Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

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Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Screwtape » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:24 pm

Mad Men:

This show is fucking great. 4 seasons so far and it really is my favorite show on television. The offputting part of it being a show about an advertising agency in th 60s is made up by the subtle and not subtle racism and sexism that the characters convey. I know I enjoy it somewhat because of the industry it depicts, but really, its hard to find a bad review for it. Don Draper, the main character (NOT a porn actor, yet), is really the heart of the show. You love him, you hate him, you admire him. If not for him I don't know how good the show would be, but the supporting cast is also terrific. You also see subtly, the changes that changed the country from the lates 50s to the late 60s with this show. Its kind of like a social history lesson wrapped in great fucking writing. I really recommend this one to anyone.

Breaking Bad:

People are also going fucking nuts over the cancer-diagnosed chem high school teacher turned meth lab kingpin show. I think its overrated as far as plot, BUT I don't think Cranston's portrayal in the show is. He deserves an award every.fucking.year. Through the first three season you see this subtle transformation from mild mannered to teacher to underworld badass. Its so subtle you don't even realize he's one bad motha- shut yo mouth! until the end of the third season. Throughout the three seasons though, you see glimpses of his viciousness, and the moments are as scary as they are "FUCK YEAH! BEAT HIM TO DEATH WITH THAT DVD CASE" (no, that didn't happen). He goes up against some scary guys, but at the end of the day, he ends up on top (or at least, surviving) because he's badder. For an anti-hero, he definitely floats my boat. His partner-in-crime's acting is also VERY good, and probably underrated.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Kiawah » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:27 am

Yeah, I've always thought it funny. TNT and USA have been going through this big push the last few years trying to come up with a lot of original shows, most all of which have sucked. AMC has what, like 2 shows on their entire line-up that are better than most every other show on TV.

The TV stations outside the big 3 (abc, nbc, and cbs) that are trying to push original shows really need to take a look at FX and AMC. Push boundries and do something original, and you'll find an audience. Don't just try to do the same ole cop and lawyer dramas over and over.

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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Feaduin » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:58 pm

Just marathoned S1-4 of Breaking Bad last week... great show and probably a WHOLE lot more enjoyable when watched back to back w/o commercials or cliffhangers. It's funny about this show in that you gotta remember that everyone is bad but to different degrees. Well, except for maybe the son. Sometimes I find it really easy to forget that Walter is NOT a good guy - a jarring reminder of that being at the end of the current season.

Should this thread have spoilers in it or should that be in another thread?
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Evenflow » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:31 pm

But, is he really a bad guy? The typical definition of a bad guy is a person who seeks only to better himself through terrible deeds and what not. Walt (and mind you, I'm only at the end of season 2) is doing absolutely everything to help his family have a better house, life, future and everything in between. He isn't looking to cook meth and commit crimes simple just because he wants to make money for himself. He is putting all that money to his family. He's done some atrocious acts, but I wouldn't label him a bad guy.

I'd have caught up by now if not for school :(
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Feaduin » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:30 pm

Netflix doesn't have S4 yet and I couldn't wait so I torrented that too. My comments are based only off the entire series to-date. I'm glad I didn't give away anything!
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Sord » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:15 am

If no one else had mentioned any reviews about how great the show is, I wouldn't bother watching Mad Men past the first episode. I watched the pilot yesterday and nothing has really stood out as being excellent or anything. I'll keep watching just cause everyone is pretty unanimous at how good it really is but the pilot did nothing to sell the show to me at all. It felt boring and pointless. Some guy trying to sell cigarettes to a medically aware population and everyone degrading women and Jews. I mean hey, there is a good story in that combination somewhere but the pilot sure didn't do much for the show. I'm assuming it is just one of those shows you gotta get past a slow start in order for it to really become awesome. That is my hope anyway :)
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Evenflow » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:55 am

