My favorite show of the year, AMC’s “Mad Men”, returned for its second season premiere last night. It was kind of disappointing.
What happened? It’s now 1962, and in a show that references old movies for its impressions of 1960 (“The Apartment”, “Butterfield 8”), it’s a couple of years closer to Hitchcock’s “Marnie” (1964). So Betty Draper (Tippi Hedren) is coiffed in a chignon, and goes riding in jodphurs and flirts with the tow truck operator. She also appears radiant on Valentine’s Day as she swoops down the staircase into the arms of her Brylcreamed husband. Stylish and stylized, this lovely attention to period fashion is exactly what makes this show delightful to watch. It could also spell the death of its substance, since what makes “Mad Men” so outstanding is its taut writing and finely observed characters and conflicts.
Last night’s second season premiere seemed to dwell monotonously inside a boardroom where the junior executives and Peggy were busy talking. I don’t remember a word they said, but I eagerly was hoping the scene would end quickly.
A minor story line, the arrival of a new piece of office equipment, was spoiled by a “Desperate Housewives” sort of double entendre from the delivery man: “I could put this anywhere ma’am” and “Where would you like me to put it?” I almost expected Gabrielle Solis to come rushing out of Don Draper’s office.
I hope the rest of the season returns to the riveting drama that made this show so absorbing.