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How ‘Mad Men’ Became the Perfect Show for the Pandemic

It seems highly unlikely—per the widely circulated, then mocked, then debunked sentiment—that the ongoing pandemic will produce another King Lear. Constant dread and anxiety do not pair well with creativity. Quarantine is, however, the ideal time to revisit other people’s King Lears, weighty masterpieces one has neither the emotional nor logistical bandwidth to accommodate in calmer times. The need to consume time in isolation is an ideal match for the time-consuming properties of television, and in my professional, highly specific opinion, TV’s creative peak is Mad Men, the period drama rapidly approaching the five-year anniversary of its 2015 finale. A year and a half ago, I’d rewatched about half the show in a fit of procrastination. Within weeks of Los Angeles imposing a safer-at-home order, I’d returned to it once more.

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