I think the pitch I had internalized about this show, having learned about it from The Watch (whose taste in television I once treated as sacrosanct, and still mostly do even though I listen much less frequently), was a soapier, more British (and of course modern-setting) take on Mad Men — a workplace drama that uses the office to meditate on identity and mobility.

It's easy to forget how hackneyed Mad Men was in its first season — so fixated on the "gee shucks, it's the sixties!" and the "who is Dick Whitman" shenanigans that it took some time to settle into its slow, short story-oriented groove. But these two pieces of television have very little in common with one another, except maybe the standout use of audience-surrogate-cum-outsider (Harper/Peggy) and their relationship with their mentor figure (Eric/Don).

This show is a soap opera. It is very interested in k-holes and love triangles and its protagonists generally spend their time doing whatever is the most impulsive, least coherent thing possible for them to do. (Which is problematic within the thesis of the show, since the show tries to argue at points that success in this world is mediated by one's ability to coolly and calmly navigate treacherous waters.) Few of the characters are likeable; few of them are even understandable. The finance industry being used as a setting often feels like more of a Star Trek deployment than anything substantive — a shibboleth for these characters being smart and driven and powerful. (Again, compare to how well Mad Men deployed advertising and shifting trends to speak more broadly about the world and norms it interrogated!)

The show is also quite fun. It's a soap opera, but it's slick and stylish and well-acted. The soundtrack is great; the direction can be a little jarring, but lets you inhabit the characters particularly well. I think we'll be going in for a second season, but less as an exercise in thoughtful consumption and more as an exercise in indulging in guilty pleasures.



But there are generally two times to tell me when you fucked up. The moment it's fucked, or the moment it's unfucked.

Every successful business is full of people who spent money nurturing unremarkable talent.

Lightning bolt
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