Imagine, if you will, that you’ve driven by an unassuming little restaurant in your town a million times, but you’d never had a meal there because it looked dreary and not all that interesting. You knew it was popular among the elderly — which meant it held zero appeal for you. Reportedly, it served super old-fashioned comfort food -– but nothing extraordinary.
Then one day you read in the paper that this old restaurant’s owners have decided to bring in a new chef with some kind of bee in his bonnet about creating innovative recipes from scratch. One of those guys who’s got an idea and, like a terrier with a sweat sock, he won’t let it go. Why he went to work for this old restaurant when there are far better ones in the neighborhood you don’t know. You just know that you’ve heard good things about him. So you think, what the heck, might as well give that old place a try just for kicks – despite their reputation for dull, dated fare. So you stop in. And lo and behold, once you step inside the dreary exterior it’s an oasis of cool; the whole place comes alive and suddenly you’re lounging in a haven you never even knew existed. The staff is super smooth, and not a little easy on the eyes. Their clothes are spectacularly tasteful. Intrigued, you sit and order. Someone brings you a cocktail and then the meal arrives… and it’s sensational. The presentation is spectacular, they’ve thought of everything, and the dishes are fabulous. Nuanced, flavorful, and bold at the same time. How did this happen?
Week after week you return and you just can’t get enough of the stuff. Your friends love it too. ‘S the toast of the town. At which point the restaurant suddenly closes. What?? But why? Then finally the newspaper runs an article saying all this innovative food costs a ton. The ingredients are super-expensive. Plus, apparently there hasn’t been enough turnover in the restaurant – they aren’t interested in people lingering. Matter of fact, they want you to spend less time enjoying it because by golly, they need more customers so let’s cut your meal time in half, shall we? Then you read that the chef’s not happy at all, and he won’t cook anymore if the restaurant’s owners aren’t going to let him do it his way. The way everyone else – like you and your friends — likes it. It’s a stalemate – only you, the diner, are the ultimate loser because nobody can go eat there til Lord knows when.
That’s exactly what’s happening to TV’s Mad Men. See AMC’s multiple Emmy-winning hit show is in trouble. And if you thought your Sunday nights this summer would heat up with all the glorious shenanigans and sleight of hand as practiced by the ever-deft cool cad Don Draper, sadly you’re mistaken. In fact, we won’t see any Mad Men til 2012. Here’s the deal. According to reports, the network (which wasn’t too exciting for a long time til MM came along) is locked in a nasty battle with the studio and the guy who created the show. If he wants to keep doing it, he has to agree to three things. 1) He’s gotta make the episodes shorter, and add more commercials. 2) He has to put all kinds of new advertiser’s products into actual scenes. Remember the show’s about advertising, and they were kinda brilliant the way they “placed” things like Kodak – so if any show can do it, Mad Men can, but it might not feel nearly as organic. And 3) here’s the tough one: they say the show’s got to get rid of TWO regular cast members per season. Now that doesn’t mean you have to kill them off altogether, but you might only see them once in a blue moon. On the flip side, they’ve offered this guy $30 million dollars to do all this – but allegedly he cannot stomach those three demands. So it’s a nasty negotiation and it’s already 86’d the brand new season slated to begin this summer. But you won’t mind sitting tight til 2012, will you? Hmmm. What would you do? For today’s poll I was going to list some characters to see who you could live without, but the idea is so unpleasant (No Roger? No Pete? No Joan? No Peggy?) that we’ll skip that. In the meantime, let’s stay tuned and hope they bring the show back sooner rather than later.
1) Mad Men
2) Breaking Bad
3) The Walking Dead