I got into season 2 of Mad Men and while it started off pretty good and well-written, nothing happens. Nothing at all happens. The entire show is based upon the strength of the cast and its actors. The plot is just terrible at points. I stopped watching it in favor of Breaking Bad.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Feaduin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:22 pm

You have to look at Mad Men from a broader perspective. It is strongly character driven, but that's not the only thing. You have to peel back the layers to see why this show is so fascinating. Besides the strong characters, it's about the advertising business. It's about the psychology of the American people... a look back into the past attitudes and values that were held by 90%+ of the populace and how that started to slowly change as the 60s progressed. It's an insider's look into what was essentially the brainwashing mechanism of the 40s and 50s and how that began to change with the population. It's about how certain segments of society eventually said enough is enough and started to rebel against the old worldview.

All of this is reflected in how the characters in the office talk to and treat others, how they react to the current events of the day, and even what ideas they come up with in their advertising pitches. It's a direct, non-satirical reflection of our past society for us to reexamine and learn from. It's how we became who we are as a national identity. It's a character study of ourselves, if we were a character.

When you watch an episode, you watch the characters and the story on the surface but at the same time you should also be saying to yourself, oh yeah.. that was how the world used to be - thank god that has changed/why did we change that? I guess in this sense, you could sort of compare this to The Wonder Years.

If you go into this looking for some sort of plot outside of what I wrote above or anything to drive the characters, then Mad Men will not be for you. The men of Madison Avenue are reacting to things that we the audience already know will happen - no alternate universes here, no zombies, no special fx, nothing that evokes base emotions. This is a higher thinking study of the human psyche going through upsetting and uncomfortable societal upheaval. This is why the show is critically acclaimed but so few watch it as the masses would find it "boring" when they look at the surface. You have to look deeper and think or otherwise hell, it's just a show about the advertising BUSINESS and the workers inside it. ZZZzzzzzzz... right?

Am I making sense?
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Evenflow » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:26 pm

If you have to peel back the layers to get to the core of a TV show, then something is wrong. All characters (the men anyways) are the exact same and yeah, sure, that was the times back then, but this show is a work of fiction. It's not meant to be based on true stories or a real group of people. You have to huge differences between the characters and after two season, I haven't seen that.

I guess it plays to its selected audience (which I guess isn't me). I'm not saying it's a bad show. I'm just saying that there are some far superior shows out there to watch like Breaking Bad and Luther.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Feaduin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:41 pm

No there is nothing "wrong". Look man, i'm trying to expand your horizons with how I explained it before. It is not the ONLY thing, just PART of what you can find. Others might look at the show and enjoy the clothing and the music. Some might like to see what was considered proper back then so they can reflect it back on themselves. Some might like the feel of 'perfect' Americana before it was muddled with integration. These things, and many more, both separate and together, evoke a certain style, evoke self recognition in some, ask you to explore your own beliefs, and a myriad of other things IN ADDITION TO just whats on the story surface. Hmm I just realized that I'm repeating the definition of art and I suppose Mad Men does have that artsy quality to it.

And I suppose that was my point: there is what's on the surface and there are deeper layers. Mad Men requires a higher mindset just like when you watch the West Wing. If you're not willing or not able to look past the surface, then you are not the type of person this show is for. I can lead you to the water but I can't force you to drink. Not that I'd want to force you... you have to discover it for yourself, which is part of the fun of all forms of art.

Also just from reading your post, it's obvious you didn't understand the characters if you think the men are all the same. Character analysis was like the first thing they taught in 9th grade English class. Don't tell me you can't figure it out for yourself and need everything spelled out for you. Subtlety and nuance requires greater skill. As Walter White says... APPLY YOURSELF.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Sord » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:25 am

All that may be true. My point is, the pilot didn't do anything for me to make me interested in watching MORE. The characters weren't all that interesting and the plot of the episode was boring. Of course that all boils down to personal opinion. I've been drawn into arguably much worse shows due to more interesting (to me) pilots. I'm willing to take your opinion into account and keep watching, though.

