Monday, April 08, 2013

Mad Men Premiere: Caring For The Wrong People

Mad Men season 6 begins in an odd moment of confusion: a POV shot of a possibly dying man. We feel an instant pang of fear: what if Don is dying???

It turns out our concern is misplaced. It's just the doorman.

Misplaced concern was a major theme of this premiere episode. Almost every character was guilty of it.

Don's got a gorgeous, tv star wife that everybody ogles over: but he's more interested in sleeping with his new buddy's spouse.

Roger just lost a mother who has loved him unconditionally his entire life: he cries over the shoe shine guy. He seeks a connection with his daughter free his Mom's funeral, but there's no acknowledgement of his child with Joan.

Betty's got a daughter, Sally, to whom she's always been cold and distant: she leaves her child at home (while on winter break) to go find Sally's friend instead, and play the mother role for a bunch of east village squatters. She helps them make dinner, while her doting husband eats chicken salad alone.

A woman has Don give her away at her Hawaiian wedding instead of her own father.

Peggy has long late night phone calls with Stan while practically ignoring her boyfriend, Abe.

About the only person who seems to care about the right thing is Peggy's new boss, Ted, who ignores work to spend time with his wife and urges her to let her coworkers go home for new years.

These characters have people who need them, people who care about them, people who can fill the roles they're looking to fill. But their eyes are elsewhere. It's an interesting theme: people who have it all right there, but who are incapable of recognizing it.

"What's it like to have someones life in your hands?"

It's a privilege, and a responsibility.

It makes you wonder what will happen if those ignored constants, those people they've taken for granted, should disappear. Last season, Layne Pryce took his own life. With all the death symbolism in this episode, it may be time to speculate on who will die next.

Who should we be concerned about?

(and... Who was Roger on the phone with when he was interrupted by the news of his mother's death? Who was Sally talking to when she shut the door in her mother's face? Those moments stuck out to me. My guesses? Rogers is having liaisons with Megan's mom... And Sally is still chatting it up with Glen).

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