One of the great challenges of being a “Mad Men” fan is not getting sucked into the vortex of recap culture that unfolds in the days after an episode airs. There are dozens upon dozens of them, from national magazines and major-metropolitan newspapers to the trades and specialist bloggers.
Some recaps are so consistently insightful that the anticipation around them approaches that of watching the show. Recaps, for “Mad Men” as well as countless other shows, have become an integral part of the viewing experience, as have the conversations and dustups that ensue in comments sections.
Recap culture has become so vast, we’re starting to see recaps of recaps. Here’s one from Flavorwire rounding up recaps for last week’s season six premiere, “The Doorway.”
Here’s a sampling of notable “Mad Men” recaps below. Please note that I’m using the word “sampling” rather than a superlative like “favorite” or “best.” Suffice it to say, I hold this group in high esteem. This is some of the smartest TV recappery out there.
Please note: We’re linking to their season six, episode 1/2 recaps (read my notes on the premiere here).
Vulture’s Matt Zoller Seitz (New York Magazine)
Seitz earned his recap chops at the New Republic before joining New York Magazine’s Vulture. His “Mad Men” analyses never fail to add a new layer to my understanding of the show. They also generate some of the most incisive comments.
Not only do these two fashionistas write up layered, provocative recaps, they also provide separate analysis of the characters’ clothes for every episode, in two installments. Caveat: Be prepared for one of them to jump into the comments section! They are not afraid of disagreeing with commenters!
The Times has enlisted two writers, Sloane Crosley and Logan Hill, to offer analysis every Monday through season six. Their first exchange was impressively literary.
Seeing the credentials in this group made me appreciate the lofty reach of the “Mad Men” fan base. This conversation starts after the show airs on Sunday and runs into the next day, and includes Columbia University history professor Alan Brinkley, Stanford Law Professor Pam Karlan, Columbia theater and television professor Evangeline Morphos, and Georgetown Law professor Pam Harris.
Heather Havrilesky was one of the first to start offering “Mad Men” recaps. This makes her experience deep and her memory long. She’s especially good at synthesizing plot specifics with larger culture themes.
Besides these, I read one from a photography blog, about the cameras used in this episode, and another from an advertising blog, about the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s 12 minutes of fame. There were others, but you get the idea.
Whose “Mad Men” recaps do you enjoy?