Matthew Weiner

Mad Men Season 6

Now in its sixth season, Mad Men is probably one of the only shows on television that never jumped the shark – it remains as thoughtful and sophisticated a show since its first season. Sure, there have been some mistakes made along the way. But if I’m to judge from this two-hour premiere episode alone (sorry, this will likely therefore be on the long side), entitled “The Doorway,” I don’t think that there’s much to worry about in terms of the show not living up to expectations. In the premiere, a lot of recurring themes from seasons past are revisited – impending death, times that are a-changin’, infidelity, identity – though are these themes should be ever-present, as the show wouldn’t exist without them. Especially now since Vietnam looms even more heavily over the show’s landscape and harbingers of death become even more  pertinent. And, yes, the premiere was pretty damn good. Written by showrunner Matthew Weiner and directed by veteran Mad Men director Scott Hornbacher, it featured elegant, filmic non-linear structure, as well as the intelligent writing that we have all grown accustomed to in the many years of drinking in this show.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like The Wire creator David Simon, it doesn’t think you should worship it. Except that it doesn’t think you’re a dummy for liking it. That actually makes you quite smart. We begin this evening with a look at Jemaine Clement and Nicole Sherzinger in Men in Black III. The formerly flying conchord and the pussycat doll will be the film’s duo of baddies, both looking very much as the higher powers intended for them: one is creepy, the other is hot.

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Seeing as he served as a writer/producer on Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Matthew Weiner is considered something of a TV god. Also, I hear that he has some new show called Mad Men that’s showing some promise; so he’s got the TV game locked down. But a transition into feature films has eluded him up to this point. Weiner wrote a dramedy called You Are Here back in the early 2000s. It’s about a freewheeling weatherman who goes on a road trip with his bi-polar best friend. The friend is kind of a man-child, but he’s in line to inherit some big responsibilities, which causes complications between the two. It sounds like something of a coming-of-age movie, but for grown-ass men. Over the years several incarnations of the film have almost made it into production with names like Matt Dillon, Jack Black, and Matthew McConaughey attached in various roles, but up to this point it’s never completely worked out. That’s all set to change though, because – dang it – this guy wrote on Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and if he wants to make a goofy comedy, then he’s allowed to. THR has news that Weiner is determined to put the project in front of the camera sometime around April, and if that doesn’t sound official enough for you, he’s already signed Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis to star.

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Channel Guide - Large

If I were to call The Vampire Diaries stupid, I don’t think that too many people would be outraged or even ask me to explain why I had that opinion. Everyone would probably just assume that I wasn’t in to vampires or diaries or good-looking men with smoldering eyes and leave it at that. The show definitely has its fan base, and it’s a very devoted fan base, but it’s socially acceptable to not like The Vampire Diaries. Now, what if I were to call Mad Men stupid? The kind of inarticulate assessment that it’s perfectly OK to make when talking about The Vampire Diaries probably wouldn’t fly when talking about Matthew Weiner’s acclaimed drama (mainly because the show isn’t stupid and, even if it isn’t your cup of mid-afternoon booze, there are certain things about it that you have to concede—it’s thematically complex, well-written, pretty to look at, etc.). I happen to be a faithful Mad Men viewer but I know that there are people who find it painfully unwatchable and I also know that these people aren’t hillbillies (no offense to hillbillies) or unintelligent. Disliking a popular show is, of course, alienating—even when you’re steadfast in your opinion—but it’s also just incredibly frustrating; there’s a kind of emperor’s new clothes aspect to it where you’re left asking, what is it that I’m missing here?

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Fans of excellent television can rejoice today. This is no April Fools’ joke. AMC and Lionsgate have announced to the world that seasons five and six of everyone’s favorite Madison Avenue soap opera (circa 1960) are a go, and series creator/beating heart Matthew Weiner is on board. After extensive negotiations that were reportedly slowed by Weiner’s desire for a bit more “credit” (read: payola), things have finally been smoothed out and the partnership can move forward on the thing that matters most: showing us what the hell happens to Don Draper next. You can read the entire press release after the jump, if you’d like. In it you will find a very cool bit about a possible option for a seventh season. Yes, you read that right. Seven seasons of Mad Men. Drool.

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Culture Warrior

I really love Mad Men. I talk about it a lot. Since The Wire ended in 2008, and I haven’t seen any episodes of Boardwalk Empire yet, then as far as my knowledge takes me it’s the best damn show currently on television. Nothing I’m saying here is necessarily new, but Mad Men effectively does a great many things I’ve never seen television do before in that it 1) delivers is an incredibly entertaining and engaging media object while it uses its protagonists to criticize and reveal the potentially manipulative processes of media itself, 2) interrogates any continuous notion of the ever-interpretationally-oscillating “good old days” by showing how they were neither that good nor that long ago, thereby criticizing our culture’s all-too-convenient rotating manufacture of nostalgia, 3) utilizes the past to criticize white male heteronormative hegemony and reveal a systematic culture of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and all the while 4) creates compelling drama as manifested by ambiguous, layered characters with the combination of beautiful cinematography and impeccable production design. Mad Men, in short, is an engrossing, enjoyable, and thought-provoking series in unprecedented ways. But for a show to engage in such a rare criticism of a cultural moment, a bit of negotiation is required. And it is in this respect that some major problems with the show have arisen recently.

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madmen-grownups

The Kennedy Assassination affects everyone at Sterling/Cooper and in the Draper household; Ken and Pete’s competition for Head of Accounts comes to an end; Roger’s daughter gets married.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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