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I have been anticipating the return of AMC’s “Mad Men” as much as every other “Mad Men” fan. Season two left fans with so many juicy moments to linger over: Peggy’s confession to Pete, Betty’s pregnancy, Joan’s rape, the ad agency takeover. And after last night’s season three opener, I know this morning most people are mainly going to be talking about the shocking scene of ad man Sal and the bellhop in the hotel room in which it was finally revealed to someone besides the audience that Sal is a closeted gay man. It was another classic scene of a tortured soul with a big secret, which is a “Mad Men” staple.
But for me, last night’s episode is a reminder of why “Mad Men” can be a frustrating series to watch. I realize producer/writer Matt Weiner likes to take his own sweet time with storylines and sets plot points up and then doesn’t pay off those plot points until much later. Still, if ever I questioned that “Mad Men” only really shines when it focuses on the “Mad” women, I don’t anymore. The season premiere had too much male ennui, too much of the same old Peter Pan behavior,and not enough of the ladies who make this show unforgettable.


Notice in my list of highlights of last season’s events, most of those events were centered around the women. Other than the opening flashback scenes with Don’s mother, the women stayed on the sidelines last night. Joan and Peggy bustled about business as usual while Betty seemed to have all but forgotten Don’s cheating ways. The rest of the women, well, they were just there for window dressing to showcase bad boy behavior.
Don’s existential musings, tragic past, and general dissatisfaction with life have never been as interesting to me as Peggy’s transformation from naive girl to woman or Betty losing control of her carefully crafted world. In fact, it has always been the women who have been the prism through which Weiner has dissected the morality of these men and of this era in time whether it’s been birth control, sexism in the workplace, or marital mores and the family unit. So I am hoping that this season opener is just another Matt Weiner teaser , where he keeps viewers like me hoping and waiting for a little more insight into these ladies’ lives.
Just don’t keep me waiting too long, or I may start to tune out.
Mad Men

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