This doesn’t really signify anything, but let’s entertain it for a minute anyway:
Mad Men seasons 1-3, like The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation, form a cohesive trilogy of their own. They dip occasionally into depression and religious symbolism, but mostly document consequence-free youthful mischief and sexism, sometimes juxtaposed with flashbacks to more humble beginnings.
In season 4, everything falls apart for Don and he becomes a sadsack. It’s totally the 808s and Heartbreak season.
Season five, to me, is the masterpiece. It’s got “At the Codfish Ball.” It’s got “Lady Lazarus.” It’s got “The Other Woman.” It’s a succession of gut-wrenching hits comparable to “All of the Lights,” “Monster,” and “Runaway.” Both creators are in full force, with all their themes on display, getting as bleak as they can while still delighting in funny hyperbole just enough. Both works are about heartbreak, male self-destructiveness, ennui, mental illness, gold-digging, consumerism, and the end of America.
Season six has “The Crash,” which is the Yeezus of Mad Men episodes.
So far, a lot of people aren’t crazy about Kanye’s new stuff, but there’s still hope that, like season 7 of Mad Men so far, So Help Me God will be tender, introspective, but still over-the-top and crowd-pleasing. I don’t know, man. Is that all there is?