I could spend some time writing about Mad Men and the virtues of the program. While, no doubt, we can all agree the show has tremendous visual appeal (thanks for bringing back Jessica Paré, TV show!), the witty dialog, the solid character building, the completeness of the world...
Instead I'll talk about how Mad Men is one of the only forms of media that I partake in with a social bent with actual people and not, though you know I love you all, through social media.
With the start of Season 3 (Season 5 debuted Sunday, March 25th), Jamie and I began watching Mad Men with pals Matt and Nicole. I don't know who had the brain storm to do so, or why we started watching the show together, but we're now entering our third season of getting together on Sunday nights (schedules willing), having some dinner, mixing a cocktail or three and ending the weekend with a bit of TV.
I don't think any of us believe the show isn't a bit soapy, and while I do believe it is one of the best shows on TV, I don't have a religious zeal for the program. I'm not planning a Mad Men-Con (although, that might be fascinating...). I haven't written any Mad Men fan fiction. That you'll ever be allowed to read.* But, yes, we have had 60's dinners, and I prefer to keep my drinks classic if we enjoy a cocktail during the show.
Aside from a few UT Football games per year, we really don't get together for media events in our home or at the homes of others. Not even the Super Bowl. As I've mentioned, I more or less do the comics thing on my lonesome here in Austin, hitting events by myself, and while the good folks at Austin Books are friendly as can be, I don't have many people I hang out with on a regular basis who share a shred of my enthusiasm for comics or superheroes. I do still manage to catch a few movies with groups from time to time, but the "social" aspect of it also includes a 2 hour block in the middle where we're all sitting together, silently, in the dark.
For some reason, though, on Sundays when Mad Men is airing, we finish our chores and activities early so that we can get together, watch an episode, pause it when something needs to be discussed, talk trash about anyone crossing Don Draper, and generally make a time of it.
I don't know if we watched it each individually we'd have feelings about the show. In general, I don't get terribly invested in TV programming and can take or leave shows, even many I've watched for years (we're currently once again choosing to abandon shows at our house that we've watched for a few seasons). But that's not how I've approached Mad Men, and I understand that's not how many of you approached shows like Deadwood and Sopranos. and other well received, critically acclaimed shows in which I never became invested.
So, with Sunday evening's return of Mad Men, so, too, have we seen the return of social Sunday nights. I think it helps make it a lot more fun, and a bit more of an event. There's probably something to that. But I don't really need more than one show I approach this way.
*okay, in my timeline, Pete Campbell is also a spy and Peggy is secretly a girl wizard.