or "not your style" or watched an episode or two and said, "Nothing happens. It's so boring."
I admit, I wasn't into it first. A lot of the plot wasn't really explained that well, and I really, really, really hated Don Draper. I couldn't understand why a guy who seemingly had everything would live a double life and not really seem like he felt guilty or anything. However...
I changed my mind about the show once I made it to the second season. After getting into the second season, I realized that the show is extremely subtle in the character's motivations. Things aren't always explained, and if they are, they are usually not explained right away. Once they are explained however, it really connects you to the characters in the show. The Don Draper that I hated in the first season grew on me and once I understood his motivations for his behavior I felt more empathy towards him. All of the characters are very rounded and I've come to love every single person on the show, even Pete Campbell, and he wasn't very easy to like at first either.
I like that you have to pay attention to the show to understand what is going on, and sometimes form your own explanations about why a character behaved a certain way. Certain episodes can lead to long conversations about the different character's motivations, and it's great to hear other's takes on the different characters.
The show is surprisingly funny at times, and surprisingly disturbing at times. (Minor spoilers ahead). At one point, one of the employees loses his mind, cuts off his nipples, and presents them to another employee. They don't show him actually doing it, but they do show them in a box, making me just as surprised and appalled as the woman he presented them to. At another point, an man gets his foot mowed over inside the office when some employees are messing around with a John Deere lawnmower. I remember thinking, what kind of show is this? It wasn't what I was expecting at all. I think before I watched it, I just thought, it's just a show about an advertising agency and the lead creative ad-man, so it might be more soap-opera than a regular television show. I was wrong.
The show is so different from any other show I've seen that it's difficult to categorize it. It's sometimes drama, sometimes comedy, sometimes horror, sometimes romance.
So why should you give the show a chance? My opinion is that you should give it a chance because it is such a well-written, surprising (in a great way), and just plain crazy show. Between each season, the timeline may skip a year or several years, and the first episodes of every season may surprise you greatly with the changes that took place in the time between. It's a great way to keep the viewer on their toes, because it's almost like not talking to friends or relatives for a year or so and seeing what they are up to simply by observing them. The show was always on my mind between seasons because I wondered what changes were to come.
So give it a chance. I say at least watch until the middle of the second season. A lot more will be explained, and the characters may even grow on you like they grew on me.