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Mad Men Season Three Podcast: Observations and Ruminations

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A Mad Men Season Three Podcast

November 14th, 2009

What’s really interesting about Mad Men’s third season is that, because of how strong the finale was, it makes criticizing the season as a whole somewhat difficult. It requires sort of forgetting about how great the finale was, and going back to consider just how everything came together. The finale, in some ways, rewrote some of our concerns about the season: we wanted more Sterling Cooper drama and we got more Sterling Cooper drama, and we complained about Joan’s marginalization and suddenly Joan was back front and centre.

So when I joined The House Next Door’s Luke De Smet and The A.V. Club/etc.’s Todd VanDerWerff for a special TV on the Internet/House Next Door Mad Men Season Three podcast, there was a definite sense that the strength of the finale has in some way coloured our opinions on the rest of the season. I’m not suggesting that the third season was bad, but rather that in our enjoyment of the finale (and a couple of other key episodes) we may have spent more time talking about what works than we did talking about what didn’t (although we do discuss some of the story elements that were perhaps underdeveloped). It’s a great conversation, discussing a number of key subjects and focusing on different areas of the show’s success, but there were a couple of more negative things I wanted to say about the season that almost didn’t fit into the podcast’s narrative thanks to how much goodwill the finale created for all of us.

As such, after the jump I’ll go into detail on the one major issue I have with the season that didn’t make it into the podcast, but do go have a listen before reading on.

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