There’s something to be said about a television show that keeps me energized and invorgated almost 14 hours after watching it. I’ve been burning through every TV critic’s blog after the opus that was the Season 3 finale of “Mad Men” last night.
It had it all. Tons of laughs. Near domestic abuse. Good ol’ British sneers. The ill cashmere V-neck Don wears as he tells the kids daddy is gonna be shaking up in a bachelor pad in Manhattan. Secret marriages in Reno. And the promise for a brand new show next year that will certainly look and feel and move wholly differently than the past three.
I’m a TV junkie. TV is so good right now that new films and DVD’s take a backseat like a dumpster baby in my spare time dedicated to consuming as much media as possible on a weekly basis. My mark of a great television show is as follows: as soon as the episode ends, I begin replaying it in my mind to consume every nuance (The Prisoner, Mad Men, The Wire, Twin Peaks), memorizing and laughing at quotable jokes like an old hillbilly skinning a ferret (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Parks and Recreation, Bored to Death, Modern Family), and feeling immediately strung out and dilapidated as a Motley Crue guitarist fresh outta H while I wait for next week’s episode (Damages, Lost).
Consequently, I know a show has jumped the shark when the following actions take place:
-I only watch it on DVR and find myself fast forwarding to the main character’s screen time because every other character and plotline has devolved horrendously (House, Dexter) over the years.
-I DVR it because I won’t be home to watch it live…and the next thing I know it’s 3-4 days later and I watch the show only out of habit (Season 6 of 24, Season 2 of Heroes).
-The plot becomes so tired (Entourage) or so insultingly far fetched and re-hashed (Alias) that I cut it off cold turkey to minimize loss and to appreciate the good seasons.
Last night’s Mad Men, in relation to the rest of season three, was like watching your favorite basketball player coast through three quarters on autopilot, dishing the ball, feeling out the defense, setting up his favorite teammates to keep the game close and then BOOM! dropping 35 points in the fourth quarter. You walk away from that game thinking, “You know, that guy’s way too good to be so conservative and economical. He HAD to be setting us up for that fourth quarter.” And then you’re up until 1am, geeked up on adrenaline and fanboy opiates exploding every 5 minutes when you think back to your favorite moments.
Kudos to Matt Weiner and the writing team for delivering tenfold on the finale. See you next year!