New Rule: Every New York Times TV Story Must Make One Obligatory Reference to ‘Mad Men’

Or maybe it just seems that way.

Ginia Bellafante provides a pretty good analysis of HBO’s “Hung,” but has to set it up by comparing the show to AMC’s “Mad Men.”

Madmen As we’ve already seen, “Mad Men”-obsessed Times editors have no problem with the assumption that “Mad Men” is a huge hit that has “the nation” transfixed.

Honest, I love “Mad Men” as much as the next guy, but it really doesn’t have to be the beginning and end point for every elevated discussion about TV, although more elite media outlets seem to think so. Even Slate sang the praises of “True Blood” by comparing it to “Mad Men,” which is about as odd a juxtaposition (not merely apples to oranges, but blood to bourbon) as I can think of — mostly because Emmy voters’ general aversion to serious recognition of sci-fi and fantasy is well documented.

All of this has to be slowly killing HBO, which likes to think of itself as the cultural touchstone for the Times.

In the interim, can’t wait for all the inevitable (and in this case, slightly more justified) comparisons involving “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire.” At least that’s a classy, fang-free period piece.

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