And Besides, When Will Don Draper Whack Someone?

That, to me, is the gist of this New York Times critique of the current season of “Mad Men,” which is- horrors!- moving too slowly for Dave Itzkoff’s tastes. He compares it, in fact, to “The Sopranos,” which often moved its plot glacially when concentrating on character.

Increasingly, Matthew Weiner, a former Sopranos producer, and his Mad Men writing staff seem to be so enamored with their characters that they are content to assemble them in potentially interesting settings, let the cameras linger on them and hope that an interesting scene emerges.

I vehemently disagreed with this notion when it was floated about “Sopranos,” and I still do now. Both are wonderful, amazing shows in which the bench of fascinating characters goes about 20-deep. “Mad Men,” in addition, has as its structure that it’s moving slowly through the 1960s. That “Mad Men” takes it time is one of my favorite things about it, and it isn’t about plot the way most network shows are.
Does Matthew Weiner care as little about what the short-term whims of his audience as his ex-boss, David Chase, did? I sure as hell hope so.
By the way, the third episode was the best of the season. That scene with Don alone at the bar with the old guy (Chelcie Ross) was as good as it gets. And only Christina Hendricks can play the accordion and look hot doing it.

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