Mad Men Analysis
March 19, 2012 3:31 PM   Subscribe

I would like to find some high quality Mad Men analysis. Is it out there?

I just started watching Mad Men. I'm at the end of Season 2. It's awesome, but I often feel as if I'm missing something. I remember back when I watched Lost there was an amazing site (called Lostpedia) that provided deep analysis of every episode. I know that Mad Men is not like Lost in that it's much more character driven. But still, there are smart music choices, symbols and metaphor, etc. It's a smart show.

However, when I search the internet for sites that provide deep analysis (as opposed to recaps) they are few and far between, and the few that are out there are pretty lame.

Is there anything better?
posted by crapples to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When you get to season 4, Rikdad's Comic Thoughts will be worth a read. It's not as deep as you'd like I think, but it's considerably more insightful than a recap.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:39 PM on March 19, 2012

I really like the liberal blog Pandagon for this. (Browse the archives for episode-specific thoughts.)
posted by tinymegalo at 3:40 PM on March 19, 2012

Jim Emerson has written some great stuff about the show on his film-criticism blog Scanners.
posted by UncleBoomee at 3:45 PM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: Yes. I read this site for every television show, actually. Alan Sepinwall is a professional TV critic and he's one of the most intelligent and insightful people out there. His discourse on The Wire is easily the best there is.
posted by Modica at 3:47 PM on March 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I enjoyed reading Tom & Lorenzo's recaps/extended thoughts on the series.
posted by mothershock at 3:56 PM on March 19, 2012 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Wait, scratch that last link, something got mixed up. Here's his comments on S1 through S3.

And then that first link has his thoughts on Season 4.
posted by Modica at 3:56 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Tom & Lorenzo, notably their analysis on the costume design. Poetry.
posted by mochapickle at 4:00 PM on March 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

I really enjoyed reading Basket of Kisses when I was following the first couple seasons. It looks like they've branched out, but their Mad Men analysis was highly enjoyable, and I'm sure still is.
posted by pie ninja at 4:05 PM on March 19, 2012

Thirding Tom and Lorenzo's costume analysis posts - really great.
posted by PussKillian at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2012

Yes, Alan Sepinwall's Mad Men reviews are quite good -- and the commenters on his blogs are pretty smart, too. Here are the reviews from his old blog (up to season 3), and his new one.
posted by bluefly at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fourthing Tom & Lorenzo. Those guys pick up on every little thing.
posted by magnetsphere at 4:24 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Natasha Vargas Cooper wrote a series of articles called Footnotes of Mad Men and then turned them into a book called Mad Men Unbuttoned. It's partly analysis of the show itself and partly cultural history of things the show refers to.
posted by synchronia at 4:33 PM on March 19, 2012

If you're willing to consider bigger picture analysis, rather than episode by episode analysis, the academics that have already been hard at work on this ...

WorldCat search on the series

And then there's always the journal literature:

DeepDyve (free trial)

Lots of fun articles such as:

Bodyguard of Lies: The Vicissitudes of Deception Among Mad Men and Women. By: Prince, Robert. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Dec2011, Vol. 71 Issue 4, p376-380, 5p

Drama is the Cure for Gossip: Television's Turn to Theatricality in a Time of Media Transition. By: De Kosnik, Abigail. Modern Drama, Fall2010, Vol. 53 Issue 3, p370-389, 20p

Gender, Splitting and Non-Recognition in Mad Men. By: Slochower, Joyce. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Dec2011, Vol. 71 Issue 4, p381-386, 6p
posted by woodman at 4:33 PM on March 19, 2012

I like Tim Goodman's "Spoiled Bastard" series (absolutely fantastic breakdowns of absolutely fantastic shows). He's moved from to the Hollywood Reporter, but here's a link for when you get to season 4: Mad Men season 4, episode 1.

I'd suggest you watch the episode, read the breakdown, then watch it again. Eye-opening how much more you notice.
posted by letitrain at 5:03 PM on March 19, 2012

Nthing Tom & Lorenzo's recaps - I often go there the next day to get their take on what went on.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 5:06 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Sepinwall, and woodman.
posted by box at 5:25 PM on March 19, 2012

Whatever Tom & Lorenzo don't pick up is covered in the audio commentaries (typically 2/episode) on the DVDs. Before reading Tom & Lorenzo, I couldn't see what the big deal was; now it's my favorite drama of all time!
posted by kimota at 6:10 PM on March 19, 2012

(But I'm totally going to check out these other recommendations! Thanks, everyone!)
posted by kimota at 6:10 PM on March 19, 2012

Slate had great coverage last season and some interesting articles while we waited and waited and waited for next week, including this one a few days ago.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:33 PM on March 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks a lot, every one. These are great recommendations, and there are obviously some that are widely agreed upon. I really appreciate the links. This helps a lot.
posted by crapples at 7:01 PM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: Will definitely seek out these mentioned above but in return you must ALL read the Mad Blog by Dorothy Parker for Media Post! Excellent lengthy analysis after each episode from someone in the business - a real deep parsing - and great comments from viewers as well. My whole office is anxious each Monday for her post, which is usually online by noon; great stuff, do try it.
PS Love Sepinwall, always worth checking in on anything airing.
posted by henry scobie at 7:04 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Slate Magazine does the Mad Men TV Club and does deep analysis the morning after the episode airs. Here is an example, but it's from the end of season 4.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:10 AM on March 20, 2012

I read the Guardian guides to the episodes when I watched them all. It was very useful to me as a non-American as they flagged up some of the references that younger or foreign people might not pick up on. And, yes, Tom and Lorenzo are a must. There's an excellent analysis of a season four episode where they point out how colour is used in the costumes to denote insidership, and it made the action so much richer.
posted by mippy at 7:39 AM on March 20, 2012

I love Television Without Pity's Mad Men forum. I'll be up into the wee hours Sunday-Monday posting!
posted by jgirl at 7:41 AM on March 20, 2012

Vulture and AV Club are always my go-to.
posted by lovableiago at 11:31 AM on March 20, 2012

Nthing Sepinwall and AV Club. They both do a great job of analyzing Breaking Bad, Community, and other shows, too.
posted by stubie at 2:33 PM on March 24, 2012

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