You can find recaps of a show like Mad Men just about anywhere on the Internet (wait, you don’t read Sepinwall yet?!?). So, instead, here are a few quick ideas for related coverage that some enterprising Buzzfeed-esque writers can dive into.
Bigger impact: NYT best-seller distinction or Mad Men appearance?
Truthfully, I abandoned an honors dissertation on the economic impact of the NYT best-seller distinction v. something like Oprah’s book club (my initial assumption, hands-down Oprah wins). But insert Don Draper into equation? I’m totally in again.
Last night’s “Doorways” started off with a case study: Don sits on the Hawaiian beach narrating a passage from Dante’s Inferno (which we later discover has been given to him by the doctor’s wife he hasn’t finished his prescription with). Before heading to bed, I Googled “The Inferno Amazon” to get a quick gauge of where it stood within the book behemoth:
This is a screencap (click to enlarge) from about 30 min. after the episode ended in EST/CT. The Inferno ranked 7490 overall in books and sixth in “Books > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Ancient, Classical & Medieval”
This is a screencap (click to enlarge) from the next morning, roughly 7 a.m. EST. Before the next day even really got underway, the power of Draper has taken Dante to 3950 overall and third in “Books > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Ancient, Classical & Medieval.” If Don’s latest book club entry gets some run next week, tell The Essential Rumi to watch its back.
Every stranger Don Draper chats with at the bar
Private Dinkins had his first (and likely last) appearance on Mad Men last night, the latest in a long tradition of strangers being the only people Don can really relate to (/they help thematically thread an episode). Dinkins is set to head off to Vietnam, asks Don to give away his wife for Karma-reasons, then allows his lighter to end up in the Draper pockets for period reflection throughout the two hours. He’s likely going to die in Vietnam (foreshadowed by his line about married serviceman having something to live for… and the ugliness we all know of Vietnam), so he’s a gentle reminder this a series and episode that dance intimately with mortality.
Potential case studies from Mad Men‘s past (top of the head): Connie at a Kentucky Derby Bar (S3, E3—turns into Conrad Hilton later), believe there’s another actually while Don is reading Meditations on an Emergency
Sally lets her pal Sandy know she doesn’t need to feel pressure to perform, but larger powers loom. This isn’t the first or the last time we’ll watch someone perform in an uncomfortable social situation, Matthew Weiner keeps coming back to this well (and I personally can’t get enough).
Potential case studies from Mad Men‘s past (top of the head): Roger in Blackface/Joan on the accordion (both in S3, E3), Megan’s infamous “Zou Bisou Bisou,” potentially even the live reading of Paul Kinsey’s play
Have any other ideas? Send ’em along or place in the comments. Sadly, the “History of Hawaiian Vacations on TV” has already been done.