Mad Men is proof good stories still matter

Image Credit: Screen

I’ll admit there were some aspects of the “Mad Men” finale that left me a bit unsatisfied, but it’s rare when a series finale ever leaves the fans satisfied, especially  when it’s a series as good as “Mad Men”. Besides, there are tons of others who can do a much better – and lengthier – dissection of the pros and cons of that last episode than I could ever hope or want to do. So I’ll leave that part to them.

As one of the legion of  “Mad Men” fans, of course I will miss the show, but I also feel more encouraged as a writer to see that good stories still matter on TV, despite so much evidence to the contrary. There is more than enough garbage still floating on the surface for all to see, but there are still a fair number of shows out there – and not all of on cable – that still place a certain amount of importance on character and story development. Realizing that you can’t expect a TV series to be on the level of a Toni Morrison novel, and that folks do have a right to enjoy watching reality TV or whatever else if that’s what they want, it’s still encouraging to see that somebody out there is still trying to remind us what a story actually is. The best imagined characters are complex, not simply punchlines. The best stories have an actual destination – but it’s a destination you can’t necessarily see from the first five minutes of Episode 1.

I  will merrily confess that I count myself among those who felt sick to the stomach during the ratings reign of reality TV when shows like “Survivor” and “American Idol” began their march to the top of the ratings ladder. I could never understand – and still don’t – how or why anyone would want to listen to Simon Cowell embarrass a contestant repeatedly week after week, or get involved in whatever manufactured crises the contestants would go through on “Survivor” and all the other cloned ratings babies. But then I guess it’s like they say; there’s no accounting for taste. You like what you like and you’re welcome to it.

But for quite awhile the biggest fear I had was that those of us who preferred something more  from our shows, those of us who love to read but still love a good movie or TV show as well, were being tossed into the ditch to make way for the oncoming Lowest Common Denominator. There was a race to satisfy an apparent craving for an empty suit full of nothing dressed up as The Big Deal.

But shows like “Mad Men” really are the Big Deal. And it shows.

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About the author
Writer and musician.



2016-05-17 10:58:27 Reply

Surplisingry well-written and informative for a free online article.

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