Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mad Men Carousel by Matt Zoller Seitz

  • THE BOOK
    • Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion by Matt Zoller Seitz
    • Published November 10, 2015
    • Other works by author include The Oliver Stone Experience, TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time, and The Wes Anderson Collection

  • THE PREMISE
    • The author, a TV critic who wrote recaps of episodes of "Mad Men" for the final 4 seasons, compiles them in this volume and adds essays on the first three seasons too.
    • There are essays covering every episode in all seven seasons. 

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • Recaps generally recount the major plot points that happened in an episode. This isn't what the book does. It assumes you have seen the episode you're reading about and that you want some in-depth analysis of what happened. 
      • This isn't a book for those who have never watched the show.
    • I watched and enjoyed "Mad Men" when it was airing and so I knew the basic plot points as I read along.
    • There are footnotes at the bottom of the text, mostly commenting on an actor who plays a role or to which episode the essay refers. There are also end notes in the back of the book. These comment on items that would be considered spoilers for those who are reading along as they watch the series for the first time.
      • The end notes are a mess, however. Some just don't exist --- "End note 4" leads to a list of only 3 items --- or they are out of order.
      • The author comments in the preface that he got the book contract in early April for a book that was due by early June and it shows in the mess that makes up the end notes.
    • There is a LOT of repetition of certain things. 
      • For example, the character of Rachel Menken comments on the word "utopia" and how it has two meanings depending on how it's pronounced in Greek. The passage is quoted at length verbatim and the essays and footnotes refer to it several times when maybe once or twice would be plenty. 
      • The carousel slide projector episode is referenced over and over again. We get it: it's in the title of your book! It doesn't need to be referenced in dozens of essays and footnotes.
      • Again, I think this is a function of trying to get the book ready for publishing too quickly (in November, just in time for Christmas gift-giving! How "Mad Men" of the publishers!).
    • Recommended for those who've watched "Mad Men" --- or are planning to watch it --- and want some detailed explication of themes. Not recommended for those who just want a book with plot points, cast listings, and behind-the-scenes information.
    • ★ ★ ★

1 comment:

  1. Who doesn't need a deeper understanding of a TV show? Since you are a known footnote lover, I am sorry these were so disappointing.

    ReplyDelete