Monday, August 17, 2009

Mad Men: Season Three, Episode One

Following Don Draper on TwitterImage by stevegarfield via Flickr

Perfectly fine. I can't imagine someone parachuting into the series at this point -- that is, the Season Three inaugural -- and being all that attracted to the series. Too much backstory. Too many details that have resonance only in the context of the first two seasons. But for those of us who love the show so very much -- the booze, the broads, the delicious despair of sensual existential angst -- a fine and satisfactory beginning.

Oh here's one promising ambiguity: Don Draper has a kind of fantasy moment in which he imagines the sexual encounter that produced him, his own birth and his mother's death and how then he (the whore child) was given to his father and his wife. The midwife who delivers him says his name is Dick, suggesting the naming has something to do with his mother's dying wish, which we know was to cut his father's dick off, that dick having impregnated her.

Truth or fancy? Where does this dreamscape come from, from family stories overheard or from his own storyteller's sense of what his own ignominious backstory should be? We think of narrative techniques, of omniscient narrators, limited third-person narrators, unreliable narrators. A nice ambiguity, very literary you know.
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