Mad Men, which premiered its third season last night, is a cool show to like. Stuff White People Like (which, let’s face it, should really be called “Stuff White Hipsters Like”) sums it up pretty well: “Mad Men is a TV show on cable with low ratings, multiple awards, critical praise, and full seasons available on DVD. It’s no surprise white people love it.”
There are a lot of reasons Mad Men is so well-liked (the most important probably being that it is a very good show). One reason is that it manages to balance prurient, intellectual and emotional appeals all at once; it is simultaneously inclusive and esoteric.
Last night’s Season Three premiere, for example, uses the pregnancy of Don Draper’s wife (Betty, played by January Jones) to examine his own birth, how he feels about his oncoming child, the nature of wishes and wish-fulfillment, which dovetails nicely with a secondary plot in which Peter (Vincent Kartheiser) and Kenny (Aaron Staton) receive the same job. But it also had Don and Sal flying to Baltimore, where Don (Jon Hamm) takes a flight attendant to bed while Sal gets hit on by the bell-boy, only for them both to be interrupted by a fire alarm. Continue reading »