Don't get your knickers all knackered, Nancy :P You can't argue someone's personal taste. Shakespear is considered some of the finest writing out there but I'd wager a vast majority of people don't like it.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Evenflow » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:40 pm

Yeah, I'm a writing and English major so naturally I don't understand characters at all. I guess that's why Don Draper is the show's leading protagonist and remains static the first two seasons. But I shall stop there and once again say that the show isn't bad and leave it like that.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Feaduin » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:39 pm

Sord that comment above wasn't toward you as I was addressing a glaring claim that 2 seasons did nothing to Don Draper and that all the men are the same as stated by 'flow. IF these statements were worded as an opinion, then I wouldn't have had a problem with it. But 'flow worded it as a statement of fact and that is something I won't just let slide completely unchallenged. I'm not arguing taste, just a poor choice of words. Proof below.

From his words:
"All characters (the men anyways) are the exact same and yeah, sure, that was the times back then, but this show is a work of fiction."

Flow,
You could have said that YOU didn't see a difference between the male characters... and then gone from there.


I'll do a couple of short and incomplete profiles of Don Draper and Roger Sterling just to show you it is easy to see that the men are not all alike.

Roger Sterling
Roger represents the old guard and is from old money (last name Sterling). He was born into the life of wealth and privilege. He was an officer in the Navy because men of wealth meant they had gone to an Ivy League college and that would mean the War Department would put you into the officer corps. He gets power, loyalty, and support because of his birth and position. He tries to be the likeable boss to the others but he will never fully understand the "little people" since he has never been one of them. The way he talks to people, the things he asks of them, his attitude .... these are all from the prism of someone who believes he is entitled to respect and obedience. He's not trying to be arrogant or anything... that's just the way it's always been for him. He could probably recount his family lineage back to an important person in the Old World. His accounts were INHERITED just like everything else he has. Roger is amiable until pushed or confronted by the fact that he never truly earned anything in his life.

Don Draper
Don Draper is an entirely different person. (I'll try not to spoil too much here...I'll have to be very careful) Draper is more like a self-made man. He was also a Navy man and this helps Roger to feel a kinship with Draper. But even as Draper was an officer, he did not become one the same way Sterling did. He had to "earn" it because he was not a man of means nor was he an Ivy Leaguer. He never had Roger's silver spoon birthright so he had to work hard to reach his current status. He COMMANDS the respect of his peers, his bosses, and his subordinates because they ALL know that Don IS THE SHIT at what he does. Everyone looks up to him. He is able to succinctly get to the heart of an idea and putting that concept into terms everyone can understand. This man is almost at the top of the corporate ladder and yet why is he not a typical white collar guy? How is he able to understand the psyche of men and women who he probably would never run into on a daily basis? His bosses are surprised that Don hasn't already been snapped up by the bigger competition with much deeper wallets. They think it's because Don is just that sort of stand up guy who doesn't sell out at the first opportunity. If he did, he could easily move his wife and family into the city and out of the suburbs and have a more lavish lifestyle. The answer lies deeper and he's kept it hidden as best he could. He chooses this life because he can keep it all under control. Can he get more without having it all unravel? I don't want to say more without spoiling so just take my word for it that he has his reasons that are revealed during the course of the show. I can't explain how Draper changes without spoiling anything so I won't (but I could). Suffice to say that he is nudged and then forced to change.

There... 10 minutes of writing down the ideas and then another 20 to clean up the grammar. Any English major can do better than that given enough time but this was a quick example of how that statement is false.

So moving ahead, what is the proper way to frame how you look at the show and its characters? The question you could be asking is ... Who is this mystery man and what is he hiding? How does he react to events that threatens his control and how can he keep it all together once the secret is revealed to the audience? How do his actions affect those around him?

It's all part of the drama of the first season.

