And with the win, all’s right in the world, because right now Mad Men has some of the best writing in television, if not the best.
Apparently good writing begets good writing because the show’s created a cottage industry of Man Men blogs and bloggers who stay up into the wee hours of Monday to produce recaps and analysis of Sunday’s new episode – all the better to ruin any chance us Mad Men lovers will get an early start on work Monday mornings.
Here are the Mad Men blogs I consider to be the best – all because of their writing:
Basket of Kisses - This is my go-to blog for all things Mad Men, and served as my introduction to MM blogs. Started in late 2007 by sisters Roberta and Deborah Lipp (which explains the site’s URL), and named after a scene from a Season 1 episode, it’s gotten so big it now features eight other Basketwriters. The site has reviews, East Coast and West Coast open threads – where fans leave comments while watching new episodes live – plus an episode guide, news, quotes, links to articles found elsewhere online and off, an e-store and lots more. Reviews always have lots of thoughtful, and thought-provoking comments. Definitely worth a visit.
LA Times Showtracker – The Times TV blog is one of the only newspaper-based blogs I read for MM recaps, and it’s mainly because of the insightful reviews from freelance writer/blogger Meredith Blake. Blake’s posts blend recaps with reflections into historical, cultural and psychological aspects of the show’s characters and times they lived in. As with Basket of Kisses, viewer/reader comments are thoughtful and generally flame-free. The Times‘ official TV critic Mary McNamara’s occasional MM reviews are also quite good.
Jezebel - Jezebel, the woman’s magazine equivalent in Nick Denton’s stable of online gossip sheets, makes it onto my list based solely on the strength of one post. But what a post. Mad Men viewers love to hate Betty Draper, the now ex-Mrs. Don D., but in Betty Draper – Loathsome or Just Misunderstood?, Jezebel raises the question of whether she’s just a misunderstood product of her era. “The whole point of Mad Men,” writes blogger Margaret Hartmann, “ is to understand how individuals actually experienced the social changes of the ’60s.” While I’m not sure that’s the whole point, it easy to forget that people didn’t act or react the same way in 1965 that they do now to whatever life’s handing them. That’s especially tough to comprehend if, like a lot of younger MM fans, you didn’t experience it firsthand.
BestWeekEver.tv - This weekend when I tweeted about watching out for Mad Men award winners on the Emmys, someone responded that they liked the show but this season wasn’t very funny. Mad Men’s never been a yuk fest, and with a couple exceptions, the humor is subtle at best. But if you like funny, you’ll like the laugh out loud show recaps, doctored up screen captures and silly captions on the TV blog BestWeekEver.tv. Here’s one example of how good writing isn’t necessarily serious. Unlike some reviews, these generally appear a day or two after an episode originally appears. Warning: this is definitely not suitable for work.
AMC Mad Men blog – Not the best writing, not the funniest, not the most philosophical, insightful or nuanced, but it is the official blog of the series, and AMC uses it to pitch contests, put up full episode recaps and still photos and offer assorted other goodies.
Man Men Unbuttoned – Puts what’s happening in the lives of the show’s characters into cultural perspective with info on events, media, etc., from the 1960s.
Have a favorite Mad Men blog? Please share.