M.A. Peel, my erudite and insightful partner in weekly live Mad Men blogging, sails into the night sky with Don Draper, high above Ossining (or perhaps Midtown) in anticipation of Sunday's second season, second episode gathering over at newcritics. Flight is on Ms. Peel's mind as she considers the early 60s - the Apollo flight John Kennedy didn't live to see, the orbital spin of John Glenn, and the poetic flights of Frank O'Hara. The series doesn't soar in either dialogue or plot, but it does achieve lift-off in television style - so much so, that we keep tuning in and gathering in our virtual dens to gab about it.
As Ms. Peel says: "We love/hate the show in the very best way." I think that's so, and another don of the newcritics quad, the voluble Lance Mannion, love/hates the show in fine fashion in a post that compares today's idea of New York in 1962 with TV's own portrayal of Gotham in 1962. Comparing Mad Men to Naked City, Lance observes: "The main difference is that the New Yorkers of Mad Men are a strangely narcotized bunch. Their basic affect is ennui. Mad Men is set in a nation waiting for Prozac. The Manhattan of Naked City is full of hyper-active neurotics. Even the cops and criminals are tortured and tormented by angst and nameless dreads. Everybody's nerves are raw. Nobody can relax for a moment."
Which sounds to me like the TV-makers of '62 making a show about the actual New York of '08. In any case, join in our nameless dread of flat plot lines and forehead-slappingly obvious cultural references tomorrow evening at 10 pm EDT, with your dials set to TMC and your browsers set to newcritics.com. We'll see you there.