Does "nothing" happen in Season 2 as claimed? Lot's happened - just nothing that clicked for you. But this show is a drama about the people in an office (if we were to oversimplify things) so it can only go so far in what it can do and still be believable. Does some heart-pounding major event have to happen to make a good story? No. I cite the movie Glengarry Glen Ross as a perfect example of a great movie with "nothing" really happening. It's so good and recognizable that it has its own Simpsons character. And perhaps the most famous show about "nothing" would be Seinfeld. Do you have to like these types of "nothing happens" stories? I'm not saying you do. I'm just trying to show everyone that there are merits to all types but you just have to approach each from a different perspective/mindset because you can't compare apples to oranges. Compare drama to drama using the common criteria... that's fair. Not the merits of a drama to the merits of a dramedy and then use that as evidence of why one is better than the other.

BTW Evenflow, welcome to the boards. You will find that you can and will be challenged intellectually, not only by me but by everyone who reads these boards. It's not personal. Grog is almost exclusively made up of hyper smart people and we keep each other on our toes, out of respect and love of course (gay love in Popn's case). If it wasn't me challenging you, then it would have been someone else. Be careful what you write because they will be called out here :D
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Evenflow » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:33 pm

You must have watched a different Mad Men than I did. Because when I watched it, it was the same boring piece of work on every single episode.

-Opening rolls
-Don and Roger womanize the women
-Don cheats on his wife (almost every episode)
-Random product needs an ad made
-Co-workers piss Don off and he throws an object and gets mad.
-Other meaningless characters do stuff that nobody cares about.
-Don comes home and ignores his wife (not all the time) and kids (all the time)

And mind you, I gave the series up after season 2 so my knowledge ends there (and that's a flaw on the shows part) to watch other shows (Breaking Bad, Nikita and Luther).

I do see your points and respect then, but I think you might love this decent show a bit too much. I think the only show I would spend all day defending is Battlestar Galactica.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Feaduin » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:07 am

Yeah if you simplify a show down THAT much then I can simplify BSG down the exact same way. I could do that for any show for that matter and be just as dismissive about it. But that would just denigrate the awesome work that went into that fantastic show. Seeing as I have one of the few press copies of the BSG pilot that are unavailable to the general public, and that I cherish and will never sell, I couldn't do that to the show. Plus, it would be intellectually dishonest.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Evenflow » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:05 am

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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby PopnFresh » Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:01 am

Image

My current show priority order is Dr. Who > Breaking Bad > Mad Men > Dexter (season is starting slow, might as well wait for it to amass some content). While keeping up with It's Always Sunny week to week. I'll probably mix it up and move on to each show after a season of the previous one. I've seen the first five episodes each for Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and both had their excellence tempered by some awkward moments that feel like the shows will get over as they hit their stride.
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Feaduin » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:56 pm

<iframe src="http://www.collegehumor.com/e/6701398" width="600" height="338" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby PopnFresh » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:38 pm

Less entertaining than the not-very-entertaining Game of Thrones version.

Then again, Breaking Bad has been the same boring piece of work every episode:

-Opening rolls
-Walt and Jesse get in over their heads
-Walt lies to his wife (almost every episode)
-Everyday tasks still need to get done
-Co-workers/family piss Walt off and he does something extreme and gets mad.
-Other meaningless characters do stuff that nobody cares about.
-Walt comes home and is evasive with his son (not all the time) and wife (all the time)
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Re: Mad Men/Breaking Bad/AMC RAWKS

Postby Kiawah » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:33 am

PopnFresh wrote:Less entertaining than the not-very-entertaining Game of Thrones version.

Then again, Breaking Bad has been the same boring piece of work every episode:

-Opening rolls
-Walt and Jesse get in over their heads
-Walt lies to his wife (almost every episode)
-Everyday tasks still need to get done
-Co-workers/family piss Walt off and he does something extreme and gets mad.
-Other meaningless characters do stuff that nobody cares about.
-Walt comes home and is evasive with his son (not all the time) and wife (all the time)


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