I think Bert Cooper said it best when he spoke to Don at the end of this week’s Mad Men.
Bert: A client left here unhappy yesterday because you have a little girl running everything.
Don: My department is fine. We just need more bodies but Lane won’t let us.
Bert: You’ve been on love leave. It’s amazing things are going as well as they are with as little as you are doing.
Don: It’s not your business.
Bert: This is my business.
I’m talking about this season of Mad Men (and Game of Thrones, but I’ll get to that in a minute). I’ve felt thus far that this season has lacked something that could put it on the level of the earlier seasons. I spent many dinners alone, watching YouTube videos of clips from the show and I think I’ve narrowed down why I’m dissatisfied. The show lacks Don, being Don.
I don’t care that Don is a new person now who seems to have sworn off cheating on his wife (there’s clearly still problems with Don and relationships). What’s missing is Don being the excellent salesman that he’s been in earlier seasons. We haven’t seen Don pitch anything with the force that he used to.
Remember last season when he threw the clients out of the boardroom because they didn’t like his bikini pitch?
Or way back when he told us that Lucky Strike cigarettes are simply, toasted?
And my personal favorite, the Kodak Carousel:
Get Don back in the boardroom and I’ll stop thinking that this season is ‘meh’.
On a related note, Game of Thrones is doing the same thing–they’re not sticking to their strengths. What are their strengths, you ask? The fact that season one stuck so closely to the book is what made it so damned fun to watch. This season seems to miss that point.
Take, for example, this week’s episode. There was a whole scene between Rob Stark and a nurse after a battle. While I certainly think Rob deserves a little more focus here and there, it wasn’t in the book. We never see Rob alone, we only see him through other characters. There are things we’re not really meant to know but to find out through the other characters. It bothers me. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
So, sadly, I don’t want Mad Men or Game of Thrones to change. I want them to stick to the shows I originally enjoyed. Television, get on that and by that I mean making me happy.