The Boob Tube Review: Mad Men, Season 5, Ep. 4

In the Boob Tube Review, we discuss the television we've been watching. There are usually plenty of spoilers, so beware:

Okay, so here's what occurred to me during this week's episode; just a little thought I had while Peggy was at the office working late. She hears a noise, and given what's been happening in the rest of the episode – everyone has been talking about the Richard Speck murders in Chicago and there has been an overarching theme of women in danger – it's a tense moment. Even a bit scary. But you don't really think Peggy's in danger – it's not like the Chicago murderer is actually hiding out in the Time & Life Building in NYC. Or that anything similarly grizzly is going to happen in the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Price. And that, I think, is a gentle reminder of one of Mad Men's great strengths: not all that much happens.

I mean, it's not like nothing happens. Or that the characters haven't developed and evolved in fascinating ways over the course of the show's five seasons. It's just that waaaaaaaay too many shows are centered around big, unlikely events. Especially murders. (Seriously. How many shows on TV have murders happen all the freaking time?) But Mad Men, despite being about a decade in which many, many, many major events happened, avoids being directly about those events. Instead, the show treats them they way they would have happened in the lives of the vast majority of people – as news items – and focuses on how those events (and the changing times they're a part of) affect the lives of the characters. The big, spectacular, unlikely stuff happens off-screen. And I think Mad Men is that much stronger for it.

- Adam Bunch


Photo: Peggy hears a noise.

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