When did Mad Men become this summer’s “It” TV show, the series that you realize you’re going to have to catch up on if you wanted to be a civilized grown-up? Was it when it won the Golden Globe? Was it when the Times Magazine featured Mad Men on its cover? Was it when it got nominated for sixteen Emmys? Was it when your friends were talking about Betty Draper’s Hitchcockian influences and you were like, Who’s Betty Draper? and they looked at you as if you’d farted?
Whenever it was, by now you’re feeling that oppressive sense, delivered by critics and laysnobs alike, that if you aren’t watching Mad Men you’re out of touch with all that is good in our culture. That means Mad Men is officially a Show You Should Watch™ (or SYSW for short), following in the proud footsteps of The Wire, The Sopranos, and Arrested Development.
But what makes a show a SYSW, as opposed to just a good show? Vulture breaks it down for you in handy-dandy chart form. Check it out to see what Mad Men has in common with great SYSWs of yore, and to learn why simple mathematics prove that The Sopranos was the greatest SYSW in television history.
Check out Vulture’s complete Mad Men coverage:
Jon Hamm of ‘Mad Men’ on the Future of Don Draper
Don Draper’s ‘Mad Men’ Bookshelf
Emily Nussbaum on Pete Campbell and His Poignant Crumminess
Logan Hill on Don Draper, Granite Statue and Train Wreck