9.08.2008

Mad Men: the David Matthews Band of TV Shows


If you went to college anywhere within the time frame of 1997 – 2005, you probably know about the cultural pandemic of The David Matthews Band. Apparently, if you had oxygen pumping through your blood, lived in a dorm, and wanted to send the appropriate messages to the opposite sex to encourage the propagation of the species, then you a had a goddamn DMB poster on your wall.

And it fucking drove me crazy. Everybody had one. I never liked DMB all that much. But that’s not why I didn’t put their goddamn poster on my dorm room wall. It was a matter of principle. I just wasn't gonna lemming all over my cinder blocks.

So anyway. That’s the setting. Circa turn of the millennium, DMB everywhere.

That’s kind of how I feel about Mad Men. But this really pertains to Los Angeles, since 98% of its viewership is not only located here, but is also connected in some way to the business. It’s a wildly popular show that really doesn’t get watched that much.

But out here, it’s the DMB of TV shows. Everybody watches it, and everybody likes it. Maybe it’s just the late-twenty-something way of proving you want to breed. I’m not sure.

And it’s not that I don’t like the show. Completely. It’s a frustrating show because it oscillates like crazy. I’ll watch one episode and it’ll be brilliant and I’ll be filled with admiration and all things writerly. Suddenly I’m craving an old fashioned and wondering if I could get my fiancée to be Joan for Halloween.

But then I watch the next episode and I’m tearing my hair out in apathetic boredom. A show where no one says what they mean and they’re all unsure as to exactly what it is that they want – I think that’s called real life. I get enough of that in the other 23 hours of the day, thank you very much.

But then the next episode is back to pitch-perfect wonderfulness that knocks me on my ass.

So I tend to oscillate myself. Every other episode I decide I’m going to stop watching the damn show. Don’t lemming my TV, Matthew Weiner. I’m done. But then I succumb to the next episode and I’m sucked in all over again.

ps. “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”



I might as well buy an f-ing DMB poster.

4 comments:

Emily Blake said...

I liked DMB. I don't really get Mad Men.

adam _______________________ said...

Fair enough.

Matt said...

I don't understand how anybody could not like Mad Men. Of course the characters don't say what's on their mind. That's the time period in which they live. On the Sopranos, it was difficult for Tony to open up about his feelings. A lot of guys can do that easily. But he couldn't. And these Mad Men characters aren't open yet, their world is very rigid and strict.

I think it's the best show on television other than Lost, and is on its way to being better than any show on television ever.

There has only been one substandard episode in the first two seasons as far as I'm concerned. Better than most shows.

adam _______________________ said...

I don't argue that it's a good show. Clearly I can't stop watching it. I just think that are moments when it's really uninteresting -- they just manage to follow up those moments with pieces of brilliance that hook me in like few other shows on television. So, yeah, it's good. I was just venting.

As for the period, I think it's moreso the way the time period is presented than the way it actually was. Even at that time, it was the way they presented themselves. Their cultural self-image. Hence, the advertising world. But people are people. And I have a hard time believing that the cultural facade existed so completely behind closed doors.

But, I don't like Lost either. So maybe I'm not the best judge.