The fifth season of the TV series, Mad Men, is on DVD now, and I’ve been watching it.
The writing is still solid, and so far I’ve detected very little nonsense. What’s more, the first eight episodes—the totality of what I’ve seen—provide an excellent depiction of a marriage in well-to-do America, that between Don Draper and Megan. Don remains a disturbing man but not a complete heel, for he’s intent to love Megan and avoid cheating on her. Then again, he’s still a newlywed. His sexual hunger for Megan, running parallel with sexual madness (such as that of Pete Campbell) in other quarters, contributes greatly to the marriage’s palatability. No surprise there. Yet Don’s selfishness too easily interferes, and Megan reacts to it with imprudent emotion. That she rather fears Don is evinced when she runs in alarm from him, half-comically, inside the couple’s home in a very good episode called “Far Away Places.”
I hope Season 5 continues to be worthy. The marriage stuff has been memorable. Mad Men is a minor work of art with clever dialogue. Jon Hamm needs to loosen up a bit as Don, but his acting is largely honest and his presence impressive. Jessica Pare does loosen up as Megan and is engaging as well as character-probing.