Of ‘True Blood’ and ‘Mad Men’: Which One Did America Love More Last Night?

If we’re in a position to spar over which soap made a larger dent on America’s collective consciousness last night–the one about vamps or the one about suits–it means that we’ve finally settled into a new golden era of TV, one which looks auspiciously free of sitcom laugh tracks and Dick Wolf. But in any case, it seemed the decision to sit through the third season premiere of Mad Men was more of an endurance test that may not have lived up to its hype, than the edge-of-your-seat ohmygoddery that was True Blood last night. And last week, and the week before, and so on.

And while they have little in common apart from dashing leading men (Alexander Skarsgård! Jon Hamm!) and potentially annoying leading ladies (Anna Paquin! Elisabeth Moss!), it’s worth figuring out why exactly America loved True Blood more than Mad Men last night. And while the aftermath of the former spurs fanaticism, that of the latter hints more accurately towards slow-burning ambivalence.

Odd that, especially since Mad Men has the advantage of viral memes and a notable command over the Wall Street set. Contrastingly True Blood has a tight leash on those who simply like vampire porn or find themselves too old for Twilight. This, and the fact that it’s pay cable fare, make Mad Men appear more accessible, which isn’t at all reflective in the level of hype both soaps generated last night.

And sure we could wait for Nielsen Ratings to trickle through, but if they actually had any substantial bearing on TV viewing habits, then maybe more people would ardently rave about anything on CBS half as much as they do either of these serials. So instead, glance at this handy line chart. It demonstrates how despite Mad Men‘s buzz lately, the entire world remains by and large more preoccupied with the herky-jerky histrionics of vampires.

For anecdotal evidence, there’s always Twitter, where we can see what people who are keeping up appearances by hiding out at a café three zipcodes over, think. Complains one Mad Men viewer, “I was watchin Mad Men cuz there’s this thick red head who’s booty n breasts r outta this world and i didn evn c her. Talk abt disappointment.” While a bittersweet tweet from a True Blood-er reads, “Just watched True Blood… it made me cry… Bad true blood! Baaaad!” Poignant!

But when Mad Men wrapped, perhaps Jezebel’s Tracie Egan said it best: “That was it!?”

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