Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


April 8, 2013

Don Draper: Stuck in place as 'Mad Men' drifts?

NEW YORK (AP) — Who could ever forget the wisdom of the rock band Spinal Tap: "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever."

After watching the season premiere of "Mad Men," I have hit upon my own truism: It's such a fine line between challenging and annoying.

By traditional TV standards, a lousy episode of "Mad Men" is unthinkable. From its cast to its costumes to its rich sensibility, there's always plenty to admire.

But that doesn't get this brilliant series off the hook as it starts its much-awaited sixth season. The two-hour opener was, simply put, a disappointment — even annoying — for how much it demanded from the viewer and how little it offered in return.

What did we learn from the episode (which, written by series creator Matthew Weiner, aired Sunday on AMC)?

Ad man Don Draper (series star Jon Hamm), though still married to his adoring mate Megan (Jessica Pare), was still tormented, brooding — and philandering. As his inaugural tryst of 1968, Don cheated with the wife of a physician neighbor who was called away from the Drapers' New Year's Eve party on a medical emergency.

"What do you want for this year?" the doctor's sexy wife asked Draper as they lay, one floor below his own apartment (and Megan), in post-coital repose.

"I want to stop doing this," he said.

It was a nice twist and the episode's only real payoff.

Meanwhile, Don's agency partner Roger Sterling (John Slattery) was still gin-soaked and sardonically bleak.

"Life is supposed to be a path," he moped to his psychiatrist, "and you go along and these things happen to you and they're supposed to change you." But it "turns out the experiences are nothing."

Text Only
AP Video
Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
BBQ My Way