Subtle Madness

The first season if AMC’s Mad Men came on the the television scene with little fanfare. By the end of season one it was being hailed as the best drama on television.

Now in it’s second season Mad Men is taking a turn for the subtle. While I know from other articles exactly how much time has passed from the end of season one to the beginning of season two, the writing does not make that clear. And so we are left wondering what has caused some of the profitnd changes around Sterling Cooper.

Most of the change surrounds the lead character, Don Draper. We watched his meteoric rise from head of creative to partner after Mr. Sterling had a coronary (which he has seemingly recovered from). Draper is a womanizer with a complicated past. He is largely estranged from his wife, who is left rather powerless in the face of everything.

Whatever transpired from the end of season one to the beginning of season two has had a profound effect on their marriage. Don appears to be totally faithful and Betty appears to have some new found power in their relationship. Draper is also different at the office, as the firm grows, largely because of the work of a colleague he brought on, Don finds himself no longer the rock star he once was. 

What marks this season though is a shift to subtlety. We are inferring the changes that have happened to these people and to the agency, they haven’t been explicitly explained. No real dramatic outbursts or major actions either, you get the sense the writers are building a foundation, and it’s being built on little phrases here and there, odd looks, and new views into these characters’ lives